from December 11, 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 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 11, 2018:
1. Rights Groups Turn Up Pressure on
Google Over China Censorship
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. Mueller Probe Could Lead to
Indictment of the Trump Organization
3. The Heresy of White Christianity
4. The Inequality to Be Suffered by Our Children
5. The EU and the warning signs of Fascism
Groups Turn Up Pressure on Google Over China Censorship
This article is by
Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
Google is facing a renewed
wave of criticism from human rights groups over its controversial plan
to launch a censored search engine in China.
A coalition of more than 60
leading groups from countries across the world have joined forces to
blast the internet giant for failing to address concerns about the
secretive China project, known as Dragonfly. They come from countries
including China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Argentina,
Bolivia, Chile, France, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Norway, Pakistan,
Palestine, Romania, Syria, Tibet, and Vietnam.
A prototype for the
censored search engine was designed to blacklist broad categories of
information about human rights, democracy, and peaceful protest. It
would link Chinese users’ searches to their personal cellphone number
and store people’s search records inside the data centers of a Chinese
company in Beijing or Shanghai, which would be accessible to China’s
authoritarian Communist Party government.
If the plan proceeds,
“there is a real risk that Google would directly assist the Chinese
government in arresting or imprisoning people simply for expressing
their views online, making the company complicit in human rights
violations,” the human rights groups wrote in a
letter that will be sent to Google’s leadership on Tuesday.
Yes indeed - and I completely
agree with these critics of Google. Here is some more:
The letter highlights
mounting anger and frustration within the human rights community that
Google has rebuffed concerns about Dragonfly, concerns that have been
widely raised both inside and outside the company since The Intercept first
revealed the plan in August. The groups say in their 900-word
missive that Google’s China strategy is “reckless,” piling pressure on
CEO Sundar Pichai, who is due to appear Tuesday before the House
Judiciary Committee, where he will likely face questions on Dragonfly.
The groups behind the
letter include Amnesty International, the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, Access Now, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders,
the Center for Democracy and Technology, Human Rights in China, the
International Campaign for Tibet, and the World Uyghur Congress. They
have been joined in their campaign by several high-profile individual
signatories, such as former National Security Agency contractor Edward
Snowden and Google’s former head of free expression in Asia, Lokman
As I said: I completely
agree with these groups on the nature of Google´s Dragonfly, for
that is explicitly and intentionally totalitarian
and it will, once it is working, give the Chinese Communist
Party more control and more knowledge of over a billion Chinese than
the KGB had about the Russians, or the Gestapo had about the Germans.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Yes, I agree with
Teng Biao, but I also think that (i) Google´s profits will be far
more important to the leaders of Google than any other criterion, which
means that (ii) very probably Google will implement Dragonfly for
the Chinese, which in turn means - at least for me, and
very probably for Teng Biao - that (iii) Google very probably will
adopt the role of the Gestapo of China, although also (iv) Google´s
leaders will say as little as possible about it. And this is a strongly
Teng Biao, a Chinese human
rights lawyer who said he had been previously detained and tortured by
the country’s authorities for his work, recalled how he had celebrated
in 2010 when Google decided to pull its search services out of China,
with the company citing concerns about the Communist Party’s censorship
and targeting of activists. Teng said he had visited Google
headquarters in Beijing and laid flowers outside the company’s doors to
thank the internet giant for its decision. He was dismayed by the
company’s apparent reversal on its anti-censorship stance, he said, and
called on “every one of us to stop Google from being an accomplice in
China’s digital totalitarianism.”
2. Mueller Probe Could Lead to Indictment of
the Trump Organization
This article is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! I
abbreviated the title.
It starts with the following introduction:
have accused President Trump of committing a federal crime by directing
illegal hush money to two women during the presidential election. The
accusation was revealed Friday in filings made public by the U.S.
Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, including a
damning sentencing memo for Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, who
has admitted to paying adult film star Stormy Daniels and former
Playboy model Karen McDougal during the campaign in order to prevent
them from speaking to the media about their alleged affairs with Trump.
The sentencing memo was made public along with two new sentencing memos
from special counsel Robert Mueller: one for Cohen and another for
Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort. “We keep talking about
whether you can indict a sitting president,” says independent
journalist Marcy Wheeler, editor of EmptyWheel.net. “There’s still a
debate about that, but, really critically, you can indict a
corporation. You can indict Trump Organization.”
Yes indeed - I agree with
all of this except ¨whether
you can indict a sitting president¨ for I think that in any
democracy, which is what ¨the USA¨ still pretends to be, anyone including the president is subject to
the laws of the country, and those who deny the president is are
Here is more:
I think this is all
correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
GOODMAN: (..) Marcy,
welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you explain what’s most
significant about these filings? And just for people to understand,
we’re talking about filings from two different places, from the Mueller
inquiry and from the U.S. court in New York, from the prosecutor’s
office, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
WHEELER: Right. So,
there’s two sentencing memos, actually, both for Cohen—one out of
Manhattan, as you said, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, and one
out of Mueller’s office. And then, the Manafort thing is actually not a
sentencing memo. It’s just a memo laying out the lies he told and the
reasons he—that the government has said that he violated his plea
agreement, and all of the benefits that he thought he was going to get
out of that are now gone.
The news that is catching
attention is what you just said, which is that in the New York
sentencing memo, it makes it very clear—doesn’t accuse Trump yet, but
it makes it very clear that what Cohen did in setting up these hush
payments, and, importantly, getting reimbursed by Trump Organization
for these hush payments, he did it with Donald Trump’s knowledge and on
And so, I would expect the next charges, the ones that might name Trump
as an unindicted co-conspirator but will almost certainly name Trump
Organization, because, remember, his company can be indicted, and also
probably whichever one of his children is named in those filings, as
well, they’re going to be charged with what’s called conspiracy to
defraud the United States. And the argument is that any time you carry
out fraud to hide the fact—to hide stuff that prevents the government
from doing regulatory work, when you do that, that’s a crime in and of
itself, irregardless of how serious the campaign finance violation is.
So, that seems to be where they’re going in New York.
And I think this is
correct as well, except that I insist that in any democracy
everyone, including the president, is subject to the law. This is a
Heresy of White Christianity
is by Chris Hedges
on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
There are, as Cornel West
has pointed out, only two African-Americans who rose from dirt-poor
poverty to the highest levels of American intellectual life—the writer
Richard Wright and the radical theologian James H. Cone.
Cone, who died in April,
grew up in segregated Bearden, Ark., the impoverished son of a
woodcutter who had only a sixth-grade education. With an almost
superhuman will, Cone clawed his way up from the Arkansas cotton fields
to implode theological studies in the United States with his withering
critique of the white supremacy and racism inherent within the white,
liberal Christian church. His brilliance—he was a Greek scholar and
wrote his doctoral dissertation on the Swiss theologian Karl
Barth—enabled him to “turn the white man’s theology against him and
make it speak for the liberation of black people.” God’s revelation in
America, he understood, “was found among poor black people.” Privileged
white Christianity and its theology were “heresy.” He was, until the
end of his life, possessed by what the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
madness.” His insights, he writes, “came to me as if revealed by
the spirits of my ancestors long dead but now coming alive to haunt and
torment the descendants of the whites who had killed them.”
I say. I do so because
I like and admire Chris Hedges, who has a lot of courage, a fine mind,
and - unlike the vast majority of journalists - a fine style. These are
also the reasons why I am following and reviewing Hedges since quite a
few years (at least five), and why I will be following
him probably as long as he and I are alive, indeed mostly because he
has a fine mind.
Then again, while I
like and admire Hedges, there also are considerable differences
between us, and one such difference is that he is religious, and
indeed a minister, while I am a philosopher
who is a total atheist
and always has been, since my parents also were total atheists
(and my mother´s family were atheists starting in the 1850ies, which
was very rare then).
And Hedges´ present
article is an example of his Christian values. Well... I am pro blacks
in the USA, but my own attitudes have extremely little to do
with any theology, and I also think that all
theologians, of whatever faith, are mistaken.
The same applies to James H. Cone
(and the last link is to Wikipedia): I have looked him up, thanks to
Hedges, but I have very little in common with him.
And therefore I will
quote only two more bits from Hedges´ present article. Both are from
near its beginning, and the first is this:
“When it became clear to me
that Jesus was not biologically white and that white scholars actually
lied by not telling people who he really was, I stopped trusting
anything they said,” he writes in his posthumous memoir, “Said
I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody: The Making of a Black Theologian,”
published in October.
“White supremacy is
America’s original sin and liberation is the Bible’s central message,”
he writes in his book. “Any theology in America that fails to engage
white supremacy and God’s liberation of black people from that evil is
not Christian theology but a theology of the Antichrist.”
I am sorry, but someone
whose theology inspires him to insist that those who -
fundamentally (?) - disagree with him most be servants of the devil
has lost me completely.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I strongly dislike white
supremacy and explain it myself as mostly based on a combination of stupidity, ignorance and prejudice, but
I don´t think anyone - however bad - is a servant of the devil
White supremacy “is the
Antichrist in America because it has killed and crippled tens of
millions of black bodies and minds in the modern world,” he writes. “It
has also committed genocide against the indigenous people of this land.
If that isn’t demonic, I don’t know what is … [and] it is found in
every aspect of American life, especially churches, seminaries, and
Cone, who spent most of his
life teaching at New York City’s Union Theological Seminary, where the
theological luminaries Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr preceded him,
was acutely aware that “there are a lot of brilliant theologians and
most are irrelevant and some are evil.”
But I agree on one thing with Cone: While I doubt there are in
fact (bolding added) ¨a lot
of brilliant theologians¨ there undoubtedly will be some, but indeed ¨most are irrelevant¨, indeed especially for atheists.
Inequality to Be Suffered by Our Children
is by Paul Buchheit on Common Dreams. This starts as follows:
The Inequality to
be Suffered by Our Children
The fortunate ones will not
be suffering. In the past eight years, the richest 5% of Americans have
increased their wealth by $30 trillion --
almost a third of total U.S. wealth -- while the poorest 50% have seen
their average wealth drop from $11,500 to $9,500. There is ample
evidence for a nation soon to be made even more unequal by the transfer
of wealth from rich baby boomers to their children and grandchildren,
who will have done little if anything to earn it. The middle class will
be further crippled by
the ongoing growth in inequality. Unless progressive policies are
demanded by American voters, most of our children and grandchildren
will suffer from the continuing expansion of
a Great-Depression-like wealth
gap that already "dwarfs" the
rest of the developed world.
Yes, I think this is
basically correct. Here is more:
Nearly a Third of
U.S. Wealth will be Handed Down, Mostly to Rich Kids
Total U.S. wealth is about $98
trillion. According to an Accenture study,
$30 trillion in financial and non-financial assets will be inherited by
the children of Baby Boomers in the next thirty to forty years. A Boston
College study predicts an overall transfer twice that size, at
$59 trillion, with $36 trillion going to heirs. Deloitte predicts
a $24 trillion transfer of wealth (to and from all generations) in the
next fifteen years. America's richest 20% own nearly nine-tenths of
this impending windfall (Table
Well... I take it that
¨a third¨ of the American financial
and non-financial assets will be inherited.
And I also take it that is
a fair estimate (but I don´t know).
Here is more:
The Rich Kids will
have Learned How to Avoid the Public Good
Skipping out on tax obligations will start right away, as over 99.8
percent of estates are not currently required to pay any
Here's another way for the young heirs to skip out on taxes: Offshore
hoarding of private American wealth is estimated to be $3.3 trillion (4% of
trillion financial wealth).
And yet another way: Make a fortune, then move out of the country
U.S. citizenship to avoid taxes.
In brief: The vast
majority of the children of the rich will (and do) behave as the rich.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I completely agree
and this is a recommended article.
The Growing Number
of Poor Kids
The expected growth in inequality is shown dramatically in a 2017 report by
the Institute for Policy Studies, which predicts ZERO median Black
household wealth by the year 2053, if current trends continue. Median
Latino household wealth would hit zero twenty years later. Right now
rates for Black
and Hispanic kids are 30 and 26 percent, respectively.
Overall, for all demographic groups, income instability and debt
are diminishing the
quality of life for middle- and lower-class families with children.
It's frightening to anticipate a worsening poverty rate for children
already largely ignored by the privileged members of society.
Democrats have not been the answer to all this. Both Barack
Obama and Bill Clinton were buddies with Wall Street; Obama
spent public money on drone
wars; Clinton decimated
the safety net and increased mass incarceration.
EU and the warning signs of Fascism
is by Kit Knightly on The Off-Guardian. It starts as follows:
spiralling out of control in Europe, faster than many predicted.
Outside of Brexit, there is strong anti-EU feeling in Hungary, Spain,
Italy, Greece and France. The EU is in danger of crumbling, and people
afraid of losing power are prone to extreme acts of dictatorial control.
How long before the EU
truly becomes the authoritarian force that people from both ends of the
political spectrum have always feared?
Well... for me ¨the EU¨ already is an ¨authoritarian force¨ that is out of control. But then I never
believed in the EU, while I also agree that the ¨authoritarian force¨ of the EU may - and probably will - become
considerably stronger soon.
Here is more:
Earlier this year, the EU
voted to “punish” one of its own members, Hungary, for the internal
policies of its elected government. To be clear about this – whatever
you think of Viktor Orban, he was elected by the people of Hungary. He
is their legally recognised democratic leader. Hungary voted for him –
in contrast, Hungary did NOT vote for any of the 448 MEPs who supported
the motion, posed by Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini, that:
The Hungarian people
deserve better…They deserve freedom of speech, non-discrimination,
tolerance, justice and equality, all of which are enshrined in the
Note that “democracy” is
not included on that list. “Tolerance”, “justice” and “equality”, but
not democracy. A Freudian slip, perhaps.
I am not much
impressed by the fact that Viktor
Orban ¨was elected by the people of Hungary¨, for several reasons, of which I will
mention here and now only that the same held for Adolf Hitler.
Then again, I am
certain I dislike Sargentini, while it also seems likely to me that “democracy” is missing from the list
Sargentini drew up because she does not consider it important
(but I do not know this).
Here is more from this
This month, Paris (and
other French cities) have seen the massive Gilets Jaunes
against the fuel tax, austerity and income inequality. The violent
repression of these protests has received no criticism from either
individual member states of the EU, or the EU itself. However, an
painted with the EU’s insignia was
seen on the streets of Paris.
Both Macron and Merkel have talked, recently, of
the need for an EU Army – will these protests in France be used as an
excuse to implement those plans?
Let’s assume the EU Army is
brought about – let us supply the European Union with its coveted
“defence force”. 250,000 hypothetical men, drawn from all the member
states. What is their purpose? What is their function?
For example, would they
have been deployed to Catalonia last year to “keep the peace”? Would an
EU army have moved against a peaceful vote to “defend” the integrity of
Well... I agree that
several European figureheads want a European army. But it is not there
yet. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
No it does not, that is:
not to me. Also, the last four points are quite clearly
attempts by the EU to influence news that is ¨allowed to be seen¨
by the leaders of the EU, and to repress other news. And this is a
To sum up:
Does this sound like an
organization of which we want to be a part?
- The European Union’s two
major figureheads are both in favour of an EU army.
- The European Union’s
flag is painted on armoured vehicles repressing anti-government
protests in France.
- The European Union is
putting aside £4.6 millio (5 million Euros) to “help people recognise
- The European Union wants
to pressure social media companies into “shutting down” accounts that
spread “fake news”.
- The European Union wants
Google to alter their algorithm, to promote news that praises the EU
and demote sites critical of it.
- The European Union wants
us to understand that this is about “transparency” and is definitely
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 (!!).