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. The FBI used to recommend
encryption. Now they want
to ban it
2. Elizabeth Warren Strikes Back
as Citigroup Tries to
Blackmail the Democratic Party
3. Marriage Made in
Corporatist Heaven Slams into
4. Just three?
This is a Nederlog of
March 29, 2015.
This is a crisis blog. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item
1 is about the fact that the FBI now opposes encryption (which is
sick and immoral); item 2
is a fine article with an excellent video about Elizabeth
Warren (and you should
see the video); item 3 is a fine article on the
chances of the TTIP (that - very
happily - are diminishing); and item 4 is a brief
reflection on the fact that today
I found a mere three good items about the crisis.
FBI used to recommend encryption. Now they want to ban
item is an article by Trevor Timm on The Guardian:
This has the following subtitle:
It starts as follows:
For years, the agency
recommended phone encryption as a defense against criminals. Now, that
information has been scrubbed from public view
The FBI wants to
make us all less safe. At least that’s the implication from FBI director Jim Comey’s push to ban
unbreakable encryption and deliberately weaken everyone’s security. And
it’s past time that the White House makes its position clear once and
Here are the reasons why
encryption is very important for maintaining your privacy, and
why the FBI now seems to think it is most important that you do
Comey was back before Congress this week - this time in
front of the House Appropriations Committee - imploring Congressmen to
pass a law that would force tech companies to create a backdoor in any
phone or communications tool that uses encryption.
He also revealed the
Obama administration may be crafting such a law right now. “One of the
things that the administration is working on right now is what would a
legislative response look like that would allow us … with court process
to get access to that evidence”, he said.
The whole controversy
stems from Apple’s decision to encrypt iPhones by default - so
that only the user can unlock a phone with a pin or password and even
Apple itself does not have the key. It was a huge step forward for
security, and given that the US government considers cybersecurity
attacks a more dire threat than terrorism, you’d think they’d be
encouraging everyone to use more encryption. But Comey essentially
argued to Congress that because encryption sometimes makes FBI
investigations harder, it should be outlawed.
Precisely - which is completely
absurd and very totalitarian: Because a tiny percentage of
the American population may plan something illegal the - mostly
completly anonymous - moral degenerates  of the
FBI insist on reading everything that is private that anyone
may put on line using a computer or cellphone.
want to understand why encryption is important for protecting your
data, look no further than the FBI’s own website.
Well, at least you could until last week. For years, the FBI
recommended people enable encryption on their phone to protect
themselves against criminals, but at some point prior to Comey’s
testimony, the FBI scrubbed that information from public view. (On 27 March
the FBI told the National Journal that the security
tips were not intentionally deleted, but “were because of the agency’s
ongoing website redesign.”)
In other words, as
security expert Jonathan Zdziarski remarked, the FBI “has
weakened their recommended standards [and] best practices to
intentionally leave you vulnerable to security breaches.” Computer
science professor Matt Blaze put it another way: “Basically, the
FBI is saying that they think you’re more likely to commit a crime than
need to protect yourself against crime.”
Besides, as is also pointed out in the article, it is not as if the FBI
cannot get a lot of information - they also should not
get - if they can't break the encryption: They have all the
Finally, about something I quoted already:
Comey was back before Congress this week - this time in
front of the House Appropriations Committee - imploring Congressmen to pass a law that would force tech
companies to create a backdoor in any phone or communications tool that
He also revealed the
Obama administration may be crafting such a law right now.
According to Trevor Timm
this suggests a contradiction in White House policies, because so far
the White House has supported strong encryption. He may well be right,
as indeed I have found that Obama generally says what he thinks
will please his audience, and does what most pleases the banks
and/or the government.
And I wonder: Why do these
moral degenerates not propose that the only persons who may
function as the bosses of internet providers are to be the
heads of the NSA, CIA or FBI? So that you know that
anything you say or write using a computer and a cellphone is first
submitted for approval to some moral degenerate of these secret
services?! (Without any encryption, of course.)
2. Elizabeth Warren Strikes Back as Citigroup
Tries to Blackmail the Democratic Party
item is an article by Yves
Smith on Naked Capitalism:
This starts as
Yes, indeed - and one of the
good things Yves Smith did was to link in
An unusually move by a
thin-skinned too big to fail bank, Citigroup, to slap down the
finance-skeptic faction of the Democratic party appears to be
Reuters reported on Friday that Citigroup
was making clear its displeasure with the way Elizabeth Warren had been
calling to its overly-cozy relationship with the Administration by
threatening to withhold its customary bribe, um, donation to the
The story noted that the
amount at issue was only $15,000 per bank, so this scheme is more a
warning shot that a serious move, particularly since it is aimed at the
Senate, and thus pointedly steers clear of the Big Finance stalwarts,
the Clintons. But if you widen the frame a bit, there is more at stake
here than you might think.
Big Wall Street banks
are so upset with U.S. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for
them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign
donations to Senate Democrats in symbolic protest, sources familiar
with the discussions said.
Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have met to
discuss ways to urge Democrats, including Warren and Ohio Senator
Sherrod Brown, to soften their party’s tone toward Wall Street, sources
familiar with the discussions said this week.
Elizabeth Warren's speech, which is here, and very well worth
for this is excellent (and lasts 9 m 43 s but you will not
There is a considerable
amount more, but the video is really good and should be seen.
3. Marriage Made in Corporatist Heaven
Slams into Resistance
item is an article by Don Quijones on Wolf Street:
This starts as follows:
After eight rounds of
secret negotiations, Washington and Brussels are still struggling to
breathe life into the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
(TTIP). According to current European Union President, Latvia, the
chances of the agreement being signed by the year-end target are
growing perilously slim.
game-changing trade deal is aimed at radically reconfiguring the legal
and regulatory superstructures of the world’s two largest markets, the
United States and the European Union – for the almost exclusive benefit
of the world’s biggest multinational corporations.
continues to mount on both sides of the Atlantic. In the U.S.
Wikileaks’ perfectly timed exposé of the investment chapter of TTIP’s
sister treaty, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), could derail White
House efforts to gain fast track approval to bulldoze the treaty
through Congress. This time, even the mainstream media seems to be
paying an interest, with the New York Times in particular publishing a
broadly critical report.
On the other side of the
Atlantic, things seem to be going from bad to worse — at least for the
For more on this, click the
last dotted link. There is also this:
The report [in the New
York Times - MM] also warned that the case had yet to be made for the
highly controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), a
provision that elevates individual foreign corporations and investors
to equal (or arguably superior) status with a sovereign nation’s
government. If signed, it would allow companies to skirt domestic
courts and directly “sue” signatory governments for compensation in
foreign extrajudicial tribunals.
As I reported in “The Global Corporatocracy is Just a Pen Stroke Away
From Completion,” the ISDS provision is what gives the new
generation of trade treaties such as TTIP their sharp claws and canine
teeth. If allowed to take universal effect, the system will impose
above our governments a rigid framework of international corporate law
designed to exclusively protect the interests of corporations,
relieving them of all financial risk and social and environmental
There is a
considerable amount more under the last dotted link, which gives both a
good explanation of the ISDS, and gives evidence that the TTIP now
seems to be opposed by leading European politicians, of which the main
one is Germany's vice-president and minister of economy Sigwart Gabriel:
“We won’t accept
any pressure for further liberalization, or privatization. We won’t
lower any social, environment or consumer protection standards,” says
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel. “And we will not – I am
completely sure of this – see any privatization of arbitration.”
But as I implied:
This is a good article that deserves full reading.
item for today is a brief reflection on the fact that today there are
just three crisis
First, in the last 1 3/4 years that I have been writing mostly about
the crisis (in this Nederlog) it has happened before that there
was nothing or very little to be found, though not very often.
But yes, I did search through the around 40 websites I check every
day for the crisis series, and while I found some other pieces that
might have qualified for
inclusion here, either I did not think them good enough or I thought
they repeated information I did include before.
Second, it is a Sunday and that may be part of the reason there isn't
much (for most papers and weeklies still work considerably less on
Sundays, which is all rihjt with me).
But OK - I am still around, and will write more tomorrow, when I also
expect there will be more crisis items.
30, 2015: I added the link - again - in the third item, that
disappeared for some unaccountable reason.
 O yes! And I did originally consider using a
stronger term, but yes: I cannot think of anyone who is supposed to
read my mails or those of almost anyone else as being
other than a secret anonymous moral degenerate.