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."
refugee crisis is too big for Europe to handle - its
institutions are broken
2. BBC plans TV and radio
services for Russia and North
3. What Happened to the Moral
Center of American
4. In Escape from Brutality, Refugees March on Foot
5. Finally! DOJ Reverses Course
and Requires Warrants for
This is a Nederlog of
September 5, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about an article on The Guardian that argues the refugee crisis is
too big to handle for
Europeans; item 2 is about an extension of the BBC
World Service (that I am
a big fan of since around 1970, but can't get on my radio anymore since
2010); item 3 is about a question by Robert Reich
about the disappearance of the moral center of American capitalism; item 4 is about refugees in Hungary, with a reasonable
list (in the original) of more articles on the subject (in case you
are interested); and item 5 is about a - rare and
rather limited - piece of good news about unlimited data collections by
the police from every cell-phone in their reach (that so far went on
mostly unpublished and quite unpunished).
refugee crisis is too big for Europe to handle - its
institutions are broken
The first article today is by Mark Sweney on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed - and
incidentally "the war zone
on the Euphrates" has been created
by the USA, with tacit consent or active cooperation from
European countries (but the USA doesn't border on the lands they bomb,
occupy, or have occupied).
When you cut through the
horror and the hypocrisy, the exodus across the Balkans is not just a
refugee crisis. This is the first, mass trans-regional flight of modern
The Middle East has exploded
across our TV screens for decades, but now it suddenly feels like an
adjacent conflict zone. Just as we realised, in the 1990s, that the
Bosnian killing fields were just a commuter flight away, today we are
confronted by a clear land and ferry route from the war zone on the
Euphrates to refugee centres on the Danube and the Rhine. The resulting
crisis may prove too big for Europe to handle.
Next, there is this, that sketches the regulations that ceased to work:
I agree that (i) the
current amounts of refugees looks like an exodus, and (ii) that the
regulations and regulators currently have broken down, but I doubt that
The Dublin III
regulation, which requires all asylum seekers to be fingerprinted and
sent back to their first country of arrival in the EU, is effectively
suspended. The Schengen agreement, which allows passport-free movement
across central and western Europe, is falling apart: countries
surrounding both Hungary and Italy have attempted to place ad hoc
controls on migrants and refugees. Frontex, the agency that for years
coordinated a policy of deterrence and prevention – through sea patrols
and border fences – looks powerless.
the second breakdown will last long (and I don't think that the current
European political leaders are willing to welcome large amounts of
Then there is
The disorder we
have allowed to assemble at the borders of Europe does not easily
divide into “economics” and “war”. The conceit that we can segment
those coming here into the “deserving and undeserving” is going to
shatter as their claims are processed.
I doubt it. I agree "“economics” and “war”" are both involved for many refugees, and I
certainly agree that the divisions attempted by bureaucratic
institutions in “deserving
undeserving” are ridiculous and inhumane, but I suppose they will
return in some way, and not more reasonable, but probably
Here is the conclusion of the article:
Even if populist
resistance to migration stops short of fascism, and even if
anti-migration parties are disempowered by the electoral system, their
existence highlights a failing consensus. And that is, in turn, founded
on economic failure. The Eurozone has produced an arc of stagnation and
discontent along its southern border. There is mass unemployment in the
very countries that have become the first port of call for migrants and
Many Europeans don't
want to accomodate or help refugees, and certainly not
So the challenge for
Europe is clear. To absorb the refugees we are going to need a new set
of rules about where they’re processed; new arrangements for internal
travel in Europe. Plus a new social consensus about who can come, who
can’t and where they are going to live and work. And, ultimately, a
massive economic stimulus.
If the EU cannot do all
this, its constituent nations will begin to do so separately.
inside their own countries. I think they are mostly unreasonable, but
one point that is very probably correct:
There are far more people from Africa and Asia that would want
to move to Europe than there is place for them (without destroying most
of the welfare that attracts them).
So basically many have to be kept outside Europe, somehow. My
guess is that
is going to happen, and it will not be pretty,
nor fair, nor reasonable. (And see note  on the
many untold excellencies of the democratic Dutch system - where
refugees and their children can be locked up for years
simply because they have no papers.)
2. BBC plans TV and radio services for Russia
and North Korea
next article is
by Mark Sweney on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I say. One important
reason for me to pick this item is that I have been much
pleased to listen to the BBC World Service in Amsterdam from the early
1970ies until around 2010 (around 40 years), when the BBC WS
disappeared from my radio (in Amsterdam, Holland), because the BBC had
less money, and because they thought I and other Europeans could reach
them by way of the internet.
The BBC is set to unveil
proposals for a significant expansion of the BBC World Service, including potentially a
satellite TV service for Russian speakers and a daily radio news
programme for North Korea.
The proposals, which will
be announced by director general Tony Hall on Monday, include beefing up the
BBC Arabic service to offer more regional content, with increased
coverage of north Africa and the Middle East.
The BBC argues that the
expansion is about “democracy and the free press” at a time which has
seen the rise of big state-sponsored rivals, such as al-Jazeera and RT
(previously Russia Today), both of which now have UK
operations, and China Central Television.
“This is about Britain’s
place in the world,” said a BBC source. “It is above the politics of
the debates about the BBC’s future. It has to be a national priority.
Other news outlets are growing globally and many do not share our
traditions and values. We have a strong commitment to uphold global
democracy through accurate, impartial and independent news.
There should no longer be any no-go countries for the World Service.”
Well, yes... I can, more or less, reach them by way of the
internet, but this is considerably more difficult than
switching on the radio: I have to find a program I like, then do a
considerable download of mp3, and then I can listen, all of which takes
time and attention.
Also, I should add that - certainly since 2013 - I get most of the news
from reading (I check between 30 and 40 sites every day), which goes a lot
than listening to speech.
But meanwhile - never having had a TV since 1970 ,
while having some decent radio between 1970 and 2010, that
since has nearly completely disappeared - I would much
like it if the BBC WS were available on radio again, so that I could
simply switch them on or off through the day, as I did for forty years,
and can't do anymore.
I guess my wish is in vain, but I do like the BBC, simply
are better than most other programs. (And Dutch radio
is fit for imbeciles only,
and also mostly not on radio waves, but on cable, which I again lack,
because I hate TV.)
3. What Happened to the Moral Center of
next article is
by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
An economy depends
fundamentally on public morality; some shared
standards about what sorts of activities are impermissible because they
fundamentally violate trust that they threaten to undermine the social
It is ironic that at a
time the Republican presidential
candidates and state legislators are furiously focusing on private
what people do in their bedrooms, contraception, abortion, gay marriage
are experiencing a far more significant crisis in public morality.
over the last two decades in the United States a steady decline in
the willingness of people in leading positions in the
private sector – on Wall Street and in large corporations especially –
maintain minimum standards of public morality. They seek the highest
profits and highest compensation for themselves regardless of social
CEOs of large
corporations now earn 300 times the wages of
average workers. Wall Street moguls take home hundreds of millions, or
groups have rigged the economic game to their benefit while pushing
wages of average working people.
Yes, indeed - and in
fact the whole schema of deregulation
served that purpose: More to the rich, which is to say
equivalently: Less to the non-rich.
It's also true that
this has been intentionally hidden in various ways, and one was the
concentrating (in a totalitarian
fashion, indeed) on the private moralities of the 90% (as if
politicians should have much to say on how one spends one's private
life as long as one lives inside - rational and reasonable - laws: they
should not) instead of on the public immoralities
of the 1%
(who stole and stole and stole, again largely through first deregulating
the laws, and next exploiting ordinary people as soon and as much as
Next, there is this
on how it was and how it changed:
CEOs did not earn more
than 40 times what the typical worker
earned. Profitable firms did not lay off large numbers of workers.
Consumers, workers, and the community were all considered stakeholders
of almost equal entitlement. The marginal income
tax on the highest income earners in the 1950s was 91%. Even the
rate, after all deductions and tax credits, was still well above
Around about the late
1970s and early 1980s, all of this changed dramatically. The change
began on Wall Street. Wall Street convinced the
Reagan administration, and subsequent administrations and congresses,
regulations that were put in place after the crash of 1929 –
during the Roosevelt administration – to prevent a repeat of the
Yes, indeed - but let
us also note that the period of welfare-for-most was in fact limited to
the 30 years from 1950-1980, and that it was due in large part
to Roosevelt and his administration, and to Keynes, and that
what we have seen since were 35 years of deregulations 
(of the laws that protected most between 1950 and 1980, indeed without
being less capitalistic (but by being more fair in division of profits
the rich deregulated that, basically through lies - "Trust Us: We Will
Trickle Down!" - and propaganda).
This is all true, though I
think another relevant question is "Why has the moral center of American capitalism
disappeared?", and my answer is
Where has the moral
center of American capitalism disappeared?
Wall Street is back to its same old tricks. Greg Smith, a
Goldman Sachs, has accused
the firm of putting profits before clients. Almost every other Wall
is doing precisely the same thing and they’ve been doing it for years.
The Dodd-Frank bill was
an attempt to rein in Wall Street, but
Wall Street lobbyists have almost eviscerated that act and have been
mercilessly attacking the regulations issued. Republicans have not even
appropriated sufficient money to enforce the shards of the act that
the corruption of America's politicians and through the corruption of
the main media.
The first kind of corruption was simply real corruption: They got paid
to do or approve of the deregulations, and they were paid well. The second kind of
corruption in part did arise from the enormous losses of money through
a lot of advertising in the paper media - although it seems to me that
like the first kind, was in part propelled by some secret plan. 
Here is a list of things Robert Reich wants:
I agree - but (1) those who
are currently in power do not want any of these
The Glass-Steagall Act
must be resurrected. There has to be a
limit on the size of big banks. The current big banks have to be broken
using anti-trust laws, as we broke up the oil cartels in the early
years of the
We’ve got to put limits
on executive pay and have a much more
progressive income tax so that people who are earning tens if not
millions of dollars a year are paying at a rate that they paid before
which is at least 70% at the highest marginal level.
We also need to get big
money out of politics.
things to happen (2) and they are very powerful, while (3) they have
all the things Reich (and I, and quite a few others) wants to see undone
a systematic, well-orchestrated campaign that lasted over
40 years (taking it as started by the Powell-memorandum
of 1971), and also (4) they also succeeded in manipulating a
considerable part of the 50% of people with IQs of maximally 100, to
support the ends of the rich rather than the ends of the non-rich.
My conclusion is that it will take at least 10 to 20 years to shift
things back - if that is possible (which I doubt, at least
further rather large changes).
Indeed, Reich also sees this:
I agree - but this (undoing
legal change that very much strengthened the
These changes can’t come
about unless we have campaign
finance reform that provides public financing in general elections and
constitutional amendment that reverses the grotesque decision of the
Court at the start of 2010, in a case called “Citizens United versus
Federal Election Commission.”
None of this is possible
without an upsurge in the public at
large – a movement that rescues our democracy and takes back our
rich and powerful, and getting a mass movement going to save
also without destroying most of society, and with the
awful mass media there are) seems rather unlikely, at least to me.
Robert Reich ends like this:
is incompatible with robust democracy. Today,
in the United States, the top 1% is taking home more than 20% of total
and owns at least 38% of total wealth. The richest 400 people in
more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans put together.
great American jurist and Supreme Court associate justice Louis
said: “We can have huge wealth in the hands of a relatively few people
can have a democracy. But we can’t have both.”
I agree, but it seems to me
that the USA, with over 150 million people with an IQ of maximally 100,
who also are almost continuously propagandized
by advertisements spurring them on to consume and by main media who
tell them they can trust their leaders and journalists, mostly has
given up on real democracy.
That is a very sad
conclusion, but it accords with the facts.
4. In Escape from Brutality, Refugees March on Foot Towards
next article is
by Common Dreams staff on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
This is quoted from the UK
No longer willing to wait
for passage by train or official approval in Hungary, thousands of
refugees from the Middle East and Africa—but mostly those fleeing war
in Syria—undertook a dramatic 150-mile march from Budapest towards the
Austrian border on Friday as they sought safety and relief from a
treacherous journey that has now captured the attention of the world.
I sympathize with them, but
they'll find a Europe that will tend to dislike them (too dark, no
fluent European, Muslims, don't look like Europeans) and will try to
push them through all kinds of sick bureaucratic loops that in the end
Frustrated by the lack of
action, [the people] set off for Austria on foot, aiming to reach
Germany. Amira’s time in Hungary has shaken her belief in Europeans.
"We don’t trust them: they will take us to the camps and beat us," she
says. "I hope that when the train comes it will take us away from here;
that is all that I want."
Amira crossed four
borders to get to Budapest during a harrowing journey that is becoming
a rite of passage for thousands seeking a better life in Europe.
Some 200,000 people have
crossed the sea between Turkey and Greece, paying hundreds of pounds to
smugglers for a space on overcrowded dinghies. “It’s the worst thing I
have ever done in my life,” says Mountaha, 23, who fled from Idlib in
Syria. She and her husband, Anas, 24, a computer engineer, initially
fled to Turkey. But after six months there they decided they wanted a
better future for their son Mohamed, who is two months old.
give residency to a minority. (And see )
These are the rules, and without rather fargoing political changes,
these will remain the rules, or the rules will get even more
restrictive and inhumane.
Anyway, one reason to review this is that at the end of the article
there is a good and fairly long survey, with brief comments, of around
15 articles that were lately published on The Guardian in its attempts
to chart the refugee crisis.
5. Finally! DOJ Reverses Course and Requires
Warrants for Stingrays!
The last item of
today is by Nate Cardozo, who is a staff attorney from the Electronic
Frontier Foundation, and who has some good news (which is rare in the crisis series):
This starts as follows:
At long last, the
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced
a slew of much-needed policy changes
Yes, indeed - and in fact I'd
say "a search warrant supported by probable cause" was required
anyway by the U.S. Constitution (Fourth Amendment, indeed), but I
concede this may have been signed away by the "Patriot Act"
(somehow, although the Fourth Amendment is part of the Constitution,
and can't be withdrawn - probably through the bullshit argument that
sending a letter through a computer differs from sending a letter by
regarding the use of
cell-site simulators. Most importantly, all federal law enforcement
agencies—and all state and local agencies working with the federal
government—will now be required to obtain a search warrant supported by
probable cause before they are allowed to use cell-site simulators. EFF
welcomes these policy changes as long overdue.
Here is some more:
In fact, the "law
enforcement’s use of Stingrays " was illegal on my view of the
law, but I grant it may have been somehow "legalized" by the "Patriot Act"
(which I much disagree with, but have not thoroughly
read, as indeed very few senators who passed it have read it).
Colloquially known as
“Stingrays” after Harris Corporation’s brand name for a common model, cell-site
simulators masquerade as legitimate cell phone towers, tricking phones nearby into connecting to
them. This allows agents to learn the unique identifying number for
each phone in the area of the device and to track a phone’s location in
real time. But Stingrays can get a lot more than just identifying
numbers and location data—by virtue of the way they work, all mobile
traffic (voice, data, and text) from every phone in the area could be
routed through the Stingray, giving the operator the option to do
anything from recording entire calls and texts, to selectively denying
service to particular phones.
Until recently, law
enforcement’s use of Stingrays has been shrouded
in an inexplicable and indefensible level of secrecy. At the behest
of the FBI, state law enforcement agencies have been bound by
non-disclosure agreements intended to shield from public scrutiny all
details about the technical capabilities and even model numbers of the
And there is also this, that rather limits the good news:
What the changes don’t do:
I say. So both for (purported)
purposes nor for whatever may be meant by (purported) “exceptional circumstances" these changes in
- The new policy isn’t law
and doesn’t provide any remedy to people whose data is swept up by
Stingrays operated without a warrant. Indeed, it won’t even act to keep
evidence collected in violation of the policy out of court (this is
known as suppression).
- The policy doesn’t apply
to the use of Stingrays outside of the criminal investigation context.
For instance, when federal agents use cell-site simulators for
“national security” purposes, they won’t be required to obtain a
warrant by the terms of this policy.
- There are two enumerated
exceptions to the warrant requirement in today’s guidance. The first is
the traditional “exigent circumstances” exception, common to all
warrant requirements and not particularly worrisome. But the second
exception listed in today’s policy for undefined “exceptional
circumstances” is potentially problematic. We have no idea what that
means, so we’re waiting to see if and how the exception will be used.
But OK it is a small change in the right direction, though even these
changes are rare these days.
 Yes - and I don't agree, and they are inhuman(e).
Here is a quotation from something I wrote on August 9, 2012, a little
over three years ago, in Stoning
human beings the
Dutch way - style 2012:
The Dutch have
their own goddamned concentration-camp prisons now, where even small
children can be locked up for 1 1/2 years, forced to do nothing at all
on a space of 2.5 square meters, namely for having committed the crime
of having no papers that allows them to escape the neo-nazi state of the Netherlands
- and so after 1 1/2 years imprisonment they get stoned, is
the official term: Thrown into the street, on the
cobbles, without money, and after a month or two - if they still
haven't committed suicide, e.g. because of their children, they get
arrested again, with their children, for having no papers or no
money, and they get imprisoned again, as are their children, and so on,
until they are dead. And they can't escape, for having no papers, no
other country admits them, either, so the Dutch can have their own
sado-fascistic joys with them as long as they haven't committed suicide.
This also contains the Dutch
text + my translation to English with an interview with the (then)
This is what the Dutch
Parliament, the Dutch government, and probably the majority of the
 I have explained this several times.
Here is a link to one such explanation: The TV and average intelligence
 I published this twice, in January
2013 and in February 2014, and I do think this is a good article.
 See my Hypotheses about the
causes of the crisis. And I agree this is a guess,
that also may be given several forms.