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. Risk of
Global Financial Crash Has Increased, IMF Warns
2. Hundreds of Thousands March
in Berlin Against TTIP
3. With New Privacy Bill,
California Delivers 'Landmark Win
for Digital Privacy'
4. Do the Democrats Offer a
Progressive Choice for
The Final Leaked TPP Text is All That We Feared
This is a Nederlog
of Sunday, October 11, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about an IMF
warning that the chances on a crash have increased and the economy has
been slowing down the last 5 years (!); item 2 is a
bit of Good News:
Possibly a quarter of a million people demonstrated in Germany
against the TTIP; item 3 is another bit of Good
News: California has a
new privacy bill which seems good; item 4
is about what choices
progressives have in the American presidential elections; and item 5 is
about one part of one chapter of the TPP: there are no
good points in the TPP, according to the reviewer of the EFF.
There also are two prior files: The first is a
brief file that
commemorates that the
thousandth file in the crisis series (that runs since
2008) has been reached, while the next is the beginning of the sixth
index file of crisis.
Risk of Global
Financial Crash Has Increased, IMF Warns
item today is an article by Philip Inman on The Guardian:
This starts as
The risk of a global
financial crash has increased because a slowdown in China and decline
in world trade are undermining the stability of highly indebted
emerging economies, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
lender of last resort said the scale of borrowing by emerging market
countries, whose debts are vulnerable to rising interest rates in the
US, mean policymakers need to act quickly to shore up the financial
I say, though I am not
amazed. Here are three types of risks the IMF distinguishes:
José Viñals, the IMF’s
financial counsellor, said the threat of instability and recession hanging
over economies including China, Brazil, Turkey and Malaysia was one of
a “triad of risks” that could knock 3% off global GDP. The second, he
said, was the legacy of debt and disharmony in Europe, while the third
is centred on battered global markets that are more likely to transmit
shocks rather than cushion the blow.
Speaking for myself, I
regard China's slowdown and Europe's debts and disharmony as the most
serious, but then I am a European (and one without
any trust in the European Union).
There is also this:
The warning follows a
summer of turmoil in global markets triggered by China’s
attempt to increase its flagging exports with a currency devaluation.
The move sparked panic in stock markets, which tumbled around the
world, as investors recognised for the first time the impact of China’s
Earlier this week, the
IMF downgraded its forecast for global growth in 2015 to 3.1%, which
would mark the weakest performance since the trough of the downturn in 2009.
The first paragraph is
merely repetition, but the second seems quite serious to me, and the
more so as the austerity that has been adopted since the crisis seems
seriously mistaken to me, and indeed has not worked out for the 99%
even if it did recently increase stock prices.
To end this article (in
which there is considerably more) here is a quote from
“Growth is slowing for
the fifth year in a row, as the commodity super cycle and unprecedented
credit booms have come to an end. This is of special relevance given
the large share of emerging markets in the world economy, as well as
the role that global markets play in transmitting shocks to other
emerging markets and spillovers to advanced economies, featured in this
summer’s financial turmoil.”
Which is to say that
growth has been slowing almost continuously since the saving of
the banks in 2008, and the imposition of austerity in 2009. It seems only
in 2010 there was no "slowing of growth". I put this between
quotation marks because it may be a euphemism: in texts about the
economy quite often everything is defined as "growth", including
radical shrinking, which then is called "negative growth".
the IMF "growth has been slowing" from 2011-2015, even though
the banks in the USA and Europe got money virtually for nothing, which
is now supposed to be ending. It follows that the austerity measures
that helped the
banks so much seem not to have helped most other sections of the
of Thousands March in Berlin
Against TTIP Trade Deal
article today is by the Common Dreams staff on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I say. That is considerably
better than I would have thought. (As to the Berlin police's estimates:
In my youth I have been in very many demonstrations, and
Hundreds of thousands of
people rallied on Saturday afternoon in the German capital against the
massive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) accord
being negotiated by the European Union and the United States. Critics
say the trade deal will benefit large corporations at the expense of
environmental groups, NGOs and anti-globalization groups were among the
organizers of the huge rally, which went from the main railway station
in central Berlin to the national parliament. Over 250,000 people
turned out for the event - many more than the 50,000 to 100,000
expected, but Berlin police claimed the number was closer to their
initial expectation of 100,000.
Many trains and more than
600 buses had been chartered to bring protesters to Berlin, who marched
carrying signs that read "Stop TTIP" and "TTIP signals climactic
Marchers banged drums,
blew whistles and held up posters reading "Stop TTIP" and "TTIP
signals climactic shipwreck" and "Yes, we can – Stop TTIP."
A group of protesters dragged a giant wooden trojan horse – a reference
to the Trojan horse of Greek legend – to demonstrate how the trade deal
is being sneaked into law by corporate lobbyists and EU officials
while the organizers often overestimated, the police's "estimates"
seemed always false. I take it the same is still the case.)
Here is some more on what moved the demonstrators:
I completely agree: It
is about democracy (which will be destroyed by the TTIP, as will
national governments be destroyed) while the TTIP is "a massive corporate
"We are here because we
do not want to leave the future to markets, but on the contrary to save
democracy," said Michael Mueller, president of the ecological
organization German Friends of Nature.
Over three million people
who have signed an online petition calling on the European commission
to abandon the deal.
Nick Dearden, director of
Global Justice Now, said the petition showed that
the EU did not have a public mandate for the agreement: “Everything
that we know about this secretive trade deal shows that it is very
little about trade and very much about enshrining a massive corporate
New Privacy Bill, California Delivers 'Landmark Win for Digital Privacy'
next article today is
by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as
follows, and is a bit of Good News, that is rare in these crisis logs:
I say: Good News. Here is some
on the background:
In what privacy advocates
are hailing as a landmark victory, California Gov. Jerry Brown has
signed into law a sweeping tech privacy bill which will require police
in the state to obtain warrants for access to telecommunications data,
including emails, text messages, GPS coordinates, and other digital
"This is a major win for
privacy and for Californians. With so much of our information existing
online, it's important that our communications are protected from
government access to the strongest degree possible," said G.S. Hans,
policy counsel and director for the Center for Democracy and Technology
The bill sailed through
the state legislature earlier this year with the support of
California's massive tech industry and its dogged civil liberties
sector. Brown signed it into law Thursday.
I quite agree, although
it does seem to me that the Fourth Amendment does cover "user data stored on phones, computers, and
Introduced as Senate Bill
178 by state Sens. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Joel Anderson
(R-Alpine)—and officially called the California Electronic
Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA)—the new law extends existing
privacy protections to user data stored on phones, computers, and
remote servers. Police will also be required to get warrants before
tracking or searching mobile devices.
According to the ACLU,
the strength of CalECPA's provisions make it the most comprehensive
tech privacy law in the country.
"This is a landmark win
for digital privacy and all Californians," said Nicole Ozer, technology
and civil liberties policy director at the ACLU of California. "We hope
this is a model for the rest of the nation in protecting our digital
My arguments are simple: (1) what used to be done on paper is now done
on computers by most people (in the US and Europe), and (2) the
since it can be grabbed it may be grabbed also holds for the paper
(3) since it is extremely easy to open paper envelopes, though indeed
a large (and impractical) amount of physical work to do so.
But in any case, in California the intents of the Fourth Amendment seem
to be saved, although I do not know whether the NSA will follow the
rules. (They will say they do, but that is mere propaganda.)
In fact, Senator Leno seems to have thought along the same lines as I
do (which I do since 2005):
In crafting the
legislation, Leno said it was time for digital information to get the
same protections as other forms of communications.
Finally, there is this:
"Tell me how a letter in
your mailbox should have more protection than an e-mail in the cloud,"
the Sacramento Bee on Thursday. "It doesn't make sense."
But the bill's momentum
did not come from the legislature alone. Months of pressure from public
interest groups and consumer advocates helped push state leaders to
prioritize updating privacy laws "so that they are in line with how
people actually use technology today," said
Dave Maass, investigative researcher at the Electronic
It does not say
or add "warrantless
searches, also by the NSA", but it seems to
As Brown signed the bill
into law Thursday, Leno said, "For too long, California's digital
privacy laws have been stuck in the Dark Ages, leaving our personal
emails, text messages, photos and smartphones increasingly vulnerable
to warrantless searches. That ends today."
me these ought to be covered as well.
Finally, while this is quite good for Californians, it is quite
important beyond California, because most computer firms are in
California. For these can now
argue that they do follow the law, and it wouldn't be fair if
the law in California,
which does express the intent of the Fourth Amendment, would be
the Democrats Offer a Progressive Choice for President?
next article today is
by Marjorie Cohn on Truth-out:
starts as follows:
I'd say that depends (i) on
what you mean by "progressives", and (ii) it may vary in various
progressives, but it is a fair question, especially because the
Although the 2016
presidential election is a year away,
the media is abuzz with the candidates - the Republican and Democratic
candidates, that is. When CBS's Stephen Colbert posed comedically with
a collage of the 18 or so declared hopefuls, the Green Party's
candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, was noticeably absent from his photo. Only
outlets like Democracy Now!, PBS and RT News feature the good doctor.
What choices do
system has just two big parties, that both are pro business and
pro rich, except that the rates and the kinds of propaganda vary.
So let's assume we know (sufficiently well) what a progressive is, and
take it from there:
leaves a lot to be desired. She does favor a woman's
right to choose and has recently come out in support of marriage
equality. Clinton supports comprehensive immigration reform but also
backs stepped-up border enforcement. A former member of the board of
Walmart, she is cozy with Wall Street and voted for the Patriot Act.
Clinton has been called a "focus group Democrat," often accused of
believing what polls and focus groups tell her she should believe.
I agree, except for the
assertion that she believes "what polls and focus groups tell her she should believe", for I am quite certain that she doesn't
believe them beyond publicly saying what the majority
in focus groups desire. What she really believes you have to
infer from her decisions when elected. And I agree that is mostly far
from what I would call progressive.
On foreign policy issues,
Clinton is a first-class hawk.
There is this on Joe Biden:
Joe Biden is
contemplating whether to enter the race. He is more
likable and more trusted than Clinton. But his positions on the issues
are very similar to hers.
But (1) he has not yet
declared he will run, and (2) if he runs, it will very probably be to
help Clinton win the elections, by taking votes from Bernie
Which leads us to Sanders:
Democratic Party candidate Bernie Sanders appears to be
giving Clinton a run for her corporate money, so progressives may have
a viable alternative to Clinton. But although Sanders' positions on
economic inequality, jobs, education, climate change, immigration,
marriage equality, women's right to choose, health care and
surveillance (he voted against the Patriot Act) give us hope for
serious change, Sanders' foreign policy strongly resembles that of the
hawks in both major parties.
He is a progressive - I take
it - on at least 9 fields. As to his foreign policy pronouncements
(with which I tend to disagree myself):
First, one must realize that he has a Jewish background, which probably
makes him more sympathetic to Israel than if this had been otherwise.
Second, I take it Sanders is less interested in foreign policy, and
thirdly, he may have used his hawkish positions to be somewhat
palatable, although I do not know this.
But then there is this considerable difficulty for progressives (which
I didn't know):
presidential candidate Jill Stein's domestic policies are
nearly indistinguishable from Sanders'.
I say. As I said, I didn't
know this, and must rely on Marjorie Cohn in this - but then what is
there to choose between Sanders and Stein, if Sanders is a progressive
on all fields that were mentioned, except for foreign policy, on
which he agrees with Stein?
As to what Stein does advocate (which I take it mostly coincides with
Stein advocates a
foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law
and human rights. She wants to "end the wars and drone attacks, cut
military spending by at least 50 percent, and close the 700+ foreign
military bases that are turning our republic into a bankrupt empire."
And she seeks to "stop U.S. support and arms sales to human rights
abusers, and lead on global nuclear disarmament."
I agree with this, but nothing
of this will happen (apart from empty verbiage), except if a real
leftist were to be elected as president.
So why support Stein? Marjorie Cohn says:
Stein has no chance of
winning the election. So why do her positions matter? She is the
declared candidate of the Green Party. If Stein's voice is included in
the national debates, the other candidates will be publicly challenged
and forced to respond on critical foreign policy issues.
I agree with this
(though I would not vote for Stein, simply because she has no realistic
chance of being elected), because a real democracy thrives a whole lot
better with candidates from many parties, each of whom has a distinct
And indeed it seems Marjorie Cohn agrees, for she ends with a quotation
"There is nothing
which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great
parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in
opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be
dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."
And it exists for a long
EFF: The Final Leaked TPP Text is All That We Feared
The final article today is
by Jeremy Malcolm of the Electronic Frontiers Foundation. I found it on
Raging Bull-Shit, but it originates on the site of the EFF:
This starts as follows (and
is the first file of what will probably be a fairly long series on the
contents of the TPP):
Today’s release by Wikileaks
of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of
property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few
hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn’t
survive to the end of the negotiations.
Mind that everything that
follows is restricted to one chapter, and is in that chapter restricted
to "the copyright and
Also, our analysis here is
limited to the copyright and Internet-related provisions of the chapter
the bolding in the quotations that follow are in the original.
First, there is this on what is effectively mere propaganda:
If you dig
deeper, you’ll notice that all of the provisions that recognize the
rights of the public are non-binding, whereas almost everything that
benefits rightsholders is binding. That paragraph on the
public domain, for example, used to be much stronger in the first
leaked draft, with specific obligations to identify, preserve and
promote access to public domain material. All of that has now been lost
in favor of a feeble, feel-good platitude that imposes no concrete
obligations on the TPP parties whatsoever.
Second, there is this on
the biggest overall defeat for users is the extension of the copyright
term to life plus 70 years (QQ.G.6), despite a broad consensus that this makes no
economic sense, and simply amounts to a transfer of wealth from
users to large, rights-holding corporations.
Well... I'd say that it
makes a lot of extra profit for the big corporations, and
therefore, according to them, makes economic sense. But this is
a major setback, for it means that most of the valuable stuff that has
been written the last 60 years or so will be available for free quoting
only after 70 years (so in fact in some cases: 130 years after its
publication), when most of its value, newness
extension will make life more difficult for libraries and archives, for
journalists, and for ordinary users seeking to make use of works from
long-dead authors that rightfully belong in the public domain.
and originality will be long outdated.
Third, there is this on damages:
On damages, the
text (QQ.H.4) remains as bad as ever: rightsholders can submit “any
legitimate measure of value” to a judicial authority for determination
of damages, including the suggested retail price of infringing goods.
Additionally, judges must have the power to order pre-established
damages (at the rightsholder’s election), or additional damages, each
of which may go beyond compensating the rightsholder for its actual
loss, and thereby create a disproportionate chilling effect for users
Again quite unfair (but very
profitable for "rightsholders").
There is also this:
cases (QQ.H.7), the penalties for copyright infringement can even
include jail time. Traditionally, this is because the
infringer is operating a business of commercial piracy. But
under the TPP, any act of willful copyright infringement on a
commercial scale renders the infringer liable to criminal penalties,
even if they were not carried out for financial gain, provided that
they have a substantial prejudicial impact on the rightsholder.
And what is "a commercial scale"? And what is "a substantial prejudicial impact"? I have no idea, and I doubt the TPP
will make this clear: It will be again up to the "rightsholders" (the big corporations, milking profits from long dead
There is more in the article, but I close this review on the Good
Points of the TPP:
There are none. More
specifically (and the underlining is also in the original):
Quite honestly there
are no parts of this agreement that are positively good for users.
look for provisions in the TPP that actually afford new benefits to
users, rather than to large, rights-holding corporations, you will look
in vain. The TPP is the
archetype of an agreement that exists only for the benefit of the
entitled, politically powerfully lobbyists who have pushed it through
to completion over the last eight years.
So this was a first
response on a part of one chapter. I very much hope it will be
stopped, but I think the chances are low, for the profits for the big
corporations are enormous, and they all fund Congressmen.
There is nothing in here
for users and innovators to support, and much for us to
fear—the ratcheting up of the copyright term across the Pacific rim,
the punitive sanctions for DRM circumvention, and the full frontal
attack on hackers and journalists in the trade secrets provision, just
to mention three. This latest leak has confirmed our greatest
fears—and strengthened our resolve to kill this agreement for good once
it reaches Congress.