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Nederlog

July 22, 2015
Crisis: Snowden & Internet, Greek 'Betrayal', NYT still dishonest, Dodd-Frank
  "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















Prev- crisis -Next

 Sections

            Introduction
1. Snowden's Plea to Top Technologists: Build an Internet
     for the People

2.
Learning from the Greek ‘Betrayal’
3. The Spirit of Judy Miller is Alive and Well at the NYT, and
     It Does Great Damage

4. Five Years Later, the Unfulfilled Promise of Dodd-Frank


This is a Nederlog of Wednesday July 22, 2015.

This is a crisis blog. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item 1 is about a recent appearance of Snowden (and sort of reiterates my pleas for two different internets of 2009: an open source private and personal one, and a closed source
non-private commercial one); item 2 is about an interview with John Pilger, who
takes a stronger position about the Greeks than I do; item 3 is about an article by Glenn Greenwald, who points out that the NYT is still lying a lot (by blandly reiterating the untested claims of anonymous government bureaucrats); and item 4 is about how, five years after the bill was passed, the Dodd-Frank law, that attempted to restrict the banks, still is not fully implemented.

And tomorrow I will probably start with uploading the last file of my autobio- graphy: I did - at long last - finish 1985. (I don't think this is important to most of my readers, but it is important for me.)

1. Snowden's Plea to Top Technologists: Build an Internet for the People
The first article today is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

The internet is not for businesses, governments, or spies. It's for users—and it's up to the independent web engineers to keep it safe for them.

That was the most recent message from National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, who surprised a meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in Prague, Czech Republic on Monday with a webcast Q&A.

"Who is the Internet for, who does it serve, who is the IETF's ultimate customer?" Snowden asked of the roughly 170 engineers in the audience, referring to users. He added that current safety protocols on the web make too much private user data available to NSA and other intelligence agencies and businesses. "We need to divorce identity from persona in a lasting way," Snowden said.

The IETF is one of the primary bodies creating voluntary standards of use, design and management of the internet, and Monday's meeting gave Snowden a welcome platform to promote a freer and safer web.

I say. The reason I say so is that I proposed something similar in 2009, when indeed I knew a whole lot less about the NSA and spying-by-stealing-your- private-data-as-if-the-spies-own-them.

Here is a part of it, quoted from September 2009:


          A new internet is needed + 3 special reasons why

           First - it is and ought to be public and open
           Second - it makes solid sense
           Third -  - it may save the public media


It seems to me highly desirable to split up the internet as is in a commercial net and a public net, with the commercial players, the advertisers, the commercial-Flash-on-you-pukers, and indeed also all that is commercial and more or less decent and justified, from banking to plumbing, on one net, and non-commercial content, varying from private persons websites, to schools and universities, the Wikipedia and much other educational matter (Stanford Encyclopedia, Victorian Net, Perseus, you name it...), on another net.

In fact, the split between commercial and non-commercial can be drawn quite easily, while allowing for overlaps: It is mostly that between open en hidden source and apart from that depends on whether makers of web-content want to cash in on advertisments and/or have web-pages in order to support a commercial product.

First note that in 2009 my reasons were mostly my objections to commercialized content, much rather than my objections against spying: I was aware that corporations spied on users, but not of the extent, but at that time I was not aware of the NSA.

Here are part of my reasons of 2009:

First - it is and ought to be public and open: the internet has grown out of the efforts of private persons and people working at universities, and indeed out of what was from the beginning open source - Microsoft jumped in only for the money, and since then attempted to redesign it for its own needs.

Second - it makes solid sense:, the split I advocate - into a WWW and a WCW, to reduce it to acronyms - corresponds quite closely to a manifold split of the following kind

open source   - hidden sourc
personal        - commercial
educational    - profit-oriented
individual      - organizational

Third - it may save the public media: Seeing what is happening to the classical papers (getting extinct fast, to be replaced by Foxnews and the like, at least for the masses) and to the media (mostly moronified to please the masses of pinheads and the few relative smart-alecks who live off these pinheads), this could be an excellent means to regain something like the classic media, but on the net:

Make the media - in part, for there is also place for commercial media, but I am talking in fact of the major public benefits of real quality papers, produced by highly competent and trained journalists, preferably with a university education - into educational institutions, somewhat like universities are (in Europe), that is, mostly funded by public money and on a BBC-model.

Perhaps it sounds naive, but I still think an open source network is possible (it exists, to an extent, as Linux, that I am also running since May 2012) and that also is the main technical difference between that network and the current one:
An open source network only uses open source; only depends on private persons; and is educational and individual much rather than profit-oriented and corporate.

There also is considerably more: See
BitsAndPieces 24 that contains a lot more, and that also was written a few months after I first got fast internet: From 1996 till 2009 I worked with a telephone-modem of 28 Kb per sec (maximal: often a lot less).

Here is one other bit from the article:
Snowden's 2013 revelations that the NSA was collecting bulk telephone and internet metadata prompted an ongoing global debate over the role of government surveillance and the nature of individual privacy—a phenomenon termed by media critic Jay Rosen as "the Snowden Effect." For its part, the IETF responded to the leaks by developing a memorandum, known as a Request for Comment (RFC), entitled "Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack."
I don't care for priority fights, but I had a series of 8 pieces starting on July 12, 2013 - a month + 2 days after I, and nearly all othes, learned of his existence - that were all called "The Snowden Effects" (with an s). You'll find the first under the link (and the rest from there, or the index for 2013).

2. Learning from the Greek ‘Betrayal’
The next article today is by Dennis J. Bernstein on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:

Filmmaker and columnist John Pilger sees the capitulation of Greece’s Syriza leadership to German-led demands for more austerity on the Greek people – in exchange for a new bank bailout – as a “betrayal.”

Pilger, who spoke late last week with Pacifica’s Flashpoints host Dennis J Bernstein, also called the Greek situation a moment of bracing clarity for activists confronting the powerful political forces arrayed against popular movements..

Well... I like John Pilger, but he isn't a Greek. Neither am I, but - to the extent that I understand the present Greek situation - it seems to me that the Greeks were basically offered one choice: Commit economical suicide by stepping out of the Eurozone, or get executed economically by swallowing the loans, and they opted for the last, as the least painful.

The rest of the article is an interview. Here are the reasons why John Pilger uses the term "betrayal":

DB: What does this betrayal look like? It looked like a dramatic, profound and troubling flip-flop and the highest levels of Greece.

JP: I don’t like the word betrayal much, but there are some English words that are exactly right, and this word is exactly right for this because there is no doubt that twice – on January 25 [the Syriza election victory] and [in the July 5 referendum rejecting EU austerity demands] – the Greek people voted to not have this kind of draconian imposition on them. And their government, with this mandate, went in the opposite direction. They did it knowingly and willfully. That is betrayal.

As I pointed out, the single choice they were offered was a choice from two large evils, and they chose - what appears to me as - the least evil one.

Here is some more, that I quote mostly because I agree about Obama, and also about postmodernism:

JP: (...) We are having a coup d’état from the German money chieftains, which is basically what this is, a coup d’état against the people of Greece, not the government of Greece, because the government of Greece has complied.

People who care about this, progressive people, must learn from this. There was a lot of hope for the Greek government, but we had enough of hope. Barack Obama had hope coming out of his ears and it was fake. We’ve got to stop accepting these kinds of postmodern political organizations, which are basically affluent middle-class without any sense of real politics. (...)

It is much worse: Postmodernists were (and are) nihilistic relativists, who deny truth exists, so everything is propaganda - including their own bullshit, which are essentially pleas to give postmodernists academic tenure and personal fame.

Here is the last paragraph from my lemma on
postmodernism:
In brief, if you are a kind of Stalinist, are actively disinterested in real science, have no intellectual talents whatsoever, other than a vast ability to lie in front of cameras and in public meetings "in the name of The People", are a natural born totalitarian politician or civil servant, and like to make an academic career based on fraudulence, cheatery and posturing, but which is very well-paid, comes with many kudos, and has many like-minded intellectually lowly gifted moral friends and colleagues "dedicated to Emancipation", by all means become a Postmodernist. If not, try to remove this plague and this type of fraudulent "scientists" and "philosophers" from the universities, before the universities are totally destroyed for generations.
3. The Spirit of Judy Miller is Alive and Well at the NYT, and It Does Great Damage

The next article today is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

One of the very few Iraq War advocates to pay any price at all was former New York Times reporter Judy Miller, the classic scapegoat. But what was her defining sin? She granted anonymity to government officials and then uncritically laundered their dubious claims in the New York Times. As the paper’s own editors put it in their 2004 mea culpa about the role they played in selling the war: “We have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged.” As a result, its own handbook adopted in the wake of that historic journalistic debacle states that “anonymity is a last resort.”

But 12 years after Miller left, you can pick up that same paper on any given day and the chances are high that you will find reporters doing exactly the same thing. In fact, its public editor, Margaret Sullivan, regularly lambasts the paper for doing so. Granting anonymity to government officials and then uncritically printing what these anonymous officials claim, treating it all as Truth, is not an aberration for the New York Times. With some exceptions among good NYT reporters, it’s an institutional staple for how the paper functions, even a decade after its editors scapegoated Judy Miller for its Iraq War propaganda and excoriated itself for these precise methods.

There is a lot more in the article, that also seems correct. Here is Glenn Greenwald's diagnosis of this kind of "journalism", which I put inbetween quotes because they are not behaving as real journalists:

Look at what the New York Times, yet again, has done. Isn’t it amazing? All anyone in government has to do is whisper something in its journalists’ ears, demand anonymity for it, and instruct them to print it. Then they obey. Then other journalists treat it as Truth. Then it becomes fact, all over the world. This is the same process that enabled the New York Times, more than any other media outlet, to sell the Iraq War to the American public, and they’re using exactly the same methods to this day. But it’s not just their shoddy journalism that drives this but the mentality of other “journalists” who instantly equate anonymous official claims as fact.

Yes, indeed.

4. Five Years Later, the Unfulfilled Promise of Dodd-Frank

The final article today is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

With several key promises of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act still unfulfilled, "Americans cannot be comforted that Wall Street will not wreak havoc again," according to a new report from the watchdog group Public Citizen.

"Five years after President Barack Obama signed this legislation, Dodd-Frank remains largely incomplete," said Bartlett Naylor, Public Citizen’s financial policy advocate and author of the report, Dodd-Frank is Five: And Still Not Allowed Out of the House (pdf), published Tuesday.

"Major portions of the law have yet to be codified into specific rules," Naylor explained. "Many enforcement dates are set well into the future, and certain rules are not yet being implemented and enforced to the fullest extent of the law."

Dodd-Frank, signed into law five years ago Tuesday, "promised that America would never again be held hostage by banks that are too big to fail, but that promise remains unfulfilled," Public Citizen said in a statement. "Instead, industry-captured regulators and members of Congress hungry for campaign contributions from Wall Street continue to delay and dilute the law."

In fact, of the 390 rules required by the law, fewer than two-thirds have been completed; 60 rules have yet to be finalized, while another 83 have not even been proposed, according to a tally by law firm Davis Polk.

There is more in the article, but I can't say it is surprising, with so many lobbyists.

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