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Nederlog

May 26, 2015
Crisis: Bernie Sanders *2, PGP Creator, Wall Street, Spanish Leftish Win
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
 
   -- Benjamin Franklin
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton















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Sections
Introduction

1.
 'Badass Left-Winger' Rebukes Gossip-Style News Ahead of
     Campaign Kick-Off

2. Philip Zimmermann: king of encryption reveals his fears
     for privacy

3.
Make No Mistake, Wall Street Loves Hillary
4. Pushing New Economic and Political Vision, Left Surges in
     Spanish Elections

5. Bernie Sanders Takes It to Wall Street With Financial
     Transactions Tax


This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

This is a crisis log.There are 5 items and 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about the kick-off by Sen. Bernie Sanders of his candidacy, and so far he is the only candidate I can take seriously; item 2 is about PGP-creator Phil Zimmerman's move to Switzerland, where he is safer; item 3 is about Wall Street and Hillary Clinton: "Two hands on one belly", as the Dutch proverb goes; item 4 is about a considerable gain of left-wing parties in Spain; and item 5 is again about Bernie Sanders, who has a very good plan to tax the banks, that is well explained in this article.
1. 'Badass Left-Winger' Rebukes Gossip-Style News Ahead of Campaign Kick-Off

The first item today is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, set to host his official presidential campaign kick-off event in Vermont on Tuesday, spent Memorial Day weekend exercising his political chops by saying that his path towards the Democratic nomination will be focused on having a serious conversation with the American people about critical issues like stagnant wages and decades of growing economic inequality, the clear and present danger of planetary climate change, and the corruption of the nation's media and political institutions — increasingly controlled by corporate and elite interests — which consistently refuse to address such concerns.

With one local supporter in New England describing Sanders as a "badass left-winger" compared to anyone else in the field, the self-described democratic socialist had interviews with both CNN and the Associated Press in recent days during which he said that though he has no desire to take "cheap shots" at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, he will certainly not hesitate to criticize her when it comes to key policy differences.
So far, Bernie Sanders is the only credible presidential candidate, at least for me. Most of the candidates of the GOP I can't take seriously, and Rand Paul has too many bad sides to make up for his few good sides, while Hillary Clinton just is a corporatist who tries to pose as a democrat.

But then, these are mostly my tastes, though I think I described Clinton properly.

Here is some on the relation between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders:
Describing her as a "good friend," Sanders told AP that his and Sen. Warren's views "are parallel on many, many issues." And when it came to his role of challenging Clinton from the left, Sanders rejected the idea, offered by AP, that his candidacy should be narrowly viewed as an attempt to "shape the debate" among Democrat, progressives, or other voters. "Hillary Clinton is a candidate, I am a candidate," Sanders said. "I suspect there will be other candidates. The people in this country will make their choice."
There is considerably more in the article, which is good, as it brings out quite well why Sanders is a serious candidate: He has serious ideas, plans and proposals. (And see item 5.)

2.
Philip Zimmermann: king of encryption reveals his fears for privacy

The next item today is an article by Juliette Garside on The Guardian:
This starts as follows (and here is the Wikipedia on Philip Zimmerman):
When Philip Zimmermann was campaigning for nuclear disarmament in the 1980s, he kept an escape plan in his back pocket. The inventor of the world’s most widely used email encryption system, Pretty Good Privacy – more commonly known as PGP – was ready to move his family from Colorado to New Zealand at a moment’s notice.

The button was never pressed and the Zimmermanns stayed put. Until this year, that is. At 61, the Internet Hall of Fame inductee and founder of three-year-old mobile encryption startup Silent Circle has just left the US for Switzerland. In the end, it was not the nuclear threat that convinced him to leave his homeland, but the surveillance arms race.

“Every dystopian society has excessive surveillance, but now we see even western democracies like the US and England moving that way,” he warns. “We have to roll this back. People who are not suspected of committing crimes should not have information collected and stored in a database. We don’t want to become like North Korea.”
Yes, precisely. And this is a good and fairly long piece. Here is some more:

Silent Circle’s move to Switzerland was prompted by the Lavabit affair. Lavabit provided an email service for 410,000 people, including Edward Snowden. In the summer of 2013, its founder, Ladar Levison, was served with a court order requiring the installation of surveillance equipment. Despite protests, he decided to close his service.

Silent Circle took fright. Along with voice and text it offered email. The content was encrypted, but the who, where and when of messages was there to be hacked or extracted by court order. So the email tool was shut down and its database wiped. The next step was relocation to Geneva. “We are less likely to encounter legal pressures there than in the US,” says Zimmermann.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link, and this is an interesting article: recommended.

3. Make No Mistake, Wall Street Loves Hillary
The next item is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts with a picture of Lloyd Blankfein (<- Wikipedia) and Hillary Clinton smiling at each other, and continues:

“Clinton’s campaign staff is working overtime … to show how well she relates to ordinary Americans,” writes Elizabeth Schulte at Jacobin. “But the people whose opinions really matter in the presidential election know better.”

“As one Wall Street lawyer put it,” Schulte continues, “ ‘If it turns out to be Jeb vs. Hillary, we would love that and either outcome would be fine’ ”:

That seems to be a fair assessment. There is also this quote (quoted in part):

Indeed, if Clinton talks today about economic inequality while she throws her crown into the ring, she has a long and loyal relationship with money and power. Among the top ten contributors to her 2008 campaign were employees from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, Morgan Stanley, and Lehman Brothers — institutions that can all benefit from a few friends in high places.

As secretary of state, she pressured governments to change policies and sign deals that would benefit US corporations like General Electric, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, and Boeing. She also promoted hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and contracts with US oil companies like Chevron in Poland, Bulgaria, and elsewhere.

This also links to the source of the quotation, an article by Elizabeth Schulte on
the Jacobin Magazine:
This is well worth reading.

4. Pushing New Economic and Political Vision, Left Surges in Spanish Elections

The next item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

Local elections across Spain on Sunday saw the further rise of left-wing parties and candidates as an ongoing populist push from below resulted in the worst performance of the ruling People's Party in a generation.

Fueled by the street-level support that began with the indignados movement in the wake of the 2008 financial crash and other recent successes by the newly-formed Podemos party at the national level, Sunday's municipal elections revealed Spanish voters continue to be compelled by the anti-austerity and pro-democracy agenda of the left. Demanding a new economic and political vision, an assortment of left-leaning and more centrist parties have now put a serious dent in the hold on power currently enjoyed by the PP-controlled government and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

I say. There is also this, that makes this a bit more precise. This is quoted from The Guardian:

With general elections due by the end of the year, Sunday’s elections in 13 regions and more than 8,100 municipalities were widely seen as a chance to test the mood of Spanish voters. The message that emerged was clear, with Spaniards voting to end the two-party dominance that has characterised Spanish politics since the death of Franco. With 90% of the vote counted in Sunday’s elections, the PP and the Socialists had taken 52% of the nationwide vote, a significant drop from the 65% the two mainstream parties earned in elections four years ago.

While the PP was the most voted party in nine regions, it failed to obtain any absolute regional majorities. Many voters, unconvinced of the party’s message of an economic rebound and fed up of austerity, sky high unemployment and a constant barrage of corruption scandals, turned instead to anti-austerity party Podemos and centre-right Ciudadanos.

The national newcomers came in third or fourth place across most regions, suggesting they will hold the balance of power in many regional governments. “We would have liked the decline of the old parties to have been quicker,” said Podemos’ Pablo Iglesias. “But circumstances compel us to keep working on it.”

There is more in the article. I think this is a good development.

5.
Bernie Sanders Takes It to Wall Street With Financial Transactions Tax

The final item today is by Dean Baker on Truthout:

This starts as follows:

Last week Bernie Sanders, the Senator from Vermont and only announced challenger to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, took a strong stand for everyday people. He proposed a financial transactions tax (FTT), effectively a Wall Street sales tax, and to use the revenue to make public colleges tuition free.

While making college affordable to low and middle income families is important, the proposal for an FTT is a real game changer. There is no single policy that would have anywhere near as much impact in reforming the financial sector. A FTT would effectively impose a sales tax on stocks and other financial assets, so that speculators have to pay a tax on their trades, just like people who buy shoes or clothes.

There are three points people should understand about a FTT. The first is that it can raise an enormous amount of money. A FTT could be imposed at different rates. Sanders proposed following the rate structure in a bill put forward by Minneapolis Congressman Keith Ellison. Eleven countries in the European Union are working to implement a set of FTTs that would tax stock trades at a rate of 0.1 percent and trades of most derivative instruments at the rate of 0.01 percent.

Extrapolating from a recent analysis of the European proposal, a comparable tax in the United States would raise more than $130 billion a year or more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade. This is real money; it dwarfs the sums that have dominated most budget debates in recent years. For example, the Republicans had been trying to push through cuts to the food stamp program of $40 billion over the course of a decade. The sum that can be raised by this FTT proposal is more than thirty times as large. The revenue from a FTT could go far toward rebuilding the infrastructure, improving the health care system, or paying for college tuition, as suggested by Senator Sanders.

I know I also started with Bernie Sanders, but then - as I explained - he is the only presidential candidate that I can take seriously. And the above idea, that
gets further explained in the article, is a very good idea.

There is more in the article, which is recommended.
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P.S. May 27, 2015: Corrected "Tuesay" to "Tuesday" and deleted the repeat of "This is a crisis blog".

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