from December 14, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, December 14,
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.
moment and since 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
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from December 14, 2017
Parliament Demands Greater Say Over Brexit,
2. FCC Set to Roll Back Digital Civil Rights with Thursday’s
Repeal Net Neutrality
a Necessity: A 15-Point Guide to Surviving
4. Republican Leaders Aren't Even Trying to Hide Their
5. Life or Death for the FCC
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:
Demands Greater Say Over Brexit, Defying Theresa May
article is by Stephan Castle on the NYT. It starts as follows:
voted narrowly on Wednesday to demand a decisive say over the country’s
plans to withdraw from the European Union, dealing an unexpected defeat
to Prime Minister Theresa May, who had asked for maximum leeway to
negotiate with Brussels on untangling decades of integration with the
from the governing Conservative Party joined with pro-European members
of opposition parties to require that any final deal to withdraw from
the European Union be submitted to Parliament — as legislation — before
it can be put into effect.
I say, which I
do because I had not expected this.
Also, I am
taking this from the NYT for two reasons: (i) I can´t copy The
any more without doing more work (and because of this and other
things I have completely given up The Guardian, for it seems to
me they are
best described as Blatcherists
only interested in their own incomes), and
(ii) what I did read on The Guardian also quickly got lost in
speculations about British politicians few non-Brits will recognize.
bit I quoted seems adequate, and indeed the reasons why May was
defeated are very good: In a parliamentary democracy,
have the final say.
Here is some
Mrs. May had
argued that going through such formal approval would add yet another
hurdle to the already contentious and protracted negotiation over
withdrawal — a process, known as Brexit, that is supposed to be
completed by March 2019.
promised that lawmakers would get a vote eventually, but the lawmakers
effectively refused to take her word for it, insisting by a formal vote
— 309 to 305 — on their explicit right to approve any final deal.
indeed. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Mrs. May lost
her parliamentary majority in a snap
election she called earlier this year, complicating her already
formidable task of negotiating Brexit. She also does not have a
majority in the House of Lords, the unelected second chamber of
setback also led to months of speculation about Mrs. May’s prospects of
survival, particularly after a disastrous speech at the Conservative
Party’s annual conference in which her speech was interrupted by a
prankster, and Mrs. May then lost her voice, suffering a persistent
with this and Theresa May does not seem to be a strong leader.
And this is
a recommended article.
Set to Roll Back Digital Civil Rights with Thursday’s Vote to Repeal
This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on
Democracy Now! This starts with the following introduction:
indeed, and today it is that Thursday. I admit I am very pessimistic: I
think net neutrality will finish, quite in accord with Gore Vidal´s
statement of 2008 that he expected it would take ten years, and
the internet would be finished as a tool of free communication. I
he was right, though I would be glad if I am wrong.
The Federal Communications
Commission is set to vote Thursday on whether to repeal the landmark
net neutrality protections passed under President Obama in 2015. Net
neutrality is the principle that internet service providers treat web
content equally and do not block or prioritize some content over others
in return for payment. The move could allow internet service providers
to cut speeds and jack up prices, and drew a record 22 million comments
to the FCC, which critics say the agency has
not fully reviewed. “We’re talking about the future of media here and
who has access and control and whose voices are valued, whose stories
are told, whose stories are dehumanized,” says Joseph Torres, senior
adviser for government and external affairs for Free Press, the
national media reform organization.
Here is some more:
Well, the FCC, on Thursday, is going to
overturn the 2015 net neutrality rules that so many of us worked so
hard to get passed. Those rules prevented ISPs, internet service
providers, like Comcast and AT&T, as you mentioned in your intro,
from blocking websites, from creating a pay-for-play system where if I
want to go online and watch Democracy Now!, and Democracy
Now! may have to pay an ISP more in
order for their site to be seen at the fastest speeds by the public.
These rules were put in place to prevent discrimination by ISPs. And if
you’re Comcast and you own NBC, you have
every incentive in the world to favor your own content and to block
Yes indeed. There
is more in this article, that is recommended.
As a person of color, as
people who our voices are often marginalized, we have used the open
internet in order to tell our own stories. And what this is going to do
is put the gatekeeper—it’s going to make these ISPs the gatekeeper to
the internet. These companies provide us access to the internet, and
what they are going to do is, you know, basically have a pay-for-play
system, and it’s going to harm the voices of everyday people.
a Necessity: A 15-Point Guide to Surviving Authoritarianism
This article is
by Kali Holloway and Martin Mycielski on AlterNet.
Nearly a year ago,
intuitively recognizing the Trump administration’s authoritarian
aspirations, Polish journalist and activist Martin Mycielski wrote "Year
1 Under Authoritarianism." In those early, nerve-racking days
following Trump’s inauguration, the piece was shared across social
media, an ominous portent of what was to come. The document—helpfully
subtitled, “What To Expect?”—offered a list of predictions and warnings
about Trump’s first year in office, and exhortations to fight back at
The piece should be read as an instructive manual of
sorts, culled from firsthand observation of the “populists,
authoritarians and tinpot dictators” leading right-wing movements
“With each passing day,
government is moving the country further away from the liberal West
and towards the authoritarian models of the East,” Mycielski wrote.
“Hundreds of thousands have protested against every illiberal, unlawful
step. Every time we believed it couldn’t get any worse. We were wrong.
This is why we want you, our American friends, to be spared the shock,
the awe, the disbelief of this happening to you. Let’s hope history
proves us wrong and the US wakes up in time…[H]ope for the best, but
prepare for the worst.”
I say, for I did not
at all when this first appeared, nearly a year ago. And this seems to
have been a pity, for Mycielski´s guide is quite good.
Here is a bit
more from Kali Holloway´s introduction to Mycielski:
guide" has only become more disturbingly relevant with time, its
predictions proved frighteningly accurate. Like Umberto
Eco’s guide to fascism, it presciently notes the actions and
attitudes that now unquestionably define this presidency; the lies and
obfuscation of truth, racist fear-mongering, historical revisionism,
purposeful chaos and anti-First Amendment agenda. Manipulation and
malice are the Trump regime’s forte.
But if there’s any hope, it will only come from
recognizing the reality of what’s happening here, how much damage is
being done, how much earth already scorched.
Yes, I agree.
Mycielski´s article now has the following title: ¨Year 1 Under an
Authoritarian Regime¨ and it starts as follows, with
deletions indicated by (...):
1. They will come to
power with a campaign based on fear, scaremongering and distorting the
truth. Nevertheless, their victory will be achieved through a
democratic electoral process.
2. They will divide and rule.
Their strength lies in unity, in one voice and one ideology, and so
should yours. They will call their supporters Patriots, the only “true
Americans.” You will be labelled as traitors, enemies of the state,
unpatriotic, the corrupt elite, the old regime trying to regain power.
3. Through convoluted laws and
threats they will try to control mainstream media and limit press
freedom. They will ban critical press from their briefings, calling
them “liars,” “fake news.”
4. They will create chaos,
maintain a constant sense of conflict and danger. It will be their
argument to enact new authoritarian laws, each one further limiting
your freedoms and civil liberties.
5. They will distort the
truth, deny facts and blatantly lie. They will try to make you forget
what facts are, sedate your need to find the truth. They will feed
“post-truths” and “alternative facts,” replace knowledge and logic with
emotions and fiction.
Yes indeed, this is nearly
all correct, and indeed it also was an adequate prediction
neofascism (for that is what it is: check out the
There are in fact 10 more
points, and they are all in the article. I´ll skip them and leave
to your interest, but I mostly quite agree.
The artice ends as follows,
on a note of optimism:
totalitarian and fascist regime in history eventually failed, thanks to
Perhaps. But I must say that
isn´t quite true, or indeed, to the extent that it is,
may take four or more generations. Then again, the 15 points
quite good, and this is a strongly recommended article.
Leaders Aren't Even Trying to Hide Their Immorality Lately
This article is
by Nancy Altman and Linda Benesch on AlterNet and originally on Salon.
It starts as follows:
Republican leaders claim
that they are the party of family values. They are not. They also claim
that they understand and respect hardworking Americans. They do not.
The Republican elite’s
immorality goes well beyond Donald Trump, who has bragged about sexual
assault, and has indeed been accused of it by over a dozen women. It
goes well beyond Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was banned
from a shopping mall to prevent him from preying on minors, and who has
been credibly accused of the behavior for which he was banned.
The immorality and disdain
of today’s Republican elites shine through in the policies that they
embrace. They are embodied in the Republican budget, in their tax
legislation, and in their relentless attacks on Medicare, Medicaid, and
Social Security. Those Republican policies benefit the ones they truly
value – their super-wealthy donors.
Yes, I quite agree: The
Republicans are of the rich few, for the rich few, and by the
few, and that may the best short indication what they are, and indeed
also what they were since Ronald Reagan.
Here is how neofascist
manipulation works in practice:
Republicans in both
chambers of Congress have now passed tax bills, which, when the smoke
clears, involve the upward redistribution
of income and wealth. As if today’s obscene level of income and wealth
inequality weren’t bad enough, Republican elites want to increase it.
Both the Senate and House
versions require millions of middle-class Americans to pay more, while
requiring the richest of the rich to pay less. In 2027, taxpayers with
incomes between $40,000 and $50,000 will, as a group, pay $5.3 billion more in taxes,
while those with annual incomes of $1 million or more will pay $5.8
In other words: The many
relatively poor are explicitly and on purpose
taxed by the very
few very rich to help pay the $5.8 billions less in
Here is some more:
That opposition comes from
the fundamental immorality at the heart of the Republican Party. It is
a political party united around the principle that only the wealthy
have any value. It is a party that has disdain for everyone else. A
party that believes hardworking Americans doing backbreaking work at
less than subsistence wages are lazy freeloaders.
I agree, and to me it
seems as if the neofascist
rich have decided that (i) there are too
many persons alive for the present economical system that the neofascist rich profit so enormously
from, and therefore (ii) they have decided to drive to suicide as
of the non-rich they can.
You disbelieve this? I
would have, before seeing the neofascist
Trump in action. But consider
Republican creep who insists he wants to remove 155
million persons (?!?!) form any help whatsoever:
More crudely and
succinctly, former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) asserted that Social Security is “a
milk cow with 310 million tits [sic]!”
These comments reveal the
utter contempt Republican politicians have for hardworking Americans.
It is ironic that the Republicans who are pushing to eliminate the
estate tax apparently do not consider the heirs of billionaires to be
“takers” but save that pejorative label for hardworking Americans who
have the audacity to claim the Social Security and Medicare benefits
they have earned.
Well, the (Republican)
rich are neofascist
creeps willing to commit any crime whatsoever to
keep and extend the riches of the very few. And this is a recommended
or Death for the FCC
article is by Laura Flanders on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
It’s life or death for the
Federal Communications Commission and death may be the honest option.
Let’s face it, the FCC’s
mission , to regulate communications media in the public interest,
has been beaten to a pulp by politicians of both parties over the last
t wo decades. Now Trump’s FCC chair, Ajit Pai wants to kill the
wounded agency off, and he may do it, to all intents and purposes, at
the Commission’s meeting this December 14th.
Also, having written many
times about net neutrality in the past 4 1/2
years, my own expectation is pessimistic:
Pai - who insists his name is pronounced ¨Pay¨ - probably will reach
his goal and will be paid a lot of money in thanks by the rich.
And the internet - that
in my firm opinion anyway was designed on purpose by
DARPA and the
American military to spy on absolutely everyone and find out
about them - will go over into the hands of the very rich very
will make a kind of TV out of it, to propagandize
their own products
and to repress anyone with any criticism of the present
American way of
Here is some more from
Reverse net neutrality?
Open the floodgates to more media monopoly? Chairman Pai, a former
staffer to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has in mind to accomplish
all that and more. The FCC will probably vote on both things on
Thursday. Pai leads the commission’s Republican Majority in lockstep
and they’ve already done-in LifeLine, the meager subsidy that helped
low income people connect to doctors and nurses and public assistance.
They wiped out the Durr-era rule that required broadcasters to maintain
local-stations too. Social responsibility? Corporations aren’t ignoring
the human cost of communications break-downs. Far from it, they're just figuring out how to
profit off getting cell service back up and running in Puerto Rico.
Yes indeed. This ends as
If we don’t start learning
from our history and perhaps repeating some of it, we might was well
start burning books. Anything with Democracy in the title.
Well... democracy is dead
the USA, already since 2001 or 1980, when the neofascists
build up their enormous powers, and could succeed, virtually
also, until today, basically by a combination of deregulations
that allowed the rich to transport the USA´s industries to countries
were the pay was much less than in the USA and by the buying up of
almost every Senator and every House member.
And this is one of
outcomes, I expect: The removal of net neutrality, and the change of the tool that was designed
to spy on everyone also to be owned by the
very rich. I am very sorry, but that is my expectation.
have now been
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 (!!).