A. Selections from
October 13, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Friday, October 13,
This is a crisis
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 will
continue with it.
moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from October 13, 2017
Tech Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now
Viewed as Threats
2. “I Hate Everyone in the White House!”: Trump
Seethes as Advisers Fear the
3. Ai Weiwei's Harrowing Film on the Refugee Crisis
Is a Must-See
4. Trump Threatens
Genocide, Crimes Against
in North Korea
5. Is Trump Unraveling?
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:
Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now Viewed as Threats
article is by David Streitfeld on the New York Times. It starts as
I don't think
Suckerbug from the spying Fuckbook ever publicly said anything
that is honest and true, but then again I despise him and his company
and I don't want anything to do with it and never did.
At the start of this
decade, the Arab Spring blossomed with the help of social media. That
is the sort of story the tech industry loves to tell about itself: It
is bringing freedom, enlightenment and a better future for all mankind.
Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, proclaimed that this
was exactly why his social network existed. In a 2012 manifesto for
investors, he said Facebook was a tool to create “a more honest and
transparent dialogue around government.” The result, he said, would be
“better solutions to some of the biggest problems of our time.”
Now tech companies are under
fire for creating problems instead of solving them.
As to David Streitfeld: He is - it seems: I am not a regular
reader of the NYT, though I glance at it every day - one of the
computer specialists of the NYT who was, until now it seems, a strong
enthusiast for computers and computer technology.
I am not - and I explained this quite thoroughly in 2012 (before
knowing anything about Edward Snowden, whose courage and honesty in
2013 strongly supported me) in my Crisis:
Christmas sermon: Hypotheses about CF+SS : I did like
computers from 1979,
when I first used an Apple II of a friend (I got my own computerin
1987) until ca. 2010, but I have learned since then that everybody
is spied upon by very numerous secret services and by very
numerous corporate entities like Google, Facebook, Apple, Windows
Amazone, and is very probably far better known by their secret
dossiers these entities compiled on them than they know themselves.
Since I think spying on ordinary citizens is fascistic, extremely
immoral, extremey sickening, and extremely dangerous for everyone spied
any entity, and in total contradiction with my human rights, I have radically
diminished my computer activities since 2012, limiting myself to
Firefox and e-mails on a desktop. I don't have and never wlll have a
cell-phone; nor a Facebook account; nor do or did I buy anything from
Amazone; and neither do I use Windows since 2012 nor an Apple since the
early 1990s, etc. etc.
In brief, my own conclusions about computers and the internet - and see
Crisis: Robert Reich,
Socialism, 11 hypotheses about the causes of the crisis that is the latest version of the hypotheses
I first stated in 2012 - are that
1. Computers and the internet are by far the best
means to start a
society in which almost everyone is fully
controlled by totally
unknown entities and persons who can
manipulate and deceive them, and
control whatever information they get, and also
2. They have been very probably designed
and Control: Brezezinski 1968) to do and be precisely
otherwise Brezinski could not have predicted in 1968 precisely
what was there by 2000).
You may disagree, but I know a whole lot about computing and politics,
and much as I dislike these conclusions, I think they are very probably
Anyway, back to the article, that certainly was written by someone who
is much less radical in his opinions than I am:
have accrued a
tremendous amount of power and influence. Amazon determines how
people shop, Google how they acquire knowledge, Facebook how they
communicate. All of them are making decisions about who gets a digital
megaphone and who should be unplugged from the web.
I have concluded - from information others compiled about my sites -
that Google very probably bans me, although so far Youtube works for me.
Their amount of concentrated
authority resembles the divine right of kings, and is sparking a
backlash that is still gathering force.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this piece:
Rosenstein is right,
though also not - by far - as radical as I am.
Justin Rosenstein, a former Facebook engineer, was portrayed
recent Guardian story as an apostate: Noting that sometimes
inventors have regrets, he said he had programmed his new phone to not
let him use the social network.
Mr. Rosenstein, a co-founder of Asana, an office
productivity start-up, said in an email that he had banned not just
Facebook but also the Safari and Chrome browsers, Gmail and other
There is a lot more in this article, that is recommended.
Hate Everyone in the White House!”: Trump Seethes as Advisers Fear the
President Is “Unraveling”
This article is by Gabriel Sherman on Vanity Fair.
It starts with the following subtitle:
recent days, I’ve spoken with a half dozen prominent Republicans and
Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as
advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly
unfocused and consumed by dark moods.
article itself starts as follows:
At first it sounded like
hyperbole, the escalation of a Twitter war. But now it’s clear that Bob
Corker’s remarkable New York Times interview—in
which the Republican senator described the White House as “adult day
care” and warned Trump could start World War III—was an inflection
point in the Trump presidency. It brought into the open what several
people close to the president have recently told me in private: that
Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.”
Yes indeed - but it
is also true that psychologists (like me) could have told him so very
much earlier, and indeed did so in my case (and I certainly
was not - by far - the first to do so) e.g. in Crisis: Is Donald Trump Mentally Ill? and in Crisis: Donald Trump is a megalomaniac neofascist (I think).
Incidentally: when I do
speak of "neofascism" I am not scolding; I
am using a quite
good definition (that I have not seen anyone else use, but then again I
know much more about fascism and neofascism
than the vast majority does ).
Here is more by
In recent days, I spoke
with a half dozen prominent
Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House
in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be
increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods.
I only like to draw
your attention to my Crisis:
Is Donald Trump Mentally Ill? - that mostly consists of quotes by
psychologists and psychiatrists who said (and predicted) just that
Then there is this:
According to two sources
familiar with the conversation, Trump vented to his longtime security
chief, Keith Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White
House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!” (A White House
official denies this.) Two senior Republican officials said Chief of
Staff John Kelly is miserable in his job and is
remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of
I say. Well... the
president of the USA can start a nuclear war in five
minutes or so. I very much do hope Kelly or others prevent
so, but these are
the facts: If Trump wants to start a nuclear war, he very probably can
do so, as long as he is president of the USA.
And that is also the
subject of the last quotation from this article:
First note the term
"speculated". And second, tackling the president of the USA is both
very difficult and very risky.
One former official even
speculated that Kelly and Secretary of Defense James
Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event
Trump ordered a nuclear first strike. “Would they tackle him?” the
person said. Even Trump’s most loyal backers are sowing public doubts.
There is more in the article, that is strongly recommended.
Weiwei's Harrowing Film on the Refugee Crisis Is a Must-See
This article is by
Sonali Kolhatkar on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I wrote about Ai Weiwei on October 10 (and this
is strongly recommended, as are the sources on Democracy Now!).
Once called the “contemporary
art world’s most powerful player,” Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei has
turned his focus onto the most urgent humanitarian issue of our time:
the global refugee crisis. In a new documentary called “Human Flow,” the artist—who has
made political statements the core of his art—explores how war,
violence and climate change have made refugees of 65 million people.
Ai, who traveled with his
camera crew to 23 countries over the course of a year, captured
intimate moments of desperation that have driven refugees from Syria,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, Palestine, Myanmar and elsewhere, risking
their lives to escape violence. The film is sweeping and vast, with
drone-camera shots utilizing aerial views to showcase the extent of the
crisis, combined with intimate iPhone footage taken by Ai.
time it is about another subject than Ai Weiwei himself, namely
about no less than 65 million refugees
that are - for the most part - left to their own miseries by the
governments of Europe and the USA:
Precisely. There is
considerably more in the article, that ends as follows:
“Human Flow” is essential
viewing for Americans, whose government has not only had a hand in
creating many of the crises that drive migration, but is also actively
closing the door to refugees. “The U.S. does have a responsibility,” Ai
told me in an interview
about his film. “Very often people in the United States think that
something happening in different continents doesn’t really affect the
U.S.” But, he says, “Look at U.S. policy and what’s happening today:
the travel ban, or the building of this ‘beautiful’ fence or wall
between the U.S. and Mexico. It all shows that the leadership has a
very, very questionable position in dealing with migration and
Indeed, President Donald
Trump—with the help of the Supreme Court—has kept in place a
de facto blanket ban on refugees entering the country.
I have one point of
criticism: if "our
"the fact that those who
are fleeing are real people who bleed when they are injured" then I infer that "our discussions"
were much more like propaganda
than like the real facts.
What Ai’s film offers is
what is missing most from our discussions of the refugee crisis: the
fact that those who are fleeing are real people who bleed when they are
injured, who cry when they are hurt, among whom are innocent children
and tired elders, who are all being abandoned in a moment we will
collectively look back on in shame.
“Human Flow” opens in
theaters nationwide in October. Learn more online at www.humanflow.com.
But this is a recommended article.
Threatens Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea
This article is by Marjorie
Crohn on Truthdig and originally on Truthout. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump threatened
to “totally destroy North Korea” in his address to the United Nations
General Assembly on September 19. That threat violates the UN Charter,
and indicates an intent to commit genocide, crimes against humanity,
the war crime of collective punishment and international humanitarian
law. Moreover, a first-strike use of nuclear weapons would violate
By threatening to attack
North Korea, Trump is endangering the lives of countless people. In the
past, he has indicated his willingness to use nuclear weapons and Kim
Jong-un has threatened to retaliate. The rapidly escalating rhetoric
and provocative maneuvers on both sides has taken us to the brink of
Yes, I agree, although to
speak of "endangering the lives
of countless people" is considerably
less precise than it could be: There are
24 million North
Koreans and 61 million South Koreans, and all of these are personally
threatened by a nuclear war: That sums to 85 million
persons - and that
is assuming that a nuclear war, if it occurs in Korea, remains limited
Here is North Korea's
reaction to Trump's - utterly illegal - threats:
Trump’s threat prompted
North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho to state, “Given the fact that
this [threat] came from someone who holds the seat of the US
presidency, this is clearly a declaration of war.”
Ri added, “Since the
United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to
make counter-measures, including the right to shoot down United States
strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of
Next, a considerable part
of the rest of the article is taken up by good explanations why Trump's
threats were illegal. I leave them to your interests, and only quote
the ending of the article:
Yes indeed - but (thanks to
Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, in good part, for they
Bernie Sanders' chances to compete with Trump about the presidency)
Congress is Republican, and most of the Republicans are very rightist.
apocalyptic threat against North Korea violates international law. It
also imperils the lives of untold numbers of people. We must urge
Congress to prevent Trump from launching a catastrophic war.
And this is a recommended article.
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
In fact, I have reviewed
both Corker and Sherman's
article in Nederlog. But this was by way of
Last week, Senator
Bob Corker, the
Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged
in an interview
with the New York Times that Trump
was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats
other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War
said he was concerned about Trump. “He would have to concern anyone who
about our nation,” Corker said, adding that “the
vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here …
volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work
takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”
Corker’s interview was
followed by a report from Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, who
wrote that the situation
has gotten so out of control that Trump’s chief of staff, John
Kelly, and Secretary of
Defense Jim Mattis have discussed ways to stop Trump should he order a
Here is more:
Kelly has tried to
Trump focused by intercepting outside phone calls to the White House
restricting access to the Oval Office. Many of Trump’s advisors believe
is “unstable” and “unravelling” quickly.
Is Trump really
unraveling? Are Republican leaders ready to pull the plug? I phoned an
old friend, a Republican former member of
Congress who keeps up with what’s going on. I scribbled notes as
I am not a lawyer (like
most American politicians, it seems) but I am a psychologist, and it is
obvious to me - as a psychologist - that since March 14, 2016 that Trump is not sane.
Here is some of the
dialogue between Reich and the "Republican
former member of
He: (..) Others are
thinking about doing
what Bob did. Sounding the alarm. They think Trump’s nuts. Unfit.
Me: Well, they
already knew that, didn’t
He: But now it’s
personal. It started with
the Sessions stuff. Jeff was as loyal as they come. Trump’s crapping on
like kicking your puppy. And then, you know, him beating up on Mitch
Obamacare fiasco. And going after Flake and the others.
I say: They were not
much worried when millions of others were threatened, but they
were when it got personal. And while I grant that is the normal
reaction, they have extremely powerful positions that do
interest in the interests of others than themselves.
But OK... here is some more:
Me: You think Trump
is really thinking
He: Who knows what’s
in his head? But I can
tell you this. He’s not listening to anyone. Not a soul. He’s got the
codes and, well, it scares the hell out of me. It’s starting to scare
them. That’s really why Bob spoke up.
I say, once again, but this
time because I entirely agree: "He’s got the nuclear
codes and, well, it scares the hell out of me."
Here is the ending:
I agree, although - again as a
psychologist - while I do
agree "he is getting crazier" I know
that the ordinary moral norms that do apply to ordinary normal people
do not quite apply, in the same sense, to people who are insane, as I
think Trump is.
Me: So what’s gonna
He: You got me. I’m
just glad I’m not there
anymore. Trump’s not just a moron. He’s a despicable human being. And
getting crazier. Paranoid. Unhinged. Everyone knows it. I mean, we’re
up to our eyeballs with this guy.
Then again, he also is the president of the USA, who can start a
nuclear war when he pleases.
 I have now been saying since the
end of 2015 that
xs4all.nl is systematically
ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds,
as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between
two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been
there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any
other Dutch provider is any better (!!).
I gave this reference to 2012 because it is the earliest reference, but
the latest update is here: On The
Crisis: Robert Reich,
Socialism, 11 hypotheses about the causes of the crisis.
Because my grandfather was murdered by the Nazis in a concent- ration
camp; my father survived more than 3 years an 9 months of German
concentration camps (both for resisting the Nazis); and because I have
been - totally falsely, because I did oppose the
communist and later postmodernistic ASVA - called "a filthy fascist"
(many times) and "a terrorist, a terrorist, a terrorist" for opposing
The first happened the first time over 40 years ago (and was many times
repeated until 1989); the second happened in 1988, when I was illegally
denied the right of taking the M.A. in philosophy after I had publicly
criticized the totally incompetent parasites (all but one) wo "taught"