This is a Nederlog
of Wednesday, December 16, 2015.
is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1
is about an article by Glenn Greenwald, that is in considerable part
about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, about whom I, as a Dutchman, know a lot more
than most Americans (for she started her career as "a refugee" in
Holland); item 2 is about the reasons why the internet is getting slower; item 3 is about how the news on the main media in the USA collapsed to single-subject propaganda; item 4 is about why the presidential campaigns, as they were before Citizen United, are now dead; and item 5 is about a possibility that officials from the Bush administration may (might?) be prosecuted for their decisions.
the State Department Tries to Choose Muslim Thought Leaders to Win
“Hearts and Minds”
first item is
by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This is from near the beginning:
The answer to this
question should be clear: By massive amounts of propaganda lies. Then
again, who should mouth these lies? Here is part of the answer:
How do you convince the
people of that region to like you when you’ve spent decades
bombing, invading, and droning them; arming and propping up the
tyrants who suppress them; lavishing Israel with the weapons, money,
and U.N. cover used to occupy and brutalize Palestinians; and just
generally treating their countries like your own private plaything for
war and profit?
One of the most embarrassing
tactics is when the U.S.
In fact, the US selected recently the major
former Dutch fraud (she may still also carry a Dutch passport: I don't
know) Ayaan Hirsi Ali - who is a fraud , an atheist, and a
neo-conservative admirer of Dick Cheney - as their spokesperson to
government (and its media allies) select people whom they hold out to
the Muslim world as the people they ought to follow; invariably, the
U.S.’s selected “leaders” spout views and engage in
conduct more anathema to the overwhelming majority of
Muslims than the U.S. government itself is.
Glenn Greenwald asks, quite rightly:
Is Ayaan Hirsi Ali likely to
be the effective messenger to the Muslim world that the State
Department envisions her to be? Last year, she
revealed her choice for who should win the Nobel Peace Prize:
Benjamin Netanyahu. “He does what is best for the people of Israel, he
does his duty,” she said. “I really think he should get the Nobel
Peace Prize. In a fair world he would get it.”
But I doubt that he knows what I know about
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which I know simply because she started her fraudulent
career in Holland, back in 2002-2003, and there has been spent an
enormous amount of ink in in Dutch papers on her status and her integrity,
which was decided between 2007 and 2009: she is a clear fraud,
according to most Dutchmen.
One good source on her this letter that I wrote slightly over ten years
ago (!), in November of 2005, in English:
There is a whole lot more I could
quote on Ali, not just by myself but by many Dutch papers, but I limit
myself here to the observations that (i) her role in Holland was played
out around 2009, when - after 7 years - most Dutchmen knew she was a
fraud, since when (ii) she moved to the USA, where she has been
ever since gracing the neoconservative propaganda-tank American
Enterprises and has sat at the feet of Dick Cheney, and where she still
makes money with posing as an authority on Muslims and on politics.
As I said in 2014 (when I reported the above news about her preference
for Netanyahu that Glenn Greenwald also repeated):
not just you: the Internet is actually getting slower
The brief of
it all is: She is a mere careerist, capable of saying
anything, and when watching her sayings the best guide is to ask
oneself 'how would this serve her own interests?'
The second item is by
Lulu Chang on Digital Trends:
This starts as follows
(and is in fact from June 2015: I didn't notice it before):
You’re not getting more impatient
— it’s just that the Internet is literally getting slower. According to
new data from the HTTP Archive, the
significant increase in size for the average webpage has contributed to
significantly longer loading times, leading to significantly more
frustrated consumers. With the average site now 2.1MB (up 100
percent from just three years ago), it is no surprise that the Internet
is actually taking more time to deliver its results to you.
As CNN explains, the reasons behind this lag time are generally
well-founded. With more websites featuring heavy imagery, videos, and
other bells and whistles that we take for granted, there is certainly
more data being hosted on the average website as compared to a few
years ago. In fact, this imagery takes up about 75 percent of a
website’s size, so if you’re looking for a more efficient site, chances
are you’re also looking for a less aesthetically pleasing one.
Really now? I
have no reason to distrust Lulu Chang and I checked out the reference
she gave, but I am not convinced, though she may well be right that the
internet is slowing down.
Here are my reasons:
First, I have a
website since 19 years, that is mostly html and is currently a bit over
500 MB. But these are thousands of files, mostly well under 100 Kb each, and
they are never loaded all, while what is most loaded -
the index and items from Nederlog - are normally between 20 Kb and 50
Second, I do some
imagery, but that also is rarely over 100 Kb and normally less, and I
background of my site is probably the most loaded item on it, but even
that is just 46 Kb. (Also, I maintain the site-as-is since 2003 now:
with the blue background, in Verdana 13 points, and I think that - in a
proper browser - it looks quite well. )
So it is certainly not
due to my
websites (I have two, both the same), which indeed also load quickly
nearly always. Then again, my websites, whether slow or fast, are just a
very tiny bit of the internet.
Here is an alternative explanation for why the internet may be slowing
down, that is also speculative:
Third, I would not be amazed if there is a real slowing of the internet
not because of the size of the websites (and incidentally: web sites
are not loaded, but only files that are part of it, while I
don't think I ever downloaded a webpage
that was 2.1 MB or more, apart perhaps from Youtube, and that went
piece by piece as the video unfolded) but because some major websites are already now giving
priorities to some major websites (like Facebook, for example).
I do not know
this, but this seems at least as good an explanation as the earlier
without Context: Why the News Couldn't Be Worse
third item is by Tom Engelhardt on Common Dreams, and originally on
This starts as follows:
Here’s one thing it’s hard not to
notice: the line-up of stories that we used to call the “news” seems
increasingly like a thing of the past. Remarkably often these days, the
“news” is a single hyped-up story -- most recently, the San Bernardino
shootings -- reported frenetically and yet formulaically, often in
near- apocalyptic fashion. (...) To fall back on the anchor of Avon, it
often enough seems like a tale told by a collective idiot, full of
sound and fury, signifying nothing.
I say. I am Dutch and hardly ever look at
American news as displayed by the main media, so I have to rely for
this on others, like Tom Engelhardt. (I do look very occasionally, but not enough to base any
Here are some specifics about his experiencies with the American main
And here is some more:
Above all, the 24/7,
all-hands-on-deck news story obliterates context, or rather becomes the
only context of the moment. To offer the most obvious recent example:
in the days in which the San Bernardino shootings ate the screen, most
Americans would not have noticed that the fate of the planet was being
seriously discussed and negotiated in Paris by representatives of just
about every country.
For all of this, the media now
bears a certain unacknowledged responsibility. Above all,
single-event news throws our American world -- and particularly its
dangers -- out of whack, while playing into irrational fears and
prejudices. It helps create news
of its own in an increasingly unbalanced country. What
it doesn’t offer is perspective.
Yes, though it might be argued plausibily
that a perspective is given: "This is how it is, trust the news!". I agree
such a perspective is bullshit, but it is a perspective.
Here is Tom Engelhardt's conclusion:
The winners of the latest version of the
news and election cycle won’t be the American people or the electoral
system or a deeper knowledge of how our world works. Those
winners will, however, include Washington’s national security state,
which has bet its future on American fear, and the Islamic State, for
which this media environment is the royal road to a completely
irrational, even cockamamie “clash
In other words, the news is the news,
and it couldn’t be worse.
I suppose I agree - except that I am
convinced that although the American news is very bad and is mostly propaganda, I
am also convinced that it (still) can be worse, possibly not by itself
(a single story brought as propaganda and labelled as "news" seems
about as bad as it can get) but in case the American government
intervenes, and prescribes what it wants to see as "news" and what
should not be on TV.
We aren't there yet, but we surely are moving in that direction.
4. Why This Was
the Year the Traditional Presidential Campaign Died
The fourth item is by Tom Murphy on Mother Jones:
This is from the beginning, and outlines
what happened in a recent campaign that was supposed to be for Carly
Fiorina (and indeed was, except that everything was so designed as to
keep it completely unclear who funded it):
There is rather a large amount more that
looks at various candidates and also at various managers, which I leave
to your interests.
But unbeknownst to the voters in the
room, they were guinea pigs in one of the most brazen experiments in
modern politics. The people with the clipboards to whom they'd just
given out their names, addresses, and phone numbers weren't with the
Fiorina campaign, despite what some of these volunteers had strongly
implied. True, they did all seem to be wearing CARLY T-shirts and CARLY
stickers, but technically, it was an acronym. When I asked a man with a
clipboard what it stood for, he said he wasn't authorized to answer.
In fact, the event was run by a
super-PAC, one to which Fiorina has, to an unprecedented degree, outsourced virtually
every aspect of her operation but the stump speech itself. Signs,
shirts, stickers, phone calls, canvassing, event staffing, ads, grisly rapid-response abortion videos—even a documentary,
Carly, which it screened in four states. Super-PACs can accept
unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations, but they are
prohibited from naming themselves after a candidate. So after the
Federal Election Commission threatened the group with penalties last
summer, the super-PAC formerly known as "Carly for America" became
"Conservative, Authentic, Responsive Leadership for You and for
America"—that is, CARLY.
I merely quote one more bit:
The only campaign that would have
even been legal eight years ago belongs to a 74-year-old socialist.
Note the "legal", which I suppose is correct,
because only Bernie Sanders is not paid for by some super-PAC, that
indeed were all illegal eight years ago.
Court Rules Bush Administration Can Be Sued for Its "War on Terror"
fifth item is by Thom Hartmann on Truth-out:
This starts as follows:
For almost a decade and a half, the
people behind the Bush administration's shameful treatment of terrorism
suspects have avoided punishment for their crimes, but that may be
about to change.
The courts have had their say and have
ruled that former Bush administration officials can, in fact, be sued
for how they conducted the "war on terror."
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals made
that pretty much official on Friday when it refused to hear a challenge
to its earlier ruling in the case of Turkmen v. Ashcroft. That
case involves hundreds of Arab, Muslim or South Asian men who were
detained and then abused by our government in the weeks following 9/11.
I say. I did not know that. Here is some
Some of them were beaten by security
guards and kept in solitary confinement, which the United Nations
considers a form of torture. After they were released, these men sued
the people they say authorized their detentions - people like former
Attorney General John Ashcroft and former FBI director Robert Mueller.
A district court initially blocked their
claims, but in June, the Second Circuit Court allowed them, saying that
Ashcroft, Mueller and company could be sued. The government then made
one more last ditch push to protect the Bush administration, but that
effort failed last Friday when the Second Circuit rejected it.
OK, though I doubt these officials will be
punished, though I think they should be. But indeed if there is going
to be a case, I'll be quite interested in the evidence.
 In the sense "fraud" is used in the USA. I quote from the Wikipedia lemma: "In law, fraud is deliberate deception
to secure unfair or unlawful gain." This is certainly true for Ali's
becoming a refugee in Holland. Apart from that she lied very many
times, and she exaggerated many things.
 In part my own
liking for it has a lot to do with the fact that most files look like
the present one, in that there is a text-window inside the
screen-window that allows me to make pages that are roughly as broad as
bookpages, instead of taking the whole width. I really like that a lot
better than printing text over the full width of the page, whatever