1. In Major Privacy
Victory, Top EU Court Rules Against
2. Global Warming Already Is Causing Local Extinctions
3. Donald Trump’s ‘Half-Blind’ Trust Scheme Is Called
4. Chomsky: Trump's National Security Adviser Wants the
U.S. to 'Go to War with the
Whole Islamic World'
5. Has America Fallen?
Krugman and Europeans Raise the
is a Nederlog of Thursday, December 22, 2016.
is a crisis
log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about a decision by the top European Court that looks more positive than I think it is; item 2 is about effects of global warming; item 3
is about what seems to be a Trumpian fraud that will enable him to
continue to lead his businesses (via his children) while being
president of the USA; item 4 is about an interview with Noam Chomsky; and item 5 is about Paul Krugman, whom I don't like (based on 3 1/2 years of daily reading), and neither do the authors of the article.
part, for the moment --
In case you visit my
Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days and was so on most days in
But on 2.xii and 3.xii it was correct. Since then it mostly wasn't
(until and including 20.xii).
case, I am now (again) updating
the opening of my site with the last day it was updated.
(And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times
last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. 
In case you visit my
Danish site: This was so-so till 18.xi
and was correct since then (most or all days).
I am very
sorry, and none of it is due to me. I
am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that
also went well for 20 or for 12 years.
keep this introduction until I get three successive days
in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen
for many months now.
1. In Major Privacy Victory, Top EU Court Rules Against Mass
The first item
today is by Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I say, though I am also quite skeptical. And
I am skeptical because I am a European and much dislike the European
Union, and consider the parts of the
The European Union’s top court has
severely undermined the British government’s mass surveillance powers
in a new ruling that could rein in police and spy agency investigations.
In a judgment
handed down in Luxembourg on Wednesday, the European Court of Justice
declared that the “general and indiscriminate retention” of data about
people’s communications and locations was inconsistent with privacy
rights. The court stated that the “highly invasive” bulk storage of
private data “exceeds the limits of what is strictly necessary and
cannot be considered to be justified, within a democratic society.”
new European laws that I have read totally fraudulent.
And since I have exposed this repeatedly, I will now only link you to
the latest Nederlog in which I did so: December
Therefore I am not optimistic, although the result is positive. Then
again, here is a negative point: The "European Court of
Justice" does not seem to be against bulk gathering of
private data, which I think - indeed since 2005 (Dutch link) - is a neofascistic
degeneration of democratic rights.
But let's first look at the positive side:
Camilla Graham Wood, legal
officer with the London-based group Privacy International,
hailed the ruling as a victory for civil liberties advocates. “Today’s
judgment is a major blow against mass surveillance and an important day
for privacy,” she said. “It makes clear that blanket and indiscriminate
retention of our digital histories — who we interact with, when and how
and where – can be a very intrusive form of surveillance that needs
strict safeguards against abuse and mission creep.”
I say. But while I agree that "blanket and
indiscriminate retention" is bad, I also think that (i) "blanket and indiscriminate gathering"
of data - all emails, all phonecalls, of everyone, regardless of his or
her legal status - is worse for this starts the whole problem (and this
is not what a democracy is for: Giving
anonymous secret service persons the full rights to know anything
anyone writes or says on the internet: That is much worse than the extreme powers Hitler's Gestapo had), while (ii) the ruling does not
seem to me to be doing much other than impose a few limits on (boldings
added) "the general and indiscriminate
retention of all traffic and location data",
that (iii) also do not seem to be enforceable, for the secret
services are secret (and mostly beyond the control of the courts).
Again, there is this:
The European court’s panel of 15
judges acknowledged in their ruling that “modern investigative
techniques” were necessary to combat organized crime and terrorism, but
said that this cannot justify “the general and indiscriminate retention
of all traffic and location data.” Instead, the judges stated, it is
acceptable for governments to engage in the “targeted retention” of
data in cases involving serious crime, permitting that persons affected
by any surveillance are notified after investigations are completed,
and that access to the data is overseen by a judicial authority or an
independent administrative authority.
As far as I can see, the European court approved
that anonymous secret service persons can investigate everyone
in everything without any regards: Anyone might
be a terrorist "ergo" everyone must
be checked in everything that can be checked - but (the judges decided)
while they can get everything from anyone, the state is also allowed to
retain what they think they need. But "access to
the data is overseen by a judicial authority".
I say - and I am still as skeptical or more skeptical than I was. In
the end, the European Court of Justice seems to approve of general and
indiscriminate gathering of all the data that anyone uses the internet
for, and only articulated a few restraints that hardly seem enforceable.
2. Global Warming Already Is Causing Local Extinctions
The second item is by Tim Radford on Truthdig and originally on Climate
This starts as follows:
Climate change is already
beginning to alter the natural world. A study of 976 plant and animal
species worldwide—freshwater, terrestrial and marine—reveals that local
extinctions have happened in 47% of their natural ranges.
This does not mean that species have
become extinct: the effects are local. Amphibian species that once
frequented particular ponds and streams have slipped away, meadow
wildflowers have migrated, and once-familiar butterflies and bees have
flown favourite nesting places, all in response to global warming.
John Wiens, an ecologist at the
University of Arizona at Tucson, reports in the Public Library of
Science Biology that he searched the biological databases for studies
that recorded the “warm edge” of a species’ habitat: that is, the
boundary of the range where conditions start to become too warm for
comfort for any particular species.
He may not have expected to see much
change, because as a global average the world warmed by just 0.85°C
between 1880 and 2012. The forecasts for global warming this century
suggest that—unless humans make drastic cuts in fossil fuel consumption
—they could rise by another 4°C.
So actually this may seem to be a little
exaggerated: It seems as if species have changed places, because the
places they occupied grew too warm. (?)
Then again, there is also this:
The researchers looked at rates of
habitat protection versus conversion in 825 natural ecosystems since
1992. They found 41 ecological regions in 45 nations in a crisis state:
humans there had converted more than 10% of the remaining natural
habitat in the last 20 years.
“An area of 4.5 million square
kilometres, or about two-thirds the size of Australia, has been
converted to human-dominated land use in the past two decades alone,”
Dr Watson says.
“As a consequence of past and recent
habitat loss, almost half of the world’s eco-regions now must be
classified at very high risk, as 25 times more land has been converted
“These highly converted and poorly
protected eco-regions occur across all continents, and dominate Europe,
south and south-east Asia, western South and North America, western
Africa and Madagascar.”
I say. And this seems much more as if the
human species is going to destroy the earth they inhabit, which
indeed I think since 1972. And no, I have seen very little to
stop this the last 44 years: We're still on the path plotted by "The Limits to Growth" (<- Wikipedia) in 1972.
3. Donald Trump’s
‘Half-Blind’ Trust Scheme Is Called Absurd
This starts as follows:
The third item is by Nadia Prupis on Truthdig
and originally on Common Dreams:
President-elect Donald Trump’s team is
reportedly considering setting up a “discretionary trust” that would
allow Trump to distance himself from his businesses while still reaping
their financial benefits—an arrangement that, as government watchdogs
put it, is “inappropriate” at best and “a betrayal” at worst.
Politico on Wednesday reported that Trump aides were speaking with the
Office of Government Ethics (OGE) this week, indicating that the team
is still attempting to sidestep ethical boundaries rather than abide by
them. It’s the latest in a series of steps by the family that indicate they are selling off access to the president and
attempting to profit off Trump’s rise to power.
Yes indeed. And here is the explanation:
In a typical blind trust, an independent
financial manager takes over the official’s assets and handles them
without input from the owner. Assets that are considered conflicts of
interest—of which Trump has a historic amount—are sold off and replaced.
But, Politico’s Josh Gerstein writes,
with a discretionary trust, the
conflicts almost magically disappear because the investments aren’t
considered to belong to the incoming official at all—even if they’re
producing a steady stream of income for the official. Instead, the
assets are held in a trust that is often overseen by a family member
who can, but is not legally required to, send revenues from the assets
to the government official. Another benefit: there’s no explicit
prohibition on the official talking with the trustee about the
“You don’t have to disclose it, since
you don’t own it, Aunt Millie owns it,” Painter said. “And it cures
your financial conflicts of interest under the criminal statute. ... If
you really have a discretionary trust, you can participate in
government decisions that affect those assets—if they let you get away
In brief, it looks like a fraud
(<- Wikipedia) that allows Trump's kids to run Trump's businesses in
Trump's interests, while pretending this doesn't matter anymore because
Trump himself doesn't run his businesses anymore (which also may be a fraud, for Trump's kids can talk to Trump about the business they are running).
And indeed it is my guess this is a good indication of Trump's wider plans for his presidency: He will use it to enlarge his own fortune and his own power, and will use any lie to succeed.
4. Chomsky: Trump's National Security Adviser Wants the U.S.
to 'Go to War with the Whole Islamic World'
The fourth item today is by Hafeel Farisz on AlterNet and originally on
This is too long to extract, but I will
select a few points from it. The speaker is Noam Chomsky in any case.
There is first this about "neoliberalism" (between quotes because it is
a propaganda term):
One factor that is common and
which is very significant is the neoiberal program that was instituted
globally, roughly around 35 years ago, around 1980 or a little before
and picking up afterward. These are programs that were designed in such
a way that they marginalize and cast aside a considerable majority of
Yes, and they did this mainly by
"deregulating", which is another propaganda term, for this amounted in
fact to breaking down the laws that protected the non-rich from the
depradations of the rich. Again, this was - more or less properly
termed - not any form of "liberalism" (other than the freedoms for the
few rich to plunder the many poor), but a form of either
neoconservatism or neofascism (as defined by me).
And I think Chomsky is quite right this started around 1979/1980, with
the leaderships of Thatcher and Reagan, though the rearrangement and
dedicated concentration of the rich for the rich seems to have been started by Lewis
Powell Jr. (<- Wikipedia) in the early Seventies.
Next, there is this about Reagan's propaganda:
(These are) images that Ronald
Reagan concocted. Their thinking is that, the federal government is
helping to put them in line ahead of me, but nobody is working for me.
That picture is all over the West. A large part of it was behind the
Brexit vote, in the United States they would blame Mexican immigrants,
or Afro Americans, in the U.K. they would blame the Polish immigrants,
in France the North Africans and in Austria the Syrian immigrants. The
choice of target depends on the society, but the phenomenon is pretty
similar. The general nature is pretty similar. There are streaks of
racism, xenophobia, sexism, and opposition to gay rights and all sorts
Yes, although I should add this is not just "racism, xenophobia, sexism, and opposition to gay rights", for it is in fact considerably more: Greed, envy, egoism, wishful thinking
and willful blindness to any facts that oppose these.
And I am sorry, but while I blame Reagan for inventing these gross
racist, xenophobic, sexist and other lies, I blame the millions he
deceived as much,
for most of them cultivated their own stupidity, ignorance and wishful
thinking rather than opposing them.
Then there is this on the ever expanding militarism of the USA:
Donald Trump’s position and that
of Paul Ryan and other right-wingers is that we should sharply build up
the Pentagon. They talk about our depleted military forces. I mean you
don’t know whether to laugh or not. The U.S. spends almost as much on
the military as the rest of the world combined. It is technologically
far more advanced. No other country has hundreds of military bases all
over the world, actually forces fighting all over the world. But ‘we
are a depleted military force and everybody is about to attack us and
we have to build the military more'—is that isolationist?
Yes indeed, and no: That is not at all
isolationist. There is also this on the voters for Trump:
Take the Trump voters in the
United States, many of them voted for Obama in 2008. Why? If you
remember the campaign slogan, it was hope and change and they were
voting for hope and change. They didn’t get any hope and they didn’t
get any change, so they are disillusioned and now they are voting for
someone else who is calling for hope and change.
I suppose this may well be true (but I do not
know any percentages). Then again, I must say that if one was misled to
voting for "hope and change" by Obama's lies, and "now they are voting for someone else who is calling for hope
I am sorry but the underlying reason must be mostly stupidity or willful
ignorance: It is not as if there was no honest information about Trump.
Everyone with minimal intelligence could find it on internet, though
indeed not (or hardly) in the mainstream media.
Here is the last bit I'll quote, which is Noam Chomsky on religion:
Personally, it means nothing to
me, but if it means something to other people, that is fine. As long as
they don’t bother others. I don’t ridicule it, I don’t have contempt
for it, I have respect for their views, but they are not mine.
I mostly agree, with two qualifications:
First, I got a completely atheist education by complete atheists, and
am very grateful, for I did not have to free myself from any religious
nonsense fed to me as child. And second, while I agree mostly with the
norm "[a]s long as they don’t bother others" it seems
all major religions do try to convert others, and do so mostly
by nonsense or by scientific falsehoods.
Then again, I must say that I have no strong motive to combat
religionists, which I seem to owe most to my having had a completely
5. Has America Fallen? Krugman and Europeans Raise the
The fifth item today
is by Pam Martens and Russ Martens on Wall Street On Parade:
This starts as follows and is here mostly
because I have been following Paul Krugman now for years
(daily since June 2013); have hardly found anything worthwile to
report; and found him a rather dishonest Clintonite, overall, who
reminds me a lot of the Dutch frontmen of the "social democrats", who
are in fact awful "neoliberal" liars.
Here is the initial bit on Krugman:
Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman is raising a
question in the pages of the New York Times this morning that has been
on the minds of Europeans since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential
election on November 8: has America fallen?
Krugman’s column came two days after we
had heard the following story from a friend: a few days after the
November 8 election, a young man in his twenties got into a cab in New
York City heading for John F. Kennedy International Airport. The cabbie
asks why the young man is leaving. The student explains that he has
been attending a university in New York City but his parents in Germany
had called and ordered him to come home immediately. Their exact
statement to him was: “leave immediately, America has fallen.”
In fact I don't say, for this is an
isolated fact and indeed also one without any decent explanation. Then
there is this:
In Krugman’s column this morning, titled
Republics End,” he writes as follows:
are reacting to the rise of Trumpism and nativist movements in Europe
by reading history — specifically, the history of the 1930s. And they
are right to do so. It takes willful blindness not to see the parallels
between the rise of fascism and our current political nightmare.
Well...yes and no, and especially for a
prominent public person like Paul Krugman: Yes, there are parallels
between fascism in the 1930s and the
arisal of Trump, but especially prominent public persons should know
there are many different definitions of "fascism", and hardly any decent
(that I found, and I seriously looked) of "neofascism".
For me that was a reason to investigate
the definitions of "fascism" I did find (no less than 22) and to
propose new decent definitions of both "fascism" and "neofascism", but
Paul Krugman did no such thing.
Before turning to what Krugman did and did
not do, here is something on a writer and an article in Spiegel
International, that I reviewed - rather angrily, but justifiedly so -
on November 25 last. I refer you to that review, while here
is a summary offered by the Martens:
In November, Germany’s Der Spiegel
magazine headlined an article: “How
Much Mussolini Is There in Donald Trump?” The writer, Dirk
Kurbjuweit, subjects Trump to a 14-element fascism litmus test
developed by writer and scholar Umberto Eco. The fascism elements that
make Trump’s rise to power particularly worrisome under the Eco test
of the intellectual world”;
consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of
difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist
movement is an appeal against the intruders”;
to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis
or feelings of political humiliation and frightened by the pressure of
lower social groups”;
an appeal to
followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of
his will to power to sexual matters”;
the message that those in power in government are “out of touch” with
what “the people” want;
Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary and
an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and
critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of
Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a talk
Under the Eco test, the writer
Kurbjuweit warns that “eight of the criteria apply, five do not and one
cannot be determined yet.” Kurbjuweit also warns: “Eco did not provide
guidelines for interpreting the results. But he did write: ‘It is
enough for one of them to be present to allow fascism to coagulate
around it.’ ”
This is a more or less correct summary but
it is partial. Here is one of my own reactions of November 25:
And then we get the following utterly sick
deception and major lie:
If it is fascism, then it would
disaster on a global scale. See above. But if it isn't fascism, it
would be a defamation of Trump's voters to call it that, akin to
accusing them of helping to bring a fascist to power and potentially
driving them away from democracy forever.
This is utterly deceptive and dishonest bullshit, I am sorry to
say: "Fascism" at this point has not been defined at all,
but nevertheless Kurbjuweit pretends that he
knows that if it (?!?!) exists in the USA, then we will
be saved from it by
the revolution (?!?!) he
opened his article with, and if it isn't, then
anybody who says so is committing "a defamation
of Trump's voters".
This is total baloney (i) because "fascism" has not
been defined at all (so nobody can say whether or not it
holds for Trump and (ii) "Trump's voters" are a completely
anonymous mass of Americans, who may be characterized in vast
majority, and irrespective of whatever else they are or may be (including
fascists) as stupid
people who in the main have been deceived.
And it is deceptive and dishonest bullshit because it is bullshit (there
was not even an attempt at a definition)
and it is both deceptive
and dishonest because the feelings of an anonymous mass of American
voters are or should be completely irrelevant to the issue whether
Trump is a fascist, and if so in what sense, and if not, what else he
We get to Krugman:
The problem with the New York Times, and
particularly Paul Krugman, is that both fail to acknowledge their own
role in fueling the Trump craze by serially embracing the crippling
policies of the Wall Street Democrats and their gold-plated revolving
door between New York City and Washington. Even when the majority of
Americans expressed a desire to see the return of the Glass-Steagall
Act to break up the power of banks on Wall Street, Krugman tried
to push the story that Dodd-Frank financial reform was working.
Americans fully understood that toothless financial reform was working
quite well for the one percent in their penthouses in Manhattan while
stripping wealth from the young, retirees, and the middle class across
America. Americans fully understood that Dodd-Frank was an illusion of
reforming Wall Street while empowering a massive, institutionalized
wealth transfer system to continue unabated.
Yes indeed, I mostly agree and indeed
started this review by saying that Krugman is a Clintonite. But I do not
know the percentage of "Americans" who "fully understood that
Dodd-Frank was an illusion of reforming Wall Street" (I agree it was),
and suspect this was not very large.
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from
Neither Krugman nor the New York Times
have owned up to pushing the candidacy of Hillary Clinton when it was
abundantly clear that a majority of Americans didn’t trust her. They
consciously made a choice to prop up Wall Street Democrat Clinton to
the detriment of her serious rival Senator Bernie Sanders, a man who
had served for a quarter century in the House and Senate without any of
the serial scandals that had sickened the public to the idea of
returning the Clintons to the White House. (See related articles below.)
Until Krugman and the New York Times
publish an honest self examination of their own role in what Krugman
correctly calls America’s “political nightmare,” they will simply be
dismissed by millions of Americans as part of the scorn-worthy
I mostly agree, though I do not think this
will much lessen Krugman's status in the mainstream media.
this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for
months now. I
do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of
KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from
2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control
myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because
"you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which
is the perfect excuse never to do anything
 I am saying
this not because I want to
offend but because I want to explain,
and my own explanatory definition of neofascism is this:
is a. A social system that is
marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where
the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that
propounds an ethics which has profit as
its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist,
anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist,
and that has a corporative
organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are
stronger than a national government or state, b. A political philosophy or
movement based on or advocating such a social system.
Also, I am
rather certain that most (not: all) of those who style
themselved as "neoliberals" in fact are neofascists as defined
(even though they probably do not like the term).
And this is
fascism as I
is a. A social system that is
marked by a government with centralized authority and a dictator, that
suppresses the opposition through propaganda, censorship and terror,
that propounds an ethics founded
on discipline, virility, and collectivism, that has a politics that is
totalitarian, anti-liberal, anti-individualist,
anti-equality, and anti-Marxist, that is also authoritarian,
rightwing and nationalistic, and often racist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy, b. A political philosophy or movement based on or
advocating such a social system.
following if you are interested: On Fascism
and Neofascism: Definitions. (This lists 22 definitions of the term
"fascism", and critically
reflects on them.)