from December 7, 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 three 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 December 7, 2018:
1. Republican Efforts to End Democracy
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:
China Criticized over Persecution of Uyghur
3. Sanders and DNC Level Playing Field for 2020 Presidential
4. How The Iconic 1968 Earthrise Photo Changed Our
Relationship To The
5. Facebook lied about privacy fix
Efforts to End Democracy
This article is by
Charles M. Blow on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
not believe that we are still living in a functioning democracy. We are
not. Republicans across this country are doing everything they can to
impede, alter and override the power of the personal vote. This strikes
at the very heart of democracy, both undermining people’s faith in it
and contorting it until it no long resembles what it claims to be.
Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Republicans succeeded in their wish:
“After hours of mysterious closed-door meetings that went
past midnight, the Wisconsin Senate convened at 4:30 on Wednesday
morning and passed by one vote a package of bills devised to curb the
powers of the incoming Democratic leaders.”
Wisconsin is not alone. As the The Washington Post reported Monday:
“In Michigan, where Democrats last month won the governor’s
mansion as well as the races for attorney general and secretary of
state, Republican lawmakers last week introduced measures
that would water down the authority of those positions on campaign
finance oversight and other legal matters.”
the structure of power in a state to limit the influence of an incoming
executive of an opposing party wasn’t something I thought I’d ever see
in America, but unfortunately this isn’t even the first time we’ve seen
it. This is not the first time Republicans have done it.
Yes, I mostly agree, although the question whether the
USA is ¨still living in a
functioning democracy¨ is a
bit complicated to answer - rationally, that is - with
a straight ¨yes¨ or ¨no¨. Then again, I agree that it is more No than
Yes, and indeed especially so in Wisconsin and Michigan.
Here is more on voter purging:
I say, for I did not
know that ¨between 2014
and 2016, states removed almost 16 million voters from the rolls¨.
a report this
year by the Brennan Center for Justice found that voter purging was on
We found that between 2014 and 2016, states removed almost
16 million voters from the rolls, and every state in the country can
and should do more to protect voters from improper purges. Almost 4
million more names were purged from the rolls between 2014 and 2016
than between 2006 and 2008. This growth in the number of removed voters
represented an increase of 33 percent — far outstripping growth in both
total registered voters (18 percent) and total population (6 percent).
Here is more on gerrymandering:
for gerrymandering, it is “the
biggest obstacle to genuine democracy in the United States,” according to Brian
Klaas, a political scientist
at University College London.
Klaas noted in an article in The Washington Post: “While no party is
innocent when it comes to gerrymandering, a Washington Post
analysis in 2014 found that eight of the ten most gerrymandered
districts in the United States were drawn by Republicans.”
Yes indeed. There is considerably more in this article,
that ends as follows:
power is increasingly synonymous with white power. The party’s
nationalist tendencies are increasingly synonymous with white
group will not willingly cede its power just because demographics
predict its downfall and current circumstances demonstrate its
the Republican Party can’t maintain power in the democracy we have, it
will destroy that democracy so that its power can be entrenched by
limiting the impact of the vote.
Yes, I agree and this is a recommended article.
Criticized over Persecution of Uyghur Muslims
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! I shortened the title.
It starts with the following introduction:
The United Nations
and human rights groups have accused China’s government of setting up
massive anti-Muslim “re-education” camps in the northwest Xinjiang
province to disappear, jail and brainwash Uyghur Muslims. Some
estimates put the population in the camps at up to 2 million. After
months of denials, China acknowledged their existence in October,
saying they are part of efforts to counter extremism. But Uyghurs say
it’s a form of collective punishment—and that they live under a
high-tech surveillance state designed to eradicate Islam. We speak to
Rushan Abbas, a Uyghur-American activist based in Washington, D.C.
After she spoke out against China’s repression of the Uyghurs earlier
this year, her aunt and sister disappeared and have not been heard from
I say, if only because ¨2 million¨ persons in camps (for having a religion the Chinese
Communist Party dislikes) is a lot. But there is considerably more:
Yes, and I concentrate on
surveillance state¨ that
has been surrected not only in Xinjiang, but throughout China, if only
to insist that what is happening in China may be happening soon in
Europe or the USA, for the simple reason that ¨the security
services¨ aka spies for the government know as much about anyone as in
China, which also is a lot more than virtually anyone can
recall about himself or herself, and which is a totally new aspect
in the world:
GOODMAN: After months of
denials, the Chinese government acknowledged the existence of the camps
in October. That’s when the local government in Xinjiang changed its
laws to formally allow the formation of what they call, quote,
“vocational skill educational training centers” to, quote, “carry out
anti-extremist ideological education.” Satellite images show that
dozens of these camps have been built in recent years.
For years China has cracked
down on the Uyghurs and other Muslim groups. In 2017, officials in
Xinjiang banned men from wearing beards, women from covering their
faces, and homeschool. Xinjiang has also become a high-tech
surveillance state. Video cameras with facial recognition software
track everyone’s movement on the streets. All vehicles must have GPS trackers. Checkpoints are set up throughout
the region, where police scan people’s irises and phones.
By now, the spies for the government (any government, virtually
anywhere) know extremely much more about
each and every person than the
KGB and the Gestapo ever did or indeed could know.
Back to the article:
GOODMAN: Thank you so much
for joining us, Rushan Abbas. If you can start off by saying: Have you
heard anything at this point, even from other family members, what you
believe has happened to your family? And also, the situation right now
for the Uyghurs in China?
ABBAS: I have not heard
anything about the disappearance of my sister and my aunt. I was one of
the speakers at Hudson Institute, one of the think tanks in Washington,
D.C., on September 5th. On September 11th, they both disappeared at the
Currently, over 2 million
Uyghurs are being held in those concentration camps. And the Chinese
government is saying those are the vocational training centers, but my
sister was a retired medical doctor and speaks fluent Chinese. I don’t
understand: What is she being trained over there? The entire population
of the region is being collectively punished right now, going through
indoctrinations in those concentration camps with communist philosophy
Yes, I think Abbas is
basically correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
GOODMAN: Let’s turn to the
29-year-old Uyghur woman who testified before Congress last month about
her time in a detention center in Xinjiang. This is part of Mihrigul
Tursun’s statement, read by a translator.
TURSUN: [translated] I
was taken to a cell, which was built underground with no windows. There
were cameras on all four sides so the officials could see every corner
of the room. There were around 60 people in one of the cells where I
was held. At night, 15 women would stand up while the rest of us would
sleep sideways, and then we would rotate every two hours. Some people
had not taken a shower in over a year.
Before we ate breakfast,
which was water with very little rice, we had to sing songs hailing the
Communist Party. We had to repeat, in Chinese—in quote—”Long live Xi
Jinping” and—in quote—”Leniency for those who repent and punishment for
those who resist.” Anyone who could not memorize a book of slogans and
the rules within 14 days would be denied food or beaten. …
There is lot more in the
article, that is strongly recommended.
and DNC Level Playing Field for 2020 Presidential Debates
is by Steven Rosenfeld on Truthdig and originally on the Independent
Media Institute. It starts as follows:
The Democratic Party’s
best-known outsider, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, appears to be on the
verge of notching yet another inside-track score that doubtless will
come in handy when he runs for president in 2020.
One of the biggest
complaints by Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign was the way that the
Democratic National Committee collaborated with Hillary Clinton’s
campaign to schedule its televised debates. In a nutshell, Sanders was
cut out of that process, as WikiLeaks documented in its release of
stolen campaign emails. The Clinton campaign outlined the schedule it
wanted—and got. The debates were to be minimal, held on weekends when
audiences were smaller, and were announced with no input from Sanders.
In striking contrast to the
last presidential season, the DNC has been giving Sanders a seat at the
2020 planning table in ways that could barely be imagined during his
first presidential run. The latest concession, according to a
Washington Post report
about the DNC’s efforts to avoid repeating its 2016 mistakes, is a
soon-to-be-released plan where the well-known and lesser-known
candidates will share the presidential debate stage, at least initially.
I did not know
I agree with Rosenfeld that this is an improvement over 2016. Then
again, what is not mentioned is the fact that Sanders will turn 79 in
2020 (before the elections).
I do not think
that this is a fundamental objection, but I also think it does
mean that - if he runs, which he may do because he is more popular than
any (other) Democratic candidate - his choice for the vice-presidency
will be important.
Here is more from the
Seeking Sanders’ input on
the prospective televised debate schedule is only the latest example of
the DNC consulting his team as the party turns toward 2020.
“They were genuinely
interested in learning what went right, which was not much, and what
went wrong, which was a lot,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders 2016 campaign
manager, told the Post. “I recommended starting the process earlier, so
it is not right on top of the primaries and caucuses.”
Sanders, who won 45 percent
of 2016’s elected national convention delegates, has not officially
announced his candidacy. But that step is largely a formality. Just
days ago, he convened his brain trust for a “Sanders
Institute Gathering,” where there were palpable expectations
surrounding 2020. Months before, Sanders won a critical DNC concession:
that only elected national convention delegates could vote in 2020’s
first round for the next nominee. (That reform delayed voting by
700-plus appointed “superdelegates.”)
In fact, I do not
think that (as the title says) Sanders and the DNC have levelled
the playing field for 2020. But in any case, I suppose that the
Democratic primaries of 2020 may be a bit more fair than those
The Iconic 1968 Earthrise Photo Changed Our Relationship To The Planet
is by Bill
McKibben on Common Dreams and originally on the Huffington Post. It
starts as follows:
1968 was a crazy year, its events moving at
a horrific pace. The Tet Offensive. The My Lai Massacre. Bobby Kennedy
announcing the news that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been
assassinated. Bobby Kennedy’s assassination. Riots across urban America
and outside the Democratic National Convention. The human drama seemed
out of control in a way it hasn’t in the years since ― till now, of
fact, I selected the present article because I do recall 1968 quite
well, since I was 18 that year (unlike McKibben, who got to be 8 in
December of 1968). I also do not quite agree with him, for I
think 1968 was more extreme than 2018 - but as I said, I was
politically quite conscious (and quite active) both in 1968 and in 2018.
Here is more:
Carson had written Silent Spring earlier in the decade,
beginning the process of wiping some of the shine off modernity. David
Brower had led the Sierra Club through the great fight to save the
Grand Canyon, turning it in the process into the first great green
group. And soon there would be a major oil spill off the coast of Santa
Barbara, and the Cuyahoga River would burst into flames. People were
beginning to realize that there were limits to the abuse nature could
take at the hands of growth.
Yes, I think Rachel Carson
and her Silent
Spring (first published in 1962) were and are quite
important. But in fact some people had realized quite some time before
1968 that ¨there were limits to the abuse nature could
take¨ and in fact there is a quite sensible book
by Aldous Huxley
called ¨The Human Situation¨ that consists of lectures he held
in 1959, that seems to have been first published in 1977 (and
that was bought and read by me in 1981).
I recommend the book to anyone interested in ecology and the
environment, since I liked it and because it is still available.
Here is more:
Well... I was considerably
influenced by “The Limits
to Growth”, which was in fact the first report to the Club of Rome,
and indeed I was pleased to find that - while it was ¨refuted¨
again in the 1970ies and 1980ies - by the 2000s it was admitted
fact "In hindsight, The Club
of Rome turned out to be right. We simply wasted 30 important years
ignoring this work." and that “The Limits
to Growth” "has withstood
the test of time and, indeed, has only become more relevant."
“Limits to Growth,” a 1972
treatise based on simple computer models that flagged our
fast-approaching planetary boundaries, was an attempt at a
troubleshooting guide for what we’d begun to call “Spaceship Earth.”
The Whole Earth Catalog, with a picture of the Earth from space on its
cover, was the hippie-ish operating manual. For a while, it looked as
if it all might take: By 1978, a decade after Apollo 8 returned to
terra firma, pollsters reported that 30 percent of Americans were
“pro-growth,” 31 percent were “anti-growth,” and 39 percent were
“highly uncertain.” We almost built a new world.
But then we didn’t. The
election of Ronald Reagan signaled that we’d taken the other fork, the
one that would keep the old epoch rolling.
I also bought and liked The Whole
Earth Catalog (in 1970 or 1971), but I disagree with
by 1978 ¨We almost built a new
world¨: No, ¨we¨ did not.
Anyway... back to the article:
Fifty years is
barely a blip in the vastness of astronomical time, but Earth now looks
quite different when seen from space. In the Northern Hemisphere, the
summer sea ice that once covered the Arctic is now half gone. Some of
the islands of the Pacific have begun to disappear below rising seas.
The great forests that covered South America and Africa are shrunken
Yes, I think that is
correct. Here is more:
Quite so. Here is
This view will, of
course, get darker as the decades unwind.
The Great Barrier Reef,
easily visible from above and the largest living structure on Earth, is
now half dead, its corals killed off by the ever-rising temperature.
Siberia is on fire, five degrees of latitude north of where it ever
used to burn. And as I write this, California is fighting the biggest
fire in its history, the smoke all but blotting out the region in
aerial shots. There are dead zones at the mouths of our great rivers,
extending ever farther out to sea as the tide of fertilizer washes off
the field, and at one point this summer, you could see five hurricanes
at once, swirling off the coasts.
It’s clear by now that the only path to
safety for the 99.99 percent of us who will never board a rocket lies
in joining the fight for environmental justice. It’s the only battle
we’re all in together. In a world riven by every kind of division, the
one thing that really does unite us is our shared citizenship of that
Well... yes and no. I am not very
and neither is McKibben:
possible that we had our chance ― that the vision vouchsafed us in the
drama of the 1960s was the last realistic chance, and that we let it
slip through our fingers as we opened them to grasp at more wealth.
Then again, I agree we have to plod
on if we
want to survive, and this is a recommended article.
lied about privacy fix
is by Nicole Karlis on Salon.
British lawmakers published 250 internal Facebook
emails spanning from 2012 to 2015, which bring to light the
tech behemoth’s presumably long-standing goal: To turn a profit by
monetizing its users’ intimate personal data. The emails shed
further light on the corporation's history of blatantly ignoring
privacy promises to users and granting special access to private data
to favored clients.
Yes, quite so. I
especially agree that Facebook´s aim is ¨To turn a profit by monetizing its
users’ intimate personal data¨;
I insist that Facebook simply has no right whatsoever appropriating
personal data from anyone (which means that I think that Mark
Zuckerberg is one of the biggest criminals on earth); and I also
agree ¨on the
corporation's history of blatantly ignoring privacy promises¨ to their billions of members.
(¨Dumb fucks who trust me¨, according to Zuckerberg.)
The emails were originally
obtained by the legal team of Ted Kramer, founder of the app company
Six4Three, during the discovery of a 2015 lawsuit which was centered
around Facebook’s policy of allowing third-party app developers to
access the data of Facebook users’ friends. That same policy —
which let third parties harvest the personal data not merely from
people who had opted-in, but from their friends who hadn't —
also enabled consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to mine
user data in order to target voters on behalf of the
Here is the other bit that I quote from this article:
Collins summarized the
emails that were seized in a preface, stating: “Facebook have clearly
entered into whitelisting agreements with certain companies, which
meant that after the platform changes in 2014/15 they maintained full
access to friends data. It is not clear that there was any user consent
for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be
whitelisted or not.” The existence of a "whitelist" suggests that the
company was not serious about protecting user data nor honoring the
privacy agreements it claimed to have put in place at the time.
Recall that when news broke
about Cambridge Analytica's misuse of users’ data, CEO Mark Zuckerberg
said then that the company has a “responsibility” to protect its users’
“We have a responsibility
to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve
you,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We also made mistakes, there’s more to do,
and we need to step up and do it.”
I totally disagree
with Zuckerberg: He has no right whatsoever on any of anyone´s
data apart from his own. He is a thief and a voyeur who made
billions by stealing the private and intimate details of
this is a recommended article.
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 (!!).