from October 22, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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 October 22, 2018:
1. The Disastrous 'War on Terror' Has Come Home
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. Billionaire-Funded Fascism Is Rising in America
3. Experts Sound the Alarm After Trump Plans to Ditch Nuclear
Control Treaty With Russia
4. Here's the Truth About Trump's 'Great Economy'
5. Report Says Russia-gaters Should Go Quietly in the Night
Disastrous 'War on Terror' Has Come Home
This article is by
Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
French theorist Michel
Foucault saw the writing on the wall. In his 1975 book, “Discipline and
Punish: The Birth of the Prison,” which drew on the work of the English
philosopher Jeremy Bentham, he introduced the social theory of “panopticism” to
explain, at least in part, how surveillance functions as a system of
Today, we are very much
living in a tech panopticon—one in which our purchasing habits,
individual data and even physical movements can be tracked without our
knowledge. What does this mean for the future of personal privacy? How
has the “war on terror” radically altered the ways we fight crime, and
in what ways might the state use the increasingly sophisticated tools
at its disposal to abuse its authority?
I don´t like Foucault
(and I am a philosopher, in fact more so than a psychologist, but then
I became a psychologist because I was thrown out of the philosophy
department of the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam and was denied the right to
take an M.A. in philosophy - and I was almost ready - because I had
criticized the totally incompetent ¨philosophers¨ that ¨taught¨
philosophy in the ¨University¨) but yes: Foucault was right
about the panopticon.
And Scheer is quite
right that ¨we are very
much living in a tech panopticon—one in which our purchasing habits,
individual data and even physical movements can be tracked without our
As to ¨What does this mean for the future of
personal privacy?¨: Personal
privacy is totally dead. Your national security service (of any
country) knows far more of your life, opinions, vaues, ideas and
friends than you can recall.
Here is more on how
the American police is changing itself, in secret of course, to
arrest those who may plan a crime or indeed whose political
values are too critical of the government, but this is also
RS: Some of the
estimates I’ve seen, it is highly secretive, of course, but about 50
different police departments in the United States are using the
services of something called The LASER Program, which stands for,
believe it or not, L.A. Strategic Extraction and Restoration. It’s
basically data mining, trying to use artificial intelligence to figure
out who are the bad guys are, how to do selective policing and there’s
another program here in LA that’s also a national called PredPol which
tries to do. … Both of these groups are basically aiming at something
called predictive policing. The whole idea is to more effectively use
police resources and using with data mining, the kind that use all the
data we have on the Internet and to be more targeting.
And here is the person
Scheer interviews, ¨Jamie
Garcia of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition¨:
JG: I think that’s a
really important point because what we’re looking at is presumption of
guilt, assigned criminality before anything happens. That concept
really takes us back to post 9/11. Looking at the 9/11 Commission,
where Congress really wanted to set up a way to make domestic law
enforcement the eyes and ears of the federal government, So they can
prevent something from happening. And I think that’s a really important
concept for us to look at when we think about predictive policing
because predictive policing is about data gathering. And it’s about
data analysis, and it’s trying to find where that crime’s going to
happen and who’s going to commit it before it actually occurs. But in
some sense the Department of Justice, our federal government needed to
set a landscape in order for that to occur, in order for people to buy
into it. Then you mentioned this war on terror, and I think one of the
guiding principles in the coalition is that there’s always an other.
Garcia puts her finger precisely
on how crime fighting changed from arresting people who had
committed a crime to arresting people who plan to commit what
is claimed to be a crime or indeed arresting those whose
political values and ideas clash with those of the (secret) police or
And as I have said many
time by now: All of this was already planned in the late 1960ies
by the then head of national security, Zbignew Brzezinski, who also was
quite clear this was a totally new approach to crime
and criminality, which would be made possible by the internet, where
anybody will be tracked and all his data stored by national security.
For more, see here.
Here is some more by
RS: If I could just
stop you for a minute, I mean I just want to … There’s something so
weirdly Orwellian about this and the use of language and what have you.
It masks the absurdity of it. Because as far as I know there’s no
evidence of gang kids or gang people in Los Angeles being hijackers of
airplanes that blow up the World Trade Center. This is technology that
was developed in Iraq and Afghanistan. To get ISIS, to get terrorists
of, and so forth. Then somehow it’s made available to local police
departments free of charge, taxpayers pay for it. Federal money goes
into it and then some companies get really super wealthy. People become
billionaires as a result and why are you looking at gangs in LA if
you’re trying to get international terrorists? What is the connection
between the Bloods the Crips and ISIS? There is no connection. What
there is is a connection of the military industrial complex. You can
make a lot of money saying, “Hey, we’re going to use this new
technology and go after these people.”
Yes, but I think it is
even worse: The national security of anywhere wants to know
everything anybody thinks, writes, or says, and with the internet they have the panopticon which provides all of that,
in full secret as well. And they have been busy collecting
information on everyone for 17 years now.
And again, for more see
Brzezinski planning the
terrorism of all by the national security back in the late 1960ies
- and mind you: Everything he planned
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
RS: This is a spying
operation on your citizens. This is intimidating, okay? How is this
list compiled? We know they have access to CIA data, to NSA data, to
FBI. They are funded, I have to mention over and over again here, this
LASER operation was started as a CIA operation, In-Q-Tel funded it,
then Palantir grew out of that. For the first three years Palantir had
only one customer, the CIA. So now here in Los Angeles, there’s this
organization, Palantir, and they’re figuring out which one of us
citizens here, or non-citizens, residents, are the tumor that they have
to get rid of. Are they relying on NSA data or are they relying on CIA?
They’re relying on police work. You have, in fact, a national police
presence deciding who are the suspect citizens. What do they base it on?
We don’t know what’s in their
algorithm. Is it that maybe you give a speech, or you hand out a
leaflet, or you try to organize. I think this is an incredibly
intimidating exercise (...)
Yes. The brief of it is
that the internet = the panopticon, and the panopticon is
in the exclusive use of the national security (almost totally
secret) that works for the government. Everything necessary for a
total tyranny has been molded and designed by the internet, and was
planned already in the late 1960ies. See here, again. And this is a strongly
recommended article in which there is much more.
2. Billionaire-Funded Fascism Is Rising in
This article is by Thom
Hartmann on Truthdig and originally on the Independent Media Institute.
I just found out that I did review this article on October 18
(with a different title) but since this was a very good
article I simply reproduce the review:
The billionaire fascists
are coming for your Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And they’re
openly bragging about it.
Right after Trump’s
election, back in December of 2016, Newt Gingrich openly
bragged at the Heritage Foundation that the Trump administration
and Republicans in Congress were going to “break out of the Franklin
Delano Roosevelt model.” That “model,” of course, created what we today
refer to as “the middle class.”
This week Mitch McConnell
confirmed Gingrich’s prophecy, using the huge deficits created by
Trump’s billionaire tax cuts as an excuse to destroy “entitlement”
“I think it would be safe
to say that the single biggest disappointment of my time in Congress
has been our failure to address the entitlement issue, and it’s a
shame, because now the Democrats are promising Medicare for All,” McConnell
told Bloomberg. He added, “[W]e’re talking about
Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.”
These programs, along with
free public education and progressive taxation, are the core drivers
and maintainers of the American middle class. History shows that
without a strong middle class, democracy itself collapses, and fascism
is the next step down a long and terrible road.
Yes - I think all of
this is correct, although I would have spoken rather of the billionaire
but then again - as I also explained yesterday - so far I have not
even seen a journalist who defined fascism, although the present
article does come close.
Here is more:
In July of 2015, discussing
SCOTUS’s 5 to 4 conservative vote on Citizens United, President Jimmy
Carter told me: “It violates the essence of what made America a
great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with
unlimited political bribery…” He added: “[W]e’ve just seen a complete
subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors…”
As Princeton researchers
Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page demonstrated in an exhaustive
analysis of the difference between what most Americans want their
politicians to do legislatively, versus what American politicians
actually do, it’s pretty clear that President Carter was right.
They found that while the
legislative priorities of the top 10 percent of Americans are
consistently made into law, things the bottom 90 percent want are
ignored. In other words, today in America, democracy only “works” for
the top 10 percent of Americans.
I think this is quite
correct as well, and incidentally the 90 vs 10 percent agrees
with my own estimates on how power and riches are divided in the USA.
Here is something about
that is quite important:
Smith noted, in 1759, that,
“All constitutions of government are valued only in proportion as they
tend to promote the happiness of those who live under them. This is
their sole use and end.”
Smith added a cautionary
note, however: “[The] disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the
rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons
of poor and mean condition… is the great and most universal cause of
the corruption of our moral sentiments.”
Jefferson was acutely aware
of this: the Declaration of Independence was the first founding
document of any nation in the history of the world that explicitly
declared “happiness” as a “right” that should be protected and promoted
by government against predations by the very wealthy.
Yes, this is correct
(and there is more on power
in my Philosophical
Dictionary, especially under happiness).
Then there is this,
which also seems correct:
History shows that the two
primary regulators within a capitalist system that provide for the
emergence of a middle class are progressive taxation and a healthy
social safety net.
As Jefferson noted in a 1785 letter to Madison,
“Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to
exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher
portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.”
Tragically, Republicans are today planning to destroy both our nation’s
progressive taxation system and our social safety net, in obsequious
service to their billionaire paymasters.
Yes, quite so. Also,
considering the history of Holland, that I know best because I
am Dutch, it seems to me as if the Dutch middle class became real
only in the 20th Century: Before
that, there was roughly the same distinction between the 10% and the
90%, but with this difference that virtually everybody in the 90%
was poor to very poor.
Then there is this
“The really dangerous
American fascists,” Wallace wrote, “are not those who are hooked up
directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those.
... The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method
is to poison the channels of public information.
“With a fascist the problem
is never how best to present the truth to the public,” Wallace
continued, “but how best to use the news to deceive the public into
giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.”
In this, Wallace was using
the classic definition of the word “fascist”—the definition Mussolini
had in mind when he claimed
to have invented the word.
As the 1983 American
Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: “A system of government that
exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the
merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent
I think this is the
first (!!!) more or less reasonable definition of fascism that
I´ve read in a journalistic article. I also think that my
definition is better, but then that consists of ten criterions rather
than three, as the American Heritage Dictionary did.
Here is more:
In his strongest indictment
of the tide of fascism the vice president of the United States saw
rising in America, he added:
“They claim to be
super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the
Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for
monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective, toward which all
their deceit is directed, is to capture political power so that using
the power of the State and the power of the market simultaneously they
may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”
In the election of 2018, we
stand at a crossroad that Roosevelt and Wallace only imagined.
is rising in America, calling itself “conservativism” and “Trumpism.”
Quite so. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this fine article:
Again, quite so. And this is
a very strongly recommended article.
If Trump and the
billionaire fascists who bankroll the Republicans succeed in destroying
the last supports for America’s enfeebled middle class, including
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—and succeed in blocking any
possibility of Medicare for All or free college and trade school—not
only will the bottom 90 percent of Americans suffer, but what little
democracy we have left in this republic will evaporate.
3. Experts Sound the Alarm After Trump Plans
to Ditch Nuclear Arms Control Treaty With Russia
This article is by
Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Concerns are mounting after
President Donald Trump confirmed on Saturday that he will withdraw from
a Cold War-era nuclear arms control treaty with Russia following reports
that National Security Adviser John Bolton had been pushing the plan
behind closed doors despite warnings
from experts that ditching the agreement "would be reckless and stupid."
The Guardian had
Friday that Bolton and an ally in the White House have been working to
convince members of the administration to support the United States
withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty
(INF) on the grounds that Russia is
violating it. Nuclear arms control experts and others rapidly
responded with alarm. Many agreed that Russia's alleged violation
"merits a strong response" but noted a withdrawal could alienate
European allies and raise the chances of armed conflict.
Yes, although I do
like to point out that ¨intermediate-range nuclear forces¨ are far
more dangerous to Russia than to the USA, for the simple reason
that a great part of Russia is surrounded by countries that very
often have USA troops quartered in them, while this is not at all
true of the USA.
Here is more Trump:
The real point is
the last sentence. Here is the last part that I quote from this article:
While claiming he would be
receptive if both Russia and China concluded, "'Let's all of us get
smart and let's none of us develop those weapons," under current
circumstances, Trump appears hellbent on making more weapons. "If
Russia's doing it and if China's doing it and we're adhering to the
agreement, that's unacceptable," he said. "So we have a tremendous
amount of money to play with with our military."
"We are going to terminate the
agreement and we are going to develop the weapons."
Quite so. And this is a
Responding to the
developments in a series of tweets, Alexandra Bell, a former
senior arms control official at the State Department who is now at the
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said:
"Trump says that he is abandoning the INF treaty, basically confirms a
renewed arms race, and absolves himself from any responsibility to lead
efforts to reduce nuclear tensions around the globe."
"This administration has
damaged, perhaps irreparably, an int'l order that has served U.S.
interests for decades, turned a blind eye to catastrophic climate
change, corroded our govt, [and] poisoned our national discourse," she
added. "Now it will ask you to fund a nuclear arms race.
the Truth About Trump's 'Great Economy'
is by Robert Reich on AlterNet and originally on his site. This is from
not far after the beginning:
Trump slashed taxes on the
wealthy and promised everyone else a $4,000 wage boost. But the boost
never happened. That’s a big reason why Republicans aren’t campaigning
on their tax cut, which is just about their only legislative
Trump and congressional
Republicans refuse to raise the minimum wage, stuck at $7.25 an hour.
Trump’s Labor Department is also repealing a rule that increased the
number of workers entitled to time-and-a-half for overtime.
Yes, unemployment is down
to 3.7 percent. But jobs are less secure than ever. Contract workers –
who aren’t eligible for family or medical leave, unemployment
insurance, the minimum wage, or worker’s compensation – are now doing
one out of every five jobs in America.
Quite so. Here is more:
Meanwhile, housing costs
are skyrocketing, with Americans now paying a third or more of their
paychecks in rent or mortgages.
Trump’s response? Drastic
cuts in low-income housing. His Secretary of Housing and Urban
Development also wants to triple the rent paid by poor households in
Healthcare costs continues
to rise faster than inflation. Trump’s response? Undermine the
Affordable Care Act. Over the past two years, some 4 million people
have lost healthcare coverage, according to a survey by the
Pharmaceutical costs are
also out of control. Trump’s response? Allow the biggest pharmacist,
CVS, to merge with the one of the biggest health insurers, Aetna —
creating a behemoth with the power to raise prices even further.
Quite so. Here is the ending
of this article:
Too often, discussions
about “the economy” focus on overall statistics about growth, the stock
market, and unemployment.
But most Americans don’t
live in that economy. They live in a personal economy that has more to
do with wages, job security, commutes to and from work, and the costs
of housing, healthcare, drugs, education, and home insurance.
These are the things that
hit closest home. They comprise the typical American’s standard of
Instead of an “economic
boom,” most Americans are experiencing declines in all these dimensions
of their lives.
Trump isn’t solely
responsible. Some of these trends predated his presidency. But he
hasn’t done anything to reverse them.
If anything, he’s made them
And again quite so. This is a
strongly recommended article.
Says Russia-gaters Should Go Quietly in the Night
This article is by Caitlin Johnstone on
Consortium News. It starts as follows:
In a new article titled “Mueller
report PSA: Prepare for disappointment”, Politico cites information
provided by defense attorneys and “more than 15 former government
officials with investigation experience spanning Watergate to the 2016
election case” to warn everyone who’s been lighting candles at their
Saint Mueller altars that their hopes of Trump being removed from
office are about to be dashed to the floor.
think this is probably correct, and I have been saying myself that I
did not believe that Russia - somehow - gave the elections to
Trump, though they did some spying, but then almost every
country these days seems to spy on some countries (and to store all
data it can about anyone who lives in that country): see item
[Mueller is] under no deadline to complete his work, several sources
tracking the investigation say the special counsel and his team appear
eager to wrap up,” Politico reports.
that’s it then. An obscene amount of noise and focus, a few indictments
and process crime convictions which have nothing to do with Russian
collusion, and this three-ring circus of propaganda and delusion is
ready to call it a day.
Also, here is a point about impeachments that many do not seem to
know: Supposing Trump to be successfully impeached (which is so far
quite unlikely), his next four replacements are about as
bad as Trump, politically and morally, at least, although they probably
are not also insane.
Here is some more:
This is by far the clearest indication yet that the Mueller
investigation will end with Trump still in office and zero proof of
collusion with the Russian government, which has been obvious since the
beginning to everyone who isn’t a complete moron. For two years the
idiotic, fact-free, xenophobic Russia-gate conspiracy theory has been
ripping through mainstream American consciousness with shrieking manic
hysteria, sucking all oxygen out of the room for legitimate criticisms
of the actual awful things that the US president is doing in real life.
Those of us who have been courageous and clear-headed enough to stand
against the groupthink have been shouted down, censored, slandered and
smeared as assets of the Kremlin on a daily basis by unthinking
consumers of mass media propaganda, despite our holding the
philosophically unassailable position of demanding the normal amount of
proof that would be required in a post-Iraq invasion world.
think this is mostly correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from
As I predicted
long ago, “Mueller isn’t going to find anything in 2017 that these
vast, sprawling networks wouldn’t have found in 2016. He’s not going to
find anything by ‘following the money’ that couldn’t be found
infinitely more efficaciously via Orwellian espionage. The factions
within the intelligence community that were working to sabotage the
incoming administration last year would have leaked proof of collusion
if they’d had it. They did not have it then, and they do not have it
now. Mueller will continue finding evidence of corruption throughout
his investigation, since corruption is to DC insiders as water is to
fish, but he will not find evidence of collusion to win the 2016
election that will lead to Trump’s impeachment. It will not happen.”
This has remained as true in 2018 as it did in 2017, and it will remain
and I especially agree with this bit: ¨The
factions within the intelligence community that were working to
sabotage the incoming administration last year would have leaked proof
of collusion if they’d had it.¨ And this is a recommended article.
None of the investigations arising from the
Russia-gate conspiracy theory have turned up a single shred of evidence
that Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to rig the 2016
election, or to do anything else for that matter.