from January 17, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) 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 more than two years
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
I shall continue.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from January 17, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With
2. Alternative Facts': The 'Non-Word' of 2017
3. One Vote Needed for Resolution to Reinstate Net
4. I Live in a ‘Shithole Country.’ It’s Called the United
5. Trump's Presidency Sinks Below Rock Bottom
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:
Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear Arms
This article is by David E. Sanger and William J. Broad on The New York
Times. It starts as follows:
A newly drafted
United States nuclear strategy that has been sent to President Trump
for approval would permit the use of nuclear weapons to respond to a
wide range of devastating but non-nuclear attacks on American
infrastructure, including what current and former government officials
described as the most crippling kind of cyberattacks.
And please note the background of this message: The USA already
spends over half of its tax money on the Pentagon, while it
8 to 10 times as much on war (or as it is known since a long time:
"defense") as any other government.
Here is some more:
American presidents have threatened “first use” of nuclear weapons
against enemies in only very narrow and limited circumstances, such as
in response to the use of biological weapons against the United States.
But the new document is the first to expand that to include attempts to
destroy wide-reaching infrastructure, like a country’s power grid or
communications, that would be most vulnerable to cyberweapons.
This seems true, although
there have been quite a few near outbreaks of a nuclear war
early 1960ies. Incidentally, if a weapon is something that is
intended to hurt or harm or kill another living being, it seems to me
that the term "cyberweapons" is a bit odd (though I also suppose
that the term will stay).
Here is more:
document, called the Nuclear Posture Review, was written at the
Pentagon and is being reviewed by the White House. Its final release is
expected in the coming weeks and represents a new look at the United
States’ nuclear strategy. The draft was first
published last week by HuffPost.
It called the
strategic picture facing the United States quite bleak, citing not only
Russian and Chinese nuclear advances but advances made by North Korea
and, potentially, Iran.
sorry, but this sounds like pure propaganda
for as I said, "The
USA already spends over half
of its tax money on the Pentagon, while it also spends 8 to 10 times as
much on war (or as it is known since a long time: "defense") as any
Besides, it is the richest
nation in the world, so I do think this is propaganda: The USA has all the
stay ahead, and is ahead to the best of my knowledge.
I believe there is more behind it:
everything about this radical new policy will blur the line between
nuclear and conventional,” said Andrew C. Weber, an assistant defense
secretary during the Obama administration who directed an interagency
panel that oversaw the country’s nuclear arsenal.
If adopted, he
added, the new policy “will make nuclear war a lot more likely.”
That is, Trump's
government seems to be heading for war, and the war will be
nuclear. If so, I think human civilization will be destroyed, but
who cares with An Enormous Superhuman Genius like Trump at the head of
the American forces?
And I am
sorry, but this is how I see things, and this is a recommended
Facts': The 'Non-Word' of 2017
This article is by The Associated Press. It starts as follows:
have declared the phrase “alternative facts,” popularized by White
House aide Kellyanne Conway, the non-word of 2017.
Conway used the phrase last
year when asked why President Donald Trump’s then-Press Secretary Sean
Spicer mischaracterized the size of the inauguration crowd.
A team of six language
experts at Darmstadt University chose “alternative facts” from among
German news agency dpa
quoted the head of the panel as saying Tuesday the phrase represents
the growing practice of “replacing factual arguments with claims that
cannot be proven.”
And I do so because the
Dutch do also elect a "word of the year", but I don't
think they select "a non-word" (although I am not sure, because
I am not much interested), while "alternative facts", although I grant
it are two words, in fact only states a plain
contradiction, like "the round square".
Of course, in
principle I should add here that my usage of "fact" - which
is the common use, although perhaps a bit clarified - might be
(and is) undercut by various kinds of epistemological
but (i) these epistemological
criticisms are only from a small minority, and (ii) they also
are philosophical or technical, while (iii) I am one of the
somewhat select few who does have the philosophical and logical
knowledge to appraise them rationally, and I simply disagree with these
So in fact I both allow
the criticism of the common usage of "fact", and I insist that
few are rationally adequate to appraise them, and that those who can
appraise them mostly agree they are not valid.
But I like it that the
Germans do - also - make a selection of the latest bullshit
words they met in their language, and I like this
selection, although I do have two remarks. The first is that -
evidently(!) - "alternative facts" is not "a non-word" but is a
in terms, and the second is that the very phrase "alternative facts" does not
amount to “replacing
factual arguments with claims that
cannot be proven” but to replacing
arguments with claims that are contradictory
- which happens to be quite close to Orwell in his "1984".
Vote Needed for Resolution to Reinstate Net Neutrality, Democrats Say
This article is by Emily Wells on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I say, and one reason to do so is that
I admit I am not quite clear about this.
This week, congressional
an update in the fight to save net neutrality after the Federal
Communications Commission voted to repeal broadband industry
regulations in December 2017. Fifty senators—49 Democrats and one
Republican—have now endorsed a legislative measure to override the FCC
decision. This means Democrats need one more Republican vote to pass a
Senate resolution of disapproval, aimed at restoring net neutrality
We need one more
Republican senator who has the decency to stand up to the telecom and
cable industries and protect the American people. Let’s find them.
If the Democrats are correct, I think that is fine, and
I certainly strongly hope they will get the remaining one vote,
but as I said: Today I am not clear about how the situation
today is (and I neither am a Democrat nor do I trust their public
sayings, and it is the same for the Republicans).
Here is more:
The December vote,
led by Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, eliminated FCC rules that had
banned internet providers from blocking or slowing down websites. Many
Republicans believed the rules were too restrictive for businesses,
while Democrats argued they provided much-needed protection for
consumers. The current resolution from the Democrats aims to overturn
the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality and prohibit it from
passing these kinds of repeals in the future, The Washington Post
true, to the best of my rather extensive knowledge - and note that what
Pai effectively provided the ISPs with is a tool to censor the
internet themselves, and to let the people only read
what the ISPs approve they read - and you or I may never
find this is so, precisely because we have been anonymously and
secret been designed as fit for censoring.
This is a recommended article, and I let you know later what the real
Live in a ‘Shithole Country.’ It’s Called the United States
This article is by Josh Hoxie on AlterNet and originally on Fortune. It
starts as follows:
I would not have
spoken of "a level of
pomposity" (?!) but of "a level of vulgarity", but otherwise I agree with Hoxie.
It takes a level of
pomposity inconceivable to most of us to describe another country as a
It’s unfortunately just one
more of the obnoxious, racist, and altogether absurd statements we’ve
come to expect from President Donald Trump.
Here is a bit more, on the background:
In case you missed
it, here’s what Trump reportedly said: “Why are we having all these
people from shithole countries come here?” He was referencing Haiti, El
Salvador, Honduras, and apparently most of Africa. He went on to ask
why more people from Norway (a nearly all white country) weren’t coming
to the U.S.
Yes indeed. (Incidentally,
greatest mistake I made in my life was leaving
Norway in 1977, where I had lived then for nearly three years,
this is personal and therefore bracketed.)
And here is why Josh Hoxie speaks of the USA as "a shithole country":
Trump and his defenders
completely ignore the direct and disgraceful role America has played in
making life worse in the countries he cited. Among many other things,
we’ve backed right-wing death squads in El Salvador,
supported cruel dictators in Haiti, and trapped poor
countries the world over in debt through International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans with tight
I’ll leave it to foreign
relations scholars to parse the rest. What I’m concerned about is
Trump’s complete lack of concern over the “shit-holiness” of the
country he leads.
Yes, although I am
rather convinced that Trump really thinks that the USA is
a great country (that His Genius will make yet Greater).
In fact, it is
richest country, but it is precisely there where it is not
The U.S. is the wealthiest
country on earth. Yet one in five children here will go to bed
hungry tonight. Thirteen million American children live in
poverty, the highest rate among the world’s wealthy countries.
One shining light for poor
American kids is that almost all of them have health insurance, thanks
to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) put in place in 1997.
That light is rather dim right now, however, as Congress waffles on
funding the program, leaving millions of children’s lives in the
Precisely. And here is
more on what is in fact the extreme inequality that exists in
The United Nations Special
Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, conducted a two-week tour
of the U.S. in late 2017. He found some of the most extreme inequality
anywhere in the world.
“The United States is one
of the world’s richest and most powerful and technologically innovative
countries,” Alston wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian, “but neither its wealth nor
its power nor its technology is being harnessed to address the
situation in which 40 million people continue to live in poverty.”
America also has the highest rate of incarceration in the world,
the highest infant mortality rate among developed
countries, and is the only industrialized country not to
guarantee health care as a basic human right.
Yes indeed. And this is
a recommended article.
Presidency Sinks Below Rock Bottom
This article is by Christoph Scheuermann on Spiegel International. It
starts as follows:
Stephen Miller is one of
the people charged with convincing the world that everything is just
fine, and nothing is out of the ordinary. The White House speechwriter
went on CNN a week ago Sunday for a live interview to comment on "Fire
and Fury," the new book about U.S. President Donald Trump by the
journalist Michael Wolff. The tome presents the president as
psychologically unstable, as dumb, senile and dangerously erratic. "The
book is best understood as a work of very poorly written fiction,"
Miller said. "The author is a garbage author of a garbage book."
Miller is 32 years old, but
with his thinning hair and polished visage, he looks like he could be
in his early 50s. During the election campaign, he flew back and forth
across the country with Trump. "The reality is that the president is a
political genius," Miller said. The accusations leveled in the book, he
went on, are grotesque, particularly the quotes attributed to Stephen
Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, who Miller denounced as being
"vindictive." During the course of the interview, he got so worked up
that the anchor, Jake Tapper, finally put an end to it, with security
guards ultimately leading Miller out of the studio.
I knew all this, and
Stephen Miller seems a great, conscious and quite degenerate liar.
This is from the Wikipedia on his lying (minus notes):
Miller has on multiple
occasions made false or unsubstantiated claims regarding public policy
and Donald Trump. On February 13, 2017, Stephen Colbert responded to Miller's
statement that he would appear on "any show, anywhere, anytime, and
repeat it, and say the president of the United States is correct, 100
percent" by inviting Miller to come on The Late Show with Stephen
Colbert, stating: "And listen, if you don't show up, I'm going
to call you a liar. And if you do show up, I'm going to call you a liar
to your face."
And this is on the Very
Stable Genius who Miller lies for:
"Actually, throughout my
life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being,
like, really smart," he tweeted on Sunday morning. He wrote that he
went from being a "VERY successful" businessman to TV stardom and then
to the presidency. "I think that would qualify as not smart, but
genius....and a very stable genius at that!"
Trump said so,
and besides uttered around 2000 documented lies in the first year
of his precidency.
I do not know
Americans believe Trump is a genius, but I do know nobody I
thinks so, while many of his close associates, who know him
very well, insist that he is "an idiot", or a "dope":
Who am I to disagree
with these close associates of Trump (who did make these
Of course, that's not how a
healthy person talks -- it is the voice of mania. And the patient,
unfortunately, is the most powerful man in the world, a man who is
resented even by his closest aids. Secretary of the Treasury Steven
Mnuchin called Triump an "idiot." Gary Cohn, Trump's chief economic
adviser, said the president is "dumb as shit," and National Security
Advisor H.R. McMaster described Trump as a "dope." All of these quotes
are from "Fire and Fury," and there could hardly be better
corroboration of their veracity than Trump's outbursts on Twitter and
Here is the ending of this article:
Yet the real-life satire
that Trump and his team are currently staging isn't just another
incidence of lunacy. It is a deeply problematic political headache that
raises fundamental questions.
How powerful can a superpower
be when its leader is beset by increasing calls for his dismissal?
More important, however, is
the question as to how Trump -- if he gets this upset because of a book
-- might react in a real crisis. What might he do if North Korean
dictator Kim Jong Un lays down the gauntlet? Can Trump really be
trusted with control of America's nuclear arsenal?
I think the brief
answer to the last question (which also is the only serious
quite simple: A man like
Donald Trump can not be trusted with control of America's nuclear arsenal.