Saturday, October 28, 2017

Crisis: Twitter, Google, American Violence, Madrid vs Catalonia, Democrats

Sections                                                crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from October 28, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Saturday
, October 28, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a
crisis 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 and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from October 28, 2017
1. How Twitter Killed the First Amendment
2. Google's Threat to Democracy Continues to Hit
     Alternative Media

3. The Violent American Century
4. Tensions Explode as Madrid Imposes Direct Rule
     on Catalonia

5. Democrats – Still Drifting Toward Disaster
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:

1. How Twitter Killed the First Amendment

This is by Tim Wu on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

You need not be a media historian to notice that we live in a golden age of press harassment, domestic propaganda and coercive efforts to control political debate. The Trump White House repeatedly seeks to discredit the press, threatens to strip broadcasters of their licenses and calls for the firing of journalists and football players for speaking their minds. A foreign government tries to hack our elections, and journalists and public speakers are regularly attacked by vicious, online troll armies whose aim is to silence opponents.

In this age of “new” censorship and blunt manipulation of political speech, where is the First Amendment? Americans like to think of it as the great protector of the press and of public debate. Yet it seems to have become a bit player, confined to a narrow and often irrelevant role. It is time to ask: Is the First Amendment obsolete? If so, what can be done?

I am still occasionally reviewing bits of The New York Times, but if this is the standard of truth that the NYT uses, it´ll be soon over, for this article is falsified propagandistic bullshit.

Here are two points about the above quote:

That ¨[a] foreign government tries to hack our elections¨ has been quite often and quite cogently denied by persons - such as William Binney, Ray McGovern, and the VIPS all of whom have very much more credibility than one Tim Wu of the NYT - and the only evidence that I know for it that has been given, since over a year, is the evidence that - possibly(!) - Russia invested $100,000 - to do so, which I calculated on October 19 to be worth around ¨0.00001th (a hundred thousandth) part of Facebook's annual revenue.¨

Second, as to ¨the First Amendment¨: It is still where it was since it was adopted. What is true is that it has been very much falsified, indeed especially by the Supreme Court, that interprets ¨money¨ = ¨free speech¨ and infers (correctly, from this utterly false premiss) that the rich must have (and should get) by far the most free speech, since they have by far the most money.

But on what Wu´s questions ¨Is the First Amendment obsolete? If so, what can be done?¨ are based is completely hidden and indeed also quite useless to discuss with people who know little from the Constitution and little from American law.

Then there is this bit of propaganda tripe:

But in the 21st century, censorship works differently, as the writer and academic Zeynep Tufekci has illustrated. The complete suppression of dissenting speech isn’t feasible in our “cheap speech” era. Instead, the world’s most sophisticated censors, including Russia and China, have spent a decade pioneering tools and techniques that are better suited to the internet age. Unfortunately, those new censorship tools have become unwelcome imports in the United States, with catastrophic results for our democracy.

Here is the last bit that I quote from his horrible article:

Our distressing state of public discourse stems from the widespread use of these new tools of censorship and speech control, including by the White House.

And from the lacks of intelligence and knowledge that marks most users of the internet, but that is again a truth that will not be mentioned by the NYT.

Ah well....

2. Google's Threat to Democracy Continues to Hit Alternative Media

This article is by Don Hazen, the editor of AlterNet. It starts as follows:

Editor’s note: This piece comes from AlterNet’s editorial team. We are reposting it as Truthdig is facing the same struggle. Like AlterNet, Truthdig has experienced a drop in traffic from Google search engines since the company made changes in its algorithm this year.

A few weeks ago, AlterNet put out an SOS. We were getting slammed by Google’s new algorithm intended to fight “fake news.” We were losing millions of monthly visitors, and so was much of the progressive news media. Lost readership goes directly to the bottom line.

Our readers responded magnificently—beyond our expectations—making this the most successful fundraising effort in recent years.

I say. In any case, I reviewed the earlier AlterNet and Truthdig articles (and am too tired to find them now - I´m sorry). Also, I agree Google is a real horror (that also seems to have excluded my sites) and is in fact one of the strongest forces bringing neofascism to the USA.

There is also this in the article:

We are fighting an inaccessible behemoth, with a complete lack of transparency. Sometimes it feels like we are David fighting Goliath, but we don’t have a slingshot.

So we have to find one.

As one of the search engine optimization (SEO) experts we consulted said, “It looks like you guys are the dolphin that got caught in the tuna net.”

Well, a lot of progressive dolphins have been snagged in the net, including Democracy Now, the Nation, Media Matters, the Intercept, Salon, Truthout, the ACLU, and even WikiLeaks.

Yes indeed: They either write the truth or at least try to do so, unlike the mainstream media, that only write the truth about things that are not important to the rich (as far as I can see, at least).

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

The more we dig, the more we learn about Google’s cozy relationship with corporate media and traditional forms of journalism. It appears that Google has pushed popular, high-traffic progressive websites to the margins and embraced corporate media, a move that seriously questions its fairness. Some speculate Google is trying to protect itself from critics of fake news at the expense of the valid independent outlets.

I agree, and this is a recommended article.

3. The Violent American Century

This article is by H. Patricia Hynes on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

“The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II”

A book by John Dower

In 1941, Henry Luce, the mogul of influential and popular magazines from Time and Life to Fortune and Sports Illustrated, declared the 20th century to be the American Century. By the gauge of prosperity, power and influence, the United States did emerge from World War II as the defining leader of the “free world” and, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, of the entire world.

Historian John Dower borrows Luce’s “American Century” as a heuristic device in tracing the lengthening arc of U.S. dominance in weapon development, militarism and military empire—without peer in history—since World War II. Thus, his title: “The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II.”

Click here to read chapter one from “The Violent American Century” at Truthdig.

I copied this mostly because John Dower´s book seems to be good or at least reasonable.

Then there is this bit:

A provocative current runs through this book, one that challenges current dogma on the decline in global violence and incline toward global peace since 1945. This proposition of a more peaceful world is based in good part on fewer conflict-related deaths since World War II and the trend in precision weapons. Dower counters this conclusion with a multitude of examples: the growing conflict-based refugee crisis that approaches that of World War II; “the political harm to democracy” from the colossal post-9/11 national security state devoted to sustaining “a state of semi-war”; and the costs of war that magnify our debt for decades to come, among others.

Moreover, who is left in Trump’s administration to make a case for negotiation over military intervention? Given the larding of government with generals, private security lobbyists, defense industry personnel and Wall Street war profiteers, there is no one vested in the cause of peace.

Yes indeed, and it is especially Steven Pinker who insisted that ¨a more peaceful world¨ is arriving, which indeed I could not accept when I reviewed it.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Hundreds of billions spent since 9/11 on foreign military training in more than 150 countries and combating terrorism globally has resulted in doubling the likelihood of military-backed coups by those trained, with no evidence of promoting democracy. Yet too few—in the media and the American public—are versed in or troubled by this underbelly of U.S. exceptionalism. Dower has written a much-needed correction to mainstream American history texts and a bracing challenge to the trope of American exceptionalism. Its case for American military muscularity at the expense of democracy and world peace is unassailable.

I leave it at this, and recommend the article.

4. Tensions Explode as Madrid Imposes Direct Rule on Catalonia

This article is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams (and I shortened the title). It starts as follows:

The political crisis on the Iberian peninsula continued to escalate on Friday when the Spanish state moved to impose direct rule over Catalonia following an overwhelming vote by the northeastern region's parliament to declare independence.

The upper house of the Spanish parliament gave the OK to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to invoke the never-before-used Article 155 of the Constitution, which he promptly utilized to oust Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet, sack a regional police chief, and declare new regional elections.

Spain's prosecutor office also said it would seek "rebellion" charges for Puigdemont. In addition, the Telegraph reports, "The national police may be deployed to bring Catalonia under Madrid's control."

I say. This is also the only bit that I´ll quote from this article, simply because it the situation in Spain is developing quite quickly.

As I said, I am for Catalonian independence mostly because I am against a unified Europe, and also because I recall George Orwell´s ¨Homage to Catalonia¨ (<- a good link) quite well. Orwell was present at the previous attempt to declare Catalonia´s independence in 1934, and his book is still very readable and recommended, as is this article.

5. Democrats – Still Drifting Toward Disaster

This article is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams. This starts as follows:

On Sunday night, Bernie Sanders confirmed he will run for the Senate as an Independent again in 2018, after running for the Presidency as a Democrat.  Sanders, by the way, is the most popular politician in America.  There’s a link between these two facts that the Democratic Party is choosing to ignore, and it’ll cost them – and us.

People reject both parties – and it's hard to blame them

Let’s run through some stats that reveal the state of politics in America.

Two of the most important are 28.1 per cent 27.3 percent of eligible voters.  Those are the percentages of the total eligible voters voting for Clinton and Trump respectively. If we were to choose the percent of voting age population their numbers would be even lower, with Trump’s share coming in at a little over 26 percent.

Yes indeed. And it is good to realize - as I mostly knew - that slightly more than 55.4% of the American voters voted in the presidential elections.

Then there is this:

Democrats – snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Which brings us back to Sanders running as an Independent and being the most popular politician in America.  Sanders has held progressive positions for as long as he’s been in politics.  And the fact is, the American people share his views. In study after study, Americans overwhelmingly poll left-of-center on an issue-by-issue basis.

But as a result of a well-funded campaign by corporations and several rich families beginning in the late 1970’s, the word “liberal” has become so toxic that even people who hold liberal views on an issue-by-issue basis are loath to identify themselves as liberal.

I agree there was ¨well-funded campaign by corporations and several rich families beginning in the late 1970’s¨ and still continuing, simply because it does make the rich richer and the poor poorer, but - I am sorry - if it is the case that ¨the word “liberal” has become so toxic that even people who hold liberal views on an issue-by-issue basis are loath to identify themselves as liberal¨, which is probably both factually correct, and quite strange from my own point of view, a considerable part of the reason is not due to the ¨well-funded campaign¨ but to the fact that at least half of the American voters (namely the half with an IQ of maximally 100) are both stupid and ignorant, which also is a fact that is systematically either missed or denied by any journalist I have read.

Here is the last bit that I quote from the article:

In short, faced with an enormous opportunity to reverse their four-decade fall from grace, Democrats are fighting with progressives who represent the Party’s only shot at winning in 2018 and 2020, and are, instead, clutching at the neoliberal dogma of the Clintonites, riding it into political oblivion. 

Back when Kennedy was President and the party backed New Deal values, some 50% of folks called themselves Democrats, and only about a quarter self-identified as Republicans. Today, less than 30% identify as Democrats and about 26% identify as Republicans.

I mostly agree but like to add that the - very rich - Clintons, and the also quite rich Clintonites may be headed for the political oblivion, but then they also have been heading the last 40 years or so for their own financial well-being, in which they did succeed quite spectacularly.

And this is a recommended article.


I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that 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 (!!).

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