A. Selections from September 12, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) 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.
On the moment I have 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
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
September 12, 2017
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:
is by Alexander Burns on The New York Times. It starts like this:
And it also seems to be the case that there is less
there are also fewer deaths than were expected, although it
also is quite early.
Florida emerged from Hurricane Irma on Monday
as a landscape of blacked-out cities, shuttered gas stations, shattered
trees and flooded streets, while the now-weakened storm kept sweeping
Major streets remained underwater in cities from Miami to
Jacksonville, with even more roads snarled by debris. As many as nine
million Floridians lost electricity at some point during the storm, and
the chief executive of a major utility, Florida Power & Light, said
that it could take weeks to restore full service.
Officials were still
assessing Irma’s impact in the Florida Keys, which may have borne the
worst of the storm.
Later on Monday, the Defense
Department said that damage to the Keys was so extensive that it might
be necessary to evacuate the 10,000 residents who rode out the storm on
Here is some on the damages Irma caused:
Insurance experts began offering projections on Monday for
the total cost of the storm’s damage, with initial estimates running in
the range of $20 billion to $50 billion.
Throughout Florida, local officials implored residents to be
cautious about returning to their homes. Conjuring images of surprise
floods and electrocution by downed power lines, they asked residents
not to misinterpret their state’s less-severe-than-expected ordeal as a
sign that life could quickly and easily snap back to normalcy.
seems quite correct. Here is some more:
The article, which contains a lot
more information, ends as follows:
Power losses appeared to be the state’s most widespread
affliction. In news conferences up and down the state, mayors and
utility executives delivered the dispiriting statistics: In densely
populated Pinellas County west of Tampa, about 70 percent of Duke
Energy’s customers, or 395,000 people, were without electricity, with
no immediate restoration in sight. Mayor Tomás Regalado of Miami said a
similar fraction of his city was dark, with roads left impassable and
traffic lights not working. In Orlando, about half the city’s utility
customers had no service.
It would seem as if the
damages and the loss of lives were less than feared (but they are still
Still, areas that had braced for a lethal catastrophe felt
lucky to get away with just prolonged discomfort and a mess to clean up.
“We survived pretty well,” the mayor of Tampa, Bob Buckhorn,
said. “Not a lot of flooding. Tree removal, debris — don’t want to say
it’s negligible, but it’s manageable.”
Mark Zuckerberg Testify
is by Sam Biddle on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
after what must have been a series of extremely grim meetings in Menlo
Park, Facebook admitted publicly that part of its revenue includes
what appears to be politically motivated fraud undertaken by a shady
Russian company. The social network, perhaps motivated by
a Washington Post scoop on the matter, released a statement
outlining the issues at hand, but leaving the most important questions
unanswered. Only Facebook knows these answers, and we should assume
they won’t be eager to volunteer them.
Given that Facebook reaches a little under 30 percent of the entire
population of our planet, the answers to these questions matter.
Yes indeed. Since I
also strongly despise Facebook (see here, which is from 2011)
and since I think such a worldwide monopoly urgently needs breaking
up, I am not quite impartial here,
but then how can one be
partial to sick lies like these:
The response I received
from Facebook PR (“We are not commenting beyond the blog post at this
time”) is typical. But even when Facebook does decide to talk to
journalists, it has the tenor of an occult priest discussing something
from beyond an eerie void: Just last week, when faced with a report
that its advertising numbers promised an American audience that, in
certain demographics, well exceeded the number of such humans in
existence, judging by U.S. Census Bureau numbers, Facebook told
the Wall Street Journal that its numbers “are not designed to match
population or census estimates. We are always working to improve our
Here is more on the
spies and the data-thieves of Facebook:
Facebook, even more than
Apple, which has taken corporate secrecy to quasi-military lengths,
operates as a black box. No one outside of the company knows exactly
how the site’s algorithms, by which media and advertising industries
now live and die, function.
In fact, I think the
ignorance of nearly everyone about Facebook's "algorithms"  does not merely amount to "not knowing
exactly" but to almost
Then there is also
At the same time as it
operates in near-total opacity, Facebook trumpets just how well
the black box works; its advertising case study library is ample, including
stories boasting how Facebook can swing political elections.
Facebook crucially never makes it clear exactly how it
will help you win an election (or sell more fried chicken, or
bracelets, or subscriptions). It just does. This magical efficacy, the
company’s apparently unparalleled power to make people look at and
maybe even click on things, is helping
Facebook reach quarter after quarter of mammoth profits and
swallow whole larger and larger chunks of advertising and media
around the world.
Yes indeed. And here
is one of Sam Biddle's conclusions:
I wholly agree,
although I also think Facebook should be taken apart
(like Google, Amazon,
Apply and Microsoft, indeed) - although in fact I fear nothing
will happen to either of these supermonopolistic worldwide giants
the whole economy they profit so much from and partially produced
collapses in the next major economical crisis.
publicly testify under oath before Congress on his
company’s capabilities to influence the political process, be it
Russian meddling or anything else. If the company is as powerful as it
promises advertisers, it should be held accountable. And if it’s not,
then we need to stop fretting so much about it. Either way, threats to
entire societies should be reckoned with publicly by those very
societies and not confined to R&D labs and closed-door briefings.
If democracy can be gamed from a laptop, that shouldn’t be considered a
Meanwhile, I think you are a moron if you are using one of these
monopolies: They are far too powerfull and they are almost
The Beginning of the End of the US Empire Project
This article is by
Dahr Jamail on Truthout. It starts as follows:
Today, it has been 16
years since the events of September 11, 2001, in the United States.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks, and more than 6,000 were
injured in the spectacular violence across New York, Pennsylvania and
administration used these horrible events to justify projecting the US
empire deeper into the Middle East by invading Iraq, as well as
launching into war-torn Afghanistan. They also used the opportunity to
pass the so-called PATRIOT act, which amounted to a vicious attack on
civil liberties and human rights at home.
Any pretense that the US
intended to seek justice or increase world stability via its so-called
War on Terror has been dramatically overshadowed by increased global
resentment toward the US, which has in fact generated more terror
attacks around the world.
Quite so. This
article is here because it is now a full 16 years ago that the
age of terrorism
started and also because it is quite good.
although Jamail does not discuss that particular fact, my own
conviction is that 9/11 was an internal affair produced by people
working for Bush. I also will not insist on that here and
but anybody who took a good look at the evidence (I did, some
ago) should know that that is the most probable hypothesis.
In any case, here uis
what the "War on Terror" produced in terms of terror:
Authors of a report
titled "Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the
'War on Terror,'" told Truthout the numbers of dead in Iraq and
other countries the US had waged war on since the events of September
11 had reached "genocidal dimensions" and "could also be in excess of 2
million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely."
And that is just
There is this on the noble hero Obama, who was no noble hero at
but simply a more polite and much better speaking warmonger:
While President Obama
rode this wave of anti-Bush and anti-US Empire sentiment into office by
promising "hope" and "change," he did not bring an end to either of
Obama simply followed
Bush administration policy by making a slow withdrawal from Iraq
while maintaining a US presence there in the form
of "advisers," surveillance, air strikes, artillery, drones and later,
troops. All of this continues under the Trump administration, but with
more troops on the ground.
And Obama, who got
the Nobel Peace Prize very early in his government, without
having done anything to merit it, did decide, rather
late in his government, to extend the investments in nuclear
arms by 50
billion dollars in the coming years.
Here is why
the so-called "War On Terror" was state terrorism
inspired and conducted by the American governments since 9/11:
Human Rights Watch, in a
2004 report titled, "Above the Law: Executive Power after September 11
in the United States," stated, "The Bush administration's
anti-terrorism practices represent a stunning assault on basic
principles of justice, government accountability, and the role of the
All the while, the US
military maintains roughly 300,000 active military personnel in over 150
countries and nearly 800 bases globally.
So, has the so-called War
on Terror succeeded?
Even if we take seriously
the criteria by which it was propagandistically sold to the US public,
as well as the rest of the world, the answer must be a resounding "no."
The Global Terrorism Index revealed that, as of 2014, there had been
a fivefold increase in global terrorism
fatalities since 9/11.
Then again, as I have
been saying from 2005 onwards (see here: it is in Dutch but it still
seems quite good and quite true to me, after 12 years),
in we substitute the non-propagandistic
aims of the US governments since 9/11, which may be described as giving
American state terrorism all the military and
the spying powers
"a stunning assault on basic principles of
justice, government accountability, and the role of the courts"
then it seems to have
quite spectacularly succeeded, with
"roughly 300,000 active military personnel in over 150
countries and nearly 800 bases globally."
And this is a
Climate Change May Wipe Out a Third of World's Parasites, with
Disastrous Ripple Effects
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
As the United States
continues to deal with unprecedented floods and hurricanes, a new study
has revealed climate change is also driving the mass extinction of
parasites that are critical to natural ecosystems, and could add to the
planet’s sixth great mass extinction event that’s currently underway.
The report in the journal Science Advances warns that about a third of
all parasite species could go extinct by 2070 due to human activity.
The loss of species of lice, fleas and worms could have profound ripple
effects on the environment and might pave the way for new parasites to
colonize humans and other animals with disastrous health outcomes. We
speak to Colin Carlson, lead author of the report "Parasite
biodiversity faces extinction and redistribution in a changing
climate." He’s a Ph.D. candidate in environmental science, policy and
management at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2011, Business
Insider included him in a roundup titled "16 of the Smartest Children
in History," alongside Mozart and Picasso. At the time, he was 15 years
old. He is now 21.
In fact, this is here
mostly because of something I wrote in 1972, after having read The
Limits to Growth (which still seems remarkably adequate in
predictions or foresights), namely that one of the things I
feared from the vast
environmental changes that were predicted (in 1950, when I was born,
there were 2 billion persons, and now that I am 67 there are over 7
billion, and that simply seems to be too many persons) were all
This is precisely
of those feedback problems:
GOODMAN: The report in
the journal Science Advances warns that about a third of all
parasite species could go extinct by 2070 due to human activity. The
loss of species of lice, fleas and worms could have profound ripple
effects on the environment and might pave the way for new parasites to
colonize humans and other animals with disastrous health outcomes.
For more, we’re joined by Colin Carlson, lead author of a report
published last week which revealed climate change is driving the mass
extinction of parasites that are critical to natural ecosystems. He’s a
Ph.D. candidate in environmental science, policy and management at the
University of California, Berkeley.
Incidentally, the vast
majority of parasites is not dangerous to
human beings, while the
vast majority of parasites does contribute a lot to the
stability of the ecosystems they are part of. That is, until they are
(partially) exterminated somehow:
CARLSON: Parasites are a
huge part of what holds ecosystems together. They can be the majority
of biomass in an ecosystem. They can be 80 percent of the links in a
food web. They control wildlife populations. They keep populations
down, just like predators do. And just like predators in the 18th and
19th century when we were eradicating them, parasites are, obviously, a
hard sell. But it turns out they play this important regulatory role.
And what we think could happen in a changing climate is, with these
very high extinction rates, the loss of that stabilizing role could
produce opportunities for new patterns of wildlife in human disease
that are genuinely concerning.
And here is Colin
Carlson (who is extremely smart) on basic real science, and how
this is destroyed by political
CARLSON: I think it’s
incredibly concerning to see science not only deprioritized, but
actively worked against, by the administration. The view from the
ground is that a lot of researchers are incredibly worried about our
ability to keep doing research that is scientifically ethical, that is
valid, that presents issues like climate change objectively, and our
ability to continue to be funded to do that research. I think this is
one in a set of decisions by this administration that really do give us
reason to be worried.
I agree and this is a
the NYT Gone Collectively Mad?
This is an article
by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews. It starts with the following summary:
Report: Crossing a line from recklessness into madness, The
New York Times published a front-page opus suggesting that Russia was
behind social media criticism of Hillary Clinton, reports Robert Parry.
I have been reporting on "the
Russia-mania" since last year, and I quite agree with Robert
Binney and the VIPS
that there really is hardly
that Russia did do what it has been accused
of doing by the New York Times and by many other
American mainstream media and also by mainstream TV.
What keeps this propaganda
story up for more than 10 months?
It seems to be two things mostly (but I am less certain about
this than about the fact that "Russia-mania"
is propaganda and deception without any real evidence):
Hillary Clinton's efforts to shift away her own
failures, and the Deep State's efforts (that is: the NSA, the
FBI, most of the CIA and the military-industrial
complex that was first
signalled by Eisenhower) to try to control Donald Trump.
Here is the start of Robert Parry's article (who wrote considerably
more about this):
For those of us
who have taught journalism or worked as editors, a sign that an article
is the product of sloppy or dishonest journalism is that a key point
will be declared as flat fact when it is unproven or a point in serious
dispute – and it then becomes the foundation for other claims, building
a story like a high-rise constructed on sand.
I think the best
explanation for the fact that The New York Times (once again) "offers no real evidence"
for its claims is that it is institutionally corrupted (much
This use of speculation
as fact is something to guard against particularly in the work of
inexperienced or opinionated reporters. But what happens when this sort
of unprofessional work tops page one of The New York Times one day as a
major “investigative” article and reemerges the next day in even more
strident form as a major Times editorial? Are we dealing then with an
inept journalist who got carried away with his thesis or are we facing
institutional corruption or even a collective madness driven by
What is stunning about
story in last Friday’s print edition of The New York Times is that
it offers no real evidence to support its provocative claim that – as
the headline states – “To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake
Americans” or its subhead: “Flooding Twitter and Facebook, Impostors
Helped Fuel Anger in Polarized U.S.”
Here is one of the current techniques of the current NYT:
As it turns out,
the Times now operates with what must be called a neo-McCarthyistic
approach for identifying people as Kremlin stooges, i.e., anyone who
doubts the truthfulness of the State Department’s narratives on Syria,
Ukraine and other international topics.
And there is a
considerable amount about the reporter who reported purported facts
without evidence, Scott Shane, but I skip all of that except
So is Scott Shane a
“Kremlin troll,” too? Should the Times immediately fire him as a
disloyal foreign agent? What if Putin says that 2 plus 2 equals 4 and
your child is taught the same thing in elementary school, what does
that say about public school teachers?
Out of such gibberish
come the evils of McCarthyism and the death of the Enlightenment.
Instead of encouraging a questioning citizenry, the new American
paradigm is to silence debate and ridicule anyone who steps out of line.
You might have thought
people would have learned something from the disastrous groupthink
about Iraqi WMD, a canard that the Times and most of the U.S.
mainstream media eagerly promoted.
Yes indeed - and in case
you miss the implications, I refer you to my entries for totalitarianism,
men in my Philosophical
This article ends as
But what is the real
threat to “American free speech”? Is it the possibility that Russia –
in a very mild imitation of what the U.S. government does all over the
world – used some Web sites clandestinely to get out its side of
various stories, an accusation against Russia that still lacks any real
Or is the bigger threat
that the nearly year-long Russia-gate hysteria will be used to clamp
down on Americans who dare question fact-lite or fact-free Official
Narratives handed down by the State Department and The New York Times?
Clearly, the far
larger danger is the continuing expanse of "fact-lite or fact-free"
and continuing rises of totalitarianism and groupthinking.
And this is a recommended
 I have now been saying since the 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.
They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
The only 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 (!!).
 Once again (and I can program
in five or six programming languages) I think by now that the
consistent use of the rather crazy term "algorithm" for what are in
fact programs (which is an English term, unlike the strange contraction
from Arabic that says "algorithm") may well be a bit of propaganda to
prevent seeing that programs are nothing but simplified ways of
saying "if so-and-so has this then do A, else do B".
It is like saying "l'entrée" for "the door" and pretending that
the best English term.