This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
Summary: This is an
ordinary crisis log with four items and
four dotted links: Item 1 is about the destuction (in the USA) of internet privacy; item 2 is about the four ways in which Trump (still) can do very great harm; item 3 is about the surveillance state; and item 4 is about an interview with Noam Chomsky that is quite good.
March 29: As to the
The Danish site was again
on time today; but the Dutch site now got stuck on Sunday March 26.
It seems now that over a year of signs
are correct, and this means that my Dutch site is now updated once a
week - instead of immediately after (daily) updating, as
xs4all succeeded in doing from 1996 till
1. With House GOP Vote, Internet Privacy Is Officially Kaput
Sorry mates, but I do not accept this. More later, for in this
way I cannot run a decent website (as I think the utter degenerates who are doing this are planning to make me do).
Where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others
I have NO idea AT ALL: It
2015. (They do want immediate
payment if you are a
week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying
my site now for over
a year. And I completely distrust them, but also do not
know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
The first article today is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Despite widespread popular outcry, House Republicans on Tuesday voted to
strip citizens' of their right to privacy online, selling out the
American public to the deep-pocketed telecom industry.
Open internet and privacy advocates immediately condemned the
resolution, now poised to become law pending a likely signature
President Donald Trump.
Laying out the implications of the vote, Nathan White, senior legislative manager at Access Now, declared, "Congress today voted to sell off your privacy and your security online."
"Your internet service provider can see almost everything you do
online — from many of the websites you visit, to apps you use, and even
some of your private communications," he continued. "[Internet Service
Providers] (ISPs) want to sell off that treasure trove to increase
corporate profits, and apparently Congress is fine with that."
Indeed, and thus the USA moved several steps closer to full neofascism. Here is how the Internet Service
Providers are going to profit from it:
Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said that
Republican lawmakers "once again that they care more about the wishes of
the corporations that fund their campaigns than they do about the
safety and security of their constituents,"
"Gutting these privacy rules won't just allow Internet Service
Providers to spy on us and sell our personal information, it will also
enable more unconstitutional mass government surveillance, and
fundamentally undermine our cybersecurity by making our sensitive
personal information vulnerable to hackers, identity thieves, and
foreign governments," she added.
Yes, though I should add that "our cybersecurity"
went to bits already in 2001/2 when Bush - effectively - allowed spying
on all Americans. Here is some more:
Further, as Matt Stoller, fellow at the Open Markets Program at the New America thinktank, outlined in a lengthy Twitter thread
earlier Tuesday, the resolution is more than an invasion of privacy but
also "about market power and the ability to manipulate you with
"Do you want your insurance company to adjust your rates based on
your web browsing activity?" Stoller asked. "Do you want prospective
employers to use as a criteria who you are thinking of dating? Do you
want your ISP or any buyers of data to know you are communicating with
politicians or political advocates? Do you want airlines to raise ticket
prices on you without you realizing it, based on their knowledge a
family member just died?" He added, "That's what this is about."
In brief: This is about making you a subservient
menial who can be exploited, deceived, advertised, and investigated to
the fullest possible potential: You have no more privacy (in the USA).
Here is some more:
What this means practically for users of the internet is that one's
search history—information about health, finances, and other private
matters—as well as their location and the applications they use, could
soon be tracked by internet service providers (ISPs) and then sold to a
third-party without an individual's permission.
What's more, coming in the form of a CRA, the legislation prevents the
FCC from putting any similar rules in place in the future. As Jeremy
Gillula, senior staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier
Foundation (EFF) explained to NPR
ahead of the vote, the bill "really is changing the status quo. It is
essentially dismantling years of privacy protection that people have had
in this country."
Yes indeed. It is also about taking away nearly all powers of nearly anyone - but I do agree
that those with IQs below 115 or 130 probably need not fear a lot:
These measures will be used to weed out any of the more intelligent who
desire not to be bought by the rich or the government.
And this is a recommended article.
2. 4 Ways Trump and the GOP Still Wield Tremendous Power to Do Serious and Lasting Damage to America
The second article is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:
This begins as follows:
For millions of Americans, Friday’s collapse of the House Republican
leadership’s bill to defund Obamacare, take $880 billion out of Medicaid
and give the wealthiest hundreds of millions in tax cuts they don’t
need, was a spot of good news.
But as a new week begins in Washington, it’s time to take a deep breath
and realize that Trump and Republicans in Congress, as dysfunctional as
they appear, still have great power to wield.
Yes indeed - I agree to both points made. Here is more on the destructions Trump can wreak:
There are four major areas where Trump’s team can wreak great
destruction of public policies in the near future and lay the foundation
for harm lasting for generations. It may be that the House Republicans
are so internally split that they cannot pass major legislation like the
Obamacare repeal. But they can still pass a budget that eviscerates
safety nets, human services and science unlike anything in recent
memory. The White House can use its reach to revoke and rewrite federal
regulations in any area it wants, especially those that threaten
corporate profits. The Supreme Court’s ideological majority hangs in a
balance, but even if Senate Democrats block Trump’s first pick, he still
is poised to appoint more federal judges than any president in decades.
And if Trump’s team gets frustrated with domestic issues, they can rev
up the war machine overseas.
Again, yes indeed. There is considerably more in the article, which I leave to your interests. This is a recommended article.
3. The Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate
The third article is by Ray McGovern and William Binney on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
Although many details are still hazy because of secrecy – and further
befogged by politics – it appears House Intelligence Committee Chairman
Devin Nunes was informed last week about invasive electronic
surveillance of senior U.S. government officials and, in turn, passed
that information onto President Trump.
This news presents Trump with an unwelcome but unavoidable choice:
confront those who have kept him in the dark about such rogue activities
or live fearfully in their shadow. (The latter was the path chosen by
President Obama. Will Trump choose the road less traveled?)
In fact Trump was told something he could have known, namely from Snowden, but indeed - very probably - did not.
But I think McGovern and Binney are correct in
saying Trump either must decide he will attack the surveillance state
(which I take it is part of the deep state, but let that be for the
moment) or sort of live with it without doing much or anything against
Here is some more:
What President Trump decides will largely determine the freedom of
action he enjoys as president on many key security and other issues. But
even more so, his choice may decide whether there is a future for this
constitutional republic. Either he can acquiesce to or fight against a
Deep State of intelligence officials who have a myriad of ways to spy on
politicians (and other citizens) and thus amass derogatory material
that can be easily transformed into blackmail.
It is my guess that Trump will do as Obama did, if only to protect his very own interests. Here is why:
The reality is that EVERYONE, including the President, is
surveilled. The technology enabling bulk collection would have made the
late demented FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s mouth water.
For more, see "Snowden" in the indexes for Nederlog since 2013. Here is what Nunes probably told Trump:
At his evening meeting on March 21 at the Old Executive Office
Building, Nunes was likely informed that all telephones, emails, etc. –
including his own and Trump’s – are being monitored by what the Soviets
used to call “the organs of state security.”
Yes - or so we may assume. This article end as follows:
Now, we suspect that much more may be learned about the special
compartmented surveillance program targeted against top U.S. national
leaders if Rep. Nunes doesn’t back down and if Trump doesn’t choose the
road most traveled – acquiescence to America’s Deep State actors.
Indeed, but I do not think the chances on that are large: Trump is there for the rich,
4. Noam Chomsky: Trump's First 100 Days Are Undermining Our Prospects for Survival
and the Deep State also covers the interests of the rich.
fourth and last article today is by C.J. Polychroniou on Truth-out:
This starts as follows:
As I have argued quite a few times and for over a year, I think the best explanation for "Trump's apparent inability to govern and conduct himself in a
remotely conventional manner" is neither "an innate character flaw" nor a "part of a
well-conceived strategy" but is that he is mad - a megalomaniac aka (in psychiatrese) as a grandiose narcissist.
The first 100 days are considered to be a benchmark for presidential
performance. This is part of the legacy of FDR, who managed to reshape
the US government's role in the economy within the first 100 days of his
administration. However, the fact of the matter is that usually, a
first-time president doesn't have the slightest inkling of what
governing from the Oval Office is all about. There's no better proof of
that than the early records of the most recent US presidents, from Nixon
to Obama. Nonetheless, no recent US president has demonstrated such an
overwhelming ignorance about governing as the current occupant of the
But is Trump's apparent inability to govern and conduct himself in a
remotely conventional manner an innate character flaw or part of a
well-conceived strategy aimed at a society that loves reality TV? Is
Trump's fondness for Putin simply an "infatuation" with a strongman and
admiration for autocratic rule, or something of a more political and
strategic nature? And what does Trump mean when he says "jobs?"
For more, see here (by professors of psychiatry and clinical psychology).
Here is more by Chomsky:
Noam Chomsky: Meanwhile, the real work is going on more quietly, spearheaded by Paul
Ryan, a different and more malicious kind of posturer, who represents
the most brutal fringe of the Republican establishment and somehow
manages to present himself as a man of ideas (..). The ideas
are quite familiar. They are the standard fare of the component of the
Republican establishment dedicated with unusual ferocity to enriching
the rich and powerful -- bankers, CEOs, and other types who matter --
while kicking in the face the vulnerable, the poor and Trump's rural and
working-class constituency. All of this abetted by the ultra-right
billionaire cabinet and other appointees, selected very carefully to
destroy whatever within their domains might be helpful to mere humans,
but not to the chosen few of extreme wealth and power.
Yes, I quite agree, and I have been saying so for a long time. And for me the ideology of Trump is quite well-described by my definition of neofascism. Indeed, one additional reason to prefer that term is the following fact (and this is still Chomsky talking):
Of course, undermining the system will harm a great many people, but
that cannot be a consideration. After all, Ryancare was going to add
some 24 million to the ranks of uninsured, which might kill more than
40,000 people annually according to an analysis
by health care specialists Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein.
If the health system can be substantially damaged, and people really do
suffer sufficiently, then the propaganda drumbeat can proceed to blame
the disaster on the political opposition, and maybe even get away with
it. A good deal is possible in the era of "alternative facts." We are
already witnessing the early stages.
If you are willing to kill 40,000 people each year by a
measure that will bring the very rich each and all over 100,000
dollars, then I think "neofascism" is the right sort of name.
And there is this on Donald Trump (Chomsky still talking):
The lead character in the show does indeed present himself as a
thin-skinned megalomaniac whose only ideology is Me. But his
appointments, and the policies for which all of this is a cover, are too
systematic to be merely random shots.
Yes, but this seems to me somewhat of a shift in
Chomsky's position, because he also has described Trump earlier as
"unpredictable". I think - for quite a long time as well -
that Trump does have an ideology, and that ideology is best described as neofascism (in my sense).
Next, one of the characteristics by which I defined neofascism is that it - unlike fascism - seeks to empower the multi-national corporations as far more important than national states.
In this context, the following is quite important (Chomsky talking):
(...) corporate ownership of the world's wealth is becoming a
more realistic measure of global power than national wealth as the
world departs more than before from the model of nationally discrete
political economies. The results of [Sean Starrs'] investigations are quite
striking. It turns out that in virtually every economic sector --
manufacturing, finance, services, retail and others -- US corporations
are well in the lead in ownership of the global economy. Overall, their
ownership is close to 50 percent of the total (...)
And there is this on Trump's budget proposals:
Trump's budget proposals are very clear: expand the military and lavish
gifts on the rich and powerful, while the rest are somehow to fend for
themselves, including his rural and working class constituency.
Finally, there are also some reasons for hope:
At the same time, there are very promising opportunities ahead. A
serious program to heal the pathologies of the neoliberal era could
attract very broad popular support. There already is popular support for
I hope Chomsky is right. There is considerably more in the article, which is strongly recommended.
It's easy to succumb to a sense of futility and despair, but objective
circumstances provide no justification for that stance. There have been
many gains over past years thanks to struggles undertaken under far
harsher conditions than those of today. These gains provide us with a
legacy that offers a great many opportunities to avoid the worst, and to
move on to a much better future.