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Nederlog

 February 11, 2016

Crisis: Sanders, Reich, War Crimes, Climate Change, Netanyahu, Internet
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Introduction   

1. 
Bernie Sanders on NH Victory: "Tonight We Served
     Notice to the Political and Economic Establishment"

2. Robert Reich: The Big Fat Message Coming Out of New
     Hampshire

3.
GOP Candidates Compete Over Who Will Commit Most
     War Crimes Once Elected

4. Caving to Coal Interests, Supreme Court Blocks Key
     Climate Action

5.
Netanyahu Wants Fence Around Israel to Keep Out
     'Wild Beasts'

6. The Whole POINT of the Internet of Things Is So Big
     Brother Can Spy On You
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, February 11, 2016.


This is a crisis blog. There are 6 items with 6 dotted links (and I am in part updating on the New Hampshire elections, because there was no crisis blog yesterday, but a philosophy blog). I am keeping it short: Item 1 is about Bernie Sanders' winning in New Hampshire, which was large; item 2 is about Robert Reich's reaction to Sanders' win; item 3 is about how the - crazy, and I am sorry, but that is how I see this, though I agree that the craziness is mostly contrived rather than real - GOP candidates vied for who would do the worst war crimes if elected; item 4 is about a decision of SCOTUS that - once again - avoids doing anything about climate change; item 5 is about a really crazy plan of Netanyahu to put a fence (?!) all around Israel, to protect it from what Netanyahu calls 'wild beasts' (i.e. non-Jews); and item 6 is about the whole point of the internet of things (and - who knows?! - the whole internet [1]): Total spying for total knowledge about anything anyone does. I quote Frank Church once more, but I also think that the abyss he spoke of has been passed: Either the NSA and the GCHQ get stopped, and radically, or the American and English futures will be neo-fascistic, with everybody risking disappearance (without any mentioning also: that would be forbidden, as it is now [2]) who disagrees with the government.

Am I pessimistic? Perhaps, but then I do know a whole lot about politics and about history. In any case, I can freely say what I want (so far), if only because I have no children whose futures may be risked by my opinions...

1. Bernie Sanders on NH Victory: "Tonight We Served Notice to the Political and Economic Establishment"

The first article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows:
In the Democratic New Hampshire primary, Senator Bernie Sanders beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a margin of 60 to 38 percent. Eight years ago, Clinton won New Hampshire, defeating Senator Barack Obama. When polling first began in New Hampshire over a year ago, Clinton was projected to win by as much as 50 percent, but Sanders has steadily chipped away at her support. On Tuesday, Sanders beat Clinton in nearly every demographic area except for senior citizens and families earning over $200,000. According to exit polls, 55 percent of women—including 70 percent of women under 30—backed the Vermont senator. Overall, Sanders won 83 percent of the under-30 vote. By winning New Hampshire, Sanders becomes the first Jewish candidate to ever win a major presidential primary.
There is some more in the article, but this is the summary of Bernie Sanders' win in New Hampshire, which is pretty impressive, but also merely the second
election to select the Democrats' presidential candidate. (I don't know how relevant it is that Bernie Sanders is a Jew, also in view of the fact that religion is not important to him, but indeed he is.)

The other presidential candidate to win in New Hampshire was Donald Trump, though not by a landslide.

This led to quite a few comments, of which the next item is one example (from very many more):

2. Robert Reich: The Big Fat Message Coming Out of New Hampshire

The second item is by Robert Reich on AlterNet and originally on his site:

This has the following diagnosis:
The truth is that the putative “center” – where the Democratic Leadership Council and Bill Clinton’s “triangulation” of the 1990s found refuge, where George W. Bush and his corporate buddies and neoconservative advisers held sway, and where Barack Obama’s Treasury Department granted Wall Street banks huge bailouts but didn’t rescue desperate homeowners – did a job on the rest of America, and is now facing a reckoning.

The “extremes” are not gaining ground. The anti-establishment ground forces of the American people are gaining.

I agree that both the Republicans and the Democrats "did a job on the rest of America" that served the very rich and hardly anyone else. (As for Bill Clinton, see the utterly false and deceptive "Third Way".)

And indeed I hope they are "
now facing a reckoning". But it is early in the selection of presidential candidates.

There also are the candidates of the GOP, and this is the subject of the next item:

3. GOP Candidates Compete Over Who Will Commit Most War Crimes Once Elected

The third item is by Murtaza Hussain on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

At a rally in New Hampshire on Monday night, Donald Trump was criticizing Ted Cruz for having insufficiently endorsed torture — Cruz had said two nights earlier that he would bring back waterboarding, but not “in any sort of widespread use” — when someone in the audience yelled out that Cruz was a “pussy.” Trump, in faux outrage, reprimanded the supporter, repeating the allegation for the assembled crowd: “She said he’s a pussy. That’s terrible. Terrible.”

The spectacle of one Republican presidential candidate being identified by another as a “pussy” for failing to sufficiently endorse an archetypal form of torture exemplifies the moral state of the current race for the GOP nomination.

Yes indeed. And these were just the two leading GOP candidates. This is about the lot of them:

The Republican candidates have seemingly been competing with one another over who would commit the gravest war crimes if elected. In recent months, one candidate or another has promised to waterboard, do a “helluva lot worse than waterboarding,” repopulate Guantánamo, engage in wars of aggressionkill families of suspected terrorists, and “carpet bomb” Middle Eastern countries until we find out if “sand can glow in the dark.”

The over-the-top bombast plays well in front of self-selected Republican audiences — the crowd responded to the description of Cruz Monday night with full-throated chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” But such promises of future criminality from potential presidential nominees have outraged many legal experts.

The basic problem - as far as I am concerned, at least - is that all GOP candidates are either insane or very great liars. I take it most are great liars, since that is the way to become a leading poltician in the USA (and elsewhere),
but this does not make them less dangerous.

The real problem is that they may win the elections simply because so very
many of those who elect them do not have any adequate ideas about politics,
lying politicians, propaganda and deception.

And that is frightening, even though I still believe neither Trump nor Cruz is likely to win the presidential elections. (But I may be mistaken (!))

4. Caving to Coal Interests, Supreme Court Blocks Key Climate Action

The fourth item is by Nadia Prupis on Truthdig, and originally on Common  Dreams:

This starts as follows:

In a startling ruling Tuesday night, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions, pending resolution of a last-gasp lawsuit filed against the initiative by the coal industry.

Voting 5-4, the justices ordered the Obama administration not to implement the Clean Power Plan (CPP) until it has been reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, with arguments set for June 2.

According to SCOTUSBlog, that means the plan may end up being stalled “until after the president leaves office next January,” and spares coal-power plant operators from “having to do anything to begin planning for a shift to energy sources that the government considers to be cleaner.”

I say.

According to the rest of the article, those in favor of the Clean Power Plan still believe it will win in the end, because "you can't stay climate action", in which they may be right (eventually), but meanwhile SCOTUS and the coal interests have blocked another way of doing something against climate change.


5. Netanyahu Wants Fence Around Israel to Keep Out 'Wild Beasts'

The fifth item is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed a plan to encircle his entire country with a fence as protection against "wild beasts," referring to those in neighboring Arab states.

He made the comments Tuesday while visiting an 18-mile stretch of fence already under construction on the Israel-Jordan border.

"At the end of the day, in the State of Israel as I see it, there will be a fence like this one surrounding its entirety," he said, according to a statement on the Prime Minister's website.

"They tell me: Is this what you want to do, defend the villa? The answer is yes. What, are we going to surround the entire State of Israel with a fence, a barrier? The answer is yes, unequivocally. In the environment in which we live we must defend ourselves from the wild beasts."

He added that it would be a multi-year project, multi-million dollar project.

It sure was a great day for the makers of fences and for those who believe they are supermen because they are Jews, to whom the Israeli prime minister belongs.

As for the rest, including quite a few Jews, here is Asher Schechter in Haaretz:

Haaretz columnist Asher Schechter argues that "Israel is already not even trying to function like a democracy," and writes that Netanyahu's statement is "a display of everything wrong with Israel under his leadership. Israel circa 2016 is fearful, hateful, and paranoid, self-involved to a degree even Donald Trump would find distasteful, and soon it might have big walls surrounding it from every which way, quarantining it, and a political system where only Jews need apply."
Provided - of course - they have documentary proof of 4 Jewish grandparents, I suppose, showing their racial purity. Apart from that: Believing or pretending a fence will keep the enemy out, is simply plain crazy.

6. The Whole POINT of the Internet of Things Is So Big Brother Can Spy On You

The sixth and last item is by Washington's Blog on his site:
This starts as follows:

The government is already spying on us through spying on us through our computers, phones, cars, buses, streetlights, at airports and on the street, via mobile scanners and drones, through our credit cards and smart meters (update), television, doll, and in many other ways.

Spying in the U.S. is worse than under Nazi Germany, the Stasi, J. Edgar Hoover … or Orwell’s 1984.

Yesterday, U.S. Intelligence Boss James Clapper said that the government will spy on Americans through the internet of things (“IoT”):

In the future, intelligence services might use the [IoT] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials.

Yes. And while proven liar Clapper is building up his neo-fascistic spying network (for that is what it is, and I am sorry if you think otherwise), there is also this:

Yves Smith has the definitive comment on Clapper’s statement:

Oh, come on. The whole point of the IoT is spying. The officialdom is just trying to persuade you that it really is a big consumer benefit to be able to tell your oven to start heating up before you get home.

Personally, I’m a tech geek, and love the latest gadgets and toys.  But I don’t want my dishwasher or refrigerator sending messages to me … let alone the intelligence agencies.  Despite all of the hype about IoT, I don’t know anyone who does.

I am not a tech geek, and I dislike gadgets and toys. But that is not relevant:

What is relevant is that the "internet of things" is what gets these state spies into your house, into your bedroom, into your phone and into your computer totally regardless of what you did and completely without a legal court-order (that you may publicly question in a decent court: that belongs all to the pre-2001 past).

In any case, I will not allow it, and if necessary disconnect from the internet, indeed just as I do not have a smartphone and refuse to have one, as I do not have a webcam and can't be forced to use one, as I do not have a Facebook page and do not want one, and as I do everything I can to avoid the spies from Google. I just don't want any of these sick spying shits in my privacy. [3]

And just for two examples, there is also this:

The Guardian notes:

Just a few weeks ago, a security researcher found that Google’s Nest thermostats were leaking users’ zipcodes over the internet. There’s even an entire search engine for the internet of things called Shodan that allows users to easily search for unsecured webcams that are broadcasting from inside people’s houses without their knowledge.

While people voluntarily use all these devices, the chances are close to zero that they fully understand that a lot of their data is being sent back to various companies to be stored on servers that can either be accessed by governments or hackers.

Of course the vast majority that carries smartphones and uses computer lack any adequate ideas on either spying or computing. But that is the main problem,
and in any case I do have adequate ideas about spying and computing and I say
that unless you love neo-fascism and control and being a willing slave to the sick spies from the government and from Google and Facebook, you should not
allow them in: They are immoral, they are indecent, and they will steal absolutely everything.

And here is the fundamental reason why, in the words of Senator Frank Church, from August 1975 (!):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.
If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

As far as I am concerned, that abyss was passed - illegally, immorally, but passed - in 2001. There is no place to hide, and the American government is - illegally, immorally and indecently - getting everything they can from everyone, without any reason except their desire to control everyone to do just as they please.

---------------
Notes

[1] Personally, I have gotten a whole lot more skeptical about the internet itself, which has been made by American defense (DARPA) - that already in the 1960ies (!!) claimed it would control the future of America in the future by controlling what people did by way of the computers that were then mostly foreseen but not yet realized.

My reasoning is quite simple: I am using a computer daily since 1987. This did help a whole lot, right from the start, with writing things, calculating things and administrating and surveying things.

But: These great advances started 9 years before I acquired internet (which also was quite slow the first 13 years), and all that internet added to me were e-mail (that turns out these days to make it more complicated to contact those who claim they "serve" you, and also makes everything you write accessible to government and corporate spies and spying systems) and videos (from 2009 onwards).

That is all the internet gave me that I did not have on my computer from 1987 onwards. And while I did not seriously consider spying-by-computers in 1996 (in which I was seriously mistaken), why did Sir Tim Berners-Lee also not seriously consider the tremendous potentials for abuse that inhered in unencrypted internet?

I am just asking. And for me the internet has turned into - by far - the biggest threat against human freedom and against effective democracy and equality that has ever been designed.

And everything could also have been quite different if Sir Berners-Lee and a few others had said, around 1990: Wait - until this is encrypted, this will open everyone's privacy to the secret services and to anyone with the money and power to do searches.

But they did not. Why not? Where they really not aware of the tremendous potential for abuse and spying? As DARPA-members?

[2] For nobody knows how many Americans have been served by legal orders that accuse them of having done something that upset the spying possibilities of the NSA, while simultaneously forbidding them from telling anyone anything about it, except one lawyer, on which the same legal injunction gets served?

All I know is that such things have been done because a few courageous individuals said they were served such orders, which these days are "legal" in the USA.

And please note this may apply to several tens, several thousands, several hundredthousands or even more American individuals who may have received these - in my eyes completely illegal. extremely authoritarian and very dangerous - orders that set them up for questioning by "law courts" while being denied any right to inform anyone.

[3] Incidentally, while I think I can do so (with considerable work and trouble), I also think it will only make a difference to me. Besides, if I do so (I may, for I have an extremely low estimate of whoever spies on me) it may be possible only because of my age (I am 65, and soon 66), for I will not be amazed if the Dutch fascists who implement these horrors in Holland - led by a narko-nazi from New "Labour" - will soon make internet - completely unencrypted, with Windows or Apple also, so that none of the very many spies misses a single bit - a legal duty for everyone to have, simply to make sure everyone gets covered by the secret services.

We are not yet as far as that, but we may very soon be there, for no one can be trusted by the governments' secret spies who is not totally known, and the way to totally know anyone is by way of the unencrypted internet.

So I really will not be amazed if everyone in Europe has to have internet, totally unencrypted also, and else will be called a terrorist and treated as one if he or she objects: The secret services will rule you and know everything about you, and there will be no way you can legally object.

But yes, I agree we are not - yet (!) - as far as that.

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