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."
being rewritten post-Snowden, but
reform explainer: can the FBI still listen to
my phone calls?
3. Gaius Publius: Fast Track Will Also Apply to
4. New Snowden Documents Reveal
reducing the arrears
is a Nederlog of Sunday June 7, 2015
is a crisis blog.
There are 5 items with 4 dotted links: Item 1 is
about an article on The Guardian that correctly notes that little will
change in fact about the surveillance (and nothing for non-Americans); item 2 is about another article on The Guardian that
tries to spell this out, but that I found unclear and chatty; item 3 is a quite important article about fast track
and the TISA: fascism is approaching fast (in my learned opinion); item 4 shows that there are more secret legal memos
that extended rather than limited spying; while item 5
is not about the crisis but about the arrears I am trying to cope with
There were two other Nederlog files today: All the interviews Chris Hedges did with Sheldon
Wolin in 2014, plus my extended
commentaries that are mostly new.
Also, here is a repeat from
yesterday, in the form of a remark on my
I know that since circa June
11, 2013 the titles
of my Nederlogs are pretty unclear, basically because most days I
reviewed at least five articles (which I did not do
and I can only use the titles of the articles if I publish each
separately, which is simply too much trouble.
However, I did all of this year start my
Nederlogs with a summary,
while I have collected all of these summaries in English News (aka: summaries). This will help
you to find out what the Nederlogs are about.
1. Surveillance laws are being rewritten
post-Snowden, but what will
item is an article by John Naughton on The Guardian:
This has a subtitle that
sums up the content quite well:
The ripples from
the revelations of NSA surveillance can be felt around the world – but
intelligence and law-enforcement agencies will carry on regardless
This starts as follows:
For anyone still
in doubt about the impact of Edward Snowden’s revelations, it might be
instructive to review what has been going on in the US Congress over
the last few months, with legislators grappling with bills aimed at
curbing the surveillance capabilities of the NSA and other federal
agencies. In the end, in a classic congressional farce, there was a
brief intermission in the NSA’s data-gathering capabilities, after
which the Senate passed a bill to end the agency’s bulk
collection of the phone records of millions of Americans.
Yes, indeed. Here is
more of the sum-up:
At one level it’s a
significant moment: one in which – as a Guardian leader writer put it –
“an outlaw rewrites the law”. And in a few other countries, notably
Germany, Snowden’s revelations do seem to be having a demonstrable
impact – as witnessed, for example, by the Bundestag’s inquiry into NSA surveillance
within the Federal Republic.
These are non-trivial
outcomes, but we shouldn’t get carried away. The revelations have had
close to zero effect on the way the British security agencies – and
their political masters – go about things. And now that the Tories are
liberated from the tiresome obsession of the Lib Dems with privacy and
human rights, who knows what Theresa May and the spooks are cooking up?
Quite so, and this also
was the reason that my own judgement of the effective
On the other side of the
Atlantic, although the USA Freedom Act does introduce a number of
reforms, the surveillance landscape remains largely unchanged.
Americans’ phone records will still be hoovered up – but now by the
telephone companies, not the NSA – and access to them will require a
warranting process. And elements of transparency around government
surveillance and the operations of the secret Fisa court will be introduced.
So while there is some good
news for American citizens in the new legislation, the position for the
rest of the world is that nothing changes. The US retains the right to
snoop on us in any way it pleases – and of course to spy on any US
citizen who has the misfortune to exchange a phone call or an email
message with us.
replacement of the "Patriot Act" by the "Freedom Act" (both wildly
false and propagandistic names) was and is that it is too little, too
There is more in the article , but the above
sum-up is adequate.
explainer: can the FBI still listen to my phone calls?
item is an article by Sam Thielman on The Guardian:
This also has a subtitle:
roving wiretaps, business records – all these technical terms cloud the
real question on everyone’s minds: is the phone chatter of ordinary
Americans now immune from government surveillance?
The short answer to that
is: No, not at all.
And while this article tries to clarify what is and isn't done by the
"Freedom Act", I did not find it very clear, while it is written in a
very chatty, would be popular style. I select just one bit:
Letters are sticking around, though they can’t be used to collect phone
records in bulk anymore. But the Freedom Act specifically states that
you won’t be able to tell anybody you received a National Security
Letter. If this provision sounds to you like it does not belong in
something called the Freedom Act, you have a point.
Which means that a much
better name for the "Freedom Act" is the Slavery Act: It is complete authoritarian
non-democratic nonsense to forbid people to say that
they have received a "National Security" letter.
3. Gaius Publius: Fast Track Will Also Apply to
item is an article by Gaius Publius on Naked Capitalism:
as follows (and is the beginning of an important article):
Fast Track is not just a
path to TPP … it’s evil all on its own. There’s now another leaked
“trade” deal, called TISA, and Fast Track will “fast-track” that one
too. Want your municipal water service privatized? How about your
government postal service? Read on.
Most of the coverage of
the Fast Track bill (formally called “Trade Promotion Authority” or
TPA) moving through Congress is about how it will “grease the skids”
for passage of TPP, the “next NAFTA” trade deal with 11 other Pacific
rim countries. But as we pointed out here, TPA will grease
the skids for anything the President sends to Congress as a “trade”
bill — anything.
One of the “trade” deals
being negotiated now, which only the wonks have heard about, is called
TISA, or Trade In Services Agreement. Fast Track legislation, if
approved, will grease the TISA skids as well.
Why do you care? Because
(a) TISA is also being negotiated in secret, like TPP; (b) TISA chapters have
been recently leaked by Wikileaks; and (c) what’s revealed in those
chapters should have Congress shutting the door on Fast Track faster
and tighter than you’d shut the door on an invading army of rats headed
for your apartment.
Congress won’t shut that
door on its own — the rats in this metaphor have bought most of its
members — but it should.
also this, as a brief explanation:
First, from the Wikileaks
press release (my emphasis):
today 17 secret documents from the ongoing TISA (Trade In Services
Agreement) negotiations which cover the United States, the European
Union and 23 other countries including Turkey, Mexico, Canada,
Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan & Israel — which together comprise two-thirds
of global GDP. “Services” now account for nearly 80 per cent of
the US and EU economies and even in developing countries like
Pakistan account for 53 per cent of the economy. While the proposed
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has become well known in recent months
in the United States, the TISA is the larger component of the
strategic TPP-TISA-TTIP ‘T-treaty trinity’. All parts of the
trinity notably exclude the ‘BRICS’ countries of Brazil, Russia, India,
China and South Africa.
The release coincides
with TISA meetings at the ministerial level at the OECD in Paris today
(3–5 June). The ‘T-treaty trinity’ of TPP-TISA-TTIP is also under
consideration for collective ‘Fast-Track’ authority in Congress this
Note the breadth of the
nations involved (highlighted above), the scale of economic activity
covered — in the case of the U.S and E.U., 80% of economic activity —
and the fact that TISA, like TPP, will be fast-tracked if Fast Track
Click here to download or read the
From a lot more,
I quote only this additional bit:
Jeffrey Sachs, quoted by ex-federal regulator Bill Black here, agrees,
calling these same people and their moral environment “bluntly …
I meet a lot of these
people on Wall Street on a regular basis right now. I’m going to
put it very bluntly. I regard the moral environment as pathological.
And I’m talking about the human interactions that I have. I’ve
not seen anything like this, not felt it so palpably. These people are
out to make billions of dollars and nothing should stop them from that.
They have no responsibility to pay taxes. They have no responsibility
to their clients. They have no responsibility to people, counterparties
in transactions. They are tough, greedy, aggressive, and feel
absolutely out of control, you know, in a quite literal sense. And
they have gamed the system to a remarkable extent, and they have a
docile president, a docile White House, and a docile regulatory system
that absolutely can’t find its voice. It’s terrified of these companies.
That’s his contribution
to exaggerated prose.
I do not think the
prose is exaggerated, and it is by a neoliberal (better: neo-
In fact, for me the whole
process is neo-fascist: You serve the very rich corporations;
you do it in secret; you undermine all democratic government; and you
only serve yourself and the very rich, while trying to make the big
corporations dominate your own government.
As I wrote on February 19, 2015:
So, if you
define fascism as the American Heritage Dictionary does:
"A system of government that exercises a
dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of
state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."
then the following is
A system that seeks
to break nations and national democracies by secret
plans that are made and seen only by corporate lawyers and corporate
lobbyists, and that may not be copied or even reported on
(!!) by the elected representatives of the people, and that opposes any national
legislation that opposes corporate profits, and that wants to
institute special courts where corporate lawyers can
decide, without appeal, to convict nations that adopt laws that protect
their citizens, to huge punishments, or even from adopting laws that might diminish
the profits of the multinational corporations, and again convict
the peoples of these nations to huge punishments, is a deeply fascistic
plan, that also only could arise because the "state and business leadership" have merged in the United
States since 9/11/01 at the latest.
If you want the TTIP it means that either you are a fascist, or a
corporate lawyer, or a corporate lobbyist, or a politician (left,
right, or center) who gets paid by lobbyists - or a completely blind
Also, the whole plan to impose this sick and degenerate plan in secret,
and the complete denial of the rights of parliamentarians to be informed
and to publicly discuss what effects
their electorate is
deeply fascistic and very dishonest and manipulative.
In any real democracy there is no room for any secret
plan that overturns the rights of nations and the rights of parliaments.
And this was before I knew anything about the secret
Anyway, whether you agree or not, this is an important article
that I recommend you read all of.
New Snowden Documents
Reveal Secret Memos Expanding Spying
item is an article by Julia Angwin and others on Truth-out:
This starts as follows:
There is considerably more
under the last dotted link.
Without public notice or
debate, the Obama administration has expanded the National Security
Agency's warrantless surveillance of Americans' international Internet
traffic to search for evidence of malicious computer hacking, according
to classified NSA documents.
In mid-2012, Justice
Department lawyers wrote two secret memos permitting the spy agency to
begin hunting on Internet cables, without a warrant and on American
soil, for data linked to computer intrusions originating abroad -
including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or
contains malware, the documents show.
On reducing the arrears
This is merely to say I did upload three files the last
two days - the autobiography file and the two that start with "On The
Crisis" together around 210 Kb - that may be quite fairly said to be in
That is, it would have been better if I had finished and uploaded them
earlier, but I didn't. The reason I didn't do this earlier is mainly
that I am doing a lot for the site as is, and that especially
the autobiography files for 1984 and 1985 are also rather a lot of work.
And there are some other arrears, but I should say here and now that
(i) the site looks more or less OK as is, while also (ii) the arrears I
mentioned before June 2012 have either been worked away or been
left alone, since my position changed rather a lot in the
summer of 2012, especially as regards my eyes (which I should also say
have slowly returned to function again, though I still have to drip
them - and this took three years, so far).
What I will probably do in this month are these two things:
- I will upload the
text and my notes to Book I of Hume's "Treatise", for these have been
done in a first version (though as yet not with my summaries of my own
notes, although the notes are all done), and also
- I willl re-upload
the whole site to the two places these are maintained,
to try to keep it all updated.
I will say
when this has been done in Nederlog.
There also is a blooper:
"All of which brings to mind a term much
beloved of old-style Marxists, but now increasingly useful in
understanding what is happening in a digital world. The term is
“hegemony” – defined as “the social, cultural, ideological, or economic
influence exerted by a dominant group”."
No. I come from
an "old-style Marxist" family (Marxists for 40
years) and "hegemony" is definitely not one of their terms. It
was introduced by the postmodernists and the feminists in the 1980s.