from November 13, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
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 November 13, 2018:
1. Crucifying Julian Assange
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. Amazon Is Everything That's Wrong With America
3. The Horrors Humans Have Inflicted on the Planet’s Wilderness
4. Why and how Donald Trump flunks the presidential leadership
5. How surveillance capitalism became the dominant business
This article is by Chris
Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Julian Assange’s sanctuary
in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been transformed into a little
shop of horrors. He has been largely cut off from communicating with
the outside world for the last seven months. His Ecuadorian
citizenship, granted to him as an asylum seeker, is in the process of
being revoked. His health is failing. He is being denied medical care.
His efforts for legal redress have been crippled by the gag rules,
including Ecuadorian orders that he cannot make public his conditions
inside the embassy in fighting revocation of his Ecuadorian citizenship.
Australian Prime Minister
Scott Morrison has refused to intercede on behalf of Assange, an
Australian citizen, even though the new government in Ecuador, led by
Lenín Moreno—who calls Assange an “inherited problem” and an impediment
to better relations with Washington—is making the WikiLeaks founder’s
life in the embassy unbearable. Almost daily, the embassy is imposing
harsher conditions for Assange, including making him pay his medical
bills, imposing arcane rules about how he must care for his cat and
demanding that he perform a variety of demeaning housekeeping chores.
I do not know
whether everything Hedges says is true, but I do
it, and I admire
Wikileaks and Julian Assange.
Here is more:
I take it this is also
mostly true. Here is Assange's mother:
The Ecuadorians, reluctant
to expel Assange after granting him political asylum and granting him
citizenship, intend to make his existence so unpleasant he will agree
to leave the embassy to be arrested by the British and extradited to
the United States. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa,
whose government granted the publisher political asylum, describes
Assange’s current living conditions as “torture.”
“Here are the facts,” she
went on. “Julian has been detained nearly eight years without charge.
That’s right. Without charge. For the past six years, the U.K.
government has refused his request for access to basic health needs,
fresh air, exercise, sunshine for vitamin D and access to proper dental
and medical care. As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated.
His examining doctors warned his detention conditions are
life-threatening. A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before
our very eyes in the embassy in London.”
“In 2016, after an in-depth
investigation, the United
Nations ruled that Julian’s legal and human rights have been
violated on multiple occasions,” she said. “He’d been illegally
detained since 2010. And they ordered his immediate release, safe
passage and compensation. The U.K. government refused to abide by the
U.N.’s decision. The U.S. government has made Julian’s arrest a
priority. They want to get around a U.S. journalist’s protection under
the First Amendment by charging him with espionage. They will stop at
nothing to do it.”
In fact, I do not
whether Assange is being tortured, and I also think he is not,
to how others are treated, and quite possibly how he will be
when delivered to the USA, whose head of the CIA has been - literally
torturing people before.
But this doesn't
matter, in the sense that he is - at least - and has been
systematically and seriously mistreated the last 7 months,
while the only reasons for his mistreatment are political.
Here is more:
Assange was once feted and
courted by some of the largest media organizations in the world,
including The New York Times and The Guardian, for the information he
possessed. But once his trove of material documenting U.S. war crimes,
much of it provided by Chelsea
Manning, was published by these media outlets he was pushed aside
Yes, that is right -
and in fact I think and Chris Hedges
thinks that Assange should have
published Manning's material, and indeed he did, for the simple
that Manning's material did document U.S. war crimes.
Here is more on the
Party—seeking to blame its election defeat on Russian “interference”
rather than the grotesque income inequality, the betrayal of the
working class, the loss of civil liberties, the deindustrialization and
the corporate coup d’état that the party helped orchestrate—attacks
Assange as a traitor, although he is not a U.S. citizen. Nor is he a
spy. He is not bound by any law I am aware of to keep U.S. government
secrets. He has not committed a crime.
Precisely so, to
best of my knowledge. Here is more:
WikiLeaks and Assange have
done more to expose the dark machinations and crimes of the American
Empire than any other news organization. Assange, in addition to
exposing atrocities and crimes committed by the United States military
in our endless wars and revealing the inner workings of the Clinton
campaign, made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the
National Security Agency, their surveillance programs and their
interference in foreign elections, including in the French elections.
the conspiracy against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by
Labour members of Parliament. And WikiLeaks worked swiftly to save
Edward Snowden, who exposed the wholesale surveillance of the
American public by the government, from extradition to the United
States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow.
Again quite so
best of my knowledge.
Here is more:
What is happening to
Assange should terrify the press. And yet his plight is met with
indifference and sneering contempt. Once he is pushed out of the
embassy, he will be put on trial in the United States for what he
published. This will set a new and dangerous legal precedent that the
Trump administration and future administrations will employ against
other publishers, including those who are part of the mob trying to
lynch Assange. The silence about the treatment of Assange is not only a
betrayal of him but a betrayal of the freedom of the press itself.
think many in the present mainstream/corporatist press have
deliberately betrayed press freedom and owe their careers and incomes
to these betrayals.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Assange is on his own. Each
day is more difficult for him. This is by design. It is up to us to
protest. We are his last hope, and the last hope, I fear, for a free
I agree and this is a strongly
Is Everything That's Wrong With America
This article is by
Robert Reich on Truthdig and originally on Reich's site. This is from
near its beginning:
Amazon’s business isn’t
just selling stuff over the Internet. It’s getting consumers anything
they want, faster and better. To do so, it depends on a continuous flow
of great new ideas.
Like the other leading
firms of the economy, Amazon needs talented people who interact with
each other continuously and directly – keying off one another’s
creativity, testing new concepts, quickly discarding those that don’t
work, and building cumulative knowledge.
Technology isn’t a thing.
It’s a process of group learning. And that learning goes way beyond the
confines of any individual company. It happens in geographic clusters,
now mostly along the coasts.
I agree on Amazon with
Reich, but less so on technology and talent, and indeed I probably
think that real talent is rarer than Reich thinks it is,
does not make much difference to Reich's mainly economic
Here is more:
The result is widening
inequalities of place.
For most of the last
century, wages in poorer parts of America rose faster than wages in
richer places, as inventions were put to work in the hinterlands. After
Henry Ford invented the Model T, for example, workers on assembly lines
all over the Midwest built it.
Now it’s just the opposite.
Bright young people from all over America, typically with college
degrees, are streaming into the talent hubs of America – where the sum
of their capacities is far greater than they’d be separately.
The invention sparked
inside these hubs is delivering streams of new designs and products to
the rest of the world – including to other global hubs.
In return, the money
pouring into these places is delivering high wages, great living
conditions (museums, restaurants, cafes, recreation), and unbounded
As I said, I think this
is - in my opinion - more a consequence of concentrating
numbers of quite well-paid people, rather than from the talents
are supposed to have. (I did get two very good degrees in the
"University" of Amsterdam, while I was ill all the time (as I still am)
but I also think that I have met in the approximately 25 years that
regularly visited the UvA only three
people in that
"University" who were really
talented - and one was dismissed
(as a professor) and the other fled with his family to the USA (where
he also was professor)).
Here is the last bit of
this article that I quote:
Between 2010 and 2017, according
to Brookings, nearly half of the America’s employment growth
centered in just 20 large metro areas, now home to about a third of the
Relative to these booming
hubs, America’s heartland is becoming older, less well-educated, and
The so-called “tribal”
divide in American politics, which Trump has exploited, is better
understood in these economic and cultural terms: On one side,
mega-urban clusters centered on technologies of the future. On the
other, great expanses of space inhabited by people left behind.
Another consequence is a
more distorted democracy. California (now inhabited by 39.54 million)
and New York (19.85 million) each get two senators, as do Wyoming
(573,000) and North Dakota (672,591).
Yes. And this is a
Horrors Humans Have Inflicted on the Planet’s Wilderness
is by Tim Radford on Truthdig and originally on Climate News Network.
It starts as follows:
Only 23% of the planet’s
habitable terrestrial surface now remains
as undisturbed wilderness, thanks to the spread of the human horde.
A century ago, as the human
population explosion began, 85% of the world was undisturbed living
space for all the other species. Yet between 1993 and 2009 – in the
years that followed hard on the first global
summit to consider the state of the planetary environment – an
aggregation of areas
of wilderness larger than India was delivered over to human
exploitation, scientists warn in the journal Nature.
I say, for I did not
know this, and I consider this pretty horrible. Then again -
followed "the environment" since 1972 - I do not think this is
amazing: It all fits in the trend I have seen developing for nearly
Here is more (and
Watson is one of the researchers):
Professor Watson and
colleagues argued in August that humans had in some way poisoned,
polluted, exploited or disturbed almost
all the planet’s oceans: only 13% could now be classified as
Now he and others have
addressed the state of the wild terrestrial soils and rocks. Take
Antarctica – essentially uninhabited, and with no terrestrial wildlife
– out of the equation, and the scale of planetary devastation becomes
more stark: humans have now left their mark on 77% of the world’s
And the remaining
wilderness is unevenly distributed: just 20 nations hold or govern 94%
of the remaining marine and terrestrial wilderness areas. Russia,
Canada, Australia, the US and Brazil host 70% of these unspoiled spaces.
I take it this is
correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
“A century ago, only 15% of
the Earth’s surface was used by humans to grow crops and raise
livestock,” Professor Watson said.
“Today, more than 77% of
land – excluding Antarctica – and 87% of the ocean has been modified by
the direct effects of human activities. It might be hard to believe,
but between 1993 and 2009, an area of terrestrial wilderness larger
than India – a staggering 3.3 million square kilometres – was lost to
human settlement, farming, mining and other pressures.
I take it this is also
correct. And this is a strongly recommended article.
and how Donald Trump flunks the presidential leadership test
is by Anonymous (no author's name given) on AlterNet and originally on
History News Network (where the name of the author is given as Walter
G. Moss). It starts as follows:
I completely agree
the above, which I did not know, and am glad to learn.
And as regular
readers of the crisis series may know, I
am a psychologist and
philosopher who agrees with tenthousands of other psychologists and
psychiatrists who said that Trump
is insane because he is a malignant
narcissist, and besides, since I think I am somewhat of a
specialist on fascism
I insist he is a clear neofascist
in my sense, simply because he evidently satisfies all
ten criterions that
After he had completed
almost a full year as president, 155 presidential scholars concluded that
overall he had earned an “F” grade on their Presidential Greatness
Survey. In addition to assigning him a general grade, the scholars also
graded him on his legislative accomplishments, communicating with the
public, foreign policy leadership, and embodying institutional norms.
For the first two areas they gave him a “D”; for the last two, an
“F.” A slightly larger group of scholars listed him as the worst
and most polarizing of our 44 presidents.
Shortly before the above
survey appeared, one of the most prominent historians of our
presidents, Robert Dallek, stated that
“it is clear Trump is unfit to serve,” and lawmakers should “invoke the
25th Amendment” to remove him from office. Dallek has written books about
Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Nixon, Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and
Reagan. Another leading historian and author of a new book on U.S.
presidents at war, Michael Beschloss, recently declared that
because Trump lacks historical knowledge, empathy, and self-restraint,
and “will grab for as much power as is available,” he is a more
dangerous man to have in the White House than the previous presidents
Beschloss has studied.
Then there is this:
Of course, many
Trump supporters might reply, “What can you expect from a group of
My answer to this is as follows:
A great lot more than from prejudiced low-IQ morons of your
while their ideas are often mistaken, at least they are intelligent
whereas I still have to see the first
informed supporter of Trump.
There is a whole lot more in this article that I leave to your
interests. It ends as follows:
chances of Trump becoming a wiser and less polarizing president, the
words that most come to mind are those of the poet W. H. Auden, who in
a different context once
wrote: “Is it likely? No.”
Of course. And this is a
strongly recommended article.
surveillance capitalism became the dominant business model of Silicon
is by Keith A. Spencer on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts
The ubiquity of
smartphones means that those who own one are pretty easy to track. All
modern smartphones have inbuilt GPS accurate to within a few feet. Even
if your GPS is turned off, smartphones also peer at Wi-Fi networks in
the vicinity, which are mapped to a physical location and can be used
to verify location. Even if your Wi-Fi and your GPS are turned off,
your phone and its apps can use triangulation of your cell signal to
figure out roughly where you are.
Yes, quite so. And
do accept that my IP address gets tracked, I do not accept the sick,
immoral, and degenerate spying that happens with all smartphones,
also means that I do not have one, do not want one, and
indeed will never have one.
Even if you’re on your
personal computer instead of your phone, there are plenty of ways for
websites or applications to figure out your location.
Even if you mask your IP
address, there are other ways that you can be tracked.
Here is more:
As with much
modern-day tech that has the capacity to surveil, these technologies
were not sold to consumers under the auspices of spyware. Rather, the
GPS in cell phones, and the cameras and microphones in our computers
and phones, are of great utility for consumers: they enable navigation,
on-demand delivery and services, and help us keep track of our things
and loved ones. Yet the tradeoff is that we have opened ourselves up to
the potential to be surveilled, tracked, and monitored 24/7 – by either
companies or governments.
First of all, I do not
GPS is good for, since all that is needed to reach me are my name
address, much rather than a continuous list of all the places where
body has been with my smartphome.
Second, I get sick of being sided with "we": I did not
do so; I did not
want so; and I have been always against it.
Third, my reasons to be so strongly against it is that spying on
everything anyone does with a computer is the means to get neofascism
worldwide, and indeed I am certain it has
been planned to do so ever
since the late 1960ies: See Crisis:
Propaganda and Control: Brezezinski 1968.
Here is more:
If you think
computers and smartphones sound like a great tool for spy agencies to
track government dissenters and critics, you’re not the only one. The
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an online civil rights nonprofit
organization, has been tracking the United States National Security
Agency (NSA)’s attempts at tracking and surveilling US citizens. Some
well-documented discoveries include the revelation that the NSA
“installed a fiberoptic splitter at its facility [in] San Francisco
that makes copies of all emails, web browsing, and other Internet
traffic to and from AT&T customers and provides those copies to the
NSA,” data that includes “both domestic and international Internet
activities of AT&T customers.” A whistleblower leak in 2013
revealed that the NSA “obtains full copies of everything that is
carried along major domestic fiber optic cable networks.”
Quite so, and I am one of
who think that the NSA does obtain "full copies of everything that is
carried along major domestic fiber optic cable networks" - which means that they have enormously
more power than the KGB and the Gestapo ever had, for they know
(implicitly) everything about anyone (though most of it is not read by
I think the result is the most frightful world there has ever been.
Here is more:
Yet in general, tech
companies are not only complicit in granting governments the power to
surveil, but actually benefit from a close relationship.
Precisely - which means that Google
and Facebook are like the KGB and the Gestapo -
except that they
know virtually everything (implicitly) about virtually everybody.
Why is this? Mainly because so
many tech companies are already experts at surveillance, since their
whole business model involves building profiles on users so that they
can advertise to them in increasingly subtle and manipulative ways,
anticipating their consumer desires before they even realize them. The
New York Times has reported that the US government has cozied up to
tech companies for the purpose of aiding with surveillance; most
companies happily and willingly offered to make it easier for the
government to access their data, and in the case of Google and
Facebook, even discussed building “separate, secure portals” through
which “the government would request data, companies would deposit it
and the government would retrieve it.”
Here is Evgeny
As I said, Schmidt is the
of the commercial KGB so I am not amazed that he tells
(subhumans) who do not have his billions
that we better should not be doing anything whatsoever that the big corporations, the NSA or the
government do not want us to do, and threatens our
kind of subhhumans
(implicitly) at the same time that one of these will get you if you do.
executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, tells us that
if we have something to hide, maybe we shouldn’t be doing it in the
first place; he himself prefers to live in a luxury building without a
doorman – so that no one can see him come and go. Facebook CEO Mark
Zuckerberg wants us to practise openness and radical transparency; he
himself purchases neighbouring houses to get as much privacy as
Silicon Valley’s elites hate [i]ntrusion into their personal lives. Had
they worked for any other industry, their concerns would be justified.
But they work for an industry that tries to convince us that privacy
does not matter and that transparency and deregulation are the way to
go. Since they do not lead by example, why shouldn’t their hypocrisy be
And this is the last bit that I quote from this article, which is a
quote by Jamais
Yes, I fear Cascio is right,
which also means that I am very glad to be 68 rather than 18,
means that I probably will not be
arrested for my ideas and values. And
besides, I was 15 to 30 from 1965 till 1980, which was probably the
best (and the safest) time to be alive in Western Europe or the USA,
within the next decade, certainly within the next two – we’ll be living
in a world where what we see, what we hear, what we experience will be
recorded wherever we go. There will be few statements or scenes that
will go unnoticed, or unremembered. Our day to day lives will be
archived and saved. What’s more, these archives will be available over
the net for recollection, analysis, even sharing [...] This won’t
simply be a world of a single, governmental Big Brother watching over
your shoulder, nor will it be a world of a handful of corporate
siblings training their ever-vigilant security cameras and tags on you.
Such monitoring may well exist, probably will, in fact, but it will be
overwhelmed by the millions of cameras and recorders in the hands of
millions of Little Brothers and Little Sisters. We will carry with us
the tools of our own transparency, and many, perhaps most, will do so
willingly, even happily.
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 (!!).