from July 7, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
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 July 7, 2018:
1. 'He’s a Con Man and a Criminal': Rob Reiner Blasts
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:
Supreme Court Ignored International Law in
Upholding Muslim Ban
3. Americans Deserve Privacy Protection From Big Data
4. Workers or Profits? American Businesses Chose a Long Time
5. Silicon Valley Will Not Save You from the Surveillance
a Con Man and a Criminal': Rob Reiner Blasts 'Classic Fascist' Donald
This article is by
Andrew O'Hehir on AlterNet and originally on Salon. This is from near
In the decades since "All
in the Family," Reiner has had several different careers: He was an
A-list director of Hollywood comedies and dramas in the '80s and '90s,
making such major hits as "This
Is Spinal Tap," "The
Princess Bride" and "When
Harry Met Sally..." In this century he has begun to focus more on
independent films driven by his obsession with history and politics.
In some respects, Reiner's
new movie "Shock and Awe," about the abysmal media failures leading up
to the 2003 Iraq war, is a successor to "LBJ" (2016), an ensemble work
that re-examines a piece of well-worn recent history in a new light.
But "Shock and Awe" is especially relevant now, as Reiner made clear in
our conversation, because the media's cowardice during the George W.
Bush era helped pave the way for the grotesquely divided media climate
of 2018, when liberals and conservatives can't even agree about whose
set of facts is actually true.
In case you need some
information: This is about Rob Reiner, and
this is about "All
in the Family". (I like both, but I did not see any of Reiner's
movies: I was too ill, usually, the
last forty years.)
As to the second of the
above two paragraphs: In fact, it is worse, for the media were
also driven apart by their own corruption,
while the problem about truth is not so
much that people cannot agree "whose set of facts is actually true" but that a considerable number of
people, both from the "left" and the "right", have
given up truth
altogether. And this means in fact that they decide what others
should think by their own desires and wishful
thinking - which is either madness or utter
blindness to whatever does not fit their desires.
Here is more by Reiner:
As I said above, this
means - in my opinion - that 4 out of 10 of the adult Americans
seem too stupid,
or too much of wishful
thinkers to understand there is factual truth.
You do have a big chunk of
the mainstream media doing their due diligence, and trying to get the
truth out, and working very hard. But you have another big block of
media -- I refer to Fox News and Breitbart, and then Sinclair and even
Alex Jones -- who are dealing with a 180-degree different narrative,
and they are basically locking down 40 percent of the country.
For the mainstream media
that is pushing out a different narrative, very hard to crack into that
40 percent, and the question that comes out of that is whether or not
our democracy will survive. This is something we talk about at the
beginning of the film. It's a quote by Bill Morris, which basically
says that "If you do not have a free and independent press, you will
not have democracy."
Right now democracy is really
hanging in the balance, because you have an administration, again,
backed up by essentially state-run television, that is calling the more
mainstream part of the media the "enemy of the people" and "fake news."
I more or less agree with the rest, although Trump's administration
doesn't just call "the
more mainstream part of the media the "enemy of the people"" but also the non-mainstrean
Then there is this:
He's certainly a
He's a con man and a
criminal, and that's what needed to be talked about. Because he's doing
it now to the country.
For a con man to be
successful, for that kind of a criminal, in your words, to be
successful, he has to sell people something that they want. Isn't that
part of the problem? Donald Trump is a very skillful con man, because
he is pushing a narrative about immigrants, about Muslims, about the
nature of the country, and too many people want to believe it.
agree. Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine article:
How bad is it?
It's terrible. It's
terrible because we're seeing the erosion of democracy from the inside
out -- the press, the rule of law, all of these things are being
eroded. If we give this possibly illegitimate president, who is under
investigation for colluding with a foreign power to take this country,
if we give him another seat on the Supreme Court, it could change the
way America is for the next 30, 40, 50 years. It's very scary. Women's
rights are at stake. Gay rights are at stake. Workers' rights, civil
rights, they're on the table now. It's very, very scary. We have to
fight. We have to fight hard.
We need the press now more
than ever, which is what the movie's about. The press must hold this
person accountable and must get the truth out. We say the line in the
movie, "When the government says something, you only have one question
to ask: Is it true?" That's what the press needs to keep doing. Is this
Yes, I agree. And
indeed I also agree that the press needs to keep asking
answering) the question whether what the government says - and the
government is now headed by a criminal, who is lying
extremely much (more than anyone I ever knew) - is
true. They should not give up on
that. And this is a strongly recommended article.
Court Ignored International Law in Upholding Muslim Ban
article is by Marjorie
Cohn on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
The Supreme Court’s
opinion last month in Trump v. Hawaii, affirming Donald Trump’s Muslim
ban, has permitted the United States to act in flagrant violation of
I completely agree. My own
conclusion is that it follows
that the Supreme Court's opinion is
illegal, which follows by
simple consistency, but then again I know
that this fact
- which I think is a fact - will probably make little
difference in and for the USA, and especially not with the current
Under the guise of deferring
to the president on matters of national security, the 5-4 majority
disregarded a litany of Trump’s anti-Muslim statements and held that
the ban does not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause,
which forbids the government from preferring one religion over another.
Neither the majority nor the dissenting opinions even mentioned the
U.S.’s legal obligations under international human rights law.
The travel ban violates two
treaties to which the United States is a party: the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It
also runs afoul of customary international law.
Both of these treaties and
customary international law prohibit the government from discriminating
on the basis of religion or national origin. Trump’s Muslim ban does
Here is some more:
All of the justices
on the Supreme Court ignored significant international law arguments in
their majority and dissenting opinions in spite of an amicus brief
signed by 81 international law scholars, including this writer, and a
dozen non-governmental organizations. The amicus brief drew attention
to the travel ban’s violation of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights and the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, both of which the
United States has ratified.
I again completely agree and
there is a lot more in the article, that is recommended.
Ratification of a treaty not
only makes the United States a party to that treaty, its provisions
also become part of U.S. domestic law under the Supremacy Clause of the
Constitution, which says treaties “shall be the supreme law of the
Deserve Privacy Protection From Big Data
article is by Ed
Markey on Common Dreams and originally on Boston Globe. It starts
The United States
has a privacy problem.
Sensitive consumer data are
everywhere, and they are vulnerable. Just this year, we learned that
two billion Facebook users’ information was harvested by bad actors.
Hundreds of thousands of Delta Airlines travelers’ credit card
information was breached. More than 150 million consumers’ data on
Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal app were compromised.
In 2018, invasions of
privacy are as commonplace as turning on a smartphone or clicking on an
app. They are the new normal. It is no surprise that more than 80
percent of American adults online are concerned that their personal
data may be stolen.
Privacy is about the safety
of your personal information. But it is also about your ownership of
that information. In both respects, the rest of the world is moving
forward while the United States is falling behind.
This is here because of
Ed Markey, who is a
prominent American politician (whom I probably don't like, although I
don't know much about him, but being a member of Congress for 41
years does sound as if he is a professional politician, which is a
type I don't like).
Here is some more:
Well... I am a European,
am well informed about computing, and somewhat about the law. My own
opinion about the GDPR is not that of Markey, for I am far
optimistic than he is, but indeed my reasons are too complicated to
discuss here and now. I'll merely say that it is less bad than
the case, but it also is not good at all.
In May, Europeans began
benefitting from a new set of comprehensive privacy rules, the General
Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Under the European privacy rules,
personal data belong to the consumer. Companies must meet strict
requirements to use personal information, and they cannot claim to have
your permission unless you’ve provided informed and unambiguous consent.
The European standard is
“opt-in.” What does that mean? It means companies cannot assume they
have permission to use your information. It means a pre-checked box is
not adequate. It means the consumer, not the corporation, is in control.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
The recent failures of
social media giants like Facebook to protect users’ data have placed
privacy front and center in our national consciousness. The American
people want and deserve an online privacy bill of rights, one that
institutes an opt-in standard and requires websites to describe in
detail all collection, use, and sharing of consumers’ sensitive
information. And Internet service providers should also secure
permission to use information about what you click and what websites
you visit. You should have a right to know whether they are giving that
information to advertisers, and you should have the right to tell them
Now that the European
privacy law has taken effect, the American people are left to wonder
why they are getting second-class privacy protections. If US companies
can afford to protect 500 million Europeans’ privacy, they can afford
to do so for 325 million Americans, as well. The European privacy law
proves that American companies can provide robust privacy protections,
and we all know they should.
I agree, and this is a
or Profits? American Businesses Chose a Long Time Ago.
article is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. It starts as follows - and
while the argument is basically about charts and graphics (there are
three charts in the article), I decided not to represent them
here and just provide the text (and you get all if you
the last link):
post from Dean Baker prompts me to show you the following chart:
Corporate profits go up and
down with the business cycle, but averaged 5-6 percent of GDP on a
pretty steady basis through 2002. Then things changed. Since 2002,
profits have increased dramatically, and today stand at about 9 percent
of GDP. Now take a look at a chart showing median wage income for
It’s a mirror image. Up
through 2002, wage income was rising. Not a lot, but the trend was
generally upward. Since 2002, however, wages have been dead flat.
Baker estimates that a
change in corporate earnings of 4 percentage points is about equal to
$4,000 per person in annual earnings. That accounts almost precisely
for the change in the trendline. Corporate profits have increased about
$600 billion more than the previous trend, while median earnings have
increased about $600 billion less than the previous trend.
This is not a coincidence.
I deleted the charts
but the lesson they teach is obvious: The American rich (about
the American population) appropriated $600 billion, because the
American rich succeeded in taking over the government, the House,
Congress, and the Supreme Court. And the American non-rich
of the American population) provided the $600 billion, mostly
taxes and through not raising the incomes of the 99%.
Here is Kevin Drum's
Now one final chart:
It’s the same inflection point. So here’s the story:
- Since 2002, corporations
have been retaining much higher profits than they used to.
- They could do this
because they stopped giving their employees annual raises.
- As a result, the number
of women joining the labor force began declining. (The number of men in
the labor force was already declining, and this trend continued.)
- Businesses then began
complaining that they couldn’t find enough qualified workers.
There are qualified workers
out there. At least, there would be if more of them had been given
stronger incentives to join or stay in the labor force. But they
weren’t because CEOs and shareholders wanted more money for themselves.
Now they’re stuck.
Corporate America can either
pay its executives more or it can pay its workers more. It’s their
I don't really know
whether "[t]here are
qualified workers out there",
but apart from that Drum is quite right: The corporate rich
make themselves a lot richer, by making the 99% a lot poorer. It is
simple as that, and this is a recommended article.
Valley Will Not Save You from the Surveillance State
article is by David
Swanson on Washington's Blog. It starts as follows:
I don't know Levine's
book, but I strongly agree with
the last statement: "Spying on everyone is not
tacked onto the computerized world; it’s why we have
There was something quite
odd about the very welcome news that some Google employees were
objecting to a military contract, namely all the other Google military
contracts. My sense of the oddness of this was heightened by reading
Yasha Levine’s new book, Surveillance
Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet.
I invited Levine on my radio show (it will air in the
coming weeks) and asked him what he thought was motivating the revolt
over at Google.
Levine’s book describes Google
and other internet corporations as major military and spy contractors
from the beginning. Google partnered with Lockheed Martin on parts of
the war on Iraq and is a major partner of the military, the CIA, the
NSA, etc. Surveillance Valley goes back to the post-WWII
origins of today’s military madness. Military experiments as
preparation for war, “field tested” in Vietnam, and supported by
President Kennedy as appropriately hi-tech and modern, were actually
war and developed into one of the worst wars ever seen. Vietnam was
mass-surveilled — or the attempt was made and foiled with bags of urine
and other low-tech tricks.Tools developed in Vietnam were immediately
applied against U.S. citizens, especially those trying to improve the
United States in any way. And the overabundance of data drove the
development of computers that could handle it. Spying on everyone is
not an enterprise tacked onto the computerized world; it’s why we have
a computerized world.
In fact, you'll find my own explanation yesterday,
in "The Creator of the World Wide Web Is
‘Devastated’ by What
It Has Become" and this has the same
conclusion as Levine's and traces it back to 1967.
(This is strongly recommended, for it is one of my basic
Here is some more:
The internet was not
just developed in large part by the military, but also privately for
the military. It was privatized without much public debate, an enormous
giveaway to which the destruction of net-neutrality is just a final
scene. The search and advertising interests of companies like Google
have long overlapped almost exactly the surveillance interests of the
U.S. government, while so contradicting the public image desired by
Google that Google has kept its basic functions tightly secret.
was developed by and for the military, which includes the NSA. And it
was developed the way it was because this enabled governmental spies to
find out everything about anybody, which is an extremely totalitarian
ideal (except that the same Brzezinski who designed
so much of the internet, already in 1967, also has - false -
totalitarianism, that now have become the norm on Wikipedia...).
Anyway. This is a strongly recommended article (and Levine's
book seems quite interesting).
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 (!!).