1. Secure Cars, but Not Phones? Government Doublespeak
2. As John Kerry Visits Hiroshima, U.S. Quietly
$1 Trillion Effort to Upgrade
‘Up All Night’ Protests Sweep France as 100,000 Join
4. Five Big Banks Flunk Key Test, Proving They're Still
"Too Big To Fail"
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, April 14,
crisis blog. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item
1 is about an opposition in governmental propaganda: Pro safe cars,
against safe phones (for ordinary people); item 2
is about John Kerry and a dangerous plan "to
upgrade every single part of the United States nuclear weapons stockpile" (and I recall I admired Kerry in 1971, but not since); item 3
is about the "Up All Night" movement - "Nuit Debout" in French - in
Europe, that might be interesting (or might disappear); and item 4
is about the fact that the five big banks (again or still) fail a key
test: I explain why this may be the case, and I quite agree with Bernie
Sanders that "If a bank is too big to fail, it
is too big to exist".
Cars, but Not Phones? Government Doublespeak on Cybersecurity
Also, this is a bit of a late and a short Nederlog for the simple
reason that I had to do more things today than write and because I did
not sleep enough last night.
first item is by Jenna
McLaughlin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I say, but not really.
PRIVACY ADVOCATES SAY government
officials are talking out of two sides of their mouths when it comes to
cybersecurity. The latest case in point: Assistant Attorney General
John Carlin calling
for super-secure, hack-proof cars at an automotive conference
on Tuesday, even as FBI Director James Comey continues to pressure
phone manufacturers and technology companies to roll back their
security to allow for law enforcement access.
“There are things you can do to mitigate
the risk, protect yourselves and your companies, and ultimately, the
cybersecurity of the United States,” Carlin said at
the SAE 2016 World Congress conference in Detroit. “First, design with
security in mind.”
In fact, while I agree that the government is speaking with two voices
(belonging to two persons, who work in two different governmental
institutions) on two kinds of "securities", I think it is relatively
easy to understand why:
Cars are expensive pieces of property, and by now
technology is so far advanced that it can make "super-secure, hack-proof cars"; persons
are dangerous entities that may do evil
things to the very rich controllers of our fine and admirable
economies, but (happily!) persons also can - for the most part - be rather
easily controlled by knowing everything they know, do,
write and want, and by manipulating what they get to see
on the internet (of course, without ever revealing anything
about anything known or done by the secret services). 
And therefore, because the American government, the American
banks, and the American oil companies all mean the best for everyone,
and because these institutions all have members that are far
superior to ordinary Americans (in incomes, in intellects, in morals,
in education and in motives), it is evidently clear that the secret
services of the government absolutely need full access
to the computers of absolutely everyone who might conceivably
threaten the leaders of government, the leaders of banks, or the
leaders of oil companies, to help save the security of everyone
against the evil dangers of terrorism and anarchy.
Am I spoofing you?
Yes and no: No, I think the above two paragraphs probably state the
views of the American government, the American
banks, and the American oil companies fairly well, but yes, I
totally disagree with them:
I do not think these persons are superior (also not if they are
really intelligent and well educated, as some are); I do not
think these persons are good; and I think no man can be trusted
with the enormous (and mostly secret) powers these
non-superior non-good persons have assigned to themselves, quite
undemocratically and illegally as well.
2. As John Kerry Visits Hiroshima, U.S. Quietly Launches $1
Trillion Effort to Upgrade Nuclear Arsenal
is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts as follows:
On Monday, John Kerry became the
first secretary of state to visit Hiroshima, the Japanese city
destroyed by a U.S. nuclear bomb on August 6, 1945. Three days after
the Hiroshima bombing, the U.S. dropped another nuclear bomb on the
city of Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands were killed. The United States
is the only country ever to drop an atomic bomb. Kerry offered no
apology for the U.S. nuclear attack but called for "a world free from
nuclear weapons." Despite his remarks, the Obama administration has
been quietly upgrading its nuclear arsenal to create smaller, more
precise nuclear bombs as part of a massive effort that will cost up to
$1 trillion over three decades. We speak to Marylia Kelley. Her group,
the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, just published a report titled
"Trillion Dollar Trainwreck: Out-of-control U.S. nuclear weapons
programs accelerate spending, proliferation, health and safety risks."
I think John Kerry
about "a world free from nuclear weapons"
and sold out to power.
The reasons for his selling out to power may be his rich
family (I don't know, but his family is rich); the reason this
is a bit disappoint- ing to me is that I can recall some bits of
Kerry's 1971 activities for the Vietnam Veterans Against War, which I
admired (long ago).
Next, here are a few details about upgrading the American nuclear
As you noted, there’s a
trillion-dollar plan over the next 30 years to upgrade every single
part of the United States nuclear weapons stockpile. And right now, as
we’re speaking, at Livermore Lab, an hour, hour-15 minutes from here,
they’re designing a new warhead, a particularly destabilizing new
warhead, to sit atop a new cruise missile. This Long-Range Standoff
weapon, if you think about what that name means, it means that an
airplane will be able to stand off its intended target by thousands of
miles, launch a smart nuclear weapon that will hug the terrain and be
radar-evading and will arrive as a surprise nuclear attack. It is a
weapon that goes beyond deterrence. No matter what you may think of
deterrence, positively or negatively, it goes beyond deterrence. This
is about nuclear war fighting. This is about potentially initiating a
nuclear war. Additionally, the conventional version and the nuclear
version will be indistinguishable. So if it is picked up on radar, a
country will not know whether it’s being attacked by a nuclear or a
I say. I agree it sounds very
‘Up All Night’ Protests Sweep France as 100,000 Join Pro-Democracy
The third item is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I have hesitated whether I would report on
this when I first read about this, a few days ago.
A police crackdown will not deter
France’s burgeoning Nuit
Debout (or ‘Up All Night’) movement that has swept across the
country in recent weeks as the unifying call for change sparked
protests in over 50 cities this weekend.
Riot police early Monday cleared
the encampment in the Place de la Republique in central
Paris after 11 nights of protest, but demonstrators have vowed to
maintain their nightly vigil.
Demonstrations this weekend were held in
as many as 60 cities and towns across France as well as in Belgium,
Germany, and Spain, according to reports, as an estimated
120,000 protested against austerity,
globalization, increasing inequality, privatization, and the
continent’s severe anti-migrant policies.
Originally, I did not, because I did not know how many people were
involved, and because it seemed to me not very many people can be up
all night, but "an estimated" number 0f 120,000 in 60 cities in three
countries is rather a lot, and so now I do report on it.
There are also two other reasons, but these are a bit more personal:
First, I do recall the days of
1968 (Dutch link) in Paris, when there was something like a
considerable revolt, that also might have become more serious if
the French communists had worked together with the students who started
it. They didn't, but I was in Paris - having given up my daily job to
do so - in the beginnings of May and of June 1968, and I learned quite
a lot (and was barely 18 at the time), although that also took some
time to crystallize. 
Second, I liked the idea of discussions about "austerity, globalization, increasing inequality,
privatization, and the continent’s severe anti-migrant policies", in part because I am an intellectual, in part because I
think all these
topics are relatively new, and in part because I do not
trust the great majority
of politicians (of any side, of any party).
To illustrate the second point, here is a bit quoted from the Guardian
(in this article):
That is at least somewhat interesting, in
part because it is spontaneous, and
“On 31 March, at the time of the labour
law protests, that’s what happened. There was torrential rain, but
still everyone came back here to the square. Then at 9pm, the rain
stopped and we stayed. We came back the next day and as we keep coming
back every night, it has scared the government because it’s impossible
“There’s something here that I’ve never
seen before in France – all these people converge here each night of
their own accord to talk and debate ideas – from housing to the
universal wages, refugees, any topic they like. No one has told them
to, no unions are pushing them on – they’re coming of their own accord.”
in part because people need "to talk and
debate ideas", because "the current situation"
(which probably started at 9/11) is mostly new, and because almost
all politicians lie or equivocate, and have no useful or
interesting ideas, while
many of them seem to cooperate with the government, which is
non-democratic and repressive, and seems mostly pro rich.
There also is something like an organization called Nuit Debout
(<- Wikipedia) and it gets quoted as follows in the article:
I mostly agree, although I do not know how
this will evolve. We shall see.
Our mobilization was initially aimed at
protesting against the French Labour Law. This reform is not an
isolated case, since it comes as a new piece in the austerity measures
which already affected our European neighbors and which will have the
same effects as the Italian Job Acts or the Reforma Laboral in Spain.
This concretely means more layoffs, more precarity, growing
inequalities and the shaping of private interests. We refuse to suffer
this shock strategy, notably imposed in the context of an authoritarian
state of emergency.
...This movement was not born and will
not die in Paris. From the Arab Spring to the 15M Movement, from Tahrir
Square to Gezi park, Republic square and the plenty of other places
occupied tonight in France are depicting the same angers, the same
hopes and the same conviction: the need for a new society, where
Democracy, Dignity and Liberty would not be hollow shells.
4. Five Big Banks Flunk Key Test, Proving They're Still "Too
Big To Fail"
The fourth and last item today is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Federal regulators Wednesday confirmed
what watchdogs have been warning for years—the biggest banks in the
United States are still "too big to fail."
that five major U.S. banks failed to offer credible strategies for how
they would enter bankruptcy in an "orderly fashion," without taking the
whole economy down with them. The so-called "living wills" rejected by
the banking agencies were submitted by Bank of America Corp., Bank of
New York Mellon Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., State Street Corp.,
and Wells Fargo.
I say, although I also think that the big
banks profited enormously much in 2008 and 2009, and were then
also saved by tax money, so I can quite well understand why
the big banks want to keep the chances that they once again may
go under, and once again will be saved from tax money.
At least, that seems to be the present
situation. Here are first a former Goldman Sachs executive who is now a
Federal Reserve member, and then Bernie Sanders:
this year, former Goldman Sachs executive and current president of
the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, Neel Kashkari—who is credited as an
architect of the 2008 bailout—channeled Sens. Bernie
Sanders and Elizabeth
Warren when he said the country's largest financial institutions
are "still too big to fail and continue to pose a significant, ongoing
risk to our economy."
Breaking up big banks has become a
rallying cry of Sanders' presidential campaign.
"If a bank is too big to fail,
it is too big to exist," he declared
in downtown Manhattan in January. "When it comes to Wall Street reform,
that must be our bottom line."
I agree with Sanders, who also gave the following fact:
And on Wednesday, Sanders pointed out on
The remedy, Robert Reich wrote
on Tuesday, isn't more regulation. "The bottom line: Regulation won't
end the Street's abuses," Reich argued. "The Street has too much
firepower. And because it continues to be a major source of campaign
funding, no set of regulations will be tough enough."
"So," he concluded, "the biggest banks
must be busted up."
Again I agree, and I also give (what I
think is) the main reason why regulations fail: Because many of the
bankers switch between government jobs (little pay, for very rich
bankers; lots of power) and banking jobs (millions of pay every year;
but no possibility of directly clobbering up banking regulations), and
because they also are invited to do this.
And I should add that the present bad situation with the American banks
will probably continue, unless Bernie Sanders becomes president.
I can't forebear to
show again this bit from a Snowden file (which regular readers have
Of course, all the Denying/Disrupting/Degrading and Deceiving is and will be done in utter secrecy, and "for the safety of Our Fine Democracies".
fact it took something like two
years, although "Paris '68" was not the only event that moved me. In
1968 I was a communist (and had just become a member of the Dutch CP)
but I disagreed with many of the policies and "analyses" of the
Communist Party (I thought them - correctly - quite stupid); my
father was a communist and indeed a revolutionary since 1935,
who mostly followed the Dutch CP; and one of my
lessons of "Paris '68" (which was impossible to nearly all others) was
that while I disagreed with my father and with the leaders of the Dutch
CP about politics, I found my father far more credible as a marxist
revolutionary (which he had been then - in 1968 - for 33 years!)
than the French
student leaders, who had definitely not impressed me (and who still
don't, in so far as they are alive).
In the end, and after a little over two years, in which I did
considerably more reading in Marx, Engels and Lenin, and also
participated in a philosophy club, which again triggered more readings
in philosophy and economics, I resolved this by giving up Marxism
completely and politics
mostly by the end of 1970.
Incidentally, while this did not please my father, we did not
quarrel about it.
And while we disagreed about politics,
I still thought him quite admirable morally, and much
more so than almost everyone else of his age - and I should add here
that Queen Juliana of the Netherlands agreed, for she awarded
my father a knighthood in 1980, briefly before he died.
This was quite special for the following reason: Although the
only political party that went into the resistance (and almost directly
after Holland had surrendered to Germany), which had cost the lives of many
communists, communists were never
knighted in Holland - except for the leader of the Northholland
resistance, who could not be refused a knighthood and, much later, my
No other communist was ever knighted in Holland, although there were
quite a few other brave or heroic persons who were communists.