A. Selections from
November 19, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, November 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 November 19, 2017
Our Love Affair With Digital Is Over
2. The Pathological Refusal to
Report the Simple
Truth About Presidential Lying
3. Signs of U.K. Misconduct
in Assange Case
4. The Backlash Against the Bullies
5. No One Man Should Be
Able to Trigger Nuclear
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:
Love Affair With Digital Is Over
This article is by David Sax on The New York Times. It
starts as follows:
A decade ago I
bought my first smartphone, a clunky little BlackBerry 8830 that came
in a sleek black leather sheath. I loved that phone. I loved the way it
effortlessly slid in and out of its case, loved the soft purr it
emitted when an email came in, loved the silent whoosh of its
trackball as I played Brick Breaker on the subway and the feel of its
baby keys clicking under my fat thumbs. It was the world in my hands,
and when I had to turn it off, I felt anxious and alone.
The first thing I wish
about the above quotation is how extremely childish this is,
and the second is that this probably is the last bit from The
York Times that I review, because the NYT now has links of three
- it seems a rather accidental miracle that they not also
amount of money on my bankaccount, indeed probably because they cannot
this way, yet - and I simply refuse to link to such links.
(Spying is sick.)
Here is more utter childishness:
Many of us bought into the fantasy that digital made
everything better. We surrendered to this idea, and mistook our
dependence for romance, until it was too late.
Today, when my phone is on, I feel anxious and count down
the hours to when I am able to turn it off and truly relax. The love
affair I once enjoyed with digital technology is over — and I know I’m
¨utter childishness¨ because it explicitly denies all
responsibilities: It is as if no one had any
about the obvious abuses of the
internet - which I agree is what most
people did believe and probably also do believe.
Here are a few
Yes, although this is
also not well expressed. (And in any case: I never wanted a cell-phone,
and I will never want to own that perfect
that seems to have been designed
in order to spy on
everybody, and to destroy
democracy, and to give all power to the tech
Ten years after the iPhone first swept us off our feet, the
growing mistrust of computers in both our personal lives and the
greater society we live in is inescapable. This publishing season is
flush with books raising alarms about digital technology’s pernicious
effects on our lives: what smartphones are doing to our children; how
Facebook and Twitter are eroding our democratic institutions; and the
economic effects of tech monopolies.
But meanwhile that has happened,
and given the average
intelligence of both their users and the journalists, it seems this is
the future of mankind:
Living in an authoritarian neofascistic world were
absolutely everyone is constantly spied upon in everything he or she
does, both by the secret services of many
governments, and by the
secret spying of Facebook, Amazone, Apple, Microsoft etc.
But that seems to be the future. I am glad I am 67 and not younger.
Pathological Refusal to Report the Simple Truth About Presidential Lying
This article is
by Reed Richardson on AlterNet and originally on FAIR. It starts as
It is a truism
to say that everyone lies to someone. Since public officials entrusted
with power in our democracy are no exception to this human
research documents—it should be exceedingly acceptable to
point out that all politicians, from your local city council right up
to the White House, lie as well.
Tragically, one of the most honest rhetorical tools that journalists
have in the fight for truth has been struck from the lingua
franca of US journalists. Within the stilted framework of
mainstream news “objectivity,” the simple act of calling out “lies” or
“lying” by a politician—especially a president—is now taboo.
agree with this, but I probably am older than Reed Richardson, and I
well recall the times that much more was forbidden (in reality
least by fashions (!!) amongst editors and journalists) than
there is today.
example, in Holland one just could not say in public in the
1960ies (as e.g. in
demonstrations) that Lyndon Johnson was a murderer (in view his actions
in Vietnam), which meant that he was quite often called ¨a miller¨ -
¨Johnson Miller!!!¨ ¨Johnson
Miller!!!¨ - because
the Dutch word for miller looks rather like the Dutch word for murderer.
this is not quite the same as trying to avoid to call
presidential liars liars:
Last fall, NPR editorial
director Michael Oreskes constructed his own Orwellian
logic to defend his news organization’s refusal to use “liar,”
asserting that the word constitutes “an angry tone” of “editorializing”
that “confirms opinions” (FAIR.org, 3/1/17).
In January, Maggie Haberman, one of the New York
Times’ preeminent political reporters, said much the
same, claiming that
her job was “showing when something untrue is said. Our job is not to
that Michael Oreskes and Maggie Haberman are cowards who like their
incomes and their nominal jobs much more than doing their job responsibly,
for doing it responsibly entails that you call liars liars also
if they are very powerful.
It is precisely
this that Oreskes and Haberman refuse to do. And the following
about what they do do: Substituting euphemisms for truthful
“falsely claims”—or “falsely asserted”—has become corporate media’s
default alternative to directly accusing the powerful of lying. But the
journalistic instinct to vary a story’s language also works in favor of
the powerful, allowing euphemisms for official lies to multiply
throughout coverage. And rarely do these replacements do anything but
weaken the indictment against the liar.
I agree, and
there is a considerable lot more to illustrate this that I leave to
Richardson on what is and has been happening in much journalism (and
especially with the journalism of the mainstream
It might be
tempting to view this egregious double standard as merely a debate
about journalism semantics. One could argue that whether or not a news
story reports a president or his attorney general “lied” versus
“falsely asserted” or “refined his testimony” are simply distinctions
without a difference. But top editors and managers inside the corporate
media certainly don’t believe that; why else would they so consistently
counsel choosing the latter and avoiding the former in their news
reports? It is precisely because words like “lie,” “lying” and “liar”
resonate so strongly with the public that newsrooms have developed a
separate set of often informal, but nonetheless robust, institutional
bans against their usage.
Yes, of course -
and choosing euphemisms instead of accurately descriptive terms
and that is what these journalists do: Rewriting painful
but true terms into euphemistic and false terms, while pretending they
are merely talking ¨semantics¨.
And this is the
end of this article:
If the press
can’t tell the public what’s a lie on any given day, how can it be
trusted to tell the truth when it really matters?
Yes indeed. And
this is a recommended article.
Signs of U.K. Misconduct in Assange Case
This article is by Dennis
J. Bernstein on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
A British court
proceeding on a freedom of information request regarding how the Crown
Prosecution Service (CPS) dealt with the case of WikiLeaks editor
Julian Assange has revealed that CPS deleted relevant emails from the
account of a now-retired CPS lawyer, Paul Close.
However, one email that
wasn’t destroyed shows the CPS lawyer advising Swedish prosecutor
Marianne Ny not to interview Assange in London, a decision that has
helped keep Assange stuck for more than five years in Ecuador’s London
embassy where he had been granted asylum. Finally, in late 2016, after
Swedish prosecutors did question Assange at the embassy, they dropped
sex abuse allegations against him, but he still faces possible arrest
in the U.K. as well as potential extradition to the U.S., where
officials have denounced him for releasing classified material.
Yes indeed. And
Dennis Bernstein decided to interview a lawyer who acts for a
journalist who acts for Julian Assange. This is a good idea,
is the first of two quotes:
Estelle Dehon: A number
of pieces of correspondence between the Crown Prosecution Service and
the Swedish Prosecution Authority have been released, some of them with
only slight redaction and some of them very heavily redacted. One
of the things they are arguing today at the tribunal is that these
redactions should be removed. That correspondence really looks at
the flow of information from Sweden to the Crown Prosecution Service
and back again. This information revealed that the Crown
Prosecution Service had advised the Swedish prosecutor not to travel to
the United Kingdom to interview Mr. Assange, despite the fact that that
offer had been made. That advice was provided very early on, in January
In fact, the whole
correspondence between the British Crown Prosecution Service and the
Swedish Prosecution Authority seems to have been completely deleted
and the only things that remain from it are a few printed bits,
that also may have been redacted.
And here is Estelle
Dehon´s general explanation of what is happening:
Estelle Dehon: (...) In
terms of what I think is at the heart of this case, I believe it is the
clash between free speech and freedom of the press versus an official
culture of secrecy. One of the great hopes of the information
access regime which was put in place in 2000 in the United Kingdom was
that it would foster a culture of openness. There wouldn’t be any
area where the stock response was to shut down and not to engage with
Unfortunately, in certain
areas such as extradition matters, it hasn’t had that effect. The
ethos of the freedom of information act, the important watchdog role
that journalists play, simply hasn’t featured on their radar.
And then, of course, Julian Assange’s case is a very particular one.
I quite agree that ¨it is the clash between free speech and
freedom of the press versus an official culture of secrecy¨ that is involved, although I have never
believed that the internet would ¨foster a culture of openness¨.
And I also agree that
¨Julian Assange’s case is
a very particular one¨. This is a recommended article.
Backlash Against the Bullies
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
I only quote this single
bit from Reich, but this will give rise to four remarks, the
first two about the initial two questions:
Why are so many women now
speaking out about the sexual abuses they’ve experienced for years? Is
there anything unique about the time we’re now living through that has
encouraged them to end their silence?
I can’t help think their
decisions are part of something that’s happening throughout much of
American society right now – a backlash against what has been the
growing domination of America by powerful and wealthy men (and a few
women) who came to believe they can do whatever they want to do, to
whomever they choose.
“When you’re a star, they
let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy,” said Donald
Trump in the infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape.
Sexual assault is one
obvious assertion of dominance. Other forms include economic bullying
and the stoking of bigotry to gain political power.
First, is it true that there ¨are so many women now speaking out about the
sexual abuses they’ve experienced for years¨?
I´d say: Yes and no, for there are at least two and in fact several
more contributory factors: There now is the internet, that in a very
short time has produced over two billion persons who can
quite anonymously) ¨write¨ , which has
had and will have enormous
influences, and second there is - probably - at present a
stronger tendency to report sexual abuse than there was before.
And in fact there is a third factor, which is probably the most
Journalists and editors on the internet write more about sexual
abuse than happened before, and they did not do so until well
in the 2000s. (I think this is very probably the most important factor,
for it were journalists and editors who decided - until the internet
arrived - what the news was, and in which styles it was reported.)
Second, is it true that ¨there [is] anything unique about the time
we’re now living through¨?
Evidently, there is: internet. I merely remark it here, as I
merely remark this pulls in several different and partially opposing
directions, and that without internet the whole situation would
be quite different.
Third, I do not doubt that there have always been ¨powerful and wealthy men (..)¨ who did believe, within a few mostly
legal or moral ramifi- cations, that they could do most things
they wanted to do.
But I don´t have any adequate ideas about how things were - say
- in the Thirties in Hollywood, compared with 80 years later, indeed
mostly because the press has tended to avoid writing about the
abuses that very powerful men could engage in, and I also admit that I
Trump´s statement that he could grab women by the pussy both
crude and quite shocking.
Fourth, about the last paragraph: Yes indeed, and in
fact I have more:
It would seem to me (and has seemed to be so for a long time)
that not only is ¨[s]exual
assault (..) one obvious assertion of dominance¨: it would seem to me that it is quite narrowly
connected with sadism.
And I am not saying all sexual abusers are sadists, but
I certainly do
think - and Donald Trump is one obvious example - that those who do
engage in sexual abuse are considerably or far more often sadists or
sadistically inclined than males who do not engage in sexual
This is from the article on sadism in my
Indeed, there is much
more sadism in human beings
than most are willing to admit: Very many people derive much
pleasure from being in positions of power and by hurting, denigrating,
demeaning or displeasing others. It probably does not arouse most of
them sexually, but they wouldn't do it if it did not please them. And
this kind of pleasure
seems to be one of the strongest motivators of those who desire to be
boss: To let others feel they are inferior.
But I also
realize that I am i.a. a psychologist, so this connection of sexual
abuse with sadism may well be too difficult to grasp. 
Together with stupidity,
sadism explains two famous and mostly correct observations on history:
"History is little else
but the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind"
l'Histoire n'est qu'une suite d'horreurs."
For clearly most of the
harm that human beings have done to human beings - millions upon
millions killed, tortured, raped, exploited, starved, persecuted - was
done on purpose, and willingly, and for the noblest sounding moral
'human-all-too-human' desire to hurt, harm, demean, denigrate, abuse or
exploit others is one of the normally unacknowledged forces of history, as is stupidity.
It is probably the normal
human reaction to personal unhappiness: Make others
suffer at least as much as one does oneself; demean those who seem
better of than oneself, if one can do so without danger to oneself; and
take vengeance for one's own pains, miseries and disappointments by
wrecking even more of the same on the supposed enemies of one's
society, or on social deviants or dissidents,
since then one also gains moral credits
easily, with the majority of one's peers.
One Man Should Be Able to Trigger Nuclear War
This article is by Eric Margolis on Common Dreams. It
starts as follows:
Yes indeed. But the
following - I did demonstrate against nuclear weapons for the
first time in 1959, I think - is wishful
Amidst the rising clamor
in the US over groping and goosing, America’s Congress is beginning to
fret about President Donald Trump’s shaky finger being on the nation’s
The air force officer that
dutifully trails the president carries the electronic launch codes in a
black satchel that could ignite a world war that would largely destroy
Nuclear war is
absolutely unthinkable. Totally crazy. Yet serious discussion is
underway in military and neocon war circles about a nuclear war against
North Korea and, even crazier, against Iran and Russia. Welcome
home, Dr Strangelove.
Nuclear war was quite
thinkable for Truman (for he decided to blow up Hiroshima and Nagasaki
with nuclear arms); it was quite thinkable for Bertrand
Russell; it was quite thinkable for Albert Einstein;
and it was quite thinkable for very many others who
started to demonstrate against nuclear arms in the second half of the
Strangelove is one of the best films I ever saw, and
I strongly recommend you try to see it if you didn´t, but
indeed it also is - very clever and quite realistic - sarcasm.
But these are again real facts:
China and Russia are right next door to North Korea. Trump’s
threats to attack North Korea might force them to challenge the US in a
Yes indeed. And here is
the last bit that I quote from this article:
According to the
US Constitution, Congress has the power to declare war. But the
president has a residual right to initiate military action in the event
of a sudden threat. The fate of the globe cannot be left in the
hands of one man. Even Russia and China require some checks and
balances before nuclear war is unleashed. The US apparently does
Well... this means that the situation as regards the absolute power
of the USA has been unchanged since 1959 or so, for the US
president can still decide, on his own, to start the
blowing up of 7
billion people + the total destruction of human civilization.
The difference is that the power of the nuclear arms has been multiplied
tenthousands of times, and there are quite a
few more nations with nuclear weapons than there were in the 1950ies.
 I have now been
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 merely registering this in
passing, but on the basis of my own experiences in Holland as a
critic of the university and of the extremely large - and quite
illegal - drugsdealing that is done now for thirty
years by politicians, judges and bureaucrats from Holland, to the
best of my knowledge - my guess is that almost everyone who is not
powerful may be threatened, abused and scolded by many anonymous
devotees of sadism, if only because there may very well be hundreds
of millions of anonymous devotees of sadism, and they now all can
write, and do so in full anonymity, except for the anonymous secret
services and the anonymous overseers of Facebook etc.
 I am sorry if I am a bit ironical, if
indeed I am.