from July 18, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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 18, 2018:
1. We Need “Robust Debate” in Reporting on
Russia, Not “Suffocating
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:
2. Why I
Hate Google, Twitter, and Facebook
3. Trial Runs for Fascism Are in Full Flow
4. The Global Growth of U.S. Special Operations Forces
5. Open Thread: Trump-Putin Summit and Mounting Hysteria
Need “Robust Debate” in Reporting on Russia, Not “Suffocating Consensus”
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the
President Trump drew
bipartisan outrage from lawmakers and media outlets Monday after
meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and lashing
out at his own intelligence agencies over the investigation of alleged
Russian interference in the 2016 election. Katrina vanden Heuvel,
editor and publisher of The Nation, calls the Trump and Putin press
conference “bizarre and surreal,” but says the media reaction lacked
perspective: “I think that people kind of lost their bearings.”
Yes, and I think Vanden
Heuvel (who - incidentally - has a Dutch family name that must be
mispronounced horribly in the USA) is correct with her “bizarre and surreal”. I review another
article below (item 5) that has a similar though
probably not identical point of view.
And here is some more background:
GOODMAN: And, folks, by
the way, you can go to democracynow.org to see the debate, both on
the air and after
the air, between Joe Cirincione, who is president of Ploughshares
Fund, very much for pushing—has been a longtime anti-nuclear activist,
but did not feel this summit should take place, that Trump made the
wrong decision, and Glenn Greenwald, who felt exactly the opposite, the
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Go to democracynow.org. But the
summit and what happened—
GOODMAN: —and the news
conference, the outcry across the United States? It’s not just CNN and MSNBC.
But not across the—it’s not across the United States, it’s across the
media universe of the United States.
GOODMAN: Right, not just CNN and MSNBC, but Fox,
Yes, I think Amy
Goodman is right about the two interviews she published with Greenwald
and Cirincione. I reviewed them yesterday (here
and here) and they are good and
deserve to be read.
And here is Katrina
You know, there’s a kind of maniacal defensiveness on the part of Trump
to defend the legitimacy of his election, which leads to this—what we
saw at the press conference, which was kind of bizarre and surreal. Was
it treasonous? Did it rise to high crimes and misdemeanors? Was it
surrender? Was it akin to 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, as some have called? I
think the rhetoric was disproportionate to what we saw. We saw a Trump,
who we’ve already seen bully his way across Europe, who can very well
look unhinged, and it was not America’s—it was kind of ugly and
shameful to watch, but I think that people kind of lost their bearings.
To me, there were three
points that I come out of. One is that the investigation into Russian
interference in our election must continue, must be protected, that our
electoral system must be strengthened so that it is free and fair.
That’s going to be a lot of work. And number three is that we don’t
isolate Russia, we engage. And that does not mean legitimizing an
authoritarian leader. We have an American authoritarian, they’ve got a
Russian authoritarian. But it does mean understanding the context of
two countries holding 90 percent of the nuclear weapons, that The
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock a minute or
so ahead. Midnight is doomsday. We’re a more perilous situation than we
have been in since the Cuban missile crisis. So, I think we need to
I more or less agree,
but I do not think ¨that
people kind of lost their bearings¨ or else that if they did they lost them before, and
in either case what very many journalists and editors in the mainstream
media have become and are becoming more and more: Totalitarian.
Except that you
cannot say so
according to Wikipedia, that now has a completely
lying definition of ¨totalitarianism¨ that was inspired by
Brzezinski, who also seems to have planned the modern internet
computer so as to become the most supreme tool of spying on all living
people (with internet connection) that has ever been designed
and imposed on people everywhere, that also will learn very
far more of
their total lives (including their ¨private¨ emails and ¨private¨
pornography) than these people themselves are able to recall.
According to that insane
is a political concept where the state recognizes no limits to its authority
and strives to control every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.¨
No, it is not.
This implies (and is used that way) that persons, parties and
programs cannot be totalitarian in any
sense unless these persons, parties or programs belong
to a totalitarian state - which is utter baloney, and not
at all as George
Orwell and many others used the term:
- and this is my definition:
Totalitarian: Ideology or religion that is
pretended to have final answers to many important human questions and
problems and that is pretended to be thereby justified to persecute
persons who do not agree with the ideology or the religion.
And then these ideologies or religions - both
Catholicism and Protestantism were quite totalitarian
for centuries - may take over power, either of a
also of a religion,
or (part of) a (political) ideology anywhere, and not
just in ¨totalitarian states¨.
according to Wikipedia and Brzezinski. Here is the last bit by Vanden
Heuvel (I am Dutch, and use the Dutch conventions to spell her family
name) that in fact describes totalitarianism in my sense quite well:
She is right - but she is
speaking about totalitarianism
in my and in Orwell´s sense, which is contradictory
to the sick and stupid definition that seems to go back to Brzezinski
in the 1970ies.
The vilification of alternative, dissenting views or linking those
views to a foreign power—in many people’s views, an implacably hostile
foreign power—is the degradation of our political media culture. When
Rand Paul, who is interesting on foreign policy, reminds, as The
New York Times
has over the last—you
know, that America has meddled in other countries’ elections, has
interfered, has overthrown countries’ governments, and contributors
tweet “traitor”? And I would also mention Glenn Greenwald. We talked of
him earlier. Malcolm Nance, a very ubiquitous commentator on on
intelligence and other issues, said Glenn was—I’m going to read it,
because it’s so outrageous—”an agent of Trump & Moscow … deep in
the Kremlin’s pocket.” This is—we’ve seen this in our history before.
And I think it is—it’s dangerous when you have a suffocating consensus
instead of a full, robust debate.
And there is a lot more in this interview that is recommended:
I Hate Google, Twitter, and Facebook
article is by Lambert Strether on Naked Capitalism. It starts as
I am a blogger. It
is my job to blog, which I’ve been doing on a daily basis since 2003.
Reading and writing is what I do all day. I’m lucky to be able to
survive doing it, and I’m happy to be doing it (..). I hate Google
because it tries to make me a stupid reader. I hate Twitter and
Facebook because they make me a stupid writer. I’ve been wanting to get
this off my chest for some time, so allow me to explain.
In fact, I am not
a blogger and also not a
journalist, although it is more or
less true that I read and write all day, in so far as this is possible.
If you were to ask me what I am, I suppose my reply will be on
First, I am ill for forty years with a ¨chronic serious disease¨
called ME/CFS that I am only
¨allowed¨ to call a
¨chronic serious disease¨ (in Holland) since March of 2018. Second, I
am a philosopher because I had studied that since more than 20
years until I was illegally denied to take the M.A. degree in
it because I was not a Marxist (in a
fundamentally (pseudo-)Marxist and quite totalitarian ¨University¨ of
Amsterdam that was Marxist and totalitarian
from 1971 till 1995 and that is authoritarian and totalitarian
since 1995). Third, I am a psychologist because I decided to
take the M.A. degree in psychology after the M.A. degree in philosophy
had been stolen from me and did so. (But I don´t take
And in so far as my website is concerned (which exists since
1996 and is over 500 MB) I´d say that I am an academically educated
person who tries to find out and write the truth - which
is incidentally a concept that was denied
to exist in the whole
¨University¨ of Amsterdam since 1978, when everybody was told
the utter lie that
(literally, in translation)
It turned out by 1982 that
95% of the students in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam
(average IQ: 115) did believe that... (and I gave up).
- ¨Everybody knows
that truth does not exist¨
Back to Strether´s article.
As I explained, apart from reading and writing a lot, I am not like
Strether, but I agree with him on Google, Twitter and Facebook.
again, I am also unlike him in that I don´t use Google since
years, I never used Twitter, and I think I have visited
around two times ever since they exist. (I also do not
have a TV since
1970, because it is too stupid and too propagandistic).
So in several ways I am rather handicapped (and indeed want to be
handicapped), but I recommend Strether´s article because I mostly agree
with it, and because it contains quite a number of graphical images I
have all deleted in this review.
Here is Strether about Google:
In the news links
column at left, there are a grand total of nine (9) stories. Please,
can we get the steam-era list of blue links back, where we could scan
30 or 40 headlines in a single second’s saccade? And note the sources:
CNN, HuffPost, Fox, WaPo, NBC News, NPR, CNN, and the WSJ. This is an
ecoystem about as barren as my neighbor’s lawn! (And if you click on
the laughingly named “View full coverage” link, you’ll see a page just
as empty and vacuous though slightly less barren, with more obcure
sources, like Reuters. Or Salon.) You will also note the obvious way in
which the page has been gamed by gaslighters and moral panic engineers,
who can drive every other story off the front page through sheer volume
Finally, you’ll note that the fact checkers include organs of state security, in the
form of polygraph.info, “a fact-checking
website produced by Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio
I take it this is all
true. Here is more on Google:
Famously, the normal
Google search page ends with “1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next.” Crapified
though Google search results are, if you spend some time clicking and
scanning, you’ll generally be able to come up with something useful
five or ten pages in, maybe (if you’re lucky) from a source you don’t
already know exists. Not so with Google “News.” When the page ends, it
just ends. When the algo has coughed up whatever hairball it’s coughed
up, it’s done. No more. Again, this is news? What about the same story
a week ago? A month ago? What does “our democracy” have a free press
for, if Google gets in the way of being able to find anything?
Quite so - and
incidentally, I have been using DuckDuckGo since quite a few years, and
have had no problems with it.
Next there is the utterly moronified and moronifying Twitter:
I’ll have a sidebar
on those miserably inadequate writing tools, at left, in a moment. For
now, look at the bottom right: Those disruptive Silicon Valley
engineers have innovated the paragraph:
Precisely. But not
Twitter, for that forces you to be propagandistic,
and makes it
virtually impossible to argue anything other than by propaganda or
scolding (anonymously, of course).
When you click that plus
sign, you get… A second Tweet, connected to the first, in an
easy-to-close-accidentally modal dialog box!
Here, I remind you of the
steam age of Blogger, where you could — hold onto your hats, here,
folks — create a post, composed of paragraphs — or, if you were a poet,
lines; or an artist, images and captions; or an accountant, tables —
all with at least some degree of “flow” and ease. You could even have
subheads, to divide your content into sections!
Then again, it does print your name or alias always twice
- which also is repeated in most non-Twitter mediums, that copy
some of it: Twitter is designed for vain people who only
or scold, generally because they lack the brains for anything else.
Finally, we come to Facebook that I hate since first knowing
never was a member of (I rather kill myself, indeed) and that I do not
recall ever using or seeing except twice:
Now we turn to the
loathesome Facebook, which I haven’t used for about a year, thankfully.
I agree with Strether that
all of this is a matter of conscious design.
As you can see, it’s as
miserably inadequate as Twitter’s and for the same reasons, technical
and (no doubt) political (..). But to a writer Facebook is uniquely
insulting and degrading, first because the big type of the default text
and the small size of the edit box both drive me to post material
that’s not even short form. Worse is the space devoted to an
entire menu bar of buttons for cute backgrounds, instead of a
menu bar of writely tools, like links, and blockquotes, and paragraphs.
And you can’t even drag the modal dialog box bigger!
As you can see, it’s
as miserably inadequate as Twitter’s and for the same reasons,
technical and (no doubt) political. But to a writer Facebook is
uniquely insulting and degrading, first because the big type of the
default text and the small size of the edit box both drive me to post
material that’s not even short form. Worse is the space
devoted to an entire menu bar of buttons for cute backgrounds,
instead of a menu bar of writely tools, like links, and blockquotes,
and paragraphs. And you can’t even drag the modal dialog box bigger!
I suppose this is correct,
and indeed Facebook is not designed to help you write: It is
to make Mark Zuckerberg the richest person in the world, which he
almost is since he knows (in principle) very much more about each of
his members than they can recall themselves, and enriches himself by
selling your privacies to advertisers.
Anyway... this is a strongly recommended article, in which
there is a
lot more than I reviewed.
Runs for Fascism Are in Full Flow
article is by Fintan O´Toole on Common Dreams and originally on the
Irish Times. It starts as follows:
To grasp what is
going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. One
is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is
being trialled is fascism – a word that should be used carefully but
not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget “post-fascist”
– what we are living with is pre-fascism.
Does Fintan O´Toole have any
decent idea about what fascism is? I
do, and indeed seriously considered 21 different definitions of the
term (here: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions) but - while I am following the crisis
ten years and have written over 2000 articles on various
aspects of the crisis - I have absolutely
never met any
journalist or indeed any politician whatsoever (always apart
Orwell, in the 1940ies) who did give any definition of
fascism, or indeed who seems to have as much as read the easy
to find Wikipedia article about these definitions.
My inference is that it is very likely O´Toole knows about as much
about fascism as most journalists, which is hardly anything at all,
though this does not - of course! - keep them from writing
about ¨fascism¨ as if everyone knows what it means.
Here is more by O´Toole:
arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people
to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial
runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people
used to something they may initially recoil from; and they allow you to
refine and calibrate.
So I am supposed to
understand that ¨it is not
easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility¨? Why
not? Who knows what they are? It is not as if the papers or
sites I daily read are full of ¨freedom
and civility¨, although I am
willing to suppose that a minority
Fascism does not need a
majority – it typically comes to power with about 40 per cent support
and then uses control and intimidation to consolidate that power.
may have some sensible ideas on their meaning.
And then there are these ¨trial runs¨ which are one of the two things
that ¨we¨ must all know so that ¨we¨ can ¨grasp what is going on in the world right now¨. I am sorry, but I do not even know
what O´Toole means by ¨trial runs¨. (Whose trials? What
for? How managed? What sort of ¨runs¨? Etc.)
Then - after you agreed on the trial runs - there is this:
But when you’ve done
all this, there is a crucial next step, usually the trickiest of all.
You have to undermine moral boundaries, inure people to the acceptance
of acts of extreme cruelty. Like hounds, people have to be blooded.
They have to be given the taste for savagery. Fascism does this by
building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group. This allows
the members of that group to be dehumanised. Once that has been
achieved, you can gradually up the ante, working through the stages
from breaking windows to extermination.
But people were supposed
to be full of ideas about ¨freedom
and civility¨?! Here is the
last nit that I quote from O´Toole:
The blooding process
has begun within the democratic world. The muscles that the propaganda
machines need for defending the indefensible are being toned up.
Millions and millions of Europeans and Americans are learning to think
the unthinkable. So what if those black people drown in the sea? So
what if those brown toddlers are scarred for life? They have already,
in their minds, crossed the boundaries of morality.
I say. But in fact,
although I am quite sure I know how to think, I cannot ¨think the unthinkable¨ and indeed cannot learn it either, for that
involves an impossibility. And it seems to me that O´Toole
Global Growth of U.S. Special Operations Forces
is by Nick Turse on Common Dreams and originally on TomDispatch. This
is from near its beginning:
And there had been, as the New
York Times noted
in March, at least 10 other previously unreported attacks on American
troops in West Africa between 2015 and 2017. Little wonder since, for
at least five years, as Politico recently reported,
Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and other commandos, operating under a
little-understood legal authority known as Section 127e, have been
involved in reconnaissance and “direct action” combat raids with
African special operators in Somalia, Cameroon, Kenya, Libya, Mali,
Mauritania, Niger, and Tunisia.
None of this should be
surprising, since in Africa and across the rest of the planet America’s
Special Operations forces (SOF) are regularly
engaged in a wide-ranging set of missions including special
reconnaissance and small-scale offensive actions, unconventional
warfare, counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and security force
assistance (that is, organizing, training, equipping, and advising
foreign troops). And every day, almost everywhere, U.S. commandos are
involved in various kinds of training.
Unless they end in disaster,
most missions remain in the shadows, unknown to all but a few
Americans. And yet last year alone, U.S. commandos deployed
to 149 countries -- about 75% of the nations on the planet. At the
halfway mark of this year, according to figures provided to TomDispatch
by U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM), America’s most
elite troops have already carried out missions in 133 countries.
In fact, this article
is too long to properly review, but I am using it to stress the fact
that (i) in 149 countries or three quarters of all countries, the
military is deployed, and (ii) in 133 countries the US military
Here is some more:
This means that ¨on any given day, just the Army’s elite
soldiers are operating in around¨ 60% of the countries American
forces are involved in, which again is in 75% of the countries
All this means that, on any
given day, more than 8,000
exceptionally well-equipped and well-funded special operators from a
command numbering roughly 70,000
active-duty personnel, reservists, and National Guardsmen as well as
civilians are deployed in approximately 90
countries. Most of those troops are Green Berets, Rangers, or other
Army Special Operations personnel. According to Lieutenant General
Kenneth Tovo, head of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command until
last month, that branch provides
more than 51% of all Special Operations forces and accounts for more
than 60% of their overseas deployments. On any given day, just the
Army’s elite soldiers are operating in around 70
American military power... And this is a recommended
Thread: Trump-Putin Summit and Mounting Hysteria
This article is by
Kit on the Off-Guardian. This article starts as follows:
Yesterday, Trump and
Putin met for a summit in Helsinki. The resulting hysteria, all
throughout the mainstream media and in the minds of neocon and
(self-described) “liberals” alike.
Just to be clear – it is
not unusual for heads of state to meet. It is not unusual for leaders
with different values or interests to discuss international politics.
It’s the entire point of diplomacy.
The media at large appear
to have forgotten this – giving thousands of column inches to insane
ramblings employing words such as “traitor”, “treason”, “puppet” and
“surrender”. Words which are rapidly losing their meaning.
Politico Magazine described
the alleged Russian hacking as “our Pearl Harbor”, and demanded
America “respond accordingly”. The author – a retired General in the US
Army – is delightfully vague about what exactly that would entail.
Yes indeed, and I commented yesterday (right at the beginning)
about what Kit calls ¨hysteria¨.
I think she is also right to an extent, but in fact - while I agree
quite a few of the articles I have read the last two days are
hysterical, I prefer totalitarian
(in my sense, and see above).
Here is more:
The Guardian has over 13
stories – including half a dozen opinion pieces. Each more absurd than
the last. Richard Wolffe does nothing but abuse both men
between baseless accusation and the repitition of long-debunked
nonsense. Whilst Peter Daou – a former employee of Hillary Clinton’s
campaign – writes that Republican who still support Trump are
“following him off a cliff to treachery”.
The Independent ran with “Vladimir Putin just humiliated Donald
Trump. And Trump humiliated America”, a headline which belies the
content of article somewhat, by far one of the most reasonable takes on
either side of the Atlantic.
NewsWeek asks: “Did Trump Commit Treason at Putin
Summit?”, before concluding -sensibly enough – that no, he probably
CNN – predictably – went full CNN. Accusing Putin and
Trump of “pulling the West apart”.
As I said above, this
may have been hysteria, but it was totalitarian
hysteria (and more totalitarian than hysteric, indeed).
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
Nowhere in the media was
coverage given to ANY facet of this meeting other than the fictional
“collusion”. We don’t know if sanctions, Syria, Ukraine, Korea, Iran or
Nordstream 2 were discussed – and what may have been said about each,
if they were. Even the collusion was only really covered in general,
rather than specific.
Yes indeed, and this is
a recommended article.
 I have
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 (!!).