from August 18, 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 August 18, 2018:
1. Google Executives Misled Staff in Meeting on China
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. How to Beat a Manipulator
3. Trump's Trade Wars
4. Trump Snubbed McCain. The Media Snubbed the Rest of Us.
5. 565 Children Are Still Separated From Families Due to
1. Google Executives Misled Staff in Meeting
on China Censorship
This article is by Ryan
Gallagher on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
have broken their silence on the company’s plan to launch a censored
search engine in China amid mounting internal protests over the project.
Thursday, CEO Sundar Pichai admitted to employees during an all-hands
meeting that the censorship project – code-named Dragonfly – had been “in
an exploration stage for quite a while now,” according
to two sources who heard his remarks. Pichai
emphasized his belief that Google should return to China, but claimed
that the company was “not close to launching a search product in
China.” Facing employee
criticism for shrouding Dragonfly in secrecy, Pichai vowed that
“we’ll definitely be transparent as we get
closer to actually having a plan of record.”
As a partial
aside, this style of answering to quite valid and important questions,
which basically consists of snotty lies and evasions, is also
the style of answering of Facebook and others, and is in turn based on the
enormous power and the minimal legal controls on the corporations.
Here is some
background - and one thing to keep in mind is that Google had a lot
less money in 2006 and in 2010 than it is has now, which in turn
means it now has a lot more power than it had then:
Back in 2006, Google launched a censored search engine in
China. But four years later, in March 2010, it pulled the service out
of the country, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free speech, block
websites, and hack Google’s computer systems. At
that time, Brin was a vocal opponent of the censorship. During
Thursday’s meeting, Brin told Google employees that Dragonfly would
have “certain trade-offs” but said the process was “slow-going
that is true - and Brin was also initially raised in the Soviet Union,
so he should know what totalitarianism,
control by the state's security officials may mean.
again, no3w that he has a lot more money than he had in 2010, I
think that he thinks that he can vastly extend the money and the power
he has, fundamentally by betraying all moral principles he showed off
while he had less money.
is some more:
human rights groups have called on Google to cancel Dragonfly, and a
bipartisan group of six U.S. senators has condemned
it as “deeply troubling.” Meanwhile, Google
employees — most of whom knew nothing about the China plan until they
read the news reports — want
an ombudsperson to be appointed to review “urgent
moral and ethical issues” raised by the
Google has not yet issued a statement. Dozens of
reporters have questioned Google about Dragonfly, but
they have been told only that the company
will not discuss “speculation about future plans.” After two weeks of sustained reporting on the issue, Google
has not issued a single response to The Intercept.
own interpretation is that Brin is now so powerful and rich that he
thinks he can bullshit
The Intercept has 13 questions for Google (all unanswered so
far), which I can recommend all to you, but from which I will quote
just two. Here is the first:
2010, Google pulled its search engine out of China, citing efforts to limit free speech, block websites, and hack
Google computer systems as reasons why it “could no longer continue
censoring our results.” Since 2010, according to analysts and human
rights groups, internet censorship in China has become more pervasive.
Can you explain why Google wants to now relaunch a censored version of
its search engine in China? What has changed in the last eight years
that has prompted this decision
I think I can
answer that, but it is probably not Google's answer: Google
wants both more power and more money; it thinks it can get that in China;
and it also thinks - but probably will never admit - that all
the moral principles it once sported were sported at the time Google
had a lot less power and money than it has now.
Here is the
last of these 13 questions:
I have given or indicated
my answers, but these will not be Google's. And this is a
stated central mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it
universally accessible and useful.” The company’s informal motto is
“don’t be evil.” Google has since its early years maintained a list of “10 things” that represent
foundational values for the company. One of these values is: “You can
make money without doing evil.” Another is: “Democracy on the web
works.” Can Google explain how these values are consistent with its
plan to launch a censored search engine in China, which will limit
people’s access to information about subjects such as human rights,
democracy, and peaceful protest?
2. How to Beat a Manipulator
This article is by
Caitlin Johnstone on Consortiumnews. It has an introduction:
In our political and
personal lives many of us have been conned. Here’s how to recognize how
politicians and people manipulate us and how to stop them, according to
Well... I got an M.A. with
only As in psychology; I got a B.A. with only As in philosophy but was denied
the right to take an M.A. in it because I criticized my utterly
incompetent and lazy "teachers" of philosophy, and besides because I
was not a Marxist;
and I think I can say how you can prevent being conned:
You need a lot of knowledge;
a lot of intelligence;
and also some honest ethical principles.
But not according to Caitlin Johnstone:
Humans are hackable.
Ask any conman. Our desire to think we have control over our lives
often hides this from ourselves, but most of us are highly suggestible
and hypnotizable. If you think you’re not, you’re in more danger of
being hacked than someone who has humbled themselves enough to see how
this works in them.
Well, consider: "it’s never your fault that someone’s taken
you for a ride". Also not
if you are basically an ignorant and stupid fool? Consider
someone is the crime; being conned is being a victim of that crime". No, not if it is not a case
of straight fraud, as it often is not, but a case of propaganda and
(that are mostly based on your ignorance and stupidity). And
consider once more: "Manipulators would love you to think
that it’s your fault for allowing yourself to be manipulated, but
that’s just another manipulation isn’t it". No, it is not if they are more intelligent
and know a lot more than you do.
There’s no need to be
ashamed of being conned. Realizing that you’ve been, or are being,
conned will naturally bring up feelings of embarrassment, but it’s
never your fault that someone’s taken you for a ride. Get clear:
conning someone is the crime; being conned is being a victim of that
crime. That’s how the law sees it in fraud cases. Manipulators would
love you to think that it’s your fault for allowing yourself to be
manipulated, but that’s just another manipulation isn’t it?
Then there is this:
Because of the reach
of mass media, every single one of us is in an abusive relationship
with plutocratic manipulators. Many of us are in personal relationships
with manipulators too. Conveniently, the strategies for dealing with
sociopathic manipulators are the exact same, from plutocrats to your
I agree more or less with
the first statement, but in fact that has always been the case
in my life, for the mass media always were - in various ways,
in various respects - dishonest to me and those they were supposed to
inform. And while I agree this is considerably more the case
now, it is nothing new.
You are easy prey if
you don’t know what you want and you leave it up to others to decide
for you. If you don’t have a sense of who you are and what you stand
for, anyone can come in and co-opt that for their own sick agendas. Sit
down, get quiet, and make an inventory of who you are and what you need.
As to "sociopaths": The meaning of "sociopathy"
is essentially "one who rejects the current ruling moral norms". I
think it is a much abused psychiatric
nonsense term, that also leads straight to Soviet-style psychiatry: You may lock up anyone
as insane (and start forcing medicines on them) for not accepting the
current social norms in your society.
Also, the second paragraph sounds pretty crazy to me if we are
talking about adult persons: How can one be an adult
person and be lacking "a sense of who you are and what you stand for"?!?!
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Keep telling the
truth to yourself at least, even when it doesn’t tally with your
worldview. Remain as intellectually honest with yourself as possible
about what the knowable facts are, and what is conjecture or wishful
thinking. Verify everything as much as you can so you know you’re
standing on solid, factual ground. Manipulators love to keep people as
confused as possible. Get as many quantifiable, verified, real-world
facts as you can underneath you and build your worldview on them.
This is at best halfly
true, and is so basically for two reasons:
First, no one can "Verify
everything as much as you can",
for the simple reason that in almost any case there is far too much
material to check.
And second, Johnstone completely omits mentioning personal intelligence,
wide and varied knowledge
of sources of information, and any honest ethical principles.
I don't think this article will help you.
3. Trump's Trade Wars
This article is by Robert
Reich on his site. It starts as follows - and no, I don't like titles
all in caps, and will make them normal, just as I shorten titles of the
lengths of tweets:
Well... they are
taxed by Trump in the USA, by the U.S. government. This is a better
Trump has gotten America
trade war with all our major trading partners. He’s put tariffs, which
essentially taxes, on what they sell to us. And they’ve retaliated by
tariffs on what we sell to them.
Trump’s trade war is dumb
dangerous for 3 reasons:
First: American companies
sell things all around the world, employ people all over the world, and
owned by investors all over the world.
Yes, for the simple reason
that they have to pay more for everything that comes with some tariff.
(But this is no argument for Trump, I think: He is only interested in
profits, which are the incomes of the rich, but not of the rest.)
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Third: The best
way to increase the
competitiveness of American workers has nothing to do with tariffs.
invest in America.
Yes, but Trump is not
interested in investing in America, at least not if this would mean or
imply giving the non-rich some more money or investing in things like
4. Trump Snubbed McCain. The Media Snubbed
the Rest of Us.
This article is by Peter
Certo on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
On an otherwise sleepy
August day, President Trump signed the John McCain National Defense
Authorization Act. Named for the dying Arizona senator who’s championed
military budgets for his entire career, the bill increases U.S.
military spending to an astonishing $717 billion.
According to my
Institute for Policy Studies colleague Lindsay Koshgarian, that’s
about double what American taxpayers were spending at the end of the
Cold War, and upwards of $300 billion more than what we spent before
the War on Terror.
I agree that is a whole
lot of money. Here is more:
You’d expect a bill of this
magnitude to generate lots of critical coverage — and you’d be right!
But only kind of.
The most controversial
thing about this bill, to hear most of the media tell it, is that the
president refused to thank John McCain when he signed it.
Yes indeed. Here is
I ran some numbers of my
own: A Google news search on the story turned up nearly
150,000 pieces like this. That’s almost 3 times the
number of results I got when I searched the same story, but
replaced “John McCain” with the actual price tag of the bill: $717
To put it kindly, this is
If the media deems a petty
snub more controversial than a massive, war-mongering spending bill,
you can be sure Congress will follow. The bill passed by huge
bipartisan margins in both the House and Senate.
I agree - and here are
some alternative suggestions:
For instance, my home state
of Ohio has, by
some measures, the most student debt of any state. According to
Koshgarian, taxpayers there spent $15.5
billion on the Pentagon base budget alone this past year. For
that money, we could’ve funded nearly 700,000 four-year Pell grants.
For Texas, the most
uninsured state in the union, their $45 billion in Pentagon dollars
could’ve covered 15
million adults and 16 million kids. That’s the entire state — and
Flint, Michigan taxpayers,
Koshgarian calculates, spent some $38
million. That could’ve paid for nearly 700 infrastructure jobs to
fix things like, say, lead in their water pipes.
Nationally, that money
could’ve provided solar power to the entire
country. Or funded universal health care. Or debt-free higher
education. Instead, we’ll be shelling out more money on fruitless,
destructive wars and boondoggle weapons systems like the F-35 (which
McCain himself has called “a
scandal and a tragedy”).
Yes indeed, and this is
a recommended article.
565 Children Are Still Separated From
Families Due to Trump's Monstrous Policies
This article is by Jake
Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Amid a news cycle
dominated by the day-to-day chaos, antics, and scandals of the Trump
presidency, new government numbers released on Thursday offered a grim
reminder that the humanitarian travesty sparked by President Donald
Trump's inhumane family separation policy is still ongoing, despite the
fact that it has faded
into the background of corporate news coverage.
In court filings on
Thursday, lawyers for the Trump Justice Department said that 565
immigrant children remain separated from their parents and held in
detention facilities more than three weeks after the court-mandated
deadline for reunification.
While immigrant rights
activists and advocacy groups have continued calling attention to the
crisis and working tirelessly to ensure that every child is ultimately
reunited with their families, much of the media "has largely moved on,
worn out and dazzled by other outrages," observed Toronto Star
columnist Bruce Arthur.
Yes, I think that is
all quite true - although I miss the word kidnapping, which
is what Trump's government did to the 3000 children it removed from
their parents, and to the 565 children who still remain
separated from their parents, in spite of legal orders.
Here is some more:
"This week, for example,
the focus has been on a new book in which a former White House aide,
Omarosa Manigault, claims that Trump is a racist. As proof, she claims
there is a secret tape of Trump using the n-word on The Apprentice,"
Legum notes. "Interest in the Omarosa story far exceeds interest in the
child separation story, even at its June peak. This week, despite
hundreds of kids still in limbo, child separation barely registers."
Yes. Here is the last
bit that I quote from this article:
Yes again - and it was and
This is a recommended article.
"The numbers are
horrible—and it's so important to remember that it's not just numbers:
it's kids, torn away from their parents by Trump's cruel policy and put
in cages," Andrew Stroehlein of Human Rights Watch wrote
in response to the Trump administration's court filings. "U.S.
taxpayers have been funding this torture of children and are rightly
One Extra Bit
is by Admindxrw on Dx Revision Watch. It is again concernd with ME/CFS, that my ex and I have since January
1979, but that was admitted by a high medical and legal group in
Holland as a "serious chronic disease" only in 2018, also without
offering any excuses to anyone for fundamental,
false and completely unscientific discrimination
by virtually all Dutch medical doctors for forty years:
I will not comment on
this because it is technical. Also, while I think this is important,
and it is reproduced here for people with ME/CFS, I must admit that I
have lost my faith in official criterions, for these are abused anyway
by medics, as show in the first paragraph of this review:
My ex and I have been diagnosed for forty years as, in effect,
either hallucinators or deceivers, and have lost very much by that diagnosis, that was not even decent medicine, and I
have also had to survive two periods of physical terror and murder
threats against which virtually all Dutchmen did nothing,
basically because we were not their family nor their friends, and
we only insisted on getting our human rights - that have been denied
to us for forty years.
I only have a warning about Dutch medical doctors: 90% are both
incompetent and also knowing liars about any disease that falls outside
the normal diseases (I am a
psychologist, and my statistics on Dutch doctors are sufficient for this judgement), and
besides, 100% have gotten at most half of the education Dutch
medical doctors got until the later 1970ies.
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 (!!).