Here is Dianne Jeffrey, of
the Malnutrition Task Force (in England, in 2015):
“Much malnutrition is
preventable, so it is totally unacceptable that estimates suggest there
are at least one million older people malnourished or at risk of
malnourishment. Cuts to social care mean many older people are being
left to cope on their own.”
Admissions for malnutrition nationally were highest among men in their
sixties, followed by those aged over 80, and among women in their
fifties, followed by those in their forties."
What do these poor suckers
need "social care" for?! Social care for 500 or a 1000 of these
non-Etonite starving bastards would take the fourth horse, the third
house or the second Ferrari from a deserving Tory
Trust David Cameron!
Trust George Osborne! They will give every
penny they steal from the starving poor to some noble and deserving
The Senate, ignorant on cybersecurity, just passed a bill about it
next item is by Trevor Timm on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Under the vague guise of
“cybersecurity”, the Senate voted on Tuesday to pass the Cybersecurity
Information Sharing Act (Cisa), a spying bill that essentially carves a
giant hole in all our privacy laws and allows tech and telecom
companies to hand over all sorts of private information to intelligence
agencies without any court process whatsoever. Make no mistake:
Congress has passed a surveillance bill in disguise, with no evidence
it’ll help our security.
Well... as I have been
saying for precisely ten years
today (in Dutch) "terrorism" and "cybersecurity" were mere
pretexts to surveil everyone in everything
(excepting the members of government and of secret security, of
course), so I am not one bit flustered: This was the end from the
very beginning of 9/11.
Here is how it will
All that is needed for
companies to hand over huge swaths of information to the government is
for it to contain “cyber threat indicators” – a vague phrase that can
be interpreted to mean pretty much anything. Your personal information
– which can include the content of emails – will be handed over to the
Department of Homeland Security, the agency supposedly responsible for
the nation’s cybersecurity. From there the information can be sent
along to the NSA, which can add it to databases or use it to conduct
even more warrantless searches on its internet backbone spying (which
once again, a judge ruled last week could not be challenged
in court because no one can prove the NSA is spying on them, since the
agency inevitably keeps that information secret).
It not only can but will
be sent to the NSA (they want everything) and as to the judge,
whose verdict enormously strenghtened my faith in Amerian
Justice: I wonder why he did not convict these lawyers, who
were blackening the reputations of the supermen and superwomen of the
NSA, to life + 150 years. To say that the NSA is spying on Americans is
sickening slander! After the honest words of the
superhonest Clapper! Who can distrust such a noble superman?!
There were barely any
actual cybersecurity experts who were for the bill. A large group of respected computer scientists and engineers
were against it. So were cyberlaw professors. Civil liberties groups uniformly opposed consumer groups. So did the vast majority of giant tech companies. Yet it
still sailed through the Senate, mostly because lawmakers – many of
whom can barely operate their own email – know hardly anything about
the technology that they’re crafting legislation about. (and were appalled by) the bill. So did
No, I am sorry: ignorance or stupidity are
no adequate defenses of Senators or Congressmen. It is over 2 years
and 4 months ago that Edward Snowden revealed himself, and even the
most stupid and most ignorant members of the Senate or Congress have
had plenty of time to learn all they need to know.
They voted against
the computer scientists, against the lawyers, against
the consumer groups, against the tech companies, and against
their voters because they belong to the very few who
want to control absolutely everyone in absolutely
everything, and see to it that no American betrays American
Exceptionalism and American Superiority. They knew very well
what they did, and they desired to do so.
In proof of which,
there is this:
Along the way, the Senate
decided to reject a handful of commonsense privacy amendments that
could’ve protected that information. One by one, privacy and
transparency amendments that would’ve at least made the bill less awful
were voted down on Tuesday.
As I just implied: The
American Senate and the American Congress - if they did not think so in
the first place - voted as their personal lobbyists told them:
For total surveillance of everyone, so that - at least
- the Senators and Congressmen remain secure and safe.
3. Censorship on Rise as Global Internet Freedom Continues
next article is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
For the fifth year in
a row, global internet freedom continued its downward trend in
2015, with more governments censoring information of public interest
while simultaneously expanding surveillance and thwarting privacy
to the annual assessment by the U.S.-based Freedom House released
Since June 2014, 32 of
the 65 countries assessed in
Freedom on the Net (pdf) saw internet freedom deteriorate,
according to the nonprofit, which monitors digital rights and advocates
for democracy. Notable declines were documented in Libya, France,
and—for the second year running—Ukraine, amid what Freedom House
describes as "its territorial conflict and propaganda war with
I am not at all
amazed. Also, I have two observations:
First, Edward Snowden
did not make much of a difference, it seems - which is not his
For second, the only
way I can explain this completely anti-democratic policing is
because the majorities of the parliamentarians in each
of the 32 countries where internet freedoms declines wanted
that internet freedoms declined.
That may indeed not
be what they say in public, but then one can never
trust a politician without good and independent evidence.
And there is this:
According to the report,
authorities in 42 of the 65 countries assessed required private
companies or internet users to restrict or delete web content dealing
with political, religious, or social issues, up from 37 the previous
year. Criticism of the authorities was most likely to attract
censorship or punishment, while news about conflict, corruption
allegations against top government or business figures, opposition
websites, and satire were also subject to online censorship in over one
third of the countries examined.
In fact, the study found
that over 61 percent of all internet users live in countries where
criticism of the government, military, or ruling family has been
subject to censorship online, and over 58 percent live in countries
where bloggers or other internet users were jailed for sharing content
on political, social, and religious issues.
That is: In over
half of the countries "criticism
of the government, military, or ruling family has been subject to
censorship online" and in over
half of the countries "bloggers
or other internet users were jailed for sharing content on political,
social, and religious issues".
This is also the
internet the NSA and the GCHQ want very much:
An internet cleansed
from anyone with leftist, liberal, or progressive ideas; an internet
that is free - from any deviance, any criticism, and any
opposition to any government; an internet where the anonymous
heroes and heroines of the NSA and the GCHQ are fully admired for
their great courage and infinite talents; and an internet where the
admirers of Thatcher, Reagan, and Bush Jr. can safely surf without
finding a word or picture they disagree with. Heaven on earth!
Finally, there is
Meanwhile, even as
governments in 14 of 65 countries passed new laws to increase
surveillance, and many more upgraded their surveillance equipment,
encryption and anonymity tools crucial to securing freedom of
expression were subject to restrictions worldwide.
For all governments and all
parliamentarians know that full surveillance and
total subjection of the people they lie that they "serve" is strongly
in their own
interests in power, money, and a very rich career, just as they also know
full well that in every country there are just about 500 persons
with real governmental or parliamentary power.
is Democratic Socialism, American-Style?
next article is
by Peter Dreier on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Now that Sen. Bernie
Sanders' presidential campaign is generating lots of media attention,
the word "socialism" is in the news. But few Americans know what it is
or what Sanders means when he describes himself as a "democratic
Yes, indeed, although most
Americans also seem to have a strong negative prejudice against anyone
who says that he is a socialist, even while they cannot say what a
Then again, Peter Dreier,
who teaches politics, is quite right that the question in the title is
worth asking, indeed also because American political terminology can be
quite confusing to non-Americans, like me.
Here is part of his
explanation (all of which is kinown by me for a very long time):
Indeed, already in the 19th
Century, usually. There is also this on some of the Americans who
called themselves socialists:
the early 1900s, socialists led the movements for women's suffrage,
child labor laws, consumer protection laws and the progressive income
tax. In 1916, Victor Berger, a socialist congressman from Milwaukee,
sponsored the first bill to create "old age pensions." The bill didn't
get very far, but two decades later, in the midst of the Depression,
President Franklin D. Roosevelt persuaded Congress to enact Social
Security. Even then, some critics denounced it as un-American. But
today, most Americans, even conservatives, believe that Social Security
is a good idea. What had once seemed radical has become common sense.
of FDR's other New Deal legislation -- the minimum wage, workers' right
to form unions and public works programs to create jobs for the
unemployed -- was first espoused by American socialists.
history, some of the nation's most influential activists and thinkers,
such as Jane Addams, John Dewey, Helen Keller, W.E.B. DuBois, Albert
Einstein, A. Philip Randolph, Walter Reuther, Martin Luther King, Paul
Robeson, Eugene V. Debs, and Gloria Steinem, embraced democratic
In some cases the
adjective "democratic" may not be quite justified, but this is mainly
due to the Soviet propaganda that the Soviet Union was a "people's
And here is one part of the explanation why "socialism" means
something different in the United States and in Europe, where there are
or have been many
socialist parties, some quite large, and socialist politicians, of
various shades of
the Cold War, many Americans confused democratic socialism with
communism. In fact, democratic socialists opposed the totalitarian
governments of the Soviet Union, China and their satellites. That's
because democratic socialism is about democracy -- giving ordinary
people a greater voice in both politics and the workplace.
Sanders says that America needs a "grassroots political revolution," he
is actually a reformer, not a revolutionary. His version of democratic
socialism is akin to what most people around the world call "social
democracy," which seems to make capitalism more humane.
first paragraph is a bit misleading, in my - quite learned - European
were quite a considerable number of socialists (apart from the
communists) in Europe who, at various times, e.g. in the thirties and
in the sixties, were somewhat sympathetic to "the totalitarian governments of the Soviet
Union, China and their satellites".
do not think they ever formed a majority amongst West-European
socialists (apart from communists) but they certainly formed a
considerable minority at some points of history.
second paragraph seems quite justified to me: I have always looked upon
Bernie Sanders as a social democrat (Anerican style, to be sure) rather
than a democratic socialist, simply judging his program (with European
fact, this is also why I would consider it wise if he avoids the term
"socialism", not because he has no right to use it, but because
using it lessens his chances of his becoming a presidential
candidate and a president, simply because many Americans have strong
negative - usuallly quite uninformed - prejudices against
anything called "socialist".
Here is the last bit by Dreier:
socialism means reducing the political influence of the super rich and
big corporations, increasing taxes of the wealthy to help pay for
expanded public services like child care, public transit, and higher
education, reducing barriers to voting, and strengthening regulations
of business to require them to be more socially responsible in terms of
their employees, consumers and the environment. That means a higher
minimum wage, paid sick days and paid vacations, and safer workplaces.
the word "socialism" has been demonized, few Americans call themselves
socialists or even social democrats. But public
opinion polls -- including the Pew Research Center, Hart Research
Associates and The New York Times/CBS -- show that a vast majority of
Americans agree with what Sanders actually stands for.
is quite adequate, though it might have been mentioned in the first
paragraph that all of Sanders' program is quite compatible with
and indeed is not against capitalism, except inhuman forms of
5. EU Toughens Against TTIP as Top German
article today is
by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as
Adding yet another voice
to the growing chorus of European activists and government officials
who oppose the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S.
and EU, the president of the German Bundestag, or parliament, has
threatened to vote against the so-called "trade" agreement due to its
lack of transparency and democratic legitimacy.
"I see no chance that the
Bundestag would ratify a trade agreement between the EU and the USA
without involvement in how it came together or any say regarding
alternatives," Norbert Lammert said
in an interview with Germany's FUNKE Media Group on
I also must say that
I find it quite difficult to believe him, since it is totally
self-evident to me that the TTIP, which still is quite secret, is an
authoritarian anti-democratic "law" that will only benefit the
rich, and will break down all or nearly all of the
protections that the poor, the old, the ill and the working people
have acquired in Europe since 1900, because these acquisitions hurt profit,
and profit (of the rich, for the rich) is the only
thing that really matters in the TTIP (to the best of my imperfect
Mr Lammert may say
that he does not know this about the TTIP. I reply that
one does not have to consider whether one votes against the TTIP if
one is a democrat: Secret laws (supposed to remain secret
till 4 years after being made into law also!) are undemocratic
regardless of their contents.
There is also this:
Lammert agreed with
European Commission President Jean-Claude
Juncker that all the relevant documentation "must be available to
the governments and parliaments of all members of the EU." He said he
"will insist on that."
Currently German MPs can
key TTIP negotiation documents by going personally to the U.S.
Embassy in Berlin. The secrecy surrounding the mammoth trade deal has
criticism as well as a
€100,000 reward for the full text.
And if you
are allowed to read the TTIP in the U.S. Embassy, then - almost
certainly, for the same demands were imposed on U.S. Senators -
not allowed to make notes on it, nor are you
allowed to discuss whatever
you remember with anyone else. De-mo-cra-cy!
Since I certainly do
not trust Juncker (he may make the documents available a day before the
voting, for example), this adds nothing to Lammert.
Finally, there is
controversy, the latest round of TTIP discussions concluded last
week in Miami. Based on the agreement's faltering
progress and dwindling support, the UK-based social justice group
War on Want declared that TTIP may not be completed by the end of the
Obama presidency. As War on Want trade campaigner Mark Dearn explained,
"TTIP negotiations are not going as planned—neither in terms of
satisfying what each side wants, meeting deadlines, nor in fulfilling
supposed 'outreach' with civil society groups."
"Millions of people
across Europe [are] calling for an immediate end to TTIP negotiations,"
Dearn said. "EU governments would be better off listening to their
constituents than continuing with these secret negotiations the people
of Europe do not want."
I completely agree