A. Selections from
November 15, 2017
3. Some more
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, November 15,
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 November 15, 2017
Congress Asks If Donald Trump Really Can Blow
The World Up Without Restraints
2. An Insubordinate President
3. McCarthyism Inc.: Terror Cranks Sold America the
4. One Year Later:
The Political Cancer Metastasizes
5. How to Instantly
Prove (Or Disprove) Russian
Hacking of U.S. Election
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:
Asks If Donald Trump Really Can Blow The World Up Without Restraints
This article is by
Aida Chávez on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
At his town
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, despite being the highest ranking Democrat
on the Foreign Relations Committee, typically gets questions that are
close to home. But lately, the question on people’s minds has
turned more existential, perhaps the closest to home of
all. People want to know, he said at a hearing on Tuesday, “Can
the president really order a nuclear attack without any controls?”
That indeed is
presently a quite good question. Here is the answer:
But nothing, as they say, focuses the mind
quite like the sight of the nuclear gallows.
The president has the sole authority to
decide whether to use nuclear weapons, an arsenal consisting of 4,571 warheads as of
September 2015. There
are no legal or political restraints on the president’s power to order
a nuclear strike: the president is not required to consult with anyone
beforehand, and the Defense Department, Congress, and the judicial
branch have no way of blocking an order once it happens.
The answer is: No, Trump can blow up
anyone he pleases. Here is some on how other countries
tried to regulate the enormous dangers of using nuclear arms:
Other countries with nuclear capabilities
have adopted models that don’t give the executive unilateral authority.
India and Pakistan have both established councils to authorize the use
of nuclear weapons, and Russia gives the president, defense minister, and chief
of general staff access to the nuclear codes, according to the
Union of Concerned
In fact, I do not know (at all, indeed)
whether the rules adopted by India and Pakistan will work.
Then again, these
rules are considerably more rational than leaving blowing up
the world in the hands of the
malignant narcissist Donald Trump.
And this is a
This article is by
Paul Street on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
as the distinguished American foreign policy historian Alfred W. McCoy
calls them, have long been a problem for the United States empire. They
privilege their own personal interests and/or concept of serving their
own nations above fealty to the United States, its allies and the
Western-based multinational corporate and financial interests that
reign behind the shield of U.S. power.
In fact, these
¨insubordinate elites¨ come in (broadly speaking) two forms: The
Leftist and the Rightist.
There is a rather long list
of both kinds of leaders, which is followed by this:
Which brings me to
and mean-spirited Obama-hater: Donald Trump. Incredible as it might
seem, the United States, the global superpower itself, has been plagued
by the presence of an insubordinate, dysfunctional, corrupt and
excessively nationalistic elite in its own top “democratically elected”
position—the U.S. presidency.
Trump is [..]
a malignantly narcissistic real estate baron whose basic missions in
life are to advance his own wealth and glorify his personal image and
brand. He is venality and ego on steroids—too commercial and selfish to
be an actual fascist, but an ugly epitome of the worst excesses of the
capitalist, plutocratic, racist, sexist, militaristic and ecocidal
The problem for the U.S.
ruling class is that the American system and empire is compelled to
sell itself as humanitarian, multicultural, peaceful, democratic,
benevolent and wise. “The United States,” then-Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright said in 1999, channeling the establishment
conventional “American exceptionalist” wisdom, “is good. We try to do
our best everywhere.”
I think this
is basically correct, except for one point: I do not
think that Trump is an
but one major reason why I do not think so is that I think he is
(and yes, I have very probably thought a lot more about
fascism and neofascism than my readers, including virtually all
Also, I agree also
with the above diagnosis of the USA as a nation that presents itself
¨as humanitarian, multicultural,
peaceful, democratic, benevolent and wise¨, and indeed also with the thesis that all
of that self-representation is quite false propaganda.
Then again, Trump is not
the only American political leader who tries to balance the propaganda
about the USA with some of the facts about the USA:
And this is followed by - if I
have counted well - an abbreviated (!) list of no less than 34
points of lies
that Trump indulged in, which is
followed by these questions:
“Our security,” Obama
intoned in his first inaugural address, continuing the exceptionalist
mythology as he prepared to commit new war crimes, “emanates from the
justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering
qualities of humility and restraint.”
It’s hard to match such
nationally and imperially self-congratulatory rhetoric and marketing
with the history, persona and conduct of “Prima Donald.”
All of this raises
an interesting question: How on earth did the nation’s unelected and
interrelated dictatorships of money and empire let the vicious
sociopath Donald Trump into the White House? Aren’t the wealth and
power elite’s big-money-drenched and highly corporate mass-mediated
candidate selection and vetting processes designed to prevent
insubordinate elites (of whatever ideological or other persuasion) from
rising into higher office?
I think both questions
get answered, in principle at least, by the quite simple observation
that things don´t always work out as planned. That is, I agree
that Hillary Clinton was the favorite choice of the rich, but
ruined her own chances:
Trump owed much of
his victory to the hopelessly dull and Wall Street-pleasing,
proletariat-dismissing/-dissing Hillary Clinton campaign. The elitist
and oligarchic Clinton was unwilling and perhaps unable to rally the
Democratic Party’s purported lower- and working-class base. She
foolishly assumed that popular horror at His Awfulness would provide
all the mass mobilization she really needed.
I mostly agree. And this
is a recommended article.
Inc.: Terror Cranks Sold America the Russia Panic
article is by Max Blumenthal on AlterNet. This is part 2. Part 1 was reviewed yesterday in Nederlog.
The present article starts as follows:
September, Oklahoma GOP Senator James Lankford alleged that
the widely popular #taketheknee Twitter hashtag that promoted NFL
protests against racial injustice was, in fact, a Russian influence
campaign spawned by Kremlin operatives.
The New York Times cited a new organization called the Alliance for
Securing Democracy as the source of the allegations about the NFL
protests. According to the Times, the ASD has tracked 600 Twitter
accounts supposedly “linked to Russian influence operations” and
exposed their nefarious agenda.
again, this ASD is quite probably not at all what it claims
the New York Times, the ASD is a “public policy research group in
Washington,” and a “bipartisan initiative” with no apparent agenda
other than scrubbing the stain of subversion out of American democracy.
Hosted by the German Marshall Fund, one of the most respected think
tanks in Washington, the ASD has been granted the patina of credibility.
investigation by AlterNet’s Grayzone Project has yielded a series
of disturbing findings at odds with the established depiction. The
researchers behind the ASD’s “dashboard” are no Russia experts, but
rather a collection of cranks, counterterror retreads, online harassers
and paranoiacs operating with support from some of the most prominent
figures operating within the American national security apparatus.
(bolding added): ¨the
ASD’s “dashboard” are no Russia experts,
but rather a collection of cranks, counterterror retreads, online
harassers and paranoiacs¨.
they are propagandists
for the right:
In recent days,
the ASD’s master Kremlinologists have branded major American online
outlets including the Intercept,
Antiwar.com, ESPN, and even the U.S. military newspaper Stars
and Stripes as vehicles for Kremlin propaganda.
is a lot more in this article, that is recommended.
Year Later: The Political Cancer Metastasizes
This article is by
Neal Gabler on AlterNet and originally on BillMoyers.com. It starts as
I do not quite agree
simple reason that this optimism is based on just one or two winnings
by the Democrats that - for all we know - may be flukes, while
Republicans also still have the government, the Senate and
Exactly one day short of
one year after the election of Donald Trump, the fog finally seemed to
lift and the skies brightened. On Tuesday, voters rejected Trumpism in
New Jersey and in Virginia, where establishment Republican Ed Gillespie
embraced Trump’s racism and nativism, indicating how deeply the
president’s poison has penetrated even the precincts of the party that
should be vigorously in opposition to it.
But here is some more:
And yet, before anyone
gets too sanguine, consider where we are. There will come a time, no
doubt, when professional historians look back on these times and assess
what happened to America, and I don’t think the assessment will be
pretty. They will think of it as a period of national derangement, a
time when America lost its bearings.
I agree this is
¨a period of national
derangement¨, but I do not
know it will
end, nor do I know it will not end in a nuclear war
(that may destroy all human beings), and I am
sorry (a bit) that I am a realist.
Here is more about
accomplishment goes far deeper and is far more destructive than his
attempts to repeal Obamacare -or revoke environmental protections or
banking regulations or any of the other dozens of things he has tried
to do and sometimes did. After last Nov. 8, this suddenly became a
different country than it had been. Not only had the skeletons come out
of the closet, they were leading the parade. No, America was never what
it had purported to be. The idealism was always better in theory than
in practice. We were always too self-congratulatory, too fixated on
American exceptionalism, on ideas like The Greatest Generation,
overlooking a fundamental fissure.
I think this is
mostly true (and I am not an American). And this is about the madness
Trump does indulge in:
When he is called the
“divider-in-chief,” the label goes beyond his incendiary rhetoric to a
zero-sum blame game. Whatever ails his supporters, he says, is the
result of someone having taken something from them. His tweets are
aimed squarely against immigrants and minorities who he believes have
stolen the country away from the white Americans (white male Americans)
who rightfully should control this country.
He nurses grievances, he
advances conspiracy theories, he exacerbates angers, he scapegoats. He
has opened wounds that had taken a century to begin to heal. And
globally, he has given the middle finger to the rest of the world while
lowering the nation’s standing and offending our allies while embracing
our biggest enemy. He has stressed might over morality. In short, his
is the authoritarian playbook.
I am a
psychologist and I do not believe that Trump is only
implement- ing the ¨authoritarian
playbook¨: He is, but if I
am reading him well, he is mostly implementing his own madness,
precisely because that is what he is.
to Instantly Prove (Or Disprove) Russian Hacking of U.S. Election
This article is by Washington´s Blog on his site. It
starts as follows:
that CIA head Mike Pompeo recently met
with Bill Binney – who designed the NSA’s electronic
surveillance system – about potential proof that the DNC emails were leaked
rather than hacked.
It’s also noteworthy that
the usual suspects – Neocon warmongers such as Max Boot – have tried
to discredit both Binney and Pompeo.
But there’s a huge part
of the story that the entire mainstream media is missing …
Specifically, Binney says
that the NSA has long had in its computers information which can prove exactly
who hacked the DNC … or instead prove that the DNC emails were leaked
by a Democratic insider.
Remember – by way of
background – that the NSA basically spies on everyone
in America … and stores the data long-term.
Yes indeed: I do agree that
¨the NSA basically spies on everyone
in America … and stores the data long-term¨ and this is quite relevant, as
indeed will be explained in the present article.
Here is more on
Binney´s ideas, which I think are quite relevant and also were not
known to me until reading this article:
After the story of
Pompeo’s meeting with Binney broke, Binney told Washington’s Blog:
Here’s what they would
have from the programs you list [i.e. NSA’s Fairview, Stormbrew
and Blarney spying programs, which Edward Snowden
revealed] plus hundreds if not thousands of trace route programs
embedded in switches in the US and around the world.
First, from deep packet
inspection, they would have the originator and ultimate recipient (IP)
of the packets plus packet series 32 bit number identifier and all the
housekeeping data showing the network segments/path and time to go
though the network. And, of course, the number of packet bits.
With this they would know to where and when the data passed.
From the data
collection, they would have all the data as it existed in the server
taken from. That’s why I originally said if the FBI
wanted Hillary’s email, all they have to do is ask NSA for them.
All this is done by the
Narus collection equipment in real time at line rates (620 mbps [mega
bits per second,] for the STA-6400 and 10 gbps [giga bits per second]
for the Insight equipment).
Binney explained what
these numbers mean: Each Narus Insight device can monitor and
record around 1,250,000 emails each second … or more than 39 trillion
emails per year.
allegedly learned that AT&T was installing Narus
boxes in secure, NSA-controlled rooms in switching centers around
us there are probably 18 or so Narus recording systems throughout the
U.S. deployed by the NSA at AT&T facilities (...)
That is to say:
(1) According to Binney - whom I trust, and far more than
functionally anonymous journalists with little or no programming
knowledge - the NSA does know and have Hillary´s emails, indeed
in part because
(2) the NSA has probably installed 18 ¨Narus recording systems throughout the
U.S. deployed by the NSA¨;
(3) these scan at least 620 MB per second (and probably more), which
(4) the NSA can ¨read¨ (by computers) 1,250,000 emails each
second, per Narus computer, of which there are some 18,
only in the USA (and store the results in the personal dossiers
of whomever they stole these private data from).
Here is more on what these
supercomputers may do to your email and the emails of anyone
Binney also sent me
hard-to-find company literature for Narus. Here are some
- Provides full
visibility into network traffic …
- Analyzes at
macro or micro level targeting
specific or aggregate full-packet data for forensic analysis
collection from links, routers, soft switches, IDS/IPS, databases, etc.
provides total network view across the world’s largest IP networks.
Binney also pointed me
towards a couple of network engineering principles that show that
figuring out who hacked the emails (or proving they were leaked) is
well within NSA’s capabilities.
In short, everything
anyone says to anyone anywhere (that
is not encrypted) probably does end up in an NSA database.
There is quite a lot more
in this quite interesting article, which ends as follows:
I think that the
probability that the NSA does not ¨have
solid evidence of Russian hacking of DNC emails¨ is much
stronger than the other alternative, and this is a strongly
NSA either doesn’t have
solid evidence of Russian hacking of DNC emails – which means the
Russians didn’t do it – or those with the power to demand NSA produce
the evidence simply haven’t asked the right questions.
3. Some more
And here is some more from Chris Hedges: He interviewed Stuart Ewen, who
is known to me from ¨The
Century of the Self¨. This is a video that takes around 25 minutes:
I think this is very
well worth seeing, if only because of facts like these:
The average American saw 2000 advertisements every day in 1977; while
average American saw 5000 advertisements every day in 2016.
And I did not know that, but it supports my convictions that the
average Westerner these days sees and reads very much more propaganda,
advertisements, and lies then he or she sees or reads anything rational.
There is a lot more in the interview, that in part repeats points made
Century of the Self. I think it is very well worth seeing.
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 (!!).
 And namely because both my parents were in the real
resistance against the Nazis (which was quite rare in Holland), and
both my father and his father were betrayed in June 1941, arrested, and
convicted by collaborating Dutch judges to concentration camp
imprisonment, which murdered my grandfather. (And I do not know
of any Dutch journalist with such a background.)