from November 14, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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 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
I shall continue.
2. Crisis Files
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from November 14, 2018:
1. Pelosi Wants to Find “Common Ground” With Donald Trump.
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. Amazon's Billion-Dollar Shakedown of America's Cities
3. Facebook Let Smartphone Companies Access Your Private Data
4. Psychiatrist Justin Frank on Trump’s “God complex”: He is
attached to violence”
5. An Inside Look at China's Reeducation Camps
Wants to Find “Common Ground” With Donald Trump.
This article is by
Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
She just doesn’t get it.
“We will strive for
bipartisanship, with fairness on all sides,” announced
Nancy Pelosi on the night of November 6. “We must try” to find “common
ground” with President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, she told
a rally in Washington, D.C. as victory
after victory in the midterms confirmed a new Democratic majority
in the House of Representatives, adding: “ We’ll have a bipartisan
marketplace of ideas that makes our democracy strong.”
My heart sank as I listened
to her speak. Did she really believe this platitudinous nonsense? And
if so, where has she been the past two years? In a coma?
In fact, forget the
past 24 months in which an unhinged president praised
Muslims, caged kids, and
justice. Consider only the events of the past seven days, since
Pelosi made her pious pledge.
Well... I think Nancy
Pelosi does get it quite well, and I believe she is stating the
because she is trying to organize another
Trump-Clinton presidential election in 2020.
Of course, I do not
know this, but it certainly seems a considerably better guess at
what Pelosi does want than to assume she may have been in coma or has
turned insane. She is not insane; she hasn't been in coma, but she
thinks - I think - that she can organize another Trump-Clinton
presidential election ("because Clinton is the best choice for the
Here is more:
Yet this is the far-right
president and party that Pelosi wants to do deals with. This is the
motley collection of racists and misogynists, of con artists and
conspiracy theorists, that she plans to negotiate “bipartisan”
agreements with. She wants to lead a “unifying” Congress, she told CNN’s Chris
Cuomo last Thursday, and hopes that Trump will show a new “level of
maturity” going forward.
Who is she kidding?
Not me, but possibly
Mehdi Hasan, although I am quite willing to agree that the
decision for this probably will come later.
Here is more:
Yes, Hasan is correct - I think
- about the ongoing battle about the remnants of American democracy,
but - I think - is mistaken about Pelosi's motives. I think she wants
to engineer another fight betweent Clinton and Trump in 2020, which is
an awful idea to me, but seems
Let’s be clear: American
in crisis. America’s minorities are, literally, under
If the dishonest,
Trump isn’t worthy of impeachment, then who is? Pelosi should take a
pause from her ongoing
and listen to the recent discussion that my colleague Jeremy Scahill
hosted on his podcast, Intercepted,
with NYU historian Ruth
Ben-Ghiat, author of “Fascist Modernities” and an expert on Benito
Mussolini, and Yale University philosopher Jason Stanley,
author of “How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them.”
“I think right now, we are
heading towards, more and more, a one-party state,” Stanley said,
explaining Trump’s use of “classic fascist tactics.” Ben-Ghiat said she
believed that “we are heading toward … a militarized authoritarian
surveillance state,” and “we’re in the middle of a battle for the
survival of democracy.”
Got that? A battle for the
survival of democracy. Yet the leader of the Democrats in the House
wants to talk infrastructure
spending and prescription
to be what the rich Democrats including Pelosi want.
Billion-Dollar Shakedown of America's Cities
This article is by
Jacob Sugarman on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
If one required reminding
of the Democratic Party’s complete capitulation to corporate interests,
to say nothing of the country’s as a whole, he or she need only have
listened to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s address on
Tuesday. “One of the biggest companies on earth next to the
biggest public housing development in the United States,” he told
reporters during a joint press
conference with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “The synergy is going to be
The company in question is
Amazon, which confirmed earlier that morning that Long Island City,
Queens, will become the site of its second headquarters (a third
headquarters will be located in northern Virginia). The announcement
ends a 13-month pageant that saw 238 cities and their elected officials
to CEO Jeff Bezos, only for the multibillionaire to move his company
of the wealthiest metropolises in the country (New York and
Washington, D.C.) and likely displace countless working people. And for
this privilege, the state of New York will reward
Amazon with more than $1.5 billion in incentives, while the city
provides property-tax abatements for the next 25 years—this as it faces
transportation and affordable-housing
crises. Amazon, meanwhile, stands to save upward of $1 billion over
the next decade.
Yes indeed: I quite
agree with Sugarman. I also agree with the following (although this
will not happen before 2020, and is unlikely to happen after
As Derek Thompson argues
in The Atlantic, moves like these are not merely outrageous. They
should be outlawed.
“Every year, American
cities and states spend up to $90
billion in tax breaks and cash grants to urge companies to
move among states,” he writes. “That’s more than the federal government
spends on housing, education, or infrastructure. And since cities and
states can’t print money or run steep deficits, these deals take scarce
resources from everything local governments would otherwise pay for,
such as schools, roads, police, and prisons.”
Quite so, and
yet another schema in which the very rich profit from the non-rich.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Yes, I agree, although with the
qualification I made above: This
will not happen before 2020, and is unlikely to happen
after it. And this is a recommended article.
So what is the solution? If
these corporate behemoths are loyal only to their shareholders, what is
to prevent this same travesty from repeating itself in cities across
the country? For Splinter’s Hamilton Nolan, the
answer is simple: federal regulation.
“The only way for
public—you and me and every other taxpayer and city and state
government who all have much more pressing things to spend money on
than bribes to Fortune 500 companies—to win this game is not to play,”
he writes. “Nobody can play. The way to accomplish this
is simple: We need a federal law banning
these sorts of subsidies. Without a federal law, there will always be
an incentive for one desperate city or state to start the bidding wars.
By banning this insulting robbery of the public till outright, business
will continue building, and investing, and locating, and relocating.
They do all those things in order to make more money.
Companies create jobs because they need work done in order to make
money. They are not charitable activities. They do not need a bribe.
They are playing on the desperation of desperate places in order to rip
us all off. That should not be legal.”
Read Thompson’s piece at
The Atlantic here
and Nolan’s piece at Splinter here.
Let Smartphone Companies Access Your Private Data
is by Ilana Novick on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
In April, the world learned
that Cambridge Analytica, the Trump-allied data firm, gained access to
data from 50 million Facebook users without their permission. It did
so, as Kurt Wagner explains in Recode,
through a targeted advertising program that sells advertisers “access
to your News Feed, and uses that data to show you specific ads it
thinks you’re likely to enjoy or click on.” Such data-sharing, The New
York Times reports, wasn’t limited to advertisers and Cambridge
Analytica, but extended to the makers of smartphones, which many people
use to access Facebook.
The Times reports that
lawmakers learned that “Facebook failed to closely monitor device
makers after granting them access to the personal data of hundreds of
millions of people, according to a previously unreported disclosure to
Congress last month.” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., provided the Times with a
letter from Facebook explaining the nature of the deals.
I say. When will people
grow up enough to clearly state that Facebook=Fascistbook? Apart from
that question, I think it must be obvious by now for anyone who
something about Facebook and is not an ignorant idiot, to conclude that
what Facebook is attempting to do is (i) to have everyone
be completely known to the security services and to the rich
corporations including Facebook, and (ii) to profit as much as
by offering advertisements to its "members" (the slaves of
Here is more (and I
think this is Facebook's agreed upon policy):
As Wyden told the Times,
“Facebook claimed that its data-sharing partnerships with smartphone
manufacturers were on the up and up. … But Facebook’s own, handpicked
auditors said the company wasn’t monitoring what smartphone
manufacturers did with Americans’ personal information, or making sure
these manufacturers were following Facebook’s own policies.”
PwC conducted additional
assessments, but Facebook largely dictated the scope and terms, a
common practice. America doesn’t have general consumer privacy laws,
and the FTC consent decrees, however limited, are the only regulatory
A member of Wyden’s staff
told the Times that they don’t believe Facebook ever addressed the
issue. Unfortunately for consumers concerned about whether phone
manufacturers have access to their private data, “It remains unclear
whether Facebook has ever scrutinized how its partner companies handled
personal data.” Facebook spokespeople would not answer the Times’
questions about it.
And of course Facebook doesn't
want to answer any questions where honest
answers would provide
some understanding about how Facebook is trying to fuck up the
privacies of hundreds of millions or billions of its "members".
a recommended article.
Justin Frank on Trump’s “God complex”: He is “erotically attached to
is by Chauncey DeVega on Salon. It starts as follows:
I more or less agree with
the above, though not with all. Here is more:
Donald Trump evidently
believes he is above the law. Last week, he fired Attorney General Jeff
Sessions and replaced him with Matthew Whitaker, a political operative
from Iowa whose only apparent qualification is his public opposition to
special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russia scandal.
This is but the most recent example of Trump's apparent efforts to
Trump's lack of respect for
the country's long-standing democratic norms and institutions also
extends to America's alliances, security arrangements with its allies
and friends, and the international order more broadly. To that end
Trump has threatened to remove the U.S. from NATO, hailed the merits of
nationalism (while barely pretending that does not mean white
nationalism), tried to surrender U.S. security to Russian President
Vladimir Putin and proclaimed on numerous occasions that America
will now stand (mostly) alone in the world.
Donald Trump is also a
habitual liar who is at war with the truth and empirical reality.
the questions DeVega asks may have interesting answers that may
be possibly true, but they will not come from a psychoanalyst
of forty years experience.
Donald Trump is an
authoritarian in waiting, who acts as though he believes himself to be
God. How does he convince himself that the rules do not apply to
him? What is the role of violence in Trump's appeal and power? Is Trump
responsible in some ways for the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and the
other hate crimes and acts of violence which have taken place during
his campaign and now presidency? What role does violence play in Donald
Trump's cult of personality? How do his apparent mental pathologies
help him to manipulate his supporters and the American people at large?
In an effort to answer these
questions I recently spoke with Dr. Justin Frank. This is our
second conversation for Salon. He is a former clinical professor of
psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical Center and a
physician with more than 40 years of experience in psychoanalysis.
First, here is just one bit from Justin Frank:
Donald Trump is the
Charles Manson of American politics. It’s very important to see that
Trump can have clean hands. He can invite other people to express his
destructiveness so he doesn’t have to carry it out. For Trump, words
are the equivalent of weapons. Trump does not need a gun. Words are his
bullets. He enables other people to buy their own guns and fill the
barrels with his tweets and just shoot people. It’s a very disturbing
This is pure bullshit made
up of a psychoanalyst's dreams, and the rest of Frank is similar.
Manson is not the only
person you can use as an example here, but it is a dramatic way to get
people to pay attention.
I want to make a few remarks on psychiatry and psychology:
First, I am a psychologist and Justin Frank is not: He
is a psychiatrist, which is something rather different
from a psychologist, even though the Wikipedia falsely calls him a
Second, while I may agree with a number of the diagnoses
psychiatrists arrive at, essentially because they are based on observational
characteristics much rather than psychoanalytical surmises, I do not
agree with psychiatry or psychoanalysis at all: Both are pseudosciences.
Third, while my term "pseudoscience" is avoided by most Dutch
psychologists, most also agree (or agreed, in my time) that neither
psychoanalysis nor psychiatry is scientific. And I
Fourth, I have written rather a lot on psychiatry, and the longest and
best article is this from 2012: DSM-5:
Question 1 of "The six
most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis"
think this is quite good and it does give most of my reasons to
that Justin Frank is a pseudoscientist, who is almost as sensible
talking about "the mind" as are Roman Catholic theologians talking
about physics (though there are a few Roman Catholics who did also
study physics and mathematics, but I leave these very few out).
Anyway... the opinions of Justin Frank can be (and should be) dismissed
but this does not mean that Trump is not a neofascist
(he is, and this is a political judgement) nor does it mean
is not a madman (he is, and in my
case that is a psychological but not
a psychiatric judgement).
Inside Look at China's Reeducation Camps
This article is by Karin
Kuntz on Spiegel International. This is from near its beginning and is
by one of the around 1 million Uighurs who have been arrested by the
"They tortured us
when we made mistakes," he says. "Every morning they forced us to
praise Xi Jinping, the Chinese president. We wished for him to live
10,000 years. We sang: China is greater and more developed than all
other countries. In the afternoons, we had ideological lessons. The
teachers talked about the 19th party congress and China's successes.
Then they locked us back up."
Samarkan is a Chinese-born
shoe salesman who used to commute between the two countries. "As you
know, we Muslims in Xinjiang province have been persecuted for years,"
he says. "But I didn't think they would start arresting everyone who
visits Kazakhstan. On my last trip, Chinese police officers stopped me
at a checkpoint. They accused me of having dual citizenship and of
betraying my country."
They interrogated him for
three days, his limbs stretched out in an iron chair. Samarkan hits the
lectern with his hands. "They want to make us Chinese. Millions of
Muslims in China are no longer allowed to be people."
I think Samarkan may
well be right, and I have said before that Xi Jinping is much
than any other Chinese president since Mao.
Here is more:
About 1 million Uighurs,
Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities are currently in detention
according to research conducted by the United Nations. Beijing's "fight
against terror" has led to the construction of likely hundreds of
DER SPIEGEL spoke with
three former prisoners and a dozen families whose relatives are
allegedly in indoctrination camps in Xinjian. All of them speak of
brainwashing meant to bring the Muslims into line.
For months, Beijing denied
that these camps even existed. But because international pressure
continued to increase, the government recently changed its strategy.
Instead of refuting the camps' existence, it proudly declared them to
be an opportunity for "voluntary professional education" with
integrated language training.
In fact, this sounds like
Mao's attempts to remove intellectuals and anyone who disagreed with
his policies by forcing them to live in very primitive circumstances
and work hard.
There is a lot more
to be said about this, but I refer
you to two excellent books:
Simon Leys's "Les habits neufs du président Mao: chronique
de la " Révolution culturelle", which certainly has been translated
to English, but the English Wikipedia does not give the English
title, which should be something like "The new habits of president Mao:
Chronicle of the "Cultural Revolution"" (I read it in Dutch), and Liu Binyan's "A
Higher Kind of Loyalty". Also see Laogai on the
Back to the article, which
ends as follows after a lot more that I've skipped in this review - and
the speaker is a young woman who is in hiding:
"The indoctrination wasn't
the worst part," she says, "but they kept us under surveillance the
entire time. There were cameras hanging in our cells." She says they
even kept an eye on them in the showers. "The guards did to us whatever
they wanted. In places where there were no cameras, they would hit us.
They even photographed us naked." The young women, she says, were
defenseless, and the older ones who had forgotten how to write Chinese
characters were beaten with a stick.
The Kazakh man who
accompanied Sophia to the hotel wants her to testify before the
International Court of Justice in The Hague. He believes her story
could move the international community to take action. And that
hundreds of thousands of people would be released. But it is unlikely
that will happen. Most countries have proven reluctant to take a
stance. China is a powerful adversary. Even the Kazakh government has
indicated to former prisoners who have left China to refrain from
speaking openly about the camps. The ex-detainees aren't even safe in
Sophia, the young woman who
continues to live in fear, writes to us from where she is hiding in
Almaty: "This prison will remain burned into my memory forever. My
hands, my eyes, my voice will belong to the police forever."
She still doesn't know
where she can go next. But it should be as far from Xinjiang as
Yes, and this is a strongly
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 (!!).