from January 10, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five 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 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.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from January 10, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. NSA Surveillance Bill Would Legalize Loophole That Lets
FBI Spy on
Americans Without a Warrant
2. Steve Bannon Steps Down From Breitbart Post
3. Trump's No Genius—In Fact, He Ranks Lowest Among Last 15
4. An Open Letter to President Trump
5. Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Coming Year in Special Ops
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:
Surveillance Bill Would Legalize Loophole That Lets FBI Spy on
Americans Without a Warrant
This article is by Alex Emmons on The New York Times. It starts as
surveillance authorities set to expire later this month, House
Republicans are rushing to pass a bill that would not only reauthorize
existing powers, but also codify into law some practices that critics
have called unconstitutional.
takes aim at reforming how federal law enforcement can use data
collected by the National Security Agency, putting a modest constraint
on when the FBI can conduct so-called backdoor searches of Americans’
communications. But because such searches make use of a legal loophole,
critics say the current bill may do more harm than good by explicitly
writing the practice into law.
would reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act, which serves as the basis for some of the NSA’s largest
surveillance programs, and keep it on the books through 2023. The law
was first passed in 2008 after the George W. Bush administration’s
secret warrantless wiretapping was made public, effectively to legalize
what the administration was doing.
as I have also been saying many
times since 2012, I think the surveillance by the secret
services of everything anyone does by an internet computer or cellphone
 is by far the closest
development of neofascism
that I know, and these changes, that ¨legislate¨ the illegal
and the unconstitutional stealings of the total privacy of everyone
anywhere will make the USA into a real
again, I should add here that while quite a few write about fascism,
also in connection with Trump and his goverment, very few seem
to understand what fascism really was and indeed few even can define it
in a plausible manner. 
read some who - more or less (!!) - did so about fascism (see
here: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions) but I am very sorry to
say I have read no one with - even! - any decent
definition of neofascism.
case: As I said these new changes of the law will make the USA
into the NUSA (and see my Crisis:
Welcome to the NUSA! of a year ago), that is The Neofascist
United States of America.
allows the intelligence community to spy on Americans’ transnational
communications without a warrant so long as the “targets” are not
Americans. In 2013, documents
leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA vacuums up
a tremendous amount of wholly domestic communications through the
program as well.
tried to ram through a different incarnation of the bill last month,
based on a more draconian version passed by the House Intelligence
Committee. During a daylong push to drum up support, Republicans on the
committee circulated fliers
depicting enlarged photos of Islamic State fighters, trying to give the
impression that failing to pass that bill would be a gift to foreign
terrorists. But leadership backed off after determining they didn’t
have enough votes to pass it, according to multiple congressional
sources. Domestic surveillance is the rare issue on which hard-right
Republicans and left-leaning privacy advocates often find common ground.
this sick neofascistic propaganda of
the GOP has been going on for seventeen years now. For more see
e.g. item 5 below.
is how neofascism proceeds:
advocates have called backdoor searches unconstitutional and urged
Congress to close the loophole by requiring the FBI to get a court
order to query Americans’ communications. The current bill takes a
crack at doing so, requiring the FBI to get a warrant before searching
the data in relation to an open criminal investigation.
But the bill
carves out large exceptions. The FBI doesn’t have to apply for a
warrant when national security is involved, or when it determines that
there is a “threat to life or serious bodily harm.” And the bill would
continue to allow the FBI to sift through the data even when those
searches don’t involve a specific criminal investigation, which the FBI
already does so often that they have compared it to searching
note that for the NSA in any case any of the
around 7 billion people who do not have an American passport already
(and since 2001) is a rightless victim of the NSA, that is allowed
(since 2001) to gather everything they can find.
is the last bit on this legalization of the neofascism of the secret
services in the USA:
Schuman, policy director for digital rights organization Demand
Progress, said the new bill essentially codifies illegal backdoor
searches, while failing to effectively limit them.
Intelligence Committee’s bill disregards the Constitution and common
sense by granting the government the authority to search Americans’
communications without first obtaining a warrant,” Schuman told The
Intercept. “Not only does this turn the purpose of the foreign
surveillance law on its head, transforming it into a domestic
surveillance tool, but it places activists, minorities, and everyone
else at the mercy of President Trump and Attorney General Sessions, who
have made clear their disregard for legal constraints and democratic
indeed. And this is a recommended article. (And once again I am glad
I was born in 1950 and not in 2000.)
2. Steve Bannon Steps Down From Breitbart Post
This article is by Jeremy W. Peters on The New York Times. It starts as
Stephen K. Bannon
stepped down on Tuesday from
his post as executive chairman of Breitbart News, ostracized for now
from conservative circles and the Republican Party he brazenly
predicted he would remake.
departure, which was initiated by
an estranged financial patron and Breitbart investor, Rebekah Mercer,
came as Mr. Bannon remained unable to quell the furor over remarks
attributed to him in a new book in which he questions President
Trump’s mental fitness and disparages his son Donald Trump Jr.
I say, for I did
not know this (and it is very recent). Clearly, the ¨new book¨ is Michael Wolff´s ¨Fire and
Fury¨. (The last link is to my - fairly brief - review of it.)
Here is some
more about Stephen Bannon, who seems to be failing as a rightwing
revolutionist and seems to be falling now from both Trump´s
sympathy and now also from Breitbart:
exit from Breitbart, a platform
for hard-edge nationalist ideas, is the latest ignominious turn in a
career that was once one of the most prominent and improbable in modern
Though he was virtually
unknown outside his work at Breitbart, Mr. Bannon was named
chief executive of the Trump campaign two and a half months before
Election Day. And he helped instill the discipline and focus that
allowed Mr. Trump to narrowly prevail in the three Midwestern states
that gave him victory in the Electoral College.
He accompanied Mr.
Trump to the White House and became his chief strategist. With an
office in the West Wing and a direct line to the Oval Office — he
initially reported to no one but the president — he seemed well
positioned to wreak havoc on the political institutions and leaders he
railed against as corrupt and self-serving.
Yes, that all seems to be true. In contrast, here is Stephen
Bannon on Stephen Bannon:
Trump first denounced Mr. Bannon last week, saying, “He not only
lost his job, he lost his mind,” Mr. Bannon insisted to his writers and
editors at Breitbart that it would all blow over. When reports began
circulating that Ms. Mercer had
cut him off, he denied it outright. And when friends started asking
him about rumors that his job was in jeopardy, he insisted that
everything was fine.
I say. Well... without money Bannon cannot do much, or so it
seems to me. I will be pleased if this is the last bit I write about
Bannon, though one cannot be sure. And this is a recommended article.
3. Trump's No Genius—In Fact, He Ranks Lowest
Among Last 15 Presidents
article is by Nina Burleigh on AlterNet and originally on Newsweek. It
starts as follows:
Trump—who boasted over the weekend that his success in life was a
result of “being, like really smart”—communicates at the lowest grade
level of the last 15 presidents, according to a new analysis of
the speech patterns of presidents going back to Herbert Hoover.
I did not know
this, but indeed I am not amazed.
Also, Trump did not just say that he is ¨like really smart¨ (which is something I do not think, but that
he is allowed to think about himself), but also that he
is ¨a very stable genius¨, which is utter bullshit, and
in fact confirms the psychologists´ and psychiatrists´ judgements who
said he is nothing of the kind, but is in fact a
megalomaniac aka a grandiose or malignant narcissist.
But leaving that out for the moment, here is Trump´s ¨really smart¨ use
(as a ¨a very
stable genius¨) of his tremendous linguistic gifts:
The analysis assessed the
first 30,000 words each president spoke in office, and ranked
them on the Flesch-Kincaid grade level scale and more than two
dozen other common tests analyzing English language difficulty levels.
Trump clocked in around mid-fourth grade, the worst since Truman, who
spoke at nearly a sixth-grade level.
At the top of the list
were Hoover and Jimmy Carter, who were basically at an 11th-grade
level, and President Barack Obama, in third place with a high
ninth-grade level of communicating with the American people.
I am Dutch and have no
experience with American schools and universities, but while this is
a bit vague, it is clear that the data about the linguistic gifts of
the various American presidents both vary considerably (from
the fourth grade to the eleventh grade) and do not leave much
doubt that Trump speaks very simply.
Here is more on Trump´s
sayings about Trump´s intellectual genius:
Trump has been swinging
back hard against on the record allegations in Michael
Wolff's bombshell new book that members of his own team called him
“dumb” and “a dope.”
In a Saturday morning tweet,
Trump reminded people that he was elected to the presidency “on my
“I think that would qualify
as not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!” He also
tweeted hat “throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been
mental stability and being, like, really smart."
In comments at Camp David
later, he added that he was “a very excellent student” and “came out
and made billions and billions of dollars ... ran for president one
time and won.”
He said so. (And if he
had just let the $200 million he got from his dad gather interest
without doing anything whatsoever, he would have $12 billion instead of
$8 million, or so it seems.)
Here is the final bit
that I quote from this article:
The words were run through
a variety of lexicological analyses, besides the Flesch-Kincaid, and
the results were the same. In every one, Trump came in dead last. Trump
also uses the fewest "unique words" (2,605) of any president—Obama was
the best at 4,869—and uses words with the fewest average syllables,
with 1.33 per word, compared to positively multi-syllabic president
Hoover at 1.57.
“By every metric and
methodology tested, Donald Trump’s vocabulary and grammatical structure
is significantly more simple, and less diverse, than any President
since Herbert Hoover, when measuring “off-script” words, that is, words
far less likely to have been written in advance for the
speaker,” Factba.se CEO Bill Frischling wrote. “The gap between
Trump and the next closest president ... is larger than any other
gap using Flesch-Kincaid. Statistically speaking, there is a
That is, Trump scored the
lowest since president Hoover on all of a variety of tests. And
this is a recommended article.
Open Letter to President Trump
This article is by Ralph Nader on his site. It starts as
Dear President Trump,
Let us all wish and work
for a peaceful and just New Year.
The American people are
spending a significant amount of time observing and thinking about your
presidency and its robust tweeting operation as President. Three areas
of interest and concern comprise this letter’s purpose:
1. With news of the
forthcoming medical examination by your physicians there will be
renewed interest in your medical records and medical condition. This is
true of all Presidents, but more so with you, because you have not been
as forthcoming or anywhere near as complete in your disclosures about
the state of your health during the campaign and since you became
President last January.(...)
Please release your full
medical records with the necessary technical details and explanations
to give the public confidence in your health.
- Nader´s request is both
quite serious and quite justified, but my own guess - after a year of
Trump - is that he will never publish his full medical records.
Here is the second point:
2. There is much
writing and litigation about how you are enriching yourself from many
private and public sources. The emoluments clause of the Constitution
is much in the news as recurrent reports bring to public attention all
the spenders going to your properties and those of your family hoping
to ingratiate themselves with your favors, including diplomatic
officials of foreign countries in Washington, DC and New York City, and
other public officials patronizing your properties abroad.
My judgement is the same about
Trump´s tax returns: Nader´s
request is both quite serious
and quite justified, but my own guess - after a year of Trump - is that
he will never publish his tax returns (and will continue
to lie about them).
Since you have not fully
divested from your properties, there is all the more reason for you to
release several years of your tax returns, including the most recent
Here is the third point:
3. There has been a
vast conflict between your public statements assuring the people that
“we want to protect our workers, their safety our health and we want to
protect our air and our country’s natural beauty.” Moreover, last year
you asserted that no one would go without healthcare.
By contrast, you have selected
men and women to run your health and safety regulatory agencies and
departments who were and are openly hostile to these agencies’ official
In fact, this is mostly about
Trump´s incredible and excessive lying. I think this will also
continue, and indeed expect
it to get worse.
There is more in the open letter and this is a recommended article.
Nick Turse, The Coming Year in Special Ops
This article is by Nick Turse on TomDispatch. It starts as follows,
with an introduction by Tom Engelhardt:
In fact, I will only
quote from Engelhardt´s introduction. And the above quote is quite
correct, although it doesn´t mention that part of what The New
York Times does is propagandizing,
and part of the propaganda is the dearth of information The New York Times provides to its readers
about the effective multiple wars that the USA does conduct
throughout the world since 2001.
If you want to know
something about life in America these days, consider how New York
Times columnist David Leonhardt began his first piece of the year,
Wishes for 2018”: "Well, at least it’s not 2017 anymore. I expect
that future historians will look back on it as one of the darker
non-war years in the country’s history...”
Think about that for a moment:
2017, a "non-war year"? Tell that to the Afghans, the Iraqis, the
Syrians, the Yemenis, the Somalis, or for that matter the parents of
the four American Green Berets who died in Niger last October.
Then again, here is Tom Engelhardt:
Launched in October
2001, what was once called the Global War on Terror -- it even gained
the grotesque acronym, GWOT -- has never ended. Instead, it’s morphed
and spread over large parts of the planet. In all the
intervening years, the United States has been in a state of permanent
war that shows no sign of concluding in 2018. Its planes continue
to drop a staggering
tonnage of munitions; its drones continue
to Hellfire-missile country after country; and, in recent years,
its elite Special Operations forces, now a
military-within-the-U.S.-military of about 70,000 personnel, have been
deployed, as Nick Turse has long
reported at this website, to almost every imaginable country
on the planet. They train
allied militaries and proxy forces, advise
and sometimes fight
with those forces in the field, conduct raids,
and engage in what certainly looks like war.
Yes indeed - but the
American mainstream media mainly neglect to treat all those
¨engagements¨ that look ¨like
war¨. And therefore
most Americans know little or nothing about the wars fought in their
names, and from their taxes.
And in fact here is Tom Engelhardt again:
The only catch in
all this (and it’s surely what led Leonhardt to write those lines of
his) is the American people. Long divorced from
their all-volunteer military in a draft-less
country, we have largely ignored the war on terror and gone about our
business just as President George W. Bush urged
us to do two weeks after the 9/11 attacks. ("Get down to Disney
World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it
to be enjoyed.") As those distant conflicts expanded and terror
groups spread and multiplied, Washington helped the "non-war"
atmosphere along by perfecting a new kind of warfare in which ever
fewer Americans would die. Half a century later, its quagmire
qualities aside, the war on terror is largely the anti-Vietnam War: no
body counts, few body bags, lots of proxy forces, armed robotic
vehicles in the skies, and at the tip of the “spear” a vast, ever-more
secretive military, those special ops guys. As a result, if you
weren’t in that all-volunteer military or a family member of someone
who was, it wasn’t too hard to live as if the country’s “forever
wars” had nothing to do with us. It’s possible that never in
our history, one filled with wars, have Americans been more deeply demobilized
than in this era. When it comes to the war on terror, there’s
neither been a wave of support nor, since 2003,
a wave of protest.
I think that is quite
true and quite sad. And this is a recommended article.
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 (!!).
 In fact, I do not
own a cellphone, and never will: I very much dislike being
spied upon by the NSA and indeed by most other secret services.
But what I wanted to say is also that
it seems to me that cellphones are designed to stupify
their users, among other things by lacking a keyboard
(other than as a tiny window in which one only type with one
finger), that makes the communicating in slogans that Twitter is so
much about, a virtual necessity: No one can write long
texts on a cellphone.
 No one is
able to read all or most of the very many books that were written about
fascism and Nazism, and neither am I.
But I am a philosopher and a
psychologist of 67, whose father,
mother and grandfather all were in the communist resistance against the
Nazis in Holland in WW II, and both my father and my
grandfather were arrested in August of 1941, and convicted as
¨political terrorists¨ to concentration camp imprisonment, that my
grandfather did not survive.
And while there definitely are
some contemporaries who know more about fascism/Nazism than I
do - see e.g. Christopher
Browning´s ¨Ordinary Men¨ (which I now find is totally
unreferenced and not reviewed on the
more and more horrible and sick and sickening Wikipedia) - I should add
that I have not read any journalist on fascism or neofascism in
the last 25 years that came close to Browning (who indeed is an