crisis blog. I thought that in the weekend there will be fewer crisis
items, but I was mistaken about today:
There are 6 items with 6
dotted links, and several are quite good: Item 1 is
about why Scalia and the present Supreme Court are extremely important
to the multi-national corporations and big business; item
is about how the WTO blocked an Indian initiative to create local jobs
to expand solar power: This is how the TTP, TTIP etc. (i) will block
anything that lowers the expected profits from multi-national
corporations, and (ii) will totally "outlaw" all national legislation
by national governments and national parliaments; item 3
is an excellent long article on the Clintons and Wall Street; item 4
is another excellent article how the US government (and most
governments) wipe their asses with the Fourth Amendment and any law
that blocks their spying on everything anyone does or says by a
computer or a cellphone; item 5 is a good list of
reasons why a backdoor that would allow the government to spy on
iPhones would be "catastrophic"; and item 6 is
mostly about a video by Bill Maher on Donald Trump that I like.
Also I uploaded new versions of the Nederlogs from February 6 onwards:
Now these all link to the latest crisis index,
which is a bit new, in
that I decided to maintain it by copying the general index
every month and
deleting items that are not about the crisis. Given the awful
amount of redundant font prescriptions KompoZer inserts, that
is the only way to
do it without getting mad correcting this crazy redundancy or else
having to accept indexes of a megabyte in
length. This works (so far).
1.Antonin Scalia: The
Billion-Dollar Supreme Court Justice
first item is by David Dayen on The Intercept:
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was
worth billions of dollars to corporate America, if a Dow
made public Firday is any indication.
Dow was in the midst of appealing a
$1.06 billion class-action antitrust ruling, after a jury found that it
had conspired with other chemical companies to fix prices for urethane,
a material used in furniture and appliances.
But because of Scalia’s death and the
sudden unlikelihood of finding five votes on the Supreme Court to
overturn the case, Dow decided to settle for $835 million, the bulk of
the original award.
This is an interesting article because it
outlines why the Supreme Court is important.
Here is the general background on the present
The case reveals how corporations have
used the conservative majority
on the court as a safety valve to nullify unfavorable rulings. As the Alliance
for Justice has documented, time and again, the Roberts Court has
issued 5-4 rulings that protect big corporations from liability, limit
access to justice for workers and consumers, and allow companies to
evade regulations on the environment, racial and gender discrimination,
and monopolistic practices.
Precisely. There is more in the article.
Incidentally, the present Supreme Court is strongly ideological
and hardly legalistic. (That is, their legal actions can be
safely predicted from their ideologies.)
And it would not amaze me at all if Obama will nominate another
conservative judge, "because otherwise the Republicans will not accept
But I may be wrong. We will see. 2. The
United States Has
Blocked a Plan by India to Expand Solar Power and Create Local Jobs
is by Alex Kirby on Truthdig and originally on Climate News Network:
India has been told that it
cannot go ahead as planned with its ambitious plan for a huge expansion
of its renewable energy sector, because it seeks to provide work for
Indian people. The case against India was brought by the US.
The ruling, by the World Trade Organisation
(WTO), says India’s National Solar Mission—which would create
local jobs, while bringing electricity to millions of people—must be
changed because it includes a domestic content clause requiring part of
the solar cells to be produced nationally.
I have to say that I am not at all amazed.
The impact of "the free trade pacts", and also of the WTO, is simply neo-fascism
in this sense:
Countries ruled by trade pacts are no
longer free countries, that depend on their inhabitants'
votes, their own parliaments, their own governments,
and their own laws, but they
depend on extra-national decision-makers that wipe their asses
with national laws, national governments, national
parliaments, and national
judiciaries, and make all these institutions subject to
makers who are really interested in two things: that the multi-national
corporations get the profits they want, and that the multi-
corporations have the power to undo any national legislation
against thus. And this is the case now. 
This starts as follows - and this also is
an excellent long article, of which I will only quote parts of
For twenty four years the Clintons have
orchestrated a conjugal relationship with Wall Street, to the immense
financial benefit of both parties. They have accepted from the New York
banks $68.72 million in campaign contributions for their six political
races, and $8.85 million more in speaking fees. The banks have
earned hundreds of billions of dollars in practices that were once
prohibited—until the Clinton Administration legalized them.
Yes, indeed. And I agree that the simple
principle "Follow The Money!" explains most about the Clintons,
provided you also have sufficient fortitude of mind to allow that their
favorite tool is the plausible lie, the deception and
that are almost always told with charm and wit. 
Here is some more on what they did:
The extraordinary ambition displayed in
the careers of Bill and Hillary Clinton defies description. They
have spent much of their adult lives soliciting money from others for
their own benefit. A 2014 story in Time magazine said
“Few in American history have
collected and benefited from so much money in so many ways over such a
long period of time…the Clintons have attracted at least $1.4 billion
Time failed to dig deeply
enough. A more thoroughly researched expose’ in
the Washington Post a year later doubles the amount to $3
Yes, but one should be fair:
They gathered $3 billion in political
support simply because they were financially worth it in the
sense that for every dollar they got to be elected, their
policies, deregulations and legalized swindels when elected did
deliver a hundred dollars or more to their very rich backers.
That is, they really worked to return what
they got, and did so, plentifully as well, and they did so with charm,
wit, and a total lack of morals (other than pretense): Thus the deregulations of the banks, that did
so much for their very rich
backers, and the destruction of welfare, that destroyed many
(and was what most of the very rich desired: the more poverty,
the lower wages, whence the higher profits for the rich).
Here is how the Clintons compare to very rich others: They are easily
within the richest 1%:
Hillary Clinton’s net worth is forty
five million dollars; Bill Clinton’s is eighty million. Measured by
family wealth, this puts the couple in the top 1% of American
households by a factor of 16 ($7.88 million is the threshold).
All of the quotes are from the beginning
of the article, which is excellent and which I recommend you to
read all of.
4. The Government Is Already Forcing Companies to Give It
Access to Our Data
The fourth item is by Ashley Gorski on Common Dreams:
The government wants our data, whether
it’s sitting on our iPhones or in transit across the Internet.
Last week, we learned that the FBI is
trying to force
Apple to break its own security features in order to access data
stored on an iPhone that belonged to one of the San
Bernardino shooters. Many predict that this would set a dangerous
precedent for future cases — and they’re right. But it’s important
to keep in mind that the government’s appetite for data isn’t limited
to iPhones. In fact, this is only the latest front in the government’s
long-running efforts to access our data wherever it can be found.
While the country debates what kind of
access the FBI should have to the devices we use every day to
communicate, the NSA is already intercepting, copying, and
searching through vast quantities of our communications as they travel
across the Internet backbone from point A to point B. This warrantless
spying, known as “Upstream” surveillance, ensnares essentially
everyone’s international Internet communications — including emails,
chats, text messages, and even web-browsing information. It constitutes
a mass intrusion into our privacy online.
Precisely! Then again, I have been saying from 2005 onwards (!!) that I could not
this by "the fight against terrorism", as the governments and the
main media have been saying since 9/11, but that I could easily
this by assuming "terrorism" was the pretext to allow the
terrorists (the secret services, the police and the military) to know everything
about anyone, which they have been doing since 9/11 or
After copying virtually all of the
international text-based traffic, the NSA searches this traffic for key
terms, called “selectors,” that are associated with its thousands of
targets. Critically, however, the NSA isn’t just plucking out the
communications of suspected terrorists or spies. Instead, it’s drinking
from a firehose: It’s copying and searching nearly everyone’s
international communications, looking for information about its
targets. And it does all of this without a warrant.
Again: precisely! And why would they do this,
knowing very well that at most 1 in a 1000 is inclined towards
terrorism? Because they want to control absolutely everyone,
in secret, and the non-encrypted computer gave them the means to do so.
And this is again a precise and correct explanation:
In other words, it’s as if the
dispatched agents to the U.S. Postal Service’s major processing centers
and had them open, copy, and read the contents of everyone’s
international mail. If a letter contained something of interest — for
example, a reference to a phone number believed to be associated with a
target — the NSA would add the letter to its files and retain that copy
for later use. Of course, the Fourth Amendment protects us from
precisely this kind of general, warrantless search. The government
can’t simply open all of our letters to look for those that are
potentially of interest to it. There’s no question that this would
violate the Constitution, and there’s no reason to treat Americans’
private Internet communications differently.
But the Fourth Amendment - that cannot be
removed from the Constitution without great trouble - in effect has
been used to wipe the asses clean of the governors who abused it, and
so quite consciously.
Here is the real state of affairs, as also given by me in a
note on February 18 (with some changes in
the second part):
the Fourth Amendment as it stands:
right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place
to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment to the US Constitution
This is the Fourth Amendment as it has been practised
since the Patriot Act:
The people have no effective
anymore to be secure in their persons, nor in their houses, nor
papers, nor in their effects, nor are they protected
against unreasonable searches and seizures, for any anonymous
secret agent and any unknown spy from Silicon Valley, needs no
warrant, no probable cause, no oath and no
affirmation, to appropriate absolutely anything from absolutely
anyone living absolutely anywhere, without any
legal reason or any warrant whatsoever.
-- The "Fourth Amendment" in practice.
This is a very good article that I recommend everyone
to read in full, in part also because the above illegal prostitution
of the Fourth Amendment has been standard policy by the American governments since 2001.
5. 7 Reasons a Government Backdoor to the iPhone Would Be
The fifth item is Noa
Yachot on Common Dreams and originally on Speak Freely/ACLU:
Communications security is critical for
the functioning of democracy, and the precedent the government is
seeking could do terrible and lasting damage.
And this is followed by
seven reasons, all of which are correct (although there are other
reasons). I will give the reasons, but not the text that
supports them, which you can find for yourself by clicking the last
precedent would undermine some of the most important developments in
digital security over the last few decades.
governments and cybercriminals would rejoice.
human rights implications are chilling.
the Internet of Things, the government wouldn’t need your smartphone to
spy on you.
this powerful tool into the hands of law enforcement agencies that have
a history of biased policing will compound existing disparities.
6. In a
democracy, companies are not conscripted to work for the government
against their will.
has been used to communicate for centuries.
And also see item 4:
The Fourth Amendment should
have been enough to undo all of the above - except that the American
governments (4 of them, so far) have pretended it doesn't exist or
doesn't apply, and most Western governments
have followed the American governments (and also spied all they could).
Bill Maher Rips 'Andrew Dice Trump' With Foul-Mouthed Future State of
The sixth and last item
today is by AlterNet Staff on AlterNet:
Friday night in his new rules segment,
Bill Maher imagined a future hell no one is prepared for yet. The joke
has become a reality over the past few weeks as it's increasingly
looking like Donald Trump willl become the GOP nomineee and possibly
(gasp!) the president of the United States.
But what would this entail? After
mocking Trump for his blatant hypocrisy about the naughty word Mexican
preisdent Vicente Fox used to describe Trump's beloved fanciful wall,
Maher envisioned what a potential Trump SOTU would look like.
Here is what Bill Maher did: I like
it. Will Trump become the next American president? He well may be...
In case you protest against my terminology: I've defended that before;
I am not the only one who thinks so; and there are reasons - for
example - here.
In case you ask: I think that the Republicans are as bad and
the Democrats and the Republicans generally do what the very rich or
the banks want them to do (and which they also have many lobbyists for).
And I have to grant that the Clintons tend to be more charming and more
intelligent than the Republicans, though not more honest.
 You may reject this, but only if you
postulate that powerful politicians are much better people than
most - which is utter bullshit, in my
opinion. And once again: The government did get everything
and more than they desired and planned already in the 1960ies.
See February 22, item 6, and check
out Mr. Brezezinski.