1. ‘This is a Joke’: Snowden, Others Slam New EU-US Data
2. Jimmy Carter: Citizens United 'Gives Legal Bribery a
Chance to Prevail'
In For the Long Haul, Sanders and Clinton
Agree to Four
4. Want Endless War? Love the U.S. Empire?
Clinton’s Your Choice
5. Press Versus Liars: Doing Good Journalism in These
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, February 4,
is a Joke’: Snowden, Others Slam New EU-US Data Sharing Deal
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item
is about the utter bullshit European politicians are presently engaging
in, while destroying what remains of Europe's fine laws; item
2 is about Jimmy Carter, who spoke quite well for an ex-president
about the massive bribery that was legalized by SCOTUS; item
3 is about an agreement between Clinton and Sanders on four more
debates; item 4 is about an article by a law
professor who takes down Hillary Clinton, and does so quite well; and item 5
is about an article by Spiegel's editor in chief, who complains about
"readers" and who - falsely, in my opinion - insists there are no
mainstream media, in Germany.
by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
The European Commission on Tuesday touted
a new deal that will continue to allow tech companies such as Google
and Facebook to share user data overseas based on a promise from U.S.
intelligence officials that EU citizens will not be subject to
indiscriminate mass surveillance, in a move that critics said "sells
out EU fundamental rights."
"This is just a joke," tweeted
Jan Philipp Albrecht, European Parliament member and Green home affairs
spokesperson, after the agreement was announced.
Yes, it does sound like a grim joke or
worse: A "promise" by "U.S. intelligence
officials"?! That is just utter crap,
so I guess they are being paid from the USA to betray the European laws
(that anyway are not what they seem, but still are less bad than the
American laws). 
It is utter bullshit: A "promise" by "U.S. intelligence
officials" just is crap.
The EU's current data
protection rules forbid personal data, like social media posts or
financial information, from being moved to outside jurisdictions
without adequate privacy protections.
"With billions of dollars of business
potentially at stake," the New York Times
reports, and more than 4,000 companies likely to be impacted, the
deal's proponents herald it as a "privacy shield"—a claim Snowden
personally rebuked on Tuesday:
(And as I have been saying for more
than ten years now: It seems to me
the European governors want everybody surveilled by
secret services, so as
to cover their own asses and help their own power.)
Under the new deal, which was announced
two days after negotiators missed a key deadline set by EU regulators,
the U.S. agreed to provide annual written assurances from the U.S.
Office of the Director of National Intelligence "ruling out
indiscriminate mass surveillance on data transferred under the new
arrangement," Politico Europe reports.
However, in a press
statement on Tuesday, Albrecht remarked on the inadequacy of that
"The proposal foresees no legally
binding improvements," Albrecht said. "Instead, it merely relies on a
declaration by the U.S. authorities on their interpretation of the
legal situation regarding surveillance by U.S. secret services, as well
as the creation of an independent but powerless Ombudsman, who would
assess citizens' complaints."
"This is a sellout of the fundamental EU
right to data protection," he added.
Precisely: It is utter crap,
that is published to mislead the public. This is not
legislation, it is evident manipulation and deception.
Here is the last piece I'll quote. There
still is this defense:
But I do not expect much of it, and
especially not if this is going to be judged by what is falsely called
the European Convention on "Human Rights": These are no laws
that guatantee human rights. On the contrary: they consist mostly of long
lists of permissions for the secret services to spy on anyone for hosts
of reasons - and it is clearly there to allow such spying
on anyone, in total secrecy also.
The agreement must still be officially
approved by the European Union’s 28 member states and national data
protection authorities must also sign off. Albrecht said that the new
framework will surely "be challenged in the European Court of Justice,
as it is clear that it does not fulfill the conditions of the court's
2. Jimmy Carter: Citizens United
'Gives Legal Bribery a Chance to Prevail'
is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Former U.S. President and Nobel Peace
Prize winner Jimmy Carter has taken aim at the "erroneous" Supreme
Court ruling that "gives legal bribery a chance to prevail."
Carter made the comments, an apparent
reference to the 2010 Citizens United ruling,
in an interview
Wednesday with the BBC's "Today" program.
Carter told interviewer John Humphrys
that the ruling would have prevented a "relatively unknown farmer" like
himself from emerging as a serious candidate. "Now," he said, "there's
a massive infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns
for all the candidates."
"Some candidates like [Donald] Trump can
put in his own money but others have to be able to raise, I'd say, a
hundred to two hundred million dollars just to get the Democratic or
Republican nomination. "That's the biggest change in America," he said,
and one for the worse, adding that "the erroneous ruling of the Supreme
Court where millionaires, billionaires can put in unlimited amounts of
money directly into the campaign."
"In a way," Carter said, "it gives legal
bribery a chance to prevail because almost all the candidates, whether
they are honest or not, and whether they are Democratic or Republican,
depend on these massive infusions of money from very rich people in
order to have money to campaign."
Jimmy Carter is right, even though he is
91. I fear his "erroneous ruling" is phrased a bit too optimistically:
I agree it was extremely erroneous, but I
also think the outcome is what the majority of the Supreme Court desired
it to be. They wanted corruption, and now they got massive
but they will "not see" it, for it is corruption by the rich for the
Here is some more by Carter:
Carter's comments to BBC are similar to
ones he made in September 2015, when he talked
to Oprah Winfrey about the influence of money on elections, saying,
"We've become, now, an oligarchy instead of a democracy."
They also echo ones he made in 2012 when
he denounced the "financial corruption"of elections and referred to
"that stupid ruling" by the Supreme Court. "We have one of the worst
election processes in the world right in the United States of America,
and it's almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money," he
said at the time.
Yes - and so he has been there before. And
it is good that a former president of the United States did
have the courage to say so. (And Bill Clinton, who earned $120 million
"by a few speeches"  will never do so.)
This is a recommended article.
In For the Long Haul, Sanders and Clinton Agree to Four
third item is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Democratic presidential candidates
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have agreed to take part in four
more debates, the national party confirmed on Wednesday.
to reporting, the first debate will take place in New Hampshire
Thursday evening and will air on MSNBC; the second will be
held in the embattled
Flint, Michigan in March; the next in Pennsylvania in April; and
the final showdown will be held in California in May.
These come in addition to the previously
scheduled debates on February 11 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and on March 9
in Miami, Florida.
The Sanders campaign pushed for an
additional debate in New York City, but the Clinton camp has declined
That is all you are going to get about
this (check the last dotted link for more, if you are interested), but
it is true this is mostly as Bernie Sanders desired it.
4. Want Endless War?
Love the U.S. Empire? Well, Hillary Clinton’s Your Choice
The fourth item is by Marjorie Crohn on
This starts as follows - and Marjorie
Crohn is a professor of law who also has been a president of the
National Lawyers Guild:
Clearly, American exceptionalism simply is false:
The United States is not "better than
any other country" on very many measurable
points, from health care and education, to infra-structure, crimes and
incredibly long punishments for small offenses (like smoking marijuana).
Hillary Clinton likes to extol her
foreign policy credentials, particularly her experience as secretary of
state. She attaches herself to Barack Obama’s coattails, pledging to
continue his policies. But she is even more hawkish than the president.
Like Obama, Clinton touts American
exceptionalism, the notion that the United States is better than any
other country. In his State of the Union addresses, Obama has
proclaimed America “exceptional” and said the U.S. must “lead the
world.” Clinton wrote in her book Hard Choices that “America
remains the indispensable nation.”
In fact, the United States is a lot worse than the
West-European countries in many
important respects, though I have to admit many European politicians
are doing their damnedest in remaking Europe into the US, which they
succeed in doing if and when the TTIP is approved.
Here is some more on American exceptionalism:
This is all correct. There is also this on
Netanyahu's Israel and Hillary Clinton:
It is this view that animates U.S.
invasions, interventions, bombings and occupations of other countries.
Under the pretense of protecting our national interest, the United
States maintains some 800 military bases in other countries, costing
taxpayers tens of billions of dollars annually. Often referred to as
“enduring bases,” they enable us to mount attacks whenever and wherever
our leaders see fit, whether with drones or manned aircraft.
Obama, who continues to prosecute the war
in Afghanistan 15 years after it began, is poised to send ground troops
back to Iraq and begin bombing Libya.
Hillary Clinton was clearly lying: In
Gaza in 2014 more than a quarter of all civilians was "displaced"
(bombed out of their houses); more than 2000 persons were killed,
including 400 children, and this was all done by evident Israeli
From July 8 to Aug. 27, 2014, Israel
killed over 2,100 Palestinians — including more than 400 children — 80
percent of them civilians. Sixty-six Israeli soldiers and seven Israeli
civilians were killed.
When Goldberg asked Clinton whom she
held responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian children,
she demurred, saying, “[I]t’s impossible to know what happens in the
fog of war.” She blamed only the Palestinians, saying, “There’s no
doubt in my mind that Hamas initiated this conflict.” Claiming “Israel
has a right to defend itself,” she said, “I think Israel did what it
had to do to respond to the rockets.”
There simply was no "fog of war" there.
There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended.
5. Press Versus Liars: Doing Good
Journalism in These Trying Times
The fifth and
last item for today
is by Klaus Brinkbäumer (the chief editor of Spiegel) on Spiegel On
This has a summary:
We are living in times of
growing tension and near societal hysteria in Germany in the wake of
the massive influx of refugees. One of the first victims of this
development has been the media's credibility. Restoring public trust
will require considerable effort by journalists -- but also on the part
of their readers.
I say. This does not seem very cogent: On
the one hand "near societal hysteria" and on the other hand "Restoring
public trust", while also
blaming the "readers". (For one thing: How can you "restore public
at a time of "near societal hysteria"? And I am merely asking.)
And it starts as follows:
The times we are living in are raucous,
raw and confusing, which means a preliminary remark is needed as part
of any article about the outrage and hatred that is currently being
directed at the media in Germany.
First, many, many people inform themselves
thoroughly about the complicated world in which we live. These people
tend not to be very outraged, which is also why their voices often go
unheard amid the cacophony. But they do exist, and it is important to
note this. Second, there are many, many media outlets out there which
report precisely and passionately and refuse to be intimidated. They
are viewed, listened to and read.
First of all, I admit that I am not
following the media in Germany, indeed except for Spiegel On
Line, that I check daily. Also, this is mainly due to me:
I speak and read German very easily, but I am (and always was since my
teens) simply more interested in England and the USA. (And something
similar is true about France: I do speak and read decent French, but I
simply am more interested in England and the USA, and I can only do so
Therefore I can't check directly whether Klaus Brinkbäumer is right - but from my Dutch point of view
it does not seem very likely, and indeed he gives no
The events of New Year's Eve in Cologne,
which saw hundreds of German women attacked or sexually harassed by
largely immigrant perpetrators, have acted as an accelerant in this
trend, with the result being that 40 percent of Germans no longer trust
the media. In addition to, but also because of, the hysteria and
division that have gripped our society engaging too little with facts
and too much with emotions, the German media now finds itself with a
serious credibility problem.
This also doesn't sound very credible to
me: For one thing, nearly all Germans (and non-Germans) who know about
the "events of New Year's Eve in Cologne" do know so from the media.
Then again, I agree that many
people do judge things emotionally and not rationally - but then that
has always been the case, though indeed probably more now in
Germany than since a long time (namely: the early 70ies).
And here are Klaus
Brinkbäumer's opinions on what "readers should know":
Hm. I am willing to agree with the first and
third point: Facebook and Twitter (none of which I ever used or
will ever use) do not help you judge things rationally (and at
least Facebooks steals your private information as well), while
What Readers Should Know
Still, it would nonetheless be helpful
if our esteemed readers were to consider three things every now and
First: There's a danger inherent in
Facebook and Twitter that users will only read what they want, spending
every minute seeking self-affirmation and, in the end, viewing their
own hatred to be
rational and perfectly justified.
Second: The oft-disparaged "mainstream
media" do not exist. The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
and right-leaning Die Welt have adopted different editorial
lines from those of the left-leaning Die Zeit or Süddeutsche
There are some media whose perceptions of reality border on fantasy.
Third: SPIEGEL is an independent publisher owned by the journalists it
hires and, as such, is not influenced by any third party.
I agree that Spiegel is an independent publisher.
But I am very certain that Germany is not an isolated spot in a rotting
and therefore I am tolerably certain that (1) there are
mainstream media in Germany as well as in Holland, England and the USA;
that (2) these mostly
excel in manipulating the truth, both by not being
honest in what they do report, and by not reporting
what they should
report (and in offering a lot of amusements as well); and that (3)
there also are non-mainstream media in Germany, that may be a bit more
honest and more factual, though indeed because I have paid less
attention to Germany than to England and the USA, I have no adequate
judgements on these.
So all in all I don't think Germany is special and I disagree
with Brinkbäumer about the main media: They do exist, in
Germany and elsewhere, and they
are less honest than they were before 2000. 
Yes, I am serious in supposing that many European politicians are being
paid and being lobbied, just like the American politicians, and in part
also by the same billionaires or their organizations. And I
don't have proof because European politicians are more private
than American ones.
Then again, the presently reported fact - that European laws are simply
cast aside by European politicians for a totally non-valid
"promise" by "U.S. intelligence officials" (like the lying Clapper?) -
that has NO legal status whatsoever is one reason for
me to think the Europeans may have been paid.
And in any case: There went the privacy of several hundreds of
millions of Europeans, it is said because of "promises" of "U.S.
officials". And all it took was convincing some tens
(!!) of European politicians in the Commission (all but one of them
unelected also) that their European laws are invalid, do not apply,
are a sham, don't need defending, or whatever.
I am sorry, but if that is the way you are dealing with the
established rights of all Europeans, it seems to me very likely
that you have been corrupted.
 I mean: Clinton did make $120
million by speeches after he ceased being president, but this
was not for the speeches,
but in thanks for the many things he did for the very rich as
president. (Obama expects the same remune- ration, or even more.)
 But I am
willing to believe Spiegel is a bit special (that
is also why I check it daily) but this is mainly because it is owned by
its own journalists, which is rather unique in Germany, to the best of
my knowledge. (And I agree
I know less about Germany's press than about England's, Holland's and
the USA's press(es).)