A. Selections from
October 27, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Friday, October 27,
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 27, 2017
The Question More Indians Ask — ‘Is My Phone
2. How Social Media
Abet the Political Right
3. The Current Conflict
In Spain Has A Lot to Do With
4. America's Military Will Never
Save Us From
5. Russia-gate Breeds
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:
Question More Indians Ask — ‘Is My Phone Tapped?’
article is by Mira Kamdar on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
A businessman told me he had stopped going online to buy
books that the government might frown upon because he was afraid
officials would track his purchases.
There’s good reason for such fears, another businessman
said: “You go to a party where there are a dozen people you’ve known
for years. Someone says something mildly critical of the government,
and then you learn that person’s office was paid a visit the next day
by the income-tax authorities.”
These were not reflections on life in some police state.
These were conversations I had this month during a visit to India, a
country I’ve been visiting for nearly 60 years.
It’s no secret that attacks
on freedom of expression have accelerated since the election of
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014. Yet, nothing prepared me for
the pervasive anxieties I encountered on this trip.
And that seems to be part of what is happening in India:
But I was stunned
when a well-known writer in New Delhi confided that she and others used
encrypted communications. “We’re all on ProtonMail and Signal at this
point,” she said. Others said they only communicated on WhatsApp. “All
of our phones are tapped,” declared a news editor in Mumbai.
I think the ¨news editor in Mumbai¨ is quite right - but it holds (after
over 16 years of total freedom and billions of investments for the
secret services, that are covered by special ¨courts¨, that are again
secret) to the best of my knowledge absolutely everywhere.
The article ends as follows:
Not all the
Indians I spoke with were so uneasy. Many citizens remain outspoken.
Courageous journalists continue to fight to do their job. But the
growing fear of Indians to speak, to write and even to read freely
poses a grave threat to one of the world’s great democracies.
I would not call India
¨one of the world’s great
democracies¨ but I expect the same
things will be soon happening in Europe and the USA.
That is, if these expressions of the total loss of democracry
and the total gain of the secret services are not themselves repressed
by the secret services as ¨lies¨ or ¨fake news¨.
Social Media Abet the Political Right
article is by Neal Gabler on Truthdig and originally on Moyes & Co.
This is from near the beginning:
beyond Trump’s tweets and his circumvention of traditional media, there
is a much more profound but much subtler effect that plays upon certain
psychological and social proclivities in America today and that is
changing politics generally and has already changed our political
leadership. And while this is by no means Trump-specific, it has a very
strong affinity for the right wing. Put more starkly, social media aid
and abet the right wing and “alt-right” political figures like Trump,
not because the “alt-right” and Trump are better at social media, but
because social media have an intrinsic rightish tilt.
me first provide a link about
Facebook that I wrote in 2011 (over six years ago, meanwhile): I
both extremely much dislike and fear Facebook and other
mega-rich corporations, and for those reasons I never use
Facebook, Twitter, Windows, Apple, Google, Amazone and other neofascist
corporations (and if you dislike or disagree with my diagnosis of neofascism, read
I also think that while it may well be true that ¨social media have an intrinsic
rightish tilt¨ at least
part of the underlying reason is that most social groups
(of any kind) have totalitarian
aspects, which they implement by diverse kinds of groupthinking.
is more on the a-social media (for that is what these neofascist
corporations do set up, quite intentionally also):
talking not about the ways in which social media distort the
information we receive, but the ways in which social media draw upon
and intensify our whole way of processing information and everything
It is by now a given that
social media have changed and continue to change the way we interact
with one another and even with our own selves, the way we use our time,
the way we prioritize and value things, the way we respond emotionally,
the way we assess information and a thousand other components of our
lives. For the post-millennials, nearly everything is refracted through
social media, but the spillover effect is huge.
not say ¨No!¨, but it does not hold for me: I hate the a-social
media, and (once again) I never use Facebook, Twitter, Windows, Apple,
Google, Amazone and other neofascist corporations.
as I have just pointed out, the a-social media are based on the
a-social tendencies that are inherent in most human social groups,
and especially on groupthinking,
that always is more or less totalitarian
Here is more:
To begin with, for all
the boasts of connectivity, social media actually isolate us and drive
us back into ourselves. Facebook alone may be the largest platform of
self-promotion ever devised by humankind, but of course, Facebook is
not alone. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and many others are ostensibly
dedicated to sharing when they are really dedicated to solipsism: You
are always the star of your page, always centralizing what you are
doing. Worse, social media encourages an anonymous meanness that
actively splinters us. There probably always were trolls, but they had
no platform for their poison. Now they do.
and no. I agree with most of this but I insist I do not belong
to the ¨us¨ and the ¨we¨ that are presented here as if neofascism
characterizes all, and I also think ¨solipsism¨ is the
the social media try to create are docile consumers that (i) have
lost all solidarity, fellow feeling or sympathy for anyone else except
their own family and their own friends, and that (ii) believe
everything their ¨friends¨ send them, and who (iii) can say
anything whatsoever about anyone whatsoever because they are nearly all
anonymous (and extremely envious of
anyone who knows more or is more expert than the lowest mean in their
Here is a diagnosis
of Neal Gabler:
In effect, social media
create an informational onanism, which, again, destroys a sense of
community and circumscribes national conversation every bit as much as
it aborts personal conversation. And it does something more: It makes
all information that doesn’t conform to one’s biases suspicious. Social
media — the “social” here is practically ironic — disallows us from
accepting anyone else’s arguments — that is, disallows us from being
social. In fact, it delegitimizes not just arguments but all
information by seeming to legitimize all information.
agree, but insist again that (i) this does not hold for me, and
(ii) it is mostly based on the totalitarian aspects  that inhere in most groups and most
groupthinking anyway (and since centuries), and also on (iii) the
mostly rather great stupidity and ignorance that rules the thinking of
most people who are not quite intelligent anyway and/or who are not
educated well. Also (iv) the billions that now are called by the
a-social media to write their mostly totally anonymous ¨thoughts¨ and
¨values¨ are now publishing for the first time (and you can see
their level by reading their contributions in most of the Comments
Here is Neil Gabler´s
judgement on the a-social media:
You may begin to see a
theme developing here. Self-centeredness and solipsism, division and
tribalism, disinformation and misinformation tailored to one’s
predispositions, the need for constant stimulation (FOMO) without
reflection, bullying against those who disagree, a lack of empathy —
these are all hallmarks of the “alt-right” and of the Trump presidency.
I´d say it is mostly due to the greed, the egoism, the stupidity and
that are part and parcel of everyone (rather than ¨solipsism, division and tribalism¨), and especially of the
billions of the unintelligent
that are now let loose by Mark Suckerbug, and who can be
manipulated by providing them advertisements
that will gain them a few cents (as ¨payment¨ for having delivered all
their privacy to the anonymous guards of Facebook´s many secrets).
I am extremely
pessimistic about these tendencies, but this is a recommended
Current Conflict In Spain Has A Lot to Do With Economic Failure
article is by Mark Weisbrot on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy threatens to take over the
autonomous region of Catalonia, it is becoming clearer even to casual
observers who the bad guys are in this conflict. Generally, when one
side is peaceful and seeks dialogue, and the other is committed to
resolving the disagreement through force, repression, and violence —
well, you get the picture.
The anti-democratic character and fascist heritage of the PP government
became glaringly evident when Rajoy sent thousands of troops into
Catalonia in a failed attempt to stop people from voting. This was not,
as he claimed, to enforce the law: the Spanish government could simply
have allowed the vote and refused to recognize the result. Rather it
was to crush the independence movement and the expression of their
ideas by force; and hundreds of people were injured by the Civil Guard.
The repression also included unprecedented censorship of the Internet, as well as of
newspapers and radio. If Rajoy follows through with his threatened
takeover of Catalonia, we will see more of this Francoist repression of
basic civil rights and liberties.
¨fascist¨ before I use it, but by now I have learned (see also item 4, below) that this seems quite impossible
for nearly all journalists (that I have read, but these are very
I´d call it ¨authoritarian¨ rather than ¨fascist¨, but I agree with
most that is being said, and I also insist that the ¨repression of basic civil rights and liberties¨ will - very probably - also
happen anywhere else in the present Europe, that in my eyes is rapidly
devolving in the neofascist
direction, that was also behind the
building of the internet.
here is some background on Spain:
Inequality has risen
dramatically since 2008; the income of the top 20 percent is now 7.5
times that of the bottom 20 percent, the third worst in the European
Union. As the IMF has noted, this is mainly because employment fell by
20 percent from 2008 to 2013, and lower-income groups were
disproportionately among the victims of this collapse.
Furthermore, the majority
of new jobs are temporary labor contracts, heightening insecurity even
for those who are lucky enough to find a new job.
This is not a pretty
picture. But the IMF — which is here representing the views of the
European authorities and the Rajoy government — nonetheless appears to
accept mass unemployment as the new normal. The Fund projects that the
economy will reach its full potential output sometime in
the next year. But unemployment will still be at about 16 percent. In
other words, 16 percent unemployment is as good as it gets, it’s now
being redefined as “full employment.” And youth unemployment is about
double the overall unemployment rate.
indeed. I wonder when the IMF will announce that the dole
is money that is given to the undeserving, who should be left to die
- and do not say they are incapable of this, for this is how
they treated Greece.
America's Military Will Never Save Us From
This article is by
Chauncey DeVega on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as
When fascism comes to
America it will arrive in a style and form that fits our country.
Fascism is poison; America's political culture and institutions are the
This is followed by 12
statements that start as follows
American fascism will (......)
of them has any clear conception of what ¨fascism¨ or
¨American fascism¨ would mean. This list gets followed by the
ignore this reality is to be willfully ignorant, to be in denial or to
be drunk on American exceptionalism.
sorry, but all of the 12 statements could as well be made with
¨American authoritarianism¨ or with ¨American rightism¨, which also are
not the same as fascism.
But as I
said: I have given up on journalism that uses terms it simply chooses
not to define.
article ends as follows:
D. Eisenhower was one of America's greatest military leaders, and then
served as one of the country's greatest presidents. In that role,
Eisenhower offered the following warning. He said, "If a political
party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a
cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political
party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power."
Kelly, Donald Trump and the Republican Party should meditate on Ike's
wisdom. It will likely mean nothing to them, but it might may inspire
the rest of us to take the necessary steps to speak truth to power --
to organize, vote, march, and engage in the pocketbook politics that
can ultimately drive Trump and the Republican Party from power.
I am sorry, but
Eisenhower´s warning is totally subjective,
for the same is true of his key terms ¨right¨ and ¨moral¨.
Breeds ‘Establishment McCarthyism’
This article is by Robert
Parry on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
As Russia-gate gives
cover for an Establishment attack on Internet freedom and independent
news, traditional defenders of a free press and civil liberties are
joining the assault or staying on the sidelines, reports Robert Parry.
That was the subtitle,
which I have copied because it is a good summary (with which I also
Here is more:
In the past, America has
witnessed “McCarthyism” from the Right and even complaints from the
Right about “McCarthyism of the Left.” But what we are witnessing now
amid the Russia-gate frenzy is what might be called “Establishment
McCarthyism,” traditional media/political powers demonizing and
silencing dissent that questions mainstream narratives.
assault on civil liberties is cloaked in fright-filled
stories about “Russian propaganda” and wildly
exaggerated tales of the Kremlin’s “hordes of Twitter bots,” but
its underlying goal is to enforce Washington’s “groupthinks” by
creating a permanent system that shuts down or marginalizes dissident
opinions and labels contrary information – no matter how reasonable and
well-researched – as “disputed” or “rated false” by mainstream
“fact-checking” organizations like PolitiFact.
- and for groupthinking
I suggest that you follow the link I provided for it (which is about groups
rather than about the internet, and indeed most groups are at least
Not to say that I share
every news judgment of RT – or for that matter The New York Times – but
there is a grave issue of press freedom when the Times essentially
calls for the shutting down of access to a news organization that may
highlight or report on stories that the Times and other mainstream
outlets downplay or ignore.
And this was not a
stand-alone story. Previously, the Times
has run favorable articles about plans to deploy aggressive
algorithms to hunt down and then remove or marginalize information that
the Times and other mainstream outlets deem false.
Yes indeed. There is
considerably more in the article, that ends as follows:
For a long time, the big
media has wanted an excuse to rein in the Internet and break the small
news outlets that have challenged the power – and the profitability –
of the Times, Post, CNN, etc. Russia-gate and Trump have become the
cover for that restoration of mainstream authority.
So, as we have moved into
this dangerous New Cold War, we are living in what could be called
“Establishment McCarthyism,” a hysterical but methodical strategy for
silencing dissent and making sure that future mainstream groupthinks
don’t get challenged.
I think that is quite
correct and this is a recommended article.
I have now been saying since
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 have quite a few times said
that most groupthinking
and I have also said that most definitions of totalitarianism that I
saw, including that of the Wikipedia, are thoroughly false (and
quite probably intentionally so) because they simply deny that
totalitarianism has anything to do with human beings, with
human psychology, with human groups, or with human groupthinking or
with the lies and the manipulations by anyone who is not
speaking for some government.
I also found one more or less good definition, which
is as follows (and is by the Dictionary.com):
(...) adjective 1. of or
relating to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of
differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many
aspects of life, 2. exercising control over the freedom, will, or
thought of others; authoritarian; autocratic.
Yes indeed! And the
definition on Wikipedia I regard as willfully false: In fact it
is almost wholly relative and purely political (and it makes it
difficult or impossible to understand parts of the prose George Orwell
wrote about totalitarianism).
 I have recognized the totalitarian aspects in most groups
and most groupthinking
ever since my teens (now nearly 50 years ago) but I have run into the
utter stupidity and the great and proudly manifested ignorance of the
many especially on Phoenix Rising, that in 2010 specialized
in discriminating and slandering anyone with an IQ above 85 or so,
which could and does happen because nearly everyone there is totally
anonymous. This was a horrible experience for me, and I
withdrew after 3 1/2 months, and recommend this to everyone
(with an IQ over 130).
 I do recommend you try to read the Comments that
are nearly everywhere, although I admit I have totally given up
wasting my time on idiots and idiocies.