A. Selections from July 12, 2017
B. On my eyes
This is a Nederlog of
Wednesday, July 12,
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.
explained, the crisis files will have a different
format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items
I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one
selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit
of a taste of the item linked.
So the new format is as follows:
Link to an item with its orginal title,
One selection from that item (indented)
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
July 12, 2017
items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at
every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
of ‘Biological Annihilation’ Is Underway, Scientists Warn
This is by Tatiana Schlossberg on The New York Times. It starts as
is also this:
From the common barn swallow to the exotic giraffe,
thousands of animal species are in precipitous decline, a sign that an
irreversible era of mass extinction is underway, new research finds.
study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences, calls the current decline in animal populations a “global
epidemic” and part of the “ongoing sixth
mass extinction” caused in large measure by human destruction of
animal habitats. The previous five extinctions were caused by natural
Gerardo Ceballos, a researcher at the Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México in Mexico City, acknowledged that the study is
written in unusually alarming tones for an academic research paper. “It
wouldn’t be ethical right now not to speak in this strong language to
call attention to the severity of the problem,” he said.
Dr. Ceballos emphasized that he and his co-authors, Paul R. Ehrlich and
Rodolfo Dirzo, both professors at Stanford University, are not
alarmists, but are using scientific data to back up their assertions
that significant population decline and possible mass extinction of
species all over the world may be imminent, and that both have been
underestimated by many other scientists.
Conservatively, scientists estimate that 200 species have
gone extinct in the past 100 years; the “normal” extinction rate over
the past two million years has been that two species go extinct every
100 years because of evolutionary and other factors.
Rather than extinctions, the
paper looks at how populations are doing: the disappearance of entire
populations, and the decrease of the number of individuals within a
population. Over all, they found this phenomenon is occurring globally,
but that tropical regions, which have the greatest biodiversity, are
experiencing the greatest loss in numbers, and that temperate regions
are seeing higher proportions of population loss. Dr. Ehrlich, who rose
to prominence in the 1960s after he wrote “The
Population Bomb,” a book that predicted the imminent collapse of
humanity because of overpopulation, said he saw a similar phenomenon in
the animal world as a result of human activity.
As I have been saying: There are too many people, and
in the 45 years I have been following this hardly anything effective
has been done about it.
FCC Commissioner on How Greater Media Consolidation is a Threat to
Democracy and Free Speech
This is by Amy
Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the
As the Trump
administration weighs the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger, we talk
about the risks of greater media consolidation with former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. He’s currently
special adviser on media and democracy reform at Common Cause.
And here is Michael
COPPS: You know, it’s
just giving too much power to one company, a power that no one company
should be able to exercise in a democracy like ours. We’ve gotten to
the point now, with the Trump administration and the new FCC, where just about any merger proposal is
possible. It used to be, four, five years ago, you know, we’d say,
"Well, that merger is so off the charts that nobody would ever consider
it." I think that’s gone. Wall Street loves these mergers. But you have
to stop and think about the price we are paying for that. They cost
billions of dollars. And the first thing they do after the FCC rubber-stamps the proposal is: "Where can we
make economies? Oh, how about the newsroom? Let’s shut down the local
station newsroom that we’re buying, or let’s consolidate two or three
voices into one voice." So, it really is a democracy issue and a free
Here is more:
I am sorry:
COPPS: Well, fake news
is a difficult problem to handle, but I think the best way to do it is
to get some real news, to rebuild journalism, to find a model for
journalism on the internet, if the internet is really going to be our
democratic tool of the future. There is no model there to sustain
broadly based investigative journalism. So real news is part of the
answer. Media literacy is part of the answer, so training kids—you
know, I’m in favor of a K-through-12 media literacy program in the
United States, so kids know what’s reliable and what’s not, where they
should go on the internet for facts and all of that. And then it’s up
to people like you. And you do a wonderful job of it, and some others,
too, but not mainstream media, in pointing out what is—what is fake.
But most of all, we need—we
need to have an informed citizenry in order to defend our ability to
practice self-government. And we’re getting perilously close to not
having that now. So, this diminishment of journalism that we’ve seen in
mainstream media and our inability to craft a model on new media of the
internet to bring reporters back is really costing us. I mean, we’ve
lost probably a third to a half of our newsroom employees since the
(1) The internet is not going to be our democratic tool of the
It seems basically designed (long ago) for spying on everyone, and has
created the secret services that know everything about anyone (not in
the sense of knowing-by-humans, but in the sense
ofhaving-available-to-humans-in-secret-services). For more see this: Crisis: propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968.
(2) As to "media
literacy": That never existed and does not exist for the great
majority of any population of any country.
(3) As to "informed citizenry": That also never existed, at least not if you qualify this
by "rationally informed".
Chomsky to Chris Hedges: ‘Everywhere You Look, There’s Public Subsidy’
This is by Chris
Hedges, and is part two of two interviews. Part
one was reviewed under the last link. This has the following
In the second part of
renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky’s recent conversation about his
latest book, “Requiem for the American Dream,” with Truthdig columnist
Chris Hedges, the author explains how the banking, fossil fuel and tech
sectors all profit immensely from taxpayer dollars. They also discuss a
range of topics including the importance of political solidarity and
the damage that gerrymandering has done to American democracy.
The interview is
Contact: Noam Chomsky - Part II. This is quite interesting and quite clear.
Libertarian Strategy to Make America as Screwed-Up as Texas
This is by Mark
Karlin on AlterNet and originally on Truthout. It starts as follows:
When and how were the
seeds sown for the modern far-right's takeover of American politics?
Nancy MacLean reveals the deep and troubling roots of this
secretive political establishment -- and its decades-long plan to
change the rules of democratic governance -- in her new book, Democracy
in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for
America. Get your copy by making a donation to Truthout now!
And there is this in
Mark Karlin: Can
you summarize the importance of James McGill Buchanan to the
development of the modern extreme right wing in the United States?
Nancy MacLean: The
modern extreme right wing I'm talking about, just to be clear, is the
libertarian movement that now sails under the Republican flag,
particularly but not only the Freedom Caucus, yet goes back to the
1950s in both parties. President Eisenhower called them "stupid" and
fashioned his approach -- calling it modern Republicanism -- as an
antidote to them. Goldwater was their first presidential
candidate. He bombed. Reagan, they believed, was going to enact
their agenda. He didn't. But beginning in the early 2000s, they
became a force to be reckoned with. What had changed? The
discovery by their chief funder, Charles Koch, of the approach
developed by James McGill Buchanan for how to take apart the liberal
economics at the University of Chicago and belonged to the same milieu
as F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises, but he used his
training to analyze public life. And he supplied what no one else had:
an operational strategy to vanquish the model of government they had
been criticizing for decades -- and prevent it from being recreated. It
was Buchanan who taught Koch that for capitalism to thrive, democracy
must be enchained.
There is considerably
more in the interview.
ART OF THE (TRUMP AND PUTIN) DEAL
This is by Robert Reich on his site. This starts as
Vladimir Putin, and you did a deal with Trump last
year. Whether there was such a deal is being
investigated. But if you are
Putin and you did do a deal, what might Trump have agreed to do
Actually, I do not
think that Putin and Trump "did
a deal" "last
year": I think that is most
probably propaganda, simply because no real evidence has
ever been given.
Reich also knows this (I think), but he puts it forward as a
hypothesis. There also is a brief video about this, which is here.
B. On my eyes
Here is some more on my eyes and on the present situation
with Ubuntu 14.04.
First: what is the present situation with my eyes?
I have been dripping my eyes for more than five years now, and this
helped rather a lot, though all quite slowly. My eyes were
better now than they were in 2015, when it was simply impossible
to use 14.04.
It seems at present as if using 14.04 is just possible, if I
take care. That is where it is now. I suppose - if my eyes do not get
worse - I can just manage it. But there is a problem:
Second: The difficulties with Firefox blacking out (on
my computer) returned yesterday. I suppose Firefox doesn't have
sufficient information to do this quickly, but I haven't found the
cause yet. (It restores and works after some 10 seconds.)
It is probable that I will find out, but on the moment I have not been
sleeping enough and am not well, so I will have to postpone this or the