A. Selections from August 6, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Sunday, August 6,
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 (usually) from that item
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
August 6, 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:
'Direct Attack on the First Amendment,' Sessions Declares War on Leaks
This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. This stars as follows:
"staggering" number of leaks that have emerged from the Trump White
House over the last several months, Attorney General Jeff Sessions
announced during a press conference on Friday that the Justice
Department is gearing up to intensify its pursuit of those who disclose
sensitive and classified information.
I care considerably less for
Amendment (<- Wikipedia), although I think it is important
as regards free speech and the freedom of the press, as I do about the
rise of totalitarianism
in the USA, for that is what it is: Soon "the media" in the USA will only
be allowed to print what the government allows them to print.
Sessions went on to
declare that the Justice Department will seek to punish not just those
who leak the information, but also the news
organizations that decide to publish it. The department will soon
be conducting a "review" of its "policies affecting media subpoenas,"
These comments—which come
in the midst of President Donald Trump's sustained
attacks on journalists and the media—were viewed by press freedom
groups, journalists, and civil libertarians as "a
direct attack on the First Amendment."
Ben Wizner, director of
the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said
in response to Sessions's press conference that "[e]very American
should be concerned about the Trump administration's threat to step up
its efforts against whistleblowers and journalists," as it represents
an attack "on democracy as a whole."
There is more in the article, that is recommended.
Worse: Trump’s Campaign Agenda or Empowering Generals and CIA
Operatives to Subvert it?
This article is by
Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept. This starts as follows:
Yes, or a bit more
During his successful
2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump, for better and for worse,
advocated a slew of policies that attacked the most sacred prongs
of long-standing bipartisan Washington consensus. As a result, he
was (and continues to be) viewed as uniquely repellent by the
neoliberal and neoconservative guardians of that consensus, along with
their sprawling network of agencies, think tanks, financial policy
organs, and media outlets used to implement their agenda (CIA,
NSA, the Brookings/AEI think tank axis, Wall Street, Silicon Valley,
Whatever else there is to
say about Trump, it is simply a fact that the 2016 election saw elite
circles in the U.S., with very few exceptions, lining up with
remarkable fervor behind his Democratic opponent. Top CIA officials openly
declared war on Trump in the nation’s
op-ed pages and one of
their operatives (now an
MSNBC favorite) was tasked with stopping
him in Utah, while Time
Magazine reported, just a week before the election, that “the
banking industry has supported Clinton with buckets of cash . . .
. what bankers most like about Clinton is that she is not Donald
While in previous days - and until about 1980 - "the American people"
had some voice in their own government, which they could
publish in the media and enforce in elections, since 1980 the
very rich (like the Koch brothers, but there are quite a few more) bought
most of the Senate (a hundred persons, in all: Not very difficult if
you own billions) and most of the House, and also heavily
centralized the media, which now also mostly - especially the
mainstream media - talk in the terms and only deal in the
subjects that their rich owners desire are talked about.
Democracy is dead in the USA, indeed not because the majority
of the American people desire it, but because the majority of the
extremely rich have bought the majority of the Senate and the
House and the vast majority of the mainstream media. And they
only wish to hear or read what the very rich approved is good for "the
population" to hear or read.
There is also this, from somewhere in the middle of the article:
Whatever else is
true, there is now simply no question that there is open warfare
between adherents to the worldview Trump advocated in order to win, and
the permanent national security power faction in Washington that –
sometimes for good, and sometimes for evil – despises that agenda.
I don't know, in fact mostly
because both the Republicans ("the worldview Trump advocated") and the Democrats ("the permanent national security power faction in Washington") have been bought by the very rich,
in large majority at least.
And while I agree with Greenwald that what he now calls "the National Security State" may dislike Trump basically because he is not sane but is a
very unpredictable megalomaniac who doesn't follow
their views when he doesn't like to, in fact their difficulties with
Trump are management problems - how to control Trump's utter
lack of sanity - much rather than ideological or political
difficulties: They have solved their principal difficulties
simply by buying most of "the people's representatives".
Here is Greenwald's ending:
In terms of some
of the popular terms that are often thrown around these days – such as
“authoritarianism” and “democratic norms” and “U.S. traditions” – it’s
hard to imagine many things that would pose a greater threat to all of
that than empowering the National Security State (what, before Trump,
has long been called the Deep State) to exert precisely the power that
is supposed to be reserved exclusively for elected officials. In sum,
Trump opponents should be careful of what they wish for, as it
might come true.
First, I think I like
the substitution of "the National
Security State" for "the Deep
State", fundamentally because it
is more clear as to who is in the Deep State and who runs
the Deep State (the secret services of the USA, basically,
together with some very rich men and their lawyers and senators).
But second, and supposing I am right that the National Security State
has most of the powers they wanted anyway, I am still more
against Trump than against Obama - say, if the political frontmen are
to be mentioned - simply because (and I am a psychologist, who knows a
lot better what madness is like than most non-psychologists) I think Trump is not sane but is a
madman, and one should not give madmen the powers to blow
up the whole world.
And this is a recommended article.
Party of New Zealand Hosts #AntiSpyBill Live Event
article is by Emmy Niles on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
There is some more in
the article, but it is basically here because I think that "spying and covertly filming them inside their
probably happens now all over "the West", and not just in New
Zealand or the USA or Great Britain.
The Internet Party of New Zealand
is live-streaming its general election campaign, featuring guests such
as award-winning investigative journalist Barrett Brown, hacktivist Lauri
Love and stand-up comedian Lee Camp. The party’s platform is based on
internet freedom and consumer privacy protections, and it’s looking to
the public to help draft legislation during the #AntiSpyBill event,
which will stream live on YouTube on Sunday, Aug. 6, from 8 p.m.–11
p.m. NZST (1 a.m.– 4 a.m. PDT).
A press release from the
Internet Party explains:
Once finalised the
draft legislation, dubbed the 2017 #AntiSpyBill, will be submitted to
human rights, privacy and political organisations and groups around the
world, to lobby for its adoption.
The initiative seeks to
counter the damage to democratic and human rights inflicted upon New
Zealanders by a string of draconian spying laws passed between 2013 and
2016. These laws have retroactively legalised previously illegal
targeting of New Zealanders, including warrantless spying and covertly
filming them inside their homes, Orwell-style - a practice referred to
in law as “domestic visual surveillance”.
Anyway, this is a recommended article.
Leverage Trump-Hate for More Wars
article is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews. This starts as follows:
A savvy Washington
observer once told me that the political reality about the
neoconservatives is that they alone couldn’t win you a single precinct
in the United States. But both Republicans and Democrats still line up
to gain neocon support or at least neocon acceptance.
Part of the reason for
this paradox is the degree of dominance that the neoconservatives have
established in the national news media – as op-ed writers and TV
commentators – and the neocon ties to the Israel Lobby that is famous
for showering contributions on favored politicians and on the opponents
of those not favored.
Since the neocons’
emergence as big-time
foreign policy players in the Reagan administration, they also have
demonstrated extraordinary resilience, receiving a steady flow of money
often through U.S. government-funded grants from organizations such as
the National Endowment for Democracy and through donations from military
contractors to hawkish neocon think tanks.
Yes indeed. There is
considerably more in the article, that ends as follows:
In fact, I believe "the neocon agenda" has the vast majority simply because most Senators and
most House members have been bought by the rich. But this is a
In other words, the
prospects for advancing the neocon agenda of more “regime change” wars
and coups have grown – and the neocons can claim as their allies
virtually the entire Democratic Party hierarchy which is so eager to
appease its angry #Resistance base that even the heightened risk of
nuclear war is being ignored.
your brain: How Silicon Valley denies us the freedom to pay attention
article is by David Priest on Salon. It starts as follows:
Yes, indeed. There is
considerably more, including Priest's answer to the question what
ordinary people should do.
In late June, Mark
Zuckerberg announced the new mission of Facebook: “To give people the
power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
The rhetoric of the
statement is carefully selected, centered on empowering people, and in
so doing, ushering in world peace, or at least something like it. Tech
giants across Silicon Valley are adopting similarly utopian visions,
casting themselves as the purveyors of a more connected, more
enlightened, more empowered future. Every year, these companies
articulate their visions onstage at internationally streamed pep
rallies, Apple’s WWDC and Google’s I/O being the best known.
But companies like
Facebook can only “give people the power” because we first ceded it to
them, in the form of our attention. After all, that is how many Silicon
Valley companies thrive: Our attention, in the form of eyes and ears,
provides a medium for them to advertise to us. And the more time we
spend staring at them, the more money Facebook and Twitter make — in
effect, it’s in their interest that we become psychologically
dependent on the self-esteem boost from being wired in all the time.
This quest for our
eyeballs doesn’t mesh well with Silicon Valley’s utopian visions of
world peace and people power. Earlier this year, many sounded alarm
bells when a “60 Minutes” exposť revealed the creepy cottage industry
of “brain-hacking,” industrial psychology techniques
that tech giants use and study to make us spend as much time staring at
screens as possible.
My own response is this:
I don't like Windows. It is not open source. I don't use it.
I don't like Facebook. It combines propagandizing with spying. I don't use it.
I don't like Google. It's spying. I don't use it (except for Youtube).
I don't like Twitter. It's stupefying. I don't use it.
And I think anybody can
do this. This is a recommended article.