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. NSA’s Bulk Collection of
Phone Records Is Illegal, Appeals
2. Cameron on track to remain
prime minister after
3. The Clintons and Their
Banker Friends, 1992—2016
4. Why Nike Is the Problem,
Not the Solution
5. In Wake of Spying Scandal,
Germany to Restrict
Intelligence-Sharing With US
This is a Nederlog of Friday, May 8,
This is a crisis
blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about a recent decision by a U.S. appels court, that says the NSA's
bulk collection of
cell phone records is illegal; item 2 is about
David Cameron's winning the
British elections (is there really no manipulation by the GCHQ? and how
can one possibly know?); item 3 is about a fine
article by a former bank manager about the very many ties the Clintons
have to the banks; item 4 is about an article by
Robert Reich on Obama and the TPP; and item 5 is
about - I take it - an attempt
of Merkel to extricate herself from the problems of her BND (the German
counterpart of the NSA).
Also, the present file got uploaded earlier than is normal for me.
Bulk Collection of Phone Records Is Illegal, Appeals Court Says
item today is an article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
This is quite good news, that
also is widely reported. I chose the present article, from quite a few
others I saw or glimpsed, because it is a good article that also is
from The Intercept.
A federal appeals court
on Thursday that the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata of phone calls
to and from Americans is not authorized by Section 215 of the USA
Patriot Act, throwing out the government’s legal justification for the
surveillance program exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden nearly
two years ago.
Judge Gerard E. Lynch,
writing the opinion for the unanimous three-judge panel of the Second
Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, described as “unprecedented and
unwarranted” the government’s argument that the all-encompassing
collection of phone records was allowed because it was “relevant” to an
The case was brought by
the American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU attorney Alex Abdo told The
Intercept, “This ruling should make clear, once and for all, that
the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records is unlawful. And
it should cast into doubt the unknown number of other mass surveillance
operations of the NSA that rely on a similarly flawed interpretation of
Also, it is not just the news that is good: the three judges in this
case also did well. For example, as to "relevance" there is this - and
this is quoted from judge Gerald Lynch:
Quite so - and note
that he also noted that "the
government does not even suggest that all of the records sought, or
even necessarily any of them, are relevant to any specific defined
inquiry" - which at least
strongly suggests that
emphasizes that “relevance” is an extremely generous standard,
particularly in the context of the grand jury investigations to
which the statute analogizes orders under § 215. Appellants argue that
relevance is not an unlimited concept, and that the government’s own
use (or non-use) of the records obtained demonstrates that most of the
records sought are not relevant to any particular investigation.”
Indeed, he noted:
The records demanded
are all-encompassing; the government does not even suggest that all of
the records sought, or even necessarily any of them, are relevant to
any specific defined inquiry.
And therefore, he
We agree with
appellants that such an expansive concept of “relevance” is
unprecedented and unwarranted.
the government is not looking for terrorists, in the first
place, but abusing
"terrorism" as an excuse to collect all the data there are
(incredibly many, what with computing without unbreakable encryption)
on everybody, so as to be able to control them forever.
Also, while the judges did not say so, that is what I think, and indeed
(<- Dutch link) at the latest, also without my knowing then
(nearly 10 years ago) anything about the NSA or massive
internet spying: I merely reacted to the incredible liberties
many governments were taking purportedly directed against
"terrorists" but actually abrogating many human rights of their
total populations, and quite consciously so.
The judges also considered the sick lies of Clapper and Hayes that "a
search" is called "a search" by them only if it was done by human
admits that, when it queries its database, its computers search all of
the material stored in the database in order to identify records that
match the search term. In doing so, it necessarily searches appellants’
records electronically, even if such a search does not return
appellants’ records for close review by a human agent. There is no
question that an equivalent manual review of the records, in search of
connections to a suspect person or telephone, would confer standing
even on the government’s analysis. That the search is conducted by a
machine might lessen the intrusion, but does not deprive appellants of
standing to object to the collection and review of their data.
Actually, I fail to see why a
search done by a machine "might
lessen the intrusion", for I'd
argue that (1) this increases the intrusion because it is done much
faster than humans can read, and (2) the results are stored anyway, and
may be used for any purpose, at any future time, and (3) I do not
trust any NSA promise that some materials are kept only for months. But
otherwise I agree with the argument.
The government has
pointed to no affirmative evidence, whether “clear and convincing” or
“fairly discernible,” that suggests that Congress intended to preclude
judicial review. Indeed, the government’s argument from secrecy
suggests that Congress did not contemplate a situation in which targets
of § 215 orders would become aware of those orders on anything
resembling the scale that they now have. That revelation, of course,
came to pass only because of an unprecedented leak of classified
Yes, indeed: Congress was tricked
and lied to by the government and its agents, notably James
The primary author of the
Patriot Act, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., has said that neither he
nor anyone else imagined the law would be used for bulk domestic
surveillance. “How can every call that every American makes or receives
be relevant to a specific investigation?” Sensenbrenner
asked, shortly after Snowden revealed the program.
And as Lynch wrote in the
opinion: “Congress cannot reasonably be said to have ratified a program
of which many members of Congress – and all members of the public –
were not aware.”
Will this judgment by an appeal court change much? I doubt it without
further similar judgments, but it is a good step forward
towards getting them.
on track to remain prime minister
after electoral triumph
item is an article by Patrick Wintour and Rowena Massing on The
This starts as follows:
I say. It seems even
worse - from my point of view - than stated, although it is hinted at
David Cameron is on
course to secure an astonishing electoral triumph as Tories fended off
a Labour challenge in the key English marginals and early results
suggested the Conservatives could even win enough seats to
secure an overall majority.
The result – devastating
Labour and the Liberal Democrats, and leaving Scotland a near
one-party state under the control of the Scottish National party –
probably represents the biggest surprise in a general election since
If the exit poll
is borne out in the final Westminster tally, Cameron may be able to
govern without the need for the support of the devastated Liberal
Democrats or even the Democratic Unionists in Northern Ireland.
This is probably what
will happen: Tory government by the Tories alone, since the Lib Dems
return with 6 parliamentary seats (was: 57), and the Tories seem to get
sufficient seats to continue the destruction of the British welfare
state at their leisure.
For the moment I have just three remarks:
First, I am very sorry for the outcome, and it seems the Great
Britain I have known is dead or almost dead, and will be sadistically
destroyed in the coming years, which will be extremely hard on everyone
who is poor (especially if he
or she is also ill).
Second, I do not know whether I trust the result. What with the
everywhere, and being quite capable of manipulation and deception, I
be amazed if they tricked the outcome of these elections as well. Then
have not much information about the details of British elections, so I
raise this as a mere possibility (that will be generally rejected - I
Third, the only two outcomes I like about these elections are
those of the Liberal Democrats and of Ukip: Clegg is a liar, and most
of the English electorate seem to think so as well, and Ukip won all of
2 seats, and Farage was not elected.
3. The Clintons and Their Banker Friends,
item is an article by Nomi Prins on Truthdig (originally on
This starts as follows:
The past, especially the
political past, doesn’t just provide clues to the present. In the realm
of the presidency and Wall Street, it provides an ongoing pathway for
political-financial relationships and policies that remain a threat to
the American economy going forward.
When Hillary Clinton video-announced her
bid for the Oval Office, she claimed she wanted to be a “champion” for
the American people. Since then, she has attempted to recast herself as
a populist and distance herself from some of the policies of her
husband. But Bill Clinton did not become president without
sharing the friendships, associations, and ideologies of the elite
banking sect, nor will Hillary Clinton. Such relationships run
too deep and are too longstanding.
To grasp the dangers that
Six banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells
Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley) presently pose to the
financial stability of our nation and the world, you need to understand
their history in Washington, starting with the Clinton years of the
1990s. Alliances established then (not exclusively with Democrats,
since bankers are bipartisan by nature) enabled these firms to become
as politically powerful as they are today and to exert that power over
an unprecedented amount of capital. Rest assured of one thing: their
past and present CEOs will prove as critical in backing a Hillary
Clinton presidency as they were in enabling her husband’s years in
This is a good article, and
(<- Wikipedia) knows a lot about U.S. banks and their
managers, since she has been a bank's manager, and indeed for the
biggest American banks.
It also has four pages, which I will leave mostly to your interests,
though I quote two bits, from the first page, both of which deal with
the repealed Glass-Seagall
The power of the bankers
increased dramatically in the wake of the repeal of Glass-Steagall. The
Clinton administration had rendered twenty-first-century banking
practices similar to those of the pre-1929 crash. But worse.
“Modernizing” meant utilizing government-backed depositors’ funds as
collateral for the creation and distribution of all types of complex
securities and derivatives whose proliferation would be increasingly
quick and dangerous.
Glass-Steagall allowed big banks to compete against Europe and also
enabled them to go on a rampage: more acquisitions, greater
speculation, and more risky products. The big banks used their bloated
balance sheets to engage in more complex activity, while counting on
customer deposits and loans as capital chips on the global betting
table. Bankers used hefty trading profits and wealth to increase
lobbying funds and campaign donations, creating an endless circle of
influence and mutual reinforcement of boundary-less speculation,
endorsed by the White House.
And indeed also by Obama's
White House. Here is a sketch of the outcome:
The Glass-Steagall repeal
led to unfettered derivatives growth and unstable balance sheets at
commercial banks that merged with investment banks and at investment
banks that preferred to remain solo but engaged in dodgier practices to
remain “competitive.” In conjunction with the tight political-financial
alignment and associated collaboration that began with Bush and
increased under Clinton, bankers channeled the 1920s, only with more
power over an immense and growing pile of global financial assets and
increasingly “open” markets. In the process, accountability would
Yes, and this is also
an important reason why I think the crisis is not over, and may
deepen soon: The utterly unaccountable self-enrichment of the big
item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
Why Nike Is the Problem,
Not the Solution
This starts as follows:
President Obama will be giving a speech promoting the Trans-Pacific
Paradoxically, he’s chosen to give it at Nike headquarters in Oregon.
isn’t the solution to the problem of stagnant wages in America. Nike is
true that over the past two years Nike has added 2,000 good-paying
jobs at its Oregon headquarters, fulfilling the requirements of a
tax break it wrangled from the state legislature. That’s good for Nike’s new
and marketing employees.
Nike’s U.S. workers make only a tiny percent of Nike’s products.
fact, Americans made only 1 percent of the products that generated
billion revenue last year. And Nike is moving ever more of its
Last year, a third of Nike’s remaining 13,922 American production
Actually, I don't
think Obama's decision to promote the TPP at Nike was "paradoxical": He
is very strongly for the TPP and so is Nike, so why wouldn't
he support the TPP from Nike headquarters? And who cares if Nike is
America and destroying American jobs? Not America's president (except
he is misleading his electorate).
is Reich on what the TPP will mean for the United States:
Yes: Either you compete, as an
American, with the salaries the Vietnamese pay (60 dollarcents an hour)
or else out you go, and you'll be happy with a Walmart
Trans Pacific Partnership goes into effect American wages
will be dragged down by further losses of manufacturing jobs.
workers with similar skill levels face downward wage pressure when
displaced from better-paying manufacturing jobs join the glut of
competing for non-offshorable jobs.
job. Sorry, your president loves it so very much he touts this
at Nike headquarters!
Robert Reich also says:
line: we need new rules for the global economy that allow Americans to
the Trans Pacific Partnership – which includes 12 nations, including
would be open for every nation to join – would lock us into an expanded
version of the very policies that have failed most American for the
But the "new rules"
are mere wishful
thinking: the banks rule, the rich rule, and
5. In Wake of Spying Scandal, Germany to
Restrict Intelligence-Sharing With US
anyone who is not rich or is not a bank manager doesn't - really -
count anymore in American politics.
item today is an article by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I say. First, here is a link
to an article I reviewed yesterday on this problem:
Germany is scaling back
its intelligence-sharing operations with the U.S., shortly after it was
revealed that the German government had spied on European allies on
behalf of the National Security Agency from 2002 to 2013.
reportedly met Wednesday night to address the growing pressure to
explain Germany's role in the operation.
to an official who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on
Thursday, the restrictions will prohibit the country's intelligence
agency, BND, from handing over Internet surveillance data requested by
the U.S. from a German eavesdropping facility in Bavaria.
Merkel under pressure to reveal all about US spying agreement. Second, what was quoted sounded more
serious than really is the case, for a
bit later on the Wall Street Journal is quoted to the following effect:
A second German official,
however, stressed the decision only affected the BND’s Bavarian
outpost, which he described as a small part of the agency’s overall
intelligence sharing with the U.S.
... Government officials
haven’t commented publicly on the decision to curtail sharing with the
U.S. of intelligence from the Bavarian listening post, which was
disclosed in a classified briefing to select members of parliament on
Wednesday. It wasn’t immediately clear who ordered the move, though the
Chancellery officially oversees Germany’s intelligence agencies.
So for the moment I
interpret this as a move by Merkel that is intended to
get her out of the problem, much rather than a real restriction
on the activities
of the BND.
I may be mistaken, but there certainly needs to be considerably
if only because most of the ruling European politicians tend to follow
and also are very proud to spy on everyone they govern - and
fuck any and all
classical Human Rights! -
so that their kind may govern forever.
 That gets a special prize by me for having - since January of 2015 - the sickest, most
degenerated, most awful, most ugly "photographs" ever put on the web
since 2000, which I am also certain of is wholly on purpose,
because I've seen it nowhere else and on no other site
except on the extremely bad site of The Guardian, since this
was "restyled". (But yes, I know that no one seems to care. But to me
this "restyling" is one of the strangest things I ever saw on
the internet, that I can only explain by a total lack of
knowledge about computing and programming by Alan Rusbridger and other
leaders of journalism on The Guardian.)