from July 6, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Friday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
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.
2. Crisis Files
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from July 6, 2018:
1. Scott Pruitt Exits, Sticking You With the Tab
The 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:
Detained Mothers Are Organizing to Find Their
3. Trump's Ever More Powerful Weapons Against Journalism
4. The Creator of the World Wide Web Is ‘Devastated’ by What
5. 'Actions Speak Louder Than Words'
Pruitt Exits, Sticking You With the Tab
This article is by
The Editorial Board of The New York Times. It starts as follows:
Just when America
had all but given up hope, Scott Pruitt’s appalling reign as
Environmental Protection Agency administrator is
finally over. Thursday afternoon, Mr. Pruitt delivered President
Trump his resignation letter, replete with references to “God’s
providence” and how “blessed” he was to have had the opportunity to
serve not the nation, but this president. He sadly noted that “the
unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and
have taken a sizable toll on all of us.” And so Mr. Pruitt heads for
the door, leaving behind a dark, oily stain on the office that he has
spent the past year and a half vigorously defiling.
In fact, there are many
articles about Pruitt's resignation. I chose this one because it is
clear and by The New York Times, which is one of the two mainstream
daily papers I still look at every day. (The other is The Guardian. And
I will keep reading them, simply to have a standard of comparison
between the mainstream and the non-mainstream.)
And the NYT is right. That is, Pruitt seems to have been one of the
many self-enrichers from Trump's government, who rewarded himself in
very many financial ways, quite a few which were evidently corrupt.
I do not think Pruitt was very important, but I agree he was
quite sickening. Here is more by the NYT:
Pruitt’s departure did not come as a total shock. Word around
Washington in recent weeks was that the stench of corruption wafting
from E.P.A. headquarters was getting to be too much even for Mr. Trump.
Someone in the White House no doubt noticed that, with the midterms
approaching, Mr. Pruitt was not playing well with any voter who retains
some common sense. In an administration characterized by extreme
swampiness and ethical flexibility, the E.P.A. chief had nonetheless
distinguished himself with pathological grifting to the point that even
some Republican lawmakers and reliably conservative
commentators had begun publicly slapping him.
think that is all quite correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from
Precisely, although "surprisingly petty" misuses are - to an extent - a matter of taste. But it is
true he does not seem to have somehow illegally appropriated millions
of dollars, "just" several hundreds of thousands (as far as I could
see, by some quick glances and additions).
for months, Mr. Pruitt held on to his job as the embarrassing
revelations piled up like so many used mattresses: his profligate
spending on posh travel, over-the-top security, and ridiculous,
self-aggrandizing office supplies; his directing agency staffers to run
his personal errands, including finding him a place to live in
Washington and combing hotels for his favorite skin cream; his attempts
to score his wife a high-paying job, possibly involving chicken nuggets
and waffle fries. Every week seemed to bring fresh examples of Mr.
Pruitt’s shameless and yet surprisingly petty misuse of his office.
Anyway... this was an example of Trump's government, perhaps a bit
greedier and a bit more stupid than most. O, and the NYT is correct
that Pruitt's letter of resignation consists mostly of sick
of Trump. And this is a recommended article.
Mothers Are Organizing to Find Their Kids
article is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! It
starts with the following introduction:
Yes indeed - and please
note that this falsely detained woman with two sons who
and abducted by ICE seems to have
been treated as a terrorist
Trump's government, for she was not even allowed a notebook
like the Communists who were detained by the Italian fascists in the
While the government
struggles to reunite families who have been separated at the border
under President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, one detained Honduran
woman has been organizing mothers behind bars to help find their
children. The New Yorker reports that Mabel Gonzales has carefully
documented the cases of mothers who have been separated from their
children at a detention facility in El Paso, Texas, where she is
currently jailed. Gonzales herself was separated from her two teenage
sons eight months before the Trump administration announced its “zero
tolerance” policy. She records the details of other separated mothers
despite not being allowed to have a notebook while detained. She then
shares the information with the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center
in El Paso to help separated mothers locate their children. We speak
with Linda Rivas, executive director and lead attorney of Las Americas
Immigrant Advocacy Center.
Here is some more:
SHAIKH: And if she is—if
Mabel Gonzales is, in fact, deported, will she be deported with her
RIVAS: So, that is an
impossible choice that many of these parents are being forced to make.
Even after the news of this injunction, which, again, was very, very
good news, in demanding that this administration reunify kids in a
short amount of time, there’s still now a form being passed out to
parents saying, “Would you like to return with your children or not?”
We have already heard reports on the ground that they are being
presented with this information without an attorney present, even if we
have the proper documentation submitted to these deportation officers
saying, “We are the attorneys. We are representing them.” They’re still
going without—you know, not asking them if they want representation.
And they’re saying, “Do you want to go back with your children or not?”
That is an impossible choice to make, when they have made that
sacrifice. They have fled violence. They came, together with their
child. They were ripped away from them. And now have to make a
decision: Does my child go back to be in danger with me, after all the
sacrifice we made, or do I choose for my child to stay, and potentially
never see them again? And it is a decision that Mabel and I have—really
still need to explore, because it’s such a difficult decision to make.
I say. Well... to me
seems as if ICE is persistently and on purpose raping US law.
I said above: The US government illegally detained refugees; it
illegally kidnapped and abducted more than 2000 of their children, many
of whom are younger than 5 years; and now it asks their parents
kidnapped and abducted their children, often to unknown places) whether
they want to go back with their children to the places they fled from.
It's sick. Here is the
I'll quote on this article, which is on the refugees:
RIVAS: Almost every single
person that we speak to at the detention center is escaping some form
of violence. Some vary in the severity, but we see many people—we see
many women escaping domestic violence, whether that be through a
partner that they are actually legally married to or potentially a
live-in partner or a boyfriend, where these people, these women, are
viewed as property of these men. They are sexually assaulted on
numerous occasions. They are escaping kidnapping and death threats. And
they come to this country, many times, after having sought help from
their own government, being turned away or seeing that the government
is absolutely inefficient in being able to protect them. Again, this is
something that we see often. Gang violence and extortion, these are
also themes. But domestic violence is something that we here at Las
Americas have defended, and defended these claims before the court.
Yes. Well... all
saying is that refugees should not be arrested by the US
the children of refugees should not be kidnapped nor
abducted by the US
government. And as long as the US government is doing that, I
it is neofascistic,
racist, and criminal.
Ever More Powerful Weapons Against Journalism
This article is by Jacob Sugarman on Truthdig. This is from near its
Last month, after spending
the better part of two years railing against purveyors of “fake news,”
the president called the media the “enemy
of the American people.” Now the Department of Homeland Security is
reportedly compiling a database of journalists, editors, correspondents
and bloggers to identify the leading voices in their respective fields.
According to an April 5
report in Bloomberg
Government, DHS was searching for a contractor to help it monitor
more than 290,000 global news sources in over 100 languages, including
Arabic, Chinese and Russian, all of which will be translated to English
in real time. These outlets would include newspapers and magazines,
television and radio, podcasts and social media.
You might ask at this
point (although you may know that the main point of introducing the
computer by the DARPA was to get all the information - including all
privacies and all private mails - from absolutely anyone living
anywhere to the NSA) why one should be worried about the
Homeland Security's desire to set up such a global news sources system.
Here is the answer:
Precisely, for this means
that the DHS may soon be telling the security forces from Arabia,
Russia that such-and-such a person wrote critically about the Arab,
Chinese or Russian government, and that he or she lives
there-and-there, has two young children, owns 10,000 dollars, and might
be arrested and questioned by the security forces.
“The DHS request says the
selected vendor will set up an online ‘media influence database’ giving
users the ability to browse based on location, beat, and type of
influence,” Bloomberg’s Cary O’Reilly reveals. The database would
include, “[f]or each influencer found, present contact details and any
other information that could be relevant, including publications this
influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage
published by the media influencer.”
If the project sounds like
a First Amendment violation waiting to happen, that’s because it is.
While DHS insists that the database will “protect and enhance the
resilience of the nation’s physical and cyberinfrastructure,” perhaps
against foreign interference in future elections, the potential for
censorship and other abuses of power is virtually limitless.
Here is a final more general bit of information I quote from this
increasing government encroachment on the freedom of the press is the
sinister backdrop to all of this,” writes
Forbes’ Michelle Fabio. “Freedom House, which has monitored the
status of the press for nearly 40 years, recently concluded that global
media freedom has reached its lowest level in the past 13 years.”
Yes, and my own
media freedom" will -
there is an enormous crisis - mostly disappear in the next 10 years,
precisely because the secret services from anywhere know all there is
to know about anyone (in principle: it may not have been read by human
eyes, bit it has been almost certainly collected since 2001). And this
is a recommended article.
Creator of the World Wide Web Is ‘Devastated’ by What It Has Become
This article is by Ilana Novick on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Well... I first learned to
program in 1973, although that was mostly useless, for this was
currently - extremely oldfashioned IBMs that were at that time still
programmed by computer cards (with holes in them), and that could do
little else than summing columns of numbers.
Berners-Lee isn’t a household name like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates
or Mark Zuckerberg. He is, however, the inventor of a tool that has
dramatically remade the way the world communicates, shares information,
even lives. In 1989, Berners-Lee created what became the World Wide
Web, releasing the code for free. Now, after multiple privacy scandals
involving Facebook and Twitter, and especially after revelations of how
Russian hackers used Facebook to attempt to influence the 2016 U.S.
election, Berners-Lee is redoubling his efforts to save the internet,
as he explains in a newly published interview with Vanity
He has, as the article
observes, “never directly profited off his invention” and “spent most
of his life trying to guard it.” He always knew that his creation could
fall into the wrong hands, but the web’s role in the 2016 election
shocked him. “I was devastated,” Berners-Lee told writer Katrina
Brooker. “Actually, physically—my mind and body were in a different
In 1979 I had a good friend who bought an Apple II, which could
much and still had to store whatever was written on it on tapedecks,
but which did have Applebasic (I think but am not sure anymore
already then called so), and that was a very fine introduction
to the new
style of programming one could do on PCs.
In 1987 I got my first personal computer, which was an Osborne
Kb of memory, but also with Visicalc, Wordstar and more, and then in
1988 a Philips, which sported than 256 MB of memory and a 10 MB hard
disk, but which was quite useful, for I stopped typing on a typing
machine by the end of 1987.
In brief, I do know a reasonable amount about computers, and I
can program in six languages, and I learned most of that before
I acquired internet in 1996, indeed mostly from CDs that came with
computer monthlies (that meanwhile also all disappeared).
But by now - and now is 1996, for the moment - I also distrust Tim
Berners-Lee, and I have two main reasons to do so.
The first is that he worked for DARPA, and I have the following bit on
the DARPA, which is selected from March 24,
2018, and it is about Zbigniew
Brzezinski, who knew what the users of the present PCs and
would get, already in 1967:
Here is Mr. Brzezinski
writing in 1967
(!!!!), a mere 51 years ago, in
¨New Republic¨ of December 13, 1967:
leaving the phase of spontaneity and is entering a more self-conscious state;
ceasing to be an industrial society, its is being shaped to an
ever-increasing extent by technology and electronics, and thus becoming the first
This is at least in part the cause for much of
the current tensions and violence, and largely the reason why events
in America today do not fit established categories
I read that quotation more than
¨a few years ago¨, namely in 2012
(and before that in 1970 , but
in 1970 I did not
recognize what Brzezinski did say in 1967):
that the technotronic society fills some people
(in this respect the reactionaries and the revolutionaries
Mr Brezezinski does not expect that the Luddite lovers
anarchy will seriously obstruct the new order.
will soon be possible to assert almost continuous
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date,
containing even personal information about
personal behaviour of the citizen, in addition
Moreover it will
and plan to meet any uprisings in the future.
will even be able to forecast crises before the rioters
conscious of wanting them.
He said that he was designing (what I think is) a fully neofascist
system of spying on absolutely everyone that would make
it possible (for secret spies from the NSA, presumably):
assert almost continuous
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date,
containing even personal information about
personal behaviour of the citizen¨
That was in
1967 and Mr. Brzezinski was fully served around
when the DARPA opened the internet that was planned
to do as Mr. Brzezinksi said it would do 25 years earlier (which means thay he either
is a most extra-ordinary genius who could see 25 years in the future, or
else that he had been planning what he or his mates received
in 1992 - and no: Mr. Brzezinski undoubtedly was
fairly smart, but he was no extra-ordinary genius).
My own conclusion is that the internet was
developed by DARPA to spy on absolutely everyone who used a computer
connected to the internet, and indeed that is precisely what DARPA produced.
The part between
"----" is quoted from March
24 last, and as I said: Brzezinski - who died in 2017 - did
know in 1967 what "computer
users" of 2017 would get:
instrument to spy on every user of a computer,
about absolutely everything a user would do with
a computer, which would give the secret services the complete
information about absolutely anyone.
Brzezinski knew that in 1967 and Tim Berners-Lee produced it in 1989. I
do not trust Berners-Lee but indeed I did not know the above until 2012.
Also, I do not know anything about his
relations with Brzezinski or with DARPA, but I do know one
thing that made me already quite distrustful in 1996, when I got
connected to internet:
It had been decided then that all e-mails - personal information,
was meant not to be read by anyone but
the addressee - would be sent as plain text, which would
make them readable to anyone who
I did not know then that DARPA and the NSA could intercept
them, but I found this out - I think - by 2008: They can, for they
can intercept absolutely everything (and have been doing so since
2001 or before).
Et voilà: The perfect spying
instrument Brzezinski already announced in
Back to the article:
He had spent years
advocating for a free and open internet but consolidated his efforts in
2009, starting the World
Wide Web Foundation to, as explained on the organization’s
site, “advance the open web as a public good and a basic right.”
This is just some
background. Here is some more:
York Times/Observer investigation found Facebook had sold user
data to the voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica, which had
close ties to the Trump campaign.
“Looking at the ways
algorithms are feeding people news and looking at accountability for
the algorithms—all of that is really important for the open Web,”
(programs in English) indeed "are feeding people news", but unfortunately almost all programs are owned by
private corporations, and therefore secret, while if these
programs are owned by the NSA they are secret for that reason.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
To achieve his goal of
accountability, Berners-Lee is also focused on building Solid, a project housed at MIT
Fair explains, aims to “re-decentralize the Web.” The platform
is designed to “give individuals, rather than corporations, control of
their own data.”
The idea is still in its
infancy, but if Berners-Lee and his team can turn it into reality it
will have potential to democratize the web:
The system aims to give
users a platform by which they can control access to the data and
content they generate on the web. This way, users can choose how that
data gets used rather than, say, Facebook and Google doing with it as
they please. Solid’s code and technology is open to all—anyone with
access to the internet can come into its chat room and start coding.
I briefly looked at it,
but what I saw looked like propaganda.
Perhaps it is useful, but if the operating system that
is used is
secret (as are Microsoft and Apple), forget it.
Anyway - the
situation-as-is is as I said (apart from Tor and some encrypted
internet is the perfect
instrument to spy on every user of a computer,
about absolutely everything a user does with
a computer, which gives the secret services the complete
information about absolutely anyone
(in principle, and often in fact).
And besides that,
everybody with sufficient money, like Facebook or Google could find out
the same. And this is a strongly recommended article.
Speak Louder Than Words'
article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. I shortened the title of
three lines - are journalists now summing up their stories as titles
because many people read less and less? - because I don't like stories
as titles, and I also have no space for them. The article starts as
At first glance, the
prominent political action committee End Citizens United (ECU) appears
to be dedicated to channeling widespread
grassroots anger at corporate money in politics into promoting
candidates who reject cash from big business and support bold campaign
But a closer look at the
candidates ECU endorses and funds reveals that the organization
frequently uses its vast resources to reinforce the poisonous status
I say. Well... my guess
is that this is these days a quite common ploy: In fact, you
get your money in secret from some billionaire; you pretend
that it is to save this or that, and attract more money and people that
way; but what you are doing is actually the opposite.
Here is more on the ECU:
In a detailed
analysis of the ECU's recent endorsements, fundraising efforts, and
campaign spending, Donald Shaw of Sludge—an outlet that
covers political corruption—found that the group deploys "a large part
of their campaign contributions to re-elect corporate-financed
"Despite advocating for
Democrats to reject corporate money, End Citizens United hasn't
prioritized contributing to incumbents who make such pledges," Shaw
writes. "A review of End Citizens United's campaign contributions shows
a group that funds to the mainstream of the Democratic congressional
caucus and is particularly supportive of the the more conservative and
corporate-friendly members of the party."
So that is how it
works, it seems. Here is some more:
Since its inception, ECU
has utilized aggressive fundraising tactics—renting email lists from
media outlets like AlterNet and Mother Jones and
sending up to seven fundraising pleas per day—to rake in millions in
funds. Some of that money was then then given to corporate-friendly
Democrats who are already flush with industry cash.
Well... I am glad that I
never gave my email address to AlterNet or Mother Jones (and AlterNet
was recently sold, and seems to be destroyed as a non-mainstream
provider of information).
Here is the article's
conclusion about ECU:
Cory Archibald, a
spokeswoman for the anti-corruption organization Brand New Congress,
echoed Sopoci-Belknap's assessment in an interview with Sludge,
arguing that ECU "looks like an attractive option" on the surface but
utterly fails to live up to its promises in practice.
"If their organization only
supported candidates who firmly pledged no PAC money, their
contributions could breathe much-needed life into grassroots
campaigns," Archibald concluded. "Instead it looks more like an
I agree and this is a
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 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
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 read all of this (and rather a lot
more, but mostly not about computers) in 1970, in Stephen Spender's
"The Year of the Young Rebels", which was about the failed
French revolution of 1968, that I had attended myself.
I think Spender's book about France of 1968 is the best book I
about that time, and as I said, it also contained information about
computers, computing, and the plans of the American secret services to
abuse computers and computing long before there were PCs, and
long before I realized how important the information
about computing and the American secret services was.
And while I still have the book (a paperback) and quoted it quite
precisely, of course it is unfindable for decades now. (I do not even
know whether it is anywhere in a library, although I would like to
know. All I can find on the internet
is that there still are 2 copies available on Amazon.)