1. Spying on
Congress and Israel
The first item today is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept (with a
somewhat abbreviated long title):
This starts as
The Wall Street
yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance. In the
process, the agency ended up eavesdropping on “the contents of some of
their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish
groups” about how to sabotage the Iran Deal. All sorts of people who
spent many years cheering for and defending the NSA and its programs of
mass surveillance are suddenly indignant now that they know the
eavesdropping included them and their American and Israeli friends
rather than just ordinary people.
Greenwald is quite rigth - and it also seems as if many of those "who spent many years cheering for and
defending the NSA and its programs of mass surveillance" in fact did not know what "mass
surveillance" means, or else believed that there are (at least)
two groups of people in the USA:
privacy is fit to be processed in any way the NSA thinks fit,
and those whose privacy is not fit to be thus processed, such
as members of Congress and the rich.
The NSA wants everything it can possibly get, including
the private e-mails of members of Congress.
story is fairly funny (in a somewhat bitter way) and he details
considerably more about Congressmen - should one now say the correcly
PC "Congress(wo)men" or "wo(men)" since 2 out of the following 3 are
females? - Hoekstra, Harman and Feinstein than I will reproduce, that
you can read all of by clicking the above last dotted link.
Here is Glenn
Greenwald's summary of one of these Congressmen, Pete Hoekstra:
This Glenn Greenwald proceeds
to illustrate - in a (to me) quite convincing fashion - with
references to (former) Congresswomen Harman and Feinstein, which I leave
again to your interests.
But all that, of course,
was before Hoekstra knew that he and his Israeli friends were swept up
in the spying of which he was so fond. Now that he knows that it
is his privacy and those of his comrades that has been
invaded, he is no longer cavalier about it. In fact, he’s so furious
that this long-time NSA cheerleader is actually calling for the criminal
prosecution of the NSA and Obama officials for the crime
of spying on him and his friends.
This pattern — whereby
political officials who are vehement supporters of the Surveillance
State transform overnight into crusading privacy advocates
once they learn that they themselves have been spied
on — is one that has repeated itself over and over.
Here is a lesson (for some):
That is quite true, as the
article shows. And as I indicated above, I believe that
So now, with
yesterday’s WSJ report, we witness the tawdry spectacle
numbers of people who for years were fine with, responsible for,
and even giddy about NSA mass surveillance suddenly objecting. Now
they’ve learned that they themselves, or the officials of the foreign
country they most love, have been caught up in this surveillance
dragnet, and they can hardly contain their indignation.
Overnight, privacy is of the highest value because now it’s their privacy,
rather than just yours, that is invaded.
(1) the NSA tries to get absolutely everything (which I
think is quite probable and also widely assumed since Edward Snowden's
tries to do so not because the NSA is primarily
interested in catching "terrorists"
(it also is trying to do that, with remarkably little success, but not primarily, and if it
were primarily looking for terrorists they would be mostly looking for them
rather than everyone, and they are not) but because it
tries to get all information on everyone because this
will make it by FAR the most powerful
institution that ever existed; and that
(3) this also happens with the full consent and the financial support
of the American government (that probably thinks it can control
It seems that (1) is fairly widely agreed to (on the left), indeed in
considerable part because of Snowden's
evidence, but that (2) and (3) are not widely believed.
you need to have had communist parents and grandparents; a good
intelligence; an M.A.; and sound ideas about power, deception and "public
relations" to believe (2) and (3), but I am one of the -
very rare - such persons, and I thought and think all of the
above since 2005. Also, I have seen
no evidence against it, and much for it - but
OK, I do have that background and no one is forced to believe
what I believe.
GOP Has Become the Party from George Orwell’s Nightmares
The second item is Conor Lynch on Alternet, and
originally on Salon:
is from the beginning, after Lynch has explained that Milibank was
complaining about the abuse of the GOP of the term "politically
As Milibank writes:
When an entire field of candidates tend
to thrive on bullshit (especially the
current front-runners), it is not at all surprising that they have
certain reliable terms that vilify critics of their bullshit and shut
down debate. The truth is, Republicans have long utilized a
manipulative phraseology, full of euphemisms and doublespeak, used
either to shut down criticism and debate, as shown above, or to
acerbate the listener’s emotional state — think “baby parts” and “death
panels” — or provide a positive light on something that is generally
frowned upon. (Ergo: Tax-avoiding billionaires become “job-creators.”)
“Once a pejorative term applied to
liberals’ determination not to offend any ethnic or other identity
group, it now is used lazily by some conservatives to label everything
classified under “that with which I disagree.” GOP candidates are now
using the “politically correct” label to shut down debate — exactly
what conservatives complained politically correct liberals were doing
in the first place.”
In George Orwell’s classic essay
on this subject, “Politics and the English Language,” he seems to
describe modern Republicans to a tee, repeating the same tired, yet
convenient phrases (the phrases have changed, of course). Orwell writes:
Yes, indeed - and in fact it is a mark
against their intelligence and capacities that most do resemble
plastic machines rather than real people, in part because some
of the best deceivers, like Bill
Clinton and Barack Obama, do not, even though they are at
least as deceitful as members of Congress.
In a country where getting elected to
public office requires massive amounts of private funding (“bribery”
has become “donation”), is it really so shocking that the majority of
politicians resemble machines? Republicans (and many Democrats) have
become appendages of the corporate state apparatus, serving the
interests of private industry before even considering the interests of
“When one watches some tired hack on
the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial,
atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world,
stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has the curious feeling that one
is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling
which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the
speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have
no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who
uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance towards turning
himself into a machine.”
There is considerably more in the article that I leave to your
interests, and it ends as follows:
It was only a matter of time
until the lies and distortions caught up with Republicans. The
party has built its modern platform on deception, and has carefully
crafted an entire phraseology to back it up. But there is no amount of
spin that can make Trump look honest. And Trump is, after all, the new
face of the GOP.
Perhaps not. Then again, Bill Clinton also
electorate - quite truly - that he wasn't honest because he was a
politician, and he was elected twice to president of the USA, and
possibly the same could happen to Trump.
3. A Crisis Worse than ISIS? Bail-Ins Begin
third item is by Ellen
Brown (<- Wikipedia) on Washington's Blog and originally on Web of Debt:
starts as follows:
At the end of November, an
Italian pensioner hanged himself
after his entire €100,000 savings were confiscated in a bank “rescue”
scheme. He left a suicide note blaming the bank, where he had been a
customer for 50 years and had invested in bank-issued bonds. But he
might better have blamed the EU and the G20’s Financial Stability
Board, which have imposed an “Orderly Resolution” regime that keeps
insolvent banks afloat by confiscating the savings of investors and
depositors. Some 130,000 shareholders and junior bond holders suffered
losses in the “rescue.”
I say - and I note this is
in Europe (where I live): The bankmanagers now steal your
money, in order to save and enrich themselves, all with
full allowance of many European politicians.
Here is a summary on Europe:
in January, EU rules will require that
they also be imposed on depositors. According to a
December 10th article on BBC.com:
The rescue was a “bail-in” – meaning
bondholders suffered losses – unlike the hugely unpopular bank bailouts
during the 2008 financial crisis, which cost ordinary EU taxpayers tens
of billions of euros.
Correspondents say [Italian Prime
Minister] Renzi acted quickly because in January, the EU is tightening
the rules on bank rescues – they will force losses on depositors
holding more than €100,000, as well as bank shareholders and
. . . [L]etting the four banks fail
under those new EU rules next year would have meant “sacrificing the
money of one million savers and the jobs of nearly 6,000 people”.
That is what is predicted for 2016:
massive sacrifice of savings and jobs to prop up a “systemically risky”
global banking scheme.
I quite believe it, simply because Europe
and the European Union essentially have been sold by the vast
majority of its traitorous politicians to the banks.
There is considerably more in the article,
also about the USA.
4. The partially missing end-of-year
routine on Nederlog
cannot do everything
I did the last years to mark the end of the year. The reason is that I
am now - in spite of having two sites, one since 19 years and the other
since 11 years, that together contain over 1 Gb of data and many
thousands of files - completely without any statistics
for my two sites.
Actually, this has been so for the xs4all site since I
started it 19 years ago. At that time - 1996 - having a site
was still fairly rare, and xs4all was quite
good, as it was a firm of somewhat alternative hackers. By 2000 the
firm was bought by KPN - "Dutch" Telecom - who ever since then has
parasited on the alternative reputation xs4all had - but all of this
was only public
Lies to convert the stupid and the ignorant.
By now all they have if you want statistics for your own site is a link
to a very small site of one of their users, who explains how you might
get statistics for a single webpage by trying to write a Unix
shell script, which he explains badly...
I am not saying any more about xs4all because this is
the Dutch norm:
In Holland "absolutely everybody is equivalent"
(according to the vast majority of Dutchmen, although plenty would
insist that real Dutchmen have four grand- parents with real
Dutch names) and "everybody knows truth doesn't exist" (because thus
nobody ever can be refuted), and it seems it is the same or worse at
their competitors, so essentially I have given up on Holland.
(And no, I am not exaggerating: All in this paragraph is strictly
correct. Incidentally: xs4all has - of course - everything I am
looking for in much greater detail than I wish to know it. I
take it they sell it to Americans and keep it from me.)
In Denmark, where my other site is located since 2004,
it always has been a great lot better: Polite help, clear
replies, decent statistics. But I can't get any
statistics since November 25 last, when my computer crashed (because of
my own stupidity).
I am trying to get the statistics back for over three
weeks now, but so far with little success. It probably will
work again some time in the coming January, I suppose, but meanwhile I
do not have any statistics for any of my two sites,
with collectively over 1 Gb of my data.
Therefore I can't report on the numbers of
users and files that were downloaded in Denmark, as I usually did at
the end of the year.
I am sorry, but I am doing my best, and the Danish
statistics probably will return.
Finally, this is the last - more or less - ordinary
crisis file of 2015. I wish
my readers a healthy and happy 2016. And there will be two or three other files today
- the summaries of 2015 (a lot), and an end-of-the-year file.