A. Selections from
October 19, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, October 19,
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 19, 2017
Blaming Russia for the Internet ‘Sewer’
2. Trump's Rumored Candidate to Run the CIA Could
Plunge America into a Hot War
3. Trump's Most
Reckless Decision Yet
4. An Independent Thinker’s Guide to the Tax
5. Taking Orwell’s Name In Vain
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:
Russia for the Internet ‘Sewer’
This article is by
Robert Parry on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
With the U.S. government offering
tens of millions of dollars to combat Russian “propaganda and
disinformation,” it’s perhaps not surprising that we see “researchers”
such as Jonathan Albright of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at
Columbia University making the absurd accusation that the Russians have
“basically turned [the Internet] into a sewer.”
I’ve been operating on
the Internet since 1995 and I can assure you that the Internet has
always been “a sewer” — in that it has been home to crazy conspiracy
theories, ugly personal insults, click-bait tabloid “news,” and pretty
much every vile prejudice you can think of. Whatever some Russians may
or may not have done in buying $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to
its $27 billion in annual revenue) or opening 201 Twitter accounts (out
of Twitter’s 328 million monthly users), the Russians are not
responsible for the sewage coursing through the Internet.
Yes indeed. Also, I
can add two things:
I have been on the
internet since 1996, and I agree it "has always been “a sewer”" that indeed spread "pretty much every vile prejudice you can think of", although an essential part
of spreading "pretty much every vile prejudice" is that
(1) those who spread it are nearly all anonymous (except for the
secret services and the large corporations that control the internet),
(2) I am firmly convinced that the internet has been designed since
1967 or so to become the secret controller and the spies (from the
secret services) on everyone.
The first is self-evident
for anyone who ever looked at a few comments.
It means that you cannot hang these anonymous degenerates on
the internet, precisely because they are and remain anonymous, by the
The second is considerably
less self-evident, but seems to be the only reasonable explanation
for what the internet has become, which is what Zbigniew
Brzezinski already knew in 1968,
as shown in Crisis:
and Control: Brezezinski 1968, even though in 1968
Brzezinski's ideas were extremely anti-democratic, authoritarian
I keep it at this, and
return to the article:
Asians, Africans and pretty much every other segment of the world’s
population didn’t need Russian help to turn the Internet into an
informational “sewer.” But, of course, fairness and proportionality
have no place in today’s Russia-gate frenzy.
After all, your
“non-governmental organization” or your scholarly “think tank” is not
get a piece of the $160 million that the U.S. government authorized
last December to counter primarily Russian “propaganda and
disinformation” if you explain that the Russians are at most
responsible for a tiny trickle of “sewage” compared to the vast rivers
of “sewage” coming from many other sources.
Yes, indeed. And
something that Parry does not mention in his - fine - article
is that in fact Russia is a very capitalist
nation since 1991,
albeit also a quite authoritarian one; that the capitalism is to a
considerable extent due to much help from the Americans in the
and that Russia is not at all a socialist state anymore -
of these things are mentioned in the propaganda
Here is a part of the
reasons Parry is quite right:
Albright’s full quote
about the Russians allegedly exploiting various social media platforms
on the Internet was: “They’ve gone to every possible medium and
basically turned it into a sewer.”
But let’s look at the
facts. According to Facebook, the suspected “Russian-linked” accounts
purchased $100,000 in ads from 2015 to 2017 (compared to Facebook’s
annual revenue of about $27 billion), with only 44 percent of those ads
appearing before the 2016 election and many having
little or nothing to do with politics, which is curious if the
Kremlin’s goal was to help elect Donald Trump and defeat Hillary
To put this in
perspective: $ 27 billion / $ 100,000 = the 0.00001th (a hundred
thousandth) part of Facebook's
annual revenue. And this seems to be the main reason why "the Russians have “basically turned [the
Internet] into a sewer.”".
I say! There is
considerably more in the article, that is recommended.
Rumored Candidate to Run the CIA Could Plunge America into a Hot War
This article is by
Heather Digby Parsons on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as
It may be that it took
direct, vicious attacks on the mainstream media for its practitioners
to understand the catastrophe of Donald Trump and cover him both
factually and, more important, truthfully. They aren't perfect, but
they aren't being the lapdogs we all saw during the Bush administration
and thank goodness for that. Still, they have yet to kill some stale
old tropes that desperately need to be thrown overboard. One of them is
this idea that there are "grownups" out there somewhere who will come
rescue us from the folly of our democratic choices.
But with the election of Donald Trump and his infantile bullying, this
meme has returned in a big way.
First (I am a
philosopher), what are the differences between "factually" and
am just curious about what Parsons thinks.
And second, while I
grant that there may be a bit less propaganda in reporting
about Trump than there was about Bush Jr. I think that is mainly
due to the fact that Trump attacked all media for spreading
"fake news" (essentially: news that Trump does not like)
and not to the increased decency or honesty or the overall
truthfulness of the mainstream media.
There is also this:
If Pompeo were to be
moved into Tillerson's spot, that would open up the CIA job, and word
is that Trump is considering Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas for that
position. Cotton is only 40 years old and has had one term in the House
and three years in the Senate, so he seems a bit young for the job. (In
fact, he's the youngest current U.S. senator.)
Well... yes, but
these are mere rumors. And I picked this article for the wrong
(but I leave it standing: I have just so much energy, and besides I do
grant that now and then my selections are mistaken).
Most Reckless Decision Yet
This article is
by Phyllis Bennis on AlterNet and originally on Foreign Policy in
Focus. It starts as follows:
competition, Trump’s latest Iran move ranks near the top of the list of
the most reckless actions of this ever-so-reckless presidency. The
president announced recently that he was refusing to certify Iran’s
compliance with the landmark nuclear agreement it reached with the U.S.
and several other world powers during the Obama administration.
This dangerous move won’t
scuttle the deal entirely — at least not yet — but it undermines the
strength of the international agreement and ultimately increases the
threat of war. While Trump has said he’s not pulling out of the deal
just now, he’s threatening to do so if Congress doesn’t pass new
With virtually every Iran
expert on the planet in agreement that Tehran is keeping its end of the
nuclear deal, it’s clear that Trump’s motives are purely political. But
if anything that makes his decision only more dangerous.
Yes, this seems all correct
to me, though I think one thing has to be added: Iran has also
that the deal has been made; that they are sticking to it; and that
they will not renegotiate a deal that has been made and that
Here is a bit more about
Yet Trump scorned pleas
from key U.S. allies, members
of Congress from both parties, and his own top security
advisers, all of whom urged him to maintain the deal.
In withdrawing from a
deal that Iran was keeping in good faith, Trump abandoned any pretense
of maintaining U.S. credibility as a reliable negotiating partner.
Instead, he justified decertifying Iranian compliance with a
combination of exaggerations, complaints
about actions that have nothing to do with the actual terms of the
deal, and outright lies.
He also tossed out the line, without a shred of evidence, that “many
people believe Iran is dealing with North Korea.”
I think that is also all
correct. There is more in the article that I leave to your interests.
Independent Thinker’s Guide to the Tax Debate
This article is by
Chuck Collins on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
For 40 years, tax cutters
in Congress have told us, “we have a tax cut for you.” And each time,
they count on us to suspend all judgment.
In exchange, we’ve gotten
staggering inequality, collapsing public infrastructure, a fraying
safety net, and exploding deficits. Meanwhile, a small segment of the
richest one tenth of 1 percent have become fabulously wealthy at the
expense of everyone else.
Ready for more?
Now, Trump and
congressional Republicans have rolled out a tax plan that the
independent Tax Policy Center estimates will give 80
percent of the benefits to the richest 1 percent of taxpayers.
The good news is the
majority aren’t falling for it this time around. Recent
polls indicate that over 62 percent of the public oppose additional
tax cuts for the wealthy and 65 percent are against additional tax cuts
to large corporations.
I think this is mostly
quite correct, although I also think that the reason many people do not
see this is less that they suspended "all judgment" than that
they were lied to
the lies and the propaganda.
Here is more:
You’ll hear that the U.S.
has the “highest corporate taxes in the world.” While the legal rate is
35 percent, the effective rate — the percentage of income
actually paid — is closer to 15 percent, thanks to loopholes and other
The Wall Street
corporations pulling out their big lobbying guns have a lot of
experience with lowering their tax bills this way, but they don’t use
the extra cash to create jobs.
The evidence, as my
Institute for Policy Studies colleague Sarah Anderson found, is that
they more often buy back their stock, give their CEOs a massive bonus,
pay their shareholders a dividend, and lay
Yes indeed - except
that it may be even worse, at least according to "Corporate tax
the United States" on Wikipedia, from which I quote this bit:
However, the average
corporate tax rate in 2011 dipped to 12.1%, its lowest level since
before World War I, largely due to the great recession and a bonus depreciation
And I grant this is
about 2011, but even so. Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
When Congress passed a
“repatriation tax holiday” in 2004, these same companies gave raises to
their CEOs, raised dividends, bought back their stock, and — you
guessed it — laid off workers. The biggest 15 corporations that got the
amnesty brought back $150 billion while cutting their U.S. workforces by
21,000 between 2004 and 2007.
And the reason for
that is that the Indian or Chinese workforces of the
- who could go there thanks to Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin - cost
very much less than U.S. workers.
There is more in the
article, that is recommended.
Orwell’s Name In Vain
This article is by Nick Slater on Current Affairs. It is here because I
Orwell a lot since I was 17, in 1967. It starts as follows:
I don't like the
exaggerated and bombastic style of Nick Slater, that also is manifested
by the subtitle of his article:
Few dead old white guys
have a holier aura than George Orwell. Despite his place next to
Dickens and Dostoevsky in the pantheon of Writers You Had to Read in
High School, he enjoys a popularity amongst the general population that
can’t be attributed (entirely) to the shortness of his books. Neither
can his books’ simplicity (the lack of “thees” and “thous” and
ten-syllable names) fully explain Orwell’s appeal. No, what makes him
great is the universal thought bubble that has burst above the head of
every teenager who’s ever picked up Animal Farm or 1984:
“Damn, this dude was right.”
Orwell was right about
the badness of Stalin and he was right about the badness of the
surveillance state. He was right that people are easily brainwashed,
and he was right that technology is making things worse. This is where
most people conclude their reading of Orwell.
George Orwell, though hardly anybody cares what he said or thought…
I am not
everyone; I am absolutely certain that Nick Slater knows hardly
anyone of "everyone" (just like me and everybody else:
there are more than 3 times as many people as there are seconds in the
life of someone who is 70); I did not have to read Orwell in high
school but discovered him myself in 1967; evidently a writer of
the 20th Century does not use "thee" and "thou", nor are there
ten-syllable words in English; and his books are not simple but are
Besides, I am intelligent and I know that Orwell wrote especially for
the intelligent, although I grant he was much less popular during his
life than he was later.
Here is some more of the same bombast:
from the faithful
and great volumes
of scholarship from a priesthood of
learned elders. When calamity strikes, people
seek his wisdom to help them grapple
with the incomprehensible. He’s as universally beloved as one can
be in this snide, contentious age. Squint hard enough, and the tall,
lanky Englishman starts to look a little like Jesus Christ.
In case you doubt this
is bombast: "prophecies", "pilgrimages", "the faithful", "priesthood",
"calamity", "wisdom" and "the incomprehensible" - all in two
sentences, that are supposed to describe a very clear
and quite non-bombastic writer.
It is true there is also this in the article:
His full body of
work is available for free online, and
anyone with an ounce of curiosity can easily see for themselves what
Orwell thought about everything from race relations to nuclear war to
the rising price of cigarettes. Even the briefest peek beneath the
surface reveals that Orwell, far from being a “both extremes are bad”
proto-centrist, was in reality a dedicated socialist who fought against
everything the Clintons and Watsons of the world represent.
I agree, but I do
conclude that - for me, at least - Nick Slater may mean well,
can't write. Then again, I do agree to this last quotation, and
here is once again the Russian site that I have mentioned myself quite
a few times: http://orwell.ru.
It is a fine site that is much recommended to anyone who does
want to understand Orwell.
Finally, I think myself that the four volumes of "The Collected
Journalism and Letters of George Orwell" 
are the best introduction
to Orwell. They were published by Penguin, and are very strongly
 I have now been saying
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 am getting more and more sick
of Wikipedia, that I have read a lot of (the English
one) in the last eight years, simply because I am interested in many
things, and I also like to be factually correct in what I write:
Whereas one can find for quite minor writers explicit lemmas on Wikipedia of many
of their - hardly read - books, one cannot find such an item
for the "The Collected
Journalism and Letters of George Orwell": I had to link to Sonia
Orwell's site to mention it - and Orwell is certainly one of
the most important writers in English of the 20th Century.