1. Is Law Enforcement “Going Dark” Because of
Encryption? Hardly, Says New
2. WHO Declares Zika Virus a Global Public Health
Paul Krugman: The Fate of the World Is at
Stake in This
4. Feeding the Military-Industrial Complex
5. America's Agitator: Donald Trump Is the World's Most
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, February 2,
Is Law Enforcement “Going Dark” Because of Encryption? Hardly, Says New
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item
is about law enforcement (in the USA) and the secret spying
that almost every
big corporation plus large parts of the secret state of the USA are
presently doing: the article concludes law enforcement doesn't suffer
from encryption; item 2 is about the Zika virus,
that now is - correctly, I think - considered a global emergency by the
WHO; item 3
is about a rather odd article by Paul Krugman, who also seems much too
optimistic about the current chances on renewable energy; item 4 is about the American military-industrial
complex, that rules the USA more than ever, since 2001; and item 5
is about a Spiegel International article about Donald Trump, that seems
to exaggerate Trump's importance, if only because the other GOP
presidential candidates are not much better.
by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I think I need to do some translating: "the
intelligence communities" = "the myriads of secret spies of all
kinds, from multi-national corporations to state terrorists  in secret organizations"; while "everything from fitness trackers to fridges is getting
hooked up to the internet" = "the many disgusting or fascistic
 ways to own and control
and manipulate everyone who is not a corporate
owner or a very rich man or woman, are and have been growing
Bring technologists and members of the
intelligence community together to figure out what to do about
unbreakable encryption and guess what they conclude?
They conclude that they don’t really
need to worry about it.
Unbreakable encryption — which prevents
easy, conventional surveillance of digital communications — isn’t a big
problem for law enforcement, says a new report published by
Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society on Monday. The
report, titled “Don’t
Panic,” finds that we are probably not “headed to a future in which
our ability to effectively surveil criminals and bad actors is
impossible” because of companies that offer end-to-end encryption, such
That’s because the technology isn’t
universally marketable and there are so many other spying options on
the table, as everything from fitness trackers to fridges is getting
hooked up to the internet and transmitting vast amounts of data about
our everyday lives.
You may disagree with my translations and my diagnosis (which is here,
in its fundamental form): This seems to me to be the beginning of an
incredible amount of future fascism, if it isn't stopped very soon, for
what I think. And what I think is based on a great amount of relevant
(Besides, I can warn you about this because I am nearly 66 and
do not have a family that can be wrecked and destroyed by the
myriads of degenerate spies.)
In any case, it seems as if some of the biggest spies decided they
could continue to learn almost everything about you,
and me and everybody else - in secret, without
your knowledge, although it are your private data, and
certainly not about how you are spied upon, and the same for billions
of others, including me - simply because they have illegally taken
over the internet. 
And I think they are right in believing their secret spying on everyone can continue, also with encryption - and I think that they are illegal spies,
and if they are not, they should be made illegal, because they are spying
on everyone without any
permission, for profit mostly... but then I am also part of a minority who knows about the
spying, knows about computers, knows about programming and who is well
educated, and most are not, or not as well as I am.
Basically, the morally totally degenerate spies of all kinds have two
arguments about why they can continue to spy, according to the article.
The first argument is this:
First, the signatories conclude,
not every company is going to jump on the end-to-end encryption
bandwagon, because it’s not going to make them money. All the data that
applications and cloud services and social media networks amass about
their users — what kind of clothing you like to buy, what sports you
play, where you eat out — is incredibly valuable to advertisers.
This is true, though it might be phrased
differently: Encryption is mostly done by firms who profit from
it, and not by the rest, and profits or power is what motivates
spying, rather than morals, laws, or decency.
The second argument is this:
And even if end-to-end encryption
were ubiquitous, metadata — or information about the communications —
is not encrypted. Phone numbers, email addresses, email subject lines,
and other information is still accessible to law enforcement, and will
continue to be, because it’s impossible for the company to send
something somewhere without knowing its destination.
To start with: No, it is not
impossible. This is from the Tor
lemma on Wikipedia:
Onion routing is implemented by encryption
in the application layer of a communication
protocol stack, nested like the layers of an onion.
Tor encrypts the data, including the destination IP
address, multiple times and sends it through a virtual circuit comprising successive,
randomly selected Tor relays. Each relay decrypts a layer of encryption
to reveal only the next relay in the circuit in order to pass the
remaining encrypted data on to it. The final relay decrypts the
innermost layer of encryption and sends the original data to its
destination without revealing, or even knowing, the source IP address.
So that is simply mistaken. And besides, there is
a third argument that is not in the article, which probably is the main reason why secret spying must have increased several billion times since 2001:
The very great majority of today's computer users doesn't understand
computers, can't program computers, and have no idea
about the enormous amounts of their personal private
data that are simply stolen from them while they don't know it.
That simply is the truth, and that truth is extremely
dangerous, simply because most persons are now hooked up to the
internet - which seems to be there mostly because it can secretly
steal all your private information about anything
you do or want, and sell it to those who can use it against you.
At least, this is true so far as the state one lives in is concerned,
and so far as the corporations and the state's secret services are
concerned - and these are three of the most powerful groups of people there are (states,
corporations and secret services).
Declares Zika Virus a Global Public Health Emergency
is by Roisin Davies on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
The World Health Organization has
declared a rare “public health emergency of international concern”
because of the apparent link between the Zika virus and a huge increase
in serious birth defects in Central and South America, where the virus
has spread to more than 20 countries.
The announcement follows an emergency
meeting in Geneva, where health experts reviewed the data on the
outbreak. In some areas, infection with the Zika virus has been
associated with the paralyzing neurological condition Guillain-Barré
syndrome and with microcephaly, in which babies are born with severely
shrunken and deformed heads and brains, according to WHO.
In Brazil, which reported its first case
of Zika in May, the virus has infected about 1 million people and is
associated with a 20-fold increase in microcephaly cases. Brazilian
health officials have reported an estimated 4,000 confirmed and
suspected cases of the ailment. By contrast, 2014 saw only 147.
To start with what may seem an odd
question: Do you know the Gaia hypothesis?
If not, consider the last link to Wikipedia - and no, I do not
know whether to believe it, simply because I lack the requisite
biological knowledge to do so, but I did think of it because of the
First, I believe 7 billion persons living on the earth now are simply too
And yes, I know that what is "too many" depends on quite a few things,
including the lack of political or social wisdom in most politicians,
and the lack of adequate technologies of many kinds, but that is
what I think. (And the human population of the earth grew to be more than three
times as many people as there were when I was born, in a mere 65 years.)
Second, if I were Mother Earth, I'd try for a way to get rid of the
billions of men that are destroying the climate and destroying the
environment, and - given that I were Mother Earth - the best chances to
do so would be a disease that threatens most humans and for which they
can't find a cure.
Third, during the last 25 years or so, I've seen several of
these: Aids, Ebola, and now Zika (<-
Wikipedia) - and also see Microcephaly
(<- Wikipedia), which seems to be caused by an infection with the
Zika virus. (There are other means as well: Killing all the
one, for that would ruin the possibility to get food for most of the
many humans, but I leave this out of consideration for the moment - and
see the index for 2015 if you are
interesed: Try "Bee".)
As I said, I really don't know whether the Gaia hypothesis is
true, or even to know a rational estimate for its probability, but what struck me is the combination of Aids, Ebola and now
Zika, each of which threaten humanity rather than a mere
sub-group, and none of which were there in the first forty years of my life.
Here is some from the New York Times on the virus and the reaction to
it by the World Health Organization:
There is more under the last dotted link,
including a link to the NYT. This is a recommended article.
The official “emergency” designation can
trigger action and funding from governments and non-profits around the
world. It elevates the W.H.O. to the position of global coordinator,
and gives its decisions the force of international law. The agency is
trying to cast itself as a global leader to revive its reputation after
a faltering response during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
“Can you imagine if we do not do all
this work now and wait until all these scientific evidence to come out,
people will say why didn’t you take action?” Dr. Chan said.
The current outbreak of Zika has taken the
world by surprise. It was first identified in 1947 in Uganda, and for
years lived mostly in monkeys. But last May in Brazil, cases began
increasing drastically. The W.H.O. has estimated that four million
people could be infected by the end of the year. It is spreading fast
in the Americas because people there have not developed immunity.
Paul Krugman: The Fate of the
World Is at Stake in This Election
third item is by Janet Allon on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
Krugman writes in Monday's
column that no less than the fate of the planet rides on the
results of this year's election. And, while that is a pretty scary way
to start a column, the rest of Krugman's argument, which is devoted to
climate economics and how they are improving, is fairly optimistic.
It is well known that last
year was by far the hottest on record, although that
fact has not put a dent in climate deniers helmets of denial. What is
less known, according to Krugman, is that the "prospect of
effective action against the looming catastrophe" has changed
"drastically for the better in recent years, because we’re now achingly
close to achieving a renewable-energy revolution."
I say. Do I believe Krugman?
Not really, especially not when presented in this form: (1) the fate of
the world depends on this election, but (2) you don't have
to worry much, for we will very soon get "a
believe that the reasoned connection between the two propositions is
lacking, and that the evidence that Krugman quotes for the second
proposition is mostly wishful
thinking, at present.
First, there is this:
The numbers are really
stunning. According to a recent report by the investment firm Lazard, the
cost of electricity generation using wind power fell 61 percent from
2009 to 2015, while the cost of solar power fell 82
percent. These numbers — which are in line with other estimates — show
progress at rates we normally only expect to see for information
technology. And they put the cost of renewable energy into a range
where it’s competitive with fossil fuels.
Note that Krugman - like the
true economist he is - knows "all" about percentages, but does not
say by how much renewable energy is currently
cheaper ("competitive", in economists' broken English)
than ordinary energy.
To the best of my - not very extensive - knowledge, renewable energy at
present may be a bit cheaper than oil because oil is very cheap.
I agree it is
getting cheaper, and at a considerable rate as well, but these seem to
present facts, which also means it will not be
cheaper as soon as the oil prices
go up again.
And there is also this:
Then there is the small issue
of effective policy to shift people en masse to renewables, "a shift to
sun and wind instead of fire?" All it would take, Krugman argues, are a
few financial incentives in the form of tax credits, which we have already had in
Obama's stimulus plan and that even got extended in the recent budget.
Clearly, that is not a
"small issue of effective policy" and Krugman takes an extremely
optimistic view about what "a few financial
incentives" may do.
So basically I think Krugman is vastly too optimistic about renewable
quite unclear about the dangers of the coming American presidential
election (which are not so much about energy, as they are about
authoritarianism vs. democracy, and/or the few rich against the many
4. Feeding the Military-Industrial Complex
The fourth item is by Jonathan Marshall on
This starts as follows:
America’s military procurement
machine may be the single most successful system of wealth transfer
ever devised — moving tens of billions of dollars every year from
ordinary taxpayers into the pockets of big defense contractors and
their allies in Congress. But as a provider of working equipment to
defend the United States against realistic threats, it is becoming more
and more dysfunctional with every passing year.
There may be even more successful systems "of
wealth transfer" (illegal drugs) but setting that aside for the
moment, Jonathan Edwards is correct, and indeed
Current administration plans call for spending a trillion
dollars over the next 30 years to “modernize” America’s nuclear arsenal
to fight a pointless war that would decimate major centers of
civilization across the globe.
also about spending a trillion dollars on better atomic bombs - aka "America’s nuclear arsenal" - in the
next 30 years.
Apart from better atomic bombs, there is this:
At the same time, the Pentagon is
also asking for even greater sums to modernize conventional
weapons systems that are better suited to East-West conflict scenarios
of the 1950s than to today’s skirmishes with insurgents in the Middle
East, Asia, and Africa.
And this is while ever greater groups in the
USA are living in deep poverty.
Spending on major military acquisition
programs is projected
to soar 23 percent, after adjusting for inflation, from fiscal year
2015 to 2022. Worse yet, Congress and the administration are spending
much of that money on weapons that don’t even work as advertised.
There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended (though
it will very probably not make you any happier).
5. America's Agitator: Donald Trump Is the World's Most
The fifth and last item for today
is by Markus Feldkirchen, Veit Medick and Holger Stark on Spiegel
This starts as follows, with a bold
Donald Trump is the
leader of a new, hate-filled authoritarian movement. Nothing would be
more harmful to the idea of the West and world peace than if he were to
be elected president. George W. Bush's America would seem like a place
of logic and reason in comparison.
Perhaps - though would it be any better
Ted Cruz is the next American president? I fear not, but I agree Donald
Trump is dangerous. Here is some
about Donald Trump:
"Believe me, I'll change things.
And again, we're going to be so respected. I don't want to use the word
'feared,'" he told the audience. But that is precisely what Trump
wants: to be feared. His bid for the White House, long ridiculed, is a
fight for a ruthless, brutal America. Behind his campaign slogan "Make
America great again!" is the vision of a country that no longer cares
about international treaties, ethnic minorities or established
standards of decency.
Trump wants to attack head-first again.
The 69-year-old embodies a new harshness and brutality, and both a
physical and emotional crudeness. Trump has launched an uprising of the
indecent, one that is now much bigger than he himself, a popular
movement of white, conservative America that after eight years under
Democratic President Barack Obama, yearns for a leader who will usher
in the counter-revolution.
Actually, I think the same is true
Cruz and most other GOP candidates (and Ted Cruz won in Iowa, not
Donald Trump). Then
again, the following bit is typically Trump, who can do so
because he is a billionaire, unlike the other presidential candidates
(who aren't much more moral, but have less money):
But his most unique characteristic is
his lack of scruples. When speaking about his amiable rival Jeb Bush,
he has often said that Bush is such a "low-energy person" that no one
can even look at him anymore without seeking signs of his lack of
energy. Trump has repeatedly said that Marco Rubio, another Republican
contender, "sweats a lot," which, according to Trump, would be a little
embarrassing for a president who has to negotiate with "strong leaders
like Vladimir Putin." He recently began claiming that his strongest
rival at the moment, Ted Cruz, lacks the legal qualification to become
president because he was born on Canadian soil. And last year he
tweeted: "If Hillary Clinton can't satisfy her husband what makes her
think she can satisfy America?" All of this profanity and
scrupulousness would have forced anyone else to resign. But for his
millions of supporters, they are further evidence of Trump's boldness
There is a whole lot more in the
Spiegel article, but I leave the rest to the interests of my readers,
and only quote this bit from near the end:
Despite their differences, the US and
Germany share an unshakeable faith in democracy and freedom. But
nothing would be more harmful to the idea of the West and world peace
than if Donald Trump were to be elected president. Compared to that,
the America of George W. Bush would seem like a land of logic and
reason in retrospect.
Let me put it thus: While I don't know
about Germany's "unshakeable faith in democracy
and freedom" (which anyway mostly sounds like propaganda) it
is quite inexplicable to me how either Trump or most of the
other GOP candidates could ever have become presidential
candidates in a country with an "unshakeable faith in democracy and freedom".
So I really reject this as a correct characterization of the current
USA: I do not know how I would characterize the USA, but
as having, at present,
with its many incompetent and dangerous presidential candidates, an "unshakeable
faith in democracy and freedom".
"Terrorism" is "the attempt
to get one's way in
politics or religion by violence and murder, directed especially at
civilians", and "state terrorism" are "the secret services of states
that attempt to get the state's ways in politics or religion, by doing
anything fit for that purpose".
I define it thus because (1) "terrorism" is a very slippery
piece of verbal propaganda
(generally the "terrorists" of one organization are called "freedom
fighters", or some other terms of praise, by their opponents) and
because (2) the generally secret activities by states - e.g. in Hitler's
Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mao's China - have killed or captured far
more people than the also very reprehensible terrorist activities of
Speaking for myself, I am against both groups of terrorists, though I
fear the states' terrorists more, simply because they are greater and have more money and power.
think I am quite justified in describing the spying by both multi-
national corporations and of governments as "fascistic", simply because
it is deeply dishonest, quite secret, and dedicated to - very, very
much - increase the powers
of the organizations that secretly spy. (But you are
free to replace it by "disgusting", if you care. And I use the term
especially because of the secret services, who have this "right to spy"
- on anyone and everyone, which is what they do - as little as any
organizations like Google and Facebook are among the most
profitable corporations there are, and they are so because they are spying.
That is about their power and money. And this is about their illegality:
It might not be illegal and immoral and indecent if it were presented
as an honest choice:
We give you free advertisements (!!) if you
give us the text of your diaries, the text of your emails,
the amounts of money you have, the ways you spend it,
and in fact all of your hard disk and all of your phone conversations and pictures and in fact your complete phone - but it is never
presented as an honest choice, and all the data you loose are
simply taken from you, in secret also, as if these organizations owed you body
As it is, it is illegal theft by deeply dishonest secret means.