from June 6, 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
These are five crisis files
that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from June 6, 2018:
1. Can Facebook Be Cut Down to Size?
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. Going “Full Dictator”? Trump Claims He Has Right to End
Investigation or Pardon Himself
3. The Two-Party Scam
4. While Our Police Kill Thousands, Congress Works to Protect
As Planet Chokes on Plastic Waste, UN Report
Offers Roadmap to Tackle
Facebook Be Cut Down to Size?
article is by The Editorial Board of The New York Times. It starts as
Well... yes and no. Here
the government broke up the telephone system
in 1984, the fact that AT&T could count most citizens as customers
and that it was arguably the best-run telephone company in the world
was not deemed compelling enough to preserve its monopoly power. The
breakup would unleash a wave of competition and innovation that
ultimately benefited consumers and the economy.
seems to be in a similar position today — only with far greater global
reach than Ma Bell could have imagined. Facebook’s two billion monthly
active users, and the way those accounts are linked and viewed by users
and by third parties, have made it the most powerful communications and
media company in the world, even if its chief executive, Mark
Zuckerberg, insists his is a technology business.
And that power is being abused.
First, the title of this article seems mistaken:
Of course, Facebook can be "cut down in size"
(though it is indeed a question whether it will be). The
question that should have been the title is: Why does
Facebook exist? (or a similar
question), for the simple reason that Facebook is stealing all the privacies of anyone who becomes a member of it, and
these sick thefts are the basis of its enormous riches:
Your private mails, your private photographs, all your friends and
acquaintances, in short almost everything Facebook can get from
you, including your doctor's ideas on your health, and your own
finances, and (almost) everything you try to keep secret, will
end up in the secret private dossies Facebook assembles about anyone,
and sells to rich advertisers.
From a few reports of fairly normal persons who managed to get rid of
Facebook, it seems there is on everyone of its two billion
members a -
secret - private dossier of on average 660 MB. If you multiply that
2 billion, you have an idea about what Facebook knows. (Per user
= about 132 million words: A complete library.)
I think that is deeply criminal. I think that is very sick.
And I also think that is why
the internet was designed as
it was from the late 1960ies onwards (check the link!):
To spy on everyone; to give the (secret and ordinary) police all
informations on anyone; and to get a new kind of society one of
the main planners of the late 1960ies, Zbigniew Brzezinski then
"technotronics", although he clearly meant neofascism
sense: check the link).
That is what the internet is for and has been
designed for: So that the
secret police and the rich know everything
there is to know about
Then again, these are not things that NYT's Editorial Board
accept, I presume because they basically accept that every secret
service anywhere can plunder everyone's privacies (and many
do so on a
larger scale than Facebook, or so it seems), and they
that the very rich have money enough to do the same, especially
can sell their findings to rich advertisers.
And second, it is for the reasons I just sketched (your complete
privacy - that is: everything you are, think, value, earn and everyone
you are friends with, to whom the same applies - gets stolen), that
AT&T of 1984 is a very bad comparison with the present
But indeed Facebook's secret findings are abused by Facebook's owner on
a gigantic scale:
As The New York Times reported Tuesday,
Facebook shared data with at least four Chinese electronics firms,
including one flagged by American officials as a national security
threat. We learned earlier this week, thanks to a Times investigation, that it allowed
phone and other device makers, including Amazon, Apple, Samsung and
Microsoft, to see vast amounts of your personal information without
your knowledge. That behavior appears to violate a consent order that
Facebook agreed to with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011, after
Facebook was found to have made repeated changes to its privacy
settings that allowed the company to transfer user data without
bothering to inform the users. And it follows the even darker
revelation that Facebook allowed a trove of information, including
users’ education levels, likes, locations, and religious and political
affiliations, to be exploited by the data mining firm Cambridge
Analytica to manipulate potential voters for its Republican Party
while I do not believe in "Russia-gate" I do believe
Analytica + Facebook + Steve Bannon may well have won the elections for
Trump (but then it seems Mueller doesn't investigate Cambridge
Analytica + Facebook because this is not about "Russia-gate"
Next there is this - and I wish the Editorial Board had the guts to
that Zuckerberg considers his users (in his own words) "dumb fucks who
history, Facebook has adamantly argued that it treats our data, and who
has access to it, as a sort of sacred trust, with Zuckerberg &
Company being the trustees. Yet at the same time, Facebook has
continued to undermine privacy by making it cumbersome to opt out of
sharing, trying to convince users that we actually do want to share all
of our personal information (and some people actually do) and by
leaving the door unlocked for its partners and clients to come in and
Yes indeed: Facebook is
deeply criminal; it should be totally locked down;
and Mark Zuckerberg
should be prosecuted for stealing billions upon billions of the most
intimate privacies of billions of his users (and their
friends, and the
friends of their friends).
And while I don't think for a minute anything like this will
happen, I think it should happen. Otherwise the future of
everyone will be thoroughly neofascistic.
“Full Dictator”? Trump Claims He Has Right to End Mueller Investigation
or Pardon Himself
article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts
with the following introduction:
As President Trump
celebrated his 500th day in office Monday, many legal experts warned
that the country could soon face a constitutional crisis as the
president continues to attack special counsel Robert Mueller’s
investigation. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The appointment of the
Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”
He also tweeted, “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have
the absolute right to PARDON myself.” Over
the weekend, The New York Times published a 20-page confidential letter
written by Trump’s lawyers to special counsel Robert Mueller, in which
his lawyers claim Trump is above the law and thus cannot have illegally
obstructed the Mueller investigation. Trump’s attorneys also claim the
Constitution gives the president power to terminate the Mueller probe.
We speak to Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch in
Philadelphia. His latest column is headlined “The week Trump went full
dictator and no one tried to stop him.”
In fact, this is (as
usual) a quite good and clear introduction, but the fact is also that
Trump - who currently seems to utter at least 30 lies a day - is, as
usual, lying as is Guliani: In a state of law everyone
is subject to
the law. And if the president is not subject to the law,
reason is that he and his elite form a dictatorship of some
is indeed what both Trump and Giuliani seem to be after.
Here is more:
Over the weekend, The New York Times published a 20-page
confidential letter written by Trump’s lawyers to special counsel
Robert Mueller, in which his lawyers claim Trump is above the law and
thus cannot have illegally obstructed the Mueller investigation. In the
January 29 letter, they claim, quote, “It remains our position that the
President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law
enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally
constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing
himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or
even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.” Trump’s attorneys
also claim the Constitution gives the president power to terminate the
As far as I am concerned
Trump might as well have said "if I want to slowly torture a supermodel
to death on prime time television, I have the total right to do
firstly, I am above the law; and secondly, if I were convicted, I can
pardon myself - o, and where is Stormy Daniels?"
Here is Will Bunch:
WILL BUNCH: (..)
You know, you mentioned it’s been 500 days of President Trump. And it’s
day by day we’ve seen him slowly eroding democratic norms, the rule of
law, rules, you know. And when he does that, step by step, he not only
erodes our democracy, but he’s taking us on a path from a presidency to
some kind of dictatorship, where he’s basically, like you said,
declaring—like he said, declaring himself above the law.
Indeed, and I completely
agree (and both Congress and the media are fundamentally "cowed" by
corruptions, but this is an aside).
And again, we’ve seen it just
erode step by step, you know, the fact that he gets away with telling
an average of 30 lies a day to the American people and goes
unchallenged on that, the—you know, in so many ways.
And, you know, the flip side
of that is the Founders always thought that we’d be protected against
that, because Congress, the courts, our institutions, the media would
step in if somebody was that abusive to our fundamental democracy, and
take action. But we have a Congress that’s totally cowed. (...) The
media is debating whether to call a lie a lie. And he is really
strengthening this hold over our reality in ways that are very
Here is more:
WILL BUNCH: And
this has just been a hallmark of the Trump administration, you know,
just blatant lying. I mean, obviously, Donald Trump is not the first
president to lie. You know, we’ve been through LBJ
and Vietnam and Watergate and all these other things. But in this case,
I mean, the sheer brazenness of it. And, you know, this gets back to
the whole issue of democracy versus dictatorship, because what really
makes a dictator is the ability to redefine reality, right? So, the
more that Trump and his aides, like Sarah Sanders, and his lawyers can
come out and just state these blatant untruths, and he’s still—and you
wake up the next day, and nothing has really changed, you know, the
more dangerous our situation becomes.
Again I completely
Here is the last bit I quote from this fine article:
WILL BUNCH: And
now we have a president who’s determined to push this to the outer
limit. You know, he’s determined to blow by every tradition, every
norm, every rule, and he’s basically challenging us to say, “What are
we going to do about this?” You know, he’s challenging Congress. He’s
challenging the media. He’s challenging the American people. What are
we going to do about it? Are we going to, you know, sit on our couches
and watch this on TV every night? Are we going to take to the streets?
What are we going to do as he gets more and more brazen? And this is
really the question we have to resolve, because if the president can
show that he’s above the law, that just erodes the underpinnings of our
democracy in so many ways.
Quite so, again.
must add that - having closely studied politics the last five years,
and especially politics in the USA - my expectation is that the
majority is going to sit on their couches and watch TV. (I hope
mistaken, but fear the evidence of five years says otherwise.) This is
a strongly recommended article, in which there is a lot more.
This article is by
Teodrose Fikre on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
They are back at it
again. The Democrats are peddling change and hope as they promise a
“better deal” if only they are entrusted with power. Nancy Pelosi has
been touting the newest Democratic National Committee platform while
pretending to be outraged about the excesses of Republicans. She
promises to empower voters, strengthen ethics laws and fix campaign
finance once she regains the speaker’s gavel.
In brief: The Democrats
lie all the time (except for a very few), which makes them just like
the Republicans. And both parties are heavily corrupted, by the
Street banks in the case of the Democrats, and by oil, weaponry and
other rich interests in the case of the Republicans.
What Pelosi is banking on is
that voters are beset by “collective recollection deficit.” Never mind
that Democrats had solid majorities in both houses of Congress and did
the opposite of what she is now promising.
Here is more by Fikre:
continues to thrive because the media-politico establishment has
conditioned us to have short-term outrage and disregard the connective
nature of the two-party racket. Both parties are co-opted by
corporations and the plutocrat class. They differ on the margins, but
at their core, Democrats and Republicans’ primary purpose is to
transfer wealth from the masses to the neo-aristocracy.
Yes, I agree, although I
would have said "the
succeeds mostly because they successfully appeal to the stupidity, the
and/or the wishful
thinking that inspires a
considerable majority of all adult Americans. (I know it is not polite,
but it is - alas, alas, alas - true.)
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
scam works only because establishment voices sheepdog the citizenry to
accept a binary view of socio-political issues. We are given limited
choices and told to vote for one of two equally malicious parties.
There is a reason why over 40 percent of Americans who can otherwise
vote refuse to do so. That number seems to go up every election cycle.
More and more people are waking up to the ruse and realizing that a
ballot limited to two parties is not a republic; it’s a tyranny of
No, I mostly disagree.
seems to me that the "two-faction
scam" works mainly because only
the two factions are heavily corrupted by the very rich,
and there is
hardly any financial support from the rich for any third, fourth etc.
political party. But this is a recommended article.
Our Police Kill Thousands, Congress Works to Protect the Police
This article is by Lee Camp on Truthdig. It starts as
I say, for I did not
the last fact, which indeed is in part due to the fact that in the UK
for a long time (but not anymore, of course) ordinary cops did not have
As you read this, an
American police officer will kill someone.
Or at least—statistically
speaking—it’s likely that in the next few hours an American police
officer will extinguish the life of a fellow American. And it’s an
almost certainty that that person will not need to die.
How do I know this? Because
our police kill roughly three people per day. American police murder
more citizens in an average two-week period than cops in the United
Kingdom killed in the entire 20th century.
Here is some more on the comparison between the USA and the UK, this
time more or less for the present:
But now the world’s
police almost all have guns, and this problem has become exponentially
worse in America. At the beginning of May, U.S. police had already
killed 400 people in 2018. To give you something to compare that with,
in the 12 months preceding April 2016, British cops killed only three
people and fired their weapons only seven times. Seven times in a year!
So this really is an
enormous difference, indeed also given the fact that
there are more
than five times as many inhabitants in the USA.
And here is the main reason:
What makes the
ongoing slaughter of American people at the hands of our police so
troublesome—as if that’s not enough—is how incredibly rare it is for
any cop to end up in jail for one of these murders. Of all of the 1,147
police killings in 2017, officers were charged with a crime in only
13—1 percent of all killings by police.
I think that is correct and this is a recommended article (but I don't agree
with everything in it).
Well over half of all
those killings began with police responding to suspected nonviolent
offenses or scenarios in which no crime was reported. Think about that
for a moment. Half the time police officers murder someone, they
weren’t handling a violent crime and often were dealing with no crime
at all. Basically, they thrust themselves into somebody’s life, things
escalated—as they tend to do when dudes with guns show up—and it ended
with a state-sanctioned murder.
Planet Chokes on Plastic Waste, UN Report Offers Roadmap to Tackle
article is by Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
In what's being
called "hope for a better planet on #WorldEnvironmentDay," a
United Nations report published Tuesday found "surging momentum in
global efforts" to eradicate single-use plastics while also warning
that poor enforcement is hindering regulations and bans worldwide.
Single-Use Plastics: A
Roadmap to Sustainability (pdf) details "what has worked well,
what hasn't, and why" in terms of regulating plastic. The report was
released by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as part of a
global effort on Tuesday to raise awareness about initiatives
Plastic pollution has
become "one of our planet's greatest environmental challenges," Erik
Solheim, head of UNEP, wrote in the introduction of the report, the
first comprehensive review of efforts in more than 60 countries to
address the crisis.
I welcome the fact that
the UN is doing something against the apparently enormous
plastic, but I fear it will not help much (other than making me
pay 25 cents for a plastic bag, instead of getting it for free), indeed
mostly becayse of "poor
Here is just one
Just last week, a pilot
whale died just off the coast of Thailand. "A necropsy revealed that
more than 17 pounds of plastic had clogged up the whale's stomach,
making it impossible for it to ingest nutritional food. This waste was
in the form of 80 shopping bags and other plastic debris," reported National
I can add that similar
things have been found on the bottom of the ocean in very small
animals: Plastics are polluting everything everywhere. And this is a
 I have
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 (!!).