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."
pessimistic take on Corbyn let our readers down
2. Why free speech is integral
to the intellectual life of our
3. ‘Revolution needed’ for
world to meet millennium goals
Force Times Runs Veterans’ Ad Urging Drone Pilots to
Refuse to Fly
5. George Carlin’s daughter
remembers the advent of “7
Ramps Up Biometrics Programs to Catalogue
Information on Everyone in
This is a Nederlog
September 20, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1
is about the coverage of "the English press" of Jeremy Corbyn's rise; item 2 is about an out and out totalitarian proposal
by Cameron and Johnson; item 3 is about how you
cannot expect "revolutionary changes" from 150 "world leaders"; item 4 is about
an interesting advertisement against droning; item 5
is a brief item about George Carlin by his daughter (which I review
because I like Carlin); and item 6 is about a
program of the FBI that now extended its finger printing documentation
(now anybody's fingerprints - if American) are part of any
searches for criminals, regardless of whose fingerprints they are,
which is part of a much greater program to know everything about
anyone, that I am much against.
1. Our pessimistic take on Corbyn let our
article today is by Ed Vulliamy on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
For many of our
readers and potential readers, the Labour leadership result was a singular moment of hope, even euphoria. It was
the first time many of our young readers felt anything like relevance
to, let alone empowerment within, a political system that has alienated
Yes, that seems true.
The Observer –
a broad church, to which I’m doggedly loyal – responded to Jeremy
Corbyn’s landslide with an editorial foreseeing inevitable failure at a
general election of the mandate on which he won. For what it’s worth, I
felt we let down many readers and others by not embracing at least the
spirit of the result, propelled as it was by moral principles of
equality, peace and justice. These are no longer tap-room dreams but
belong to a mass movement in Britain, as elsewhere in Europe.
This also invites a much larger question, that is not
adressed by this article (and will not be resolved here either,
if only because I lack the necessary information):
How many of the English and American journalists have been "bought"? I don't
know the answer, and I also don't know how one could know this,
but it seems a decent question for the following two reasons - and I
will specify what I mean by "bought" after these two reasons:
First, most of the American senators and congressmen seem to have been
"bought", and indeed there seem to be at least 100 (!) lobbyists
(<- Wikipedia) for every senator in Washington D.C. alone, who are
willing to spend a lot of money for - what the lobbyists think
are - the right decisions. It also pays very well,
according to Wikipedia:
A number of
published studies showed lobbying expenditures can yield great
financial returns. For example, a studyS&P 500 in the stock market concluded that
spending on lobbying was a "spectacular investment" yielding
"blistering" returns comparable to a high-flying hedge
fund, even despite the financial downturn of the past few years.
A 2011 meta-analysis of previous research findings
found a positive correlation between corporate political activity and
Finally, a 2009 study found that lobbying brought a substantial return on investment, as much as 22,000% in
of the 50 firms that spent the most on lobbying relative to their
assets compared their financial performance against that of the
Second, most - not:
all - the American and English press provide the same or very
similar news these days, that usually has a rightist Republican or
Tory slant, and anyway does not print much of the news that might
contradict the dominant messages of the Republicans or Tories.
As to "bought": You don't really need to buy a person
if you are able to influence him
in key decisions by providing him (or her) with money (in secret) if
and when he or she votes or writes in a certain way. This is true of
senators, congressmen, parliamentarians and also of journalists
I do not know the extent to which this happens, but if it
happens, it would certainly explain the similarity of much "news
reporting" in various newspapers.
This is supported by these considerations:
Of course the rest
of the media were in on the offensive. Our sister paper the Guardian
had endorsed a candidate who lost, humiliated; the Tory press barons
performed to script. Here was a chance for the Observer to
stand out from the crowd. But instead, we conjoined the chorus with our
own – admittedly more progressive – version of this obsession with
electoral strategy with little regard to what Corbyn says about the
principles of justice, peace and equality (or less inequality). It came
across as churlish, I’m sure, to many readers on a rare day of
How come "the rest of the
media were in on the offensive"? Why was so much that I read in
The Guardian propaganda against Corbyn? I am merely asking, but
I agree with Vulliamy it is rather odd, if only because it occurred in
nearly all of the English newspapers.
And there is this:
During Ed Miliband’s
Labour, the Observer robustly questioned the health of
capitalism – our columnist Will Hutton calls it “turbo-capitalism”. We
urged support for a living wage and the working poor, and the likes of
Robert Reich and David Simon have filled our pages with more radical
critiques of capitalism than Corbyn’s.
Anyway, how much of what
Corbyn argues do most voters disagree with, if they stop to think? Do
people approve of bewildering, high tariffs set by the cartel of energy
companies, while thousands of elderly people die each winter of
cold-related diseases? Do students and parents from middle- and
low-income families want tuition fees?
Very clearly, they don't,
and Corbyn was elected because he spoke for - at least - hundreds of
thousands of Labour supporters. But their voices were mostly
simply not heard, because the journalists chose in
great majority - I do not know why - not to hear them.
Why free speech
is integral to the intellectual life of our universities
next article is
by Catherine Bennett on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Give or take some
slippage at the top, the latest world university league table has UK institutions still ranking high, with 30
out of the top 200. The capital’s colleges were particularly
successful. The London School of Economics, for instance, rose from
71st place in 2014, to 35th in the 2015 list. Mayor Boris Johnson
crowed: “London is unequivocally the education capital of the world.”
I didn't read Conrad's
book, but Jo Johnson's program, that desires/obliges 20 year olds the
task of "policing
extremism on campus" sounds
to me very much like a communist program simply because
it is out and out totalitarian.
It is fit for North Korea, but not for Great Britain.
Meanwhile, his younger
brother, Jo, the universities minister, was also addressing British
students. He found them “disappointing”. Asked to perform the simple
task of policing extremism on campus, they promise to be among the
worst students in the world. Johnson minor has been irked by the
National Union of Students’ opposition to the imposition of the
government’s Prevent programme, a duty to keep any eye on everyone
that, if not very British, probably has a precedent in North Korea, as
well as Conrad’s tragic Under Western Eyes.
Well... except for Cameron and the Tories:
The prime minister
has further reminded university authorities of their obligations to
protect “impressionable young minds”. From Monday, universities must
comply, if necessary subject to a court order, with “Prevent duty
guidance” on monitoring extremism.
Is David Cameron insane?
No, he just wants a Tory police state, where 20 year old students are
supposed to smell out and track "extremists" and hand their names to
the police. And if they don't oblige, he will use a court order.
For “it is not
about oppressing free speech or stifling academic freedom”, Mr Cameron
promises of his new regulations. “It is about making sure that radical
views and ideas are not given the oxygen they need to flourish.”
Stifle, verb: “to kill by depriving of oxygen”.
So...what David Cameron
is proposing is that all English 20 year olds (who are
university-students) must join his program to help him asphyxiate
(strangle, murder) anyone with "radical" - non-Tory (?)
I am very glad not to live in Cameron's totalitarian Great
needed’ for world to meet millennium goals
next article is
by Heather Stewart on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
World leaders gathering
at the UN in New York next weekend must pledge to make a revolutionary
effort if they are serious about meeting the 17 ambitious anti-poverty
targets for 2030 that they are due to sign, according to Britain’s
leading development thinktank.
More than 150 leaders are
expected to attend the UN’s sustainable development summit next
weekend. The meeting, which will be addressed by Pope Francis, will set
the anti-poverty agenda for the next 15 years, by agreeing the
successors to the millennium development goals, which guided aid
spending and public policy in the developing world from 2000.
I should first say that I
know a fair amount about the UN because I knew someone who worked there
for quite a while. What I learned was mainly that it
is an out and out bureaucratic
organization that mostly runs on its subsidies,
with little regard for the real world, though of course the pretense
do care for the real world is always there.
So they did adopt (around
15 years ago) "the millennium
Here is a short summary:
This means - since you cannot
expect any "revolution" by "150 leaders" - that more than half of the
programs will fail.
The London-based Overseas
Development Institute (ODI) has chosen one key target in each of the 17
policy areas, and believes that more than half of them will be missed
without what it calls a “revolution”: at least a doubling, and in some
cases a quadrupling, of the current rate of progress.
Here is some more of the ODI:
“The SDGs represent the
closest humanity has come to agreeing a common agenda for a truly
inclusive future where no one is left behind. This could be within our
reach; but not without a sharp, early increase in ambition and action,”
the report finds.
On some aims, the ODI
finds that current global trends are heading in the wrong direction, so
success in meeting them would require a complete reversal. These
include protecting the world’s fragile coral reefs, and cutting the
size of slum populations in cities. “Put bluntly, the world is so far
out of step with these targets that it is running in the wrong
direction. They will only be achieved if radical change completely
turns things around,” it says.
But "radical change"
is simply beyond "world leaders" - and even if they were to vote for
it, very unlikely though this is, there will be many different local
political reasons why they (or their ministers of finance) can't "just
now" vote for the necessary money, "unfortunately".
4. Air Force Times Runs Veterans’ Ad Urging Drone Pilots to
Refuse to Fly
next article is
by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
On Monday, the Air
Force Times, a weekly newspaper with a circulation of over 65,000
subscribers who include active, reserve and retired U.S. Air Force, Air
National Guard and general military personnel and their families,
published the advertisement below, carrying a message from 54 veterans
urging U.S. drone pilots to refuse to follow orders to fly surveillance
and attack missions, citing international law.
Here is a partial copy of the
advertisement. I shrank it a little, to make it fit, and removed the
lower part, on which are the names of those who signed it:
the ad will lead to the source
I agree. This is
from a report by KnowDrones (that supported the above advertisement):
The ad comes at a
time of increasing drone surveillance and attack missions, which are
now underway in Syria as well as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and
Incidentally: I don't think
this advertisement will make much of a difference, but that is in
part caused by the fact that Nixon eliminated the draft, and made
the American army "professional".
5. George Carlin’s daughter remembers the advent of “7
next article is
by Kelly Carlin on Salon (and I have shortened the title):
This ends as follows:
By the end of that
summer in 1972 although the lines may have been drawn, and the sides
chosen, there was a wave now, an unstoppable momentum to the movement
that my father and thousands of others were riding. Change was
happening. And although I was just a child, who was definitely
overwhelmed by some of those events, I am also very proud to have been
a witness to the courage that it takes to speaks one’s truth and have
your voice heard within a culture that isn’t quite ready to hear it,
but must hear it. And so here I stand 40 years later, a new generation,
in a new millennium, hoping to be a part of a new wave of truth
speakers who are unafraid to once again transcend old structures and
battles so that we can move this evolution along.
I picked this because I
Carlin (<- Wikipedia). There is considerably more in the article.
FBI Ramps Up Biometrics Programs to Catalogue Information on Everyone
final article today is
by Jennifer Lynch on Raging Bull-Shit:
This starts as follows:
In the last few years,
the FBI has been dramatically expanding its biometrics programs,
whether by adding face recognition to its vast Next
Generation Identification (NGI) database or pushing out
mobile biometrics capabilities for “time-critical situations”
through its Repository
for Individuals of Special Concern (RISC). But two new
developments—both introduced with next to no media attention—will
impact far more every-day Americans than anything the FBI has done on
biometrics in the past.
Being a job seeker isn’t
a crime. But the FBI has made a big change in how it deals with
fingerprints that might make it seem that way. For the first time,
fingerprints and biographical information sent to the FBI for a
background check will be stored and searched right along with
fingerprints taken for criminal purposes.
The change, which the FBI
revealed quietly in a February 2015 Privacy
Impact Assessment (PIA), means that if you ever have your
fingerprints taken for licensing or for a background check, they will
most likely end up living indefinitely in the FBI’s NGI database.
They’ll be searched thousands
of times a day by law enforcement agencies across
the country—even if your prints didn’t match any criminal records when
they were first submitted to the system.
In fact, much more is going
on (mostly in secret):
This seems part of
an ever-growing movement toward cataloguing information on everyone in
America—and a movement that won’t end with fingerprints. With the
launch of the face
recognition component of NGI, employers and agencies will be
able to submit a photograph along with prints as part of the standard
Yes, and if it is up to the
FBI or the NSA everybody's complete dossier - totally
independent from what he or she has or has not done - with everything
that they can get, will be somewhere in a secret NSA/FBI/CIA
file, including all the mails he or she ever sent, and
including all the phone conversations he or she ever had, and
all of this, according to spokesmen for the NSA/FBI/CIA, because this might save them from "terrorism" -
while in fact the NSA/FBI/CIA are implementing their own
state-funded terrorism by knowing everything there is to know
about everybody (also outside the US).
As Jennifer Lynch says:
This is not OK.
The government should not collect information on Americans for a non-criminal
purpose and then use that same information for criminal purposes—in
effect submitting the data of Americans with no ties to the criminal
justice system to thousands
of criminal searches every day. This
violates our democratic ideals and our societal belief that we should
not treat people as criminals until they are proven guilty.
Well... it is not so
much the criminal versus non-criminal purposes that concern me: It is
the outspoken totalitarian desire to collect everything on anyone that
disquiets me. And no, I don't trust any government that
does so, regardless of its political color.
because "Power tends to
corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."(Lord
Acton) And this gives more
power - knowledge is power - to the governments' secret
services than anything else has ever done on earth.