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. New Spy
Bill Sneaking Through Congress, But Rights
Groups Have a Plan
Administration War Against Apple and Google
Just Got Uglier
3. How the
American Psychological Association Lost Its Way
4. Sanders Makes History With
2016 Cycle's Biggest
Campaign Event Yet
This is a Nederlog of Friday
July 31, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item 1
is about yet another bill meant to let the NSA know everything
about anyone; item 2 is about Obama and
his war on
encryption; item 3 is about the American
Psychological Association that - unlike other similar professional
organizations - embraced the Pentagon and the torturing of prisoners;
and item 4 is on Bernie Sanders, and is here mostly
because I like Sanders (and I don't see why anyone who reads his
program and is not mega-rich cannot support him, in most things: it is
not as if there are many honest, credible, and competent competitors).
Also, while this is another crisis blog, I did - again - not gather it
after reading through more than 40 websites looking for crisis news,
and that - mostly - for two reasons: First, it really takes a lot
of time every day, and second, at least now I do not have the
energy for it.
But yes, I continue with NL, and there probably will be more crisis
blogs as well.
Bill Sneaking Through Congress, But Rights Groups Have a Plan
article of today
is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I say. The NSA wants,
wants, wants, wants everything, and this is their latest effort to make
sure they get everything.
Another day, another
attack on privacy rights.
In the coming weeks, the
U.S. Senate is expected to vote on new legislation, styled as a
cybersecurity bill, which civil libertarians say is nothing more than
the latest incarnation of legalized government surveillance.
A massive coalition of
rights groups have launched a campaign against the bill, which is known
as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). Under the banner
Stop Cyber Surveillance, the coalition—which includes the ACLU, the
Brennan Center for Justice, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the
Sunlight Foundation, and others—is urging Congress to oppose
"CISA, and any cybersurveillance bill that would violate your basic
rights in the name of cybersecurity."
How does CISA threaten
privacy rights? As Evan Greer, campaign director at privacy rights
group Fight for the Future, explained
Here’s how it works.
Companies would be given new authority to monitor
their users—on their own systems as well as those of any other
entity—and then, in order to get immunity
from virtually all existing surveillance laws, they would be encouraged
vaguely defined “cyber threat indicators” with the government. This
could be anything from email content, to passwords, IP addresses, or
personal information associated with an account. The language of the
bill is written to encourage companies to share liberally and include
as many personal details as possible.
That information could
then be used to further
exploit a loophole in surveillance laws that gives the government
legal authority for their holy grail— "upstream" collection of domestic
data directly from the cables and switches that make up the Internet.
The coalition sums it up
like this: "CISA is fundamentally
flawed because of its aggressive spying powers, broad immunity clauses
for companies, and vague definitions of key terms. Combined, they make
CISA a surveillance bill in disguise. The bill may even make things
worse for internet users."
There is more in the article, which is recommended, but what I've
quoted is enough to make matters clear.
Administration War Against Apple and Google Just Got Uglier
is by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I say?! I do not know
how serious Wittes is, and indeed don't know anything about him, but
the argument that Apple might be thought to have
administration’s central strategy against strong encryption seems to be
war on the companies that are providing and popularizing it: most
notably Apple and Google.
The intimidation campaign
got a boost Thursday when a blog that frequently promotes the interests
of the national security establishment raised
the prospect of Apple being found liable for providing
material support to a terrorist.
editor-in-chief of the LawFare
blog, suggested that Apple could in fact face that liability if it
continued to provide encryption services to a suspected terrorist. He
noted that the post was in response to an idea raised
by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., in a hearing earlier this
“In the facts we
considered,” wrote Wittes and his co-author, Harvard law student Zoe
Bedell, “a court might — believe it or not — consider Apple as having
violated the criminal prohibition against material support for
FBI Director James Comey
and others have said that end-to-end encryption makes law enforcement
harder because service providers don’t have access to the actual
communications, and therefore cannot turn them over when served with a
"violated the criminal prohibition against
material support for terrorism"
is totally insane.
Of course, a lot of politics is far from sane, but in this case
they might as well prosecute the post office for - terroristically,
course - wrapping up letters in
envelopes, because the NSA has to steam them open to read their
the American Psychological Association Lost Its Way
is by Roy Eidelson and Jean Maria Arrigo on Common Dreams:
starts as follows:
Psychological Association is in crisis.
Last December, a Senate
Intelligence Committee report laid bare the extensive involvement of
individual psychologists in the CIA's black-site torture program. Then,
in early July, a devastating independent report by a former federal
prosecutor determined that more than a decade ago APA leaders —
including the director of ethics — began working secretly with military
representatives. Together they crafted deceptively permissive ethics
policies for psychologists that effectively enabled abusive
interrogation of war-on-terror prisoners to continue.
These revelations have
shocked and outraged not just psychologists but also the public at
large. After all, the APA's ethics code for psychologists governs not
only its 80,000 members but also underlies the policies of most state
The fallout will be on
full display next month as the APA — the world's largest association of
psychology practitioners, researchers and educators — holds its annual
convention in Toronto. There, APA authorities will face members'
confusion and rage during three APA Council governance meetings, a
three-day teach-in organized by Psychologists for Social
Responsibility, and open town hall meetings. Can this soul-searching be
channeled into fruitful reforms, not just for the organization but also
the future of the field? A lot is at stake in the weeks ahead.
Well... yes and no.
It so happens that I have a(n) - excellent - M.A. in psychology, which
is mostly why I am interested, though I am not American
but Dutch. Anyway, here are my yes and my no:
Yes, the quotation gives a (fairly) fair account of the APA - the
psychologists' one: there are quite a few more - and its problems. And
no, I am afraid it will not have much impact, mostl1y because
probably will be depicted as - "alas, alas, alas!" - a small mistake of
dismissed previous leaders, and a few - possibily - criminal
psychologists, that did not really touch the interests of the American
At least, that is my
guess, were it only because most psychologists have easy lives
with large incomes, and very few will be willing to
risk their incomes, and
will - I guess - stress that only a few psychologists were involved in
torturing Muslims, and that they themselves have nothing to do with it,
There is also this in
Along with other
health professionals, psychologists got placed in key roles in
clandestine interrogation operations. When this made headlines, both
the American Medical Assn. and the American Psychiatric Assn. issued
declarations against their members' participation.
I have three remarks.
The first two are a bit critical.
But the APA's response
was different. It launched the Presidential Task Force on Psychological
Ethics and National Security and stacked it with military intelligence
insiders. In quick order, the task force reached a disingenuous,
preordained conclusion that psychologists have an important role to
play, asserting that their involvement kept interrogations "safe,
legal, ethical and effective." The Bush administration immediately used
this made-to-order policy to legitimize and continue its abusive
detention and interrogation programs.
APA leaders were
particularly eager to curry favor with the Pentagon.
First, while I quite agree that the AMA and the A Psychiatric A did
well in refusing that their members participated, this does not
mean that they are not "eager
to curry favor with the Pentagon", for the Pentagon has enormous budgets, and money
is by far the most interesing topic in all professional organizations.
Second, as I have said before: Personally, I see no reason why
psychologists - and I mean ethical psychologists - should not
present when people are interrogated by military folks. The condition -
"ethical" - only means that they should do and
say as they are supposed to do: You may not use
use sleep deprivation, not use stress positions, nor
consent or agree to any other degrading, painful or humiliating
treatment of prisoners, for that is illegal and immoral.
My third remark is far more critical, and those who disagree
should first read and refute "Is
psychology a science?" (by Paul Lutus, who is quite successful):
I do not think (not since 1980 (!!), when I studied
and made excellent marks) that psychology is a real science
(apart from statistics and methodology, neither of which is psychology
proper), and I think anyone who has a real
commitment to do no harm
earning money with a pseudoscience.
It is as simple as that - and no: it will not be heeded,
probably by no one (for the great majority of psychologists I
known are - I am sorry to say - not very intelligent, and would
know how to earn as much
as they do with a pseudoscience in a real scientific field, in
indeed they also were not educated in either), so the only
reason the argument is
here is that I think it happens to be true. 
Anyway...there is considerably more in the article, that is quite good,
but it should be remembered it has been written by two professional
History With 2016 Cycle's Biggest Campaign Event Yet
today is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
This is here simply
because I like Bernie Sanders. There is more in the article.
Bernie Sanders addressed an estimated 100,000 supporters at more than
3,500 house parties in all 50 states on Wednesday night, at what is
the largest campaign event of the 2016 election cycle thus far.
The organizing kick-off,
which Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.) said was aimed
at building a political movement from the ground up, saw the
democratic socialist beamed into bars, libraries, and living rooms from
Alaska to Florida. There was a "custom cocktail" featuring
Vermont maple syrup at a bar in Washington, D.C., while a Texas event
served up "brisket and biscuits for Bernie."
The man himself spoke
from what the Burlington Free Press described
as "a modest, steamy apartment" in the nation's capitol. His
remarks were delivered "off a yellow legal pad balanced precariously on
a wobbly music stand," added
"Tonight is a historical
night and all of us are making history," Sanders said. "Why are we
seeing spontaneous uprisings if you like and meetings in cities and
town all over this country? My answer is the American people are saying
loudly and clearly, enough is enough."
During his speech, the Free
Press reports, Sanders touched on his major campaign themes:
addressing income inequality, raising the minimum wage, and reforming
campaign finance laws. He spoke of "institutionalized racism," making
college affordable, and the scourge of mass incarceration. He said the
only way to take on the "billionaire class" is with a strong grassroots
movement, a "political revolution" involving supporters who knock on
doors and talk to friends and family about the campaign.
 It is
also true that there are a few sub-fields of psychology that
seen as - perhaps, though psychologists did not get a really scientific
education - possibly scientific, but these really are small sub-fields
with few practicians:
Most psychologists are not real scientists, did not get
any education in a real science, and they only pretend to be scientists
or indeed to know your mind much better than you do,
which is, like most other things they say, plain baloney.