from September 5, 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 September 5, 2018:
1. Australia Wants to Take Government Surveillance to the
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. Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings Begin Despite Suppression
3. Chris Hedges: America Is Entering Its 'Final Phase'
4. Trump Lying about interview with Bob Woodward
5. The Most Disturbing Excerpts From Woodward's New Book on
Wants to Take Government Surveillance to the Next Level
This article is by
Lizzie O'Shea on The New Yoxrk Times. It starts as follows:
A state’s capacity
to spy on its citizens has grown exponentially in recent years as new
technology has meant more aspects of our lives can be observed,
recorded and analyzed than ever before. At the same time, much to the
frustration of intelligence agencies around the world, so has the
ability to keep digital information secret, thanks to encryption.
Yes indeed - and it is
also well to know who will know everything about anyone,
indeed also in
the sense that they know more about you and your family and friends
than any of you or your families and friends may ever know, and who
these absolute supermen-who-know- everything- about-anyone may be.
Well... these total supermen will consist of two groups (or
of these): The actual government, of some thirty or so persons,
secret services, who all are totally anonymous.
They will know everything about anyone, while anyone
who does not
belong to them will not know anythng whatsoever, other than the
part they remember doing themselves.
I think this is one of the most frightening political possibilities
there is, on this earth: A government + secret services who know
everything about anyone, while the rest does not know shit of what they
know (and would be seriously transgressing the law if they did).
Here is more:
why the main intelligence agencies of the Anglophone world are now
hoping that Australia will lead the charge in developing ways to get
decrypt information at will, and to tap into data that was previously
kept secret. A proposed law, the draft of which was released last month
by the cybersecurity minister, is an aggressive step
in that direction.
should all be worried, because it’s not just criminals or terrorists
who use encryption, but every one of us. We use encryption to buy
things online, manage our finances, and communicate personally and
professionally. Hospitals, transportation systems and government
agencies use encrypted data. Creating tools to weaken encrypted systems
for one purpose weakens it for all purposes. If Australia succeeds in
doing so, it could be your bank account or your medical records that
are compromised in the end.
Well... yes, but I do need to make at least three
First, I am not so much worried that my
medical records will be taken. For one thing, the secret services (in
Holland) had a lot of time available trying to get them; the defense of
the Dutch medical doctors, so far as I saw it, was an absolute
and I think my medical records probably have been taken.
Second, while I don't like this, it is not this that I
am much worried about: it is the fact that the secret services and
governments (from absolutely everywhere, it seems, which shows you
force democratic notions have on these people) have been able to
absolutely everything from absolutely everyone from absolutely anywhere
I think that truly enormous power is the
power there is on earth, for in fact this means that a couple of
the dominant governments + their secret services should be able to rule
or arrest everyone.
And third, while I know how to program, I am
considerably less certain that Lizzie O'Shea does, and
as yet I do not
know how to get through encryptions except by breaking them, which may
take a great amount of time.
Of course, this doesn't mean that the Australian
government may not do something crazy like simply forbidding
on its territory (?!) for everyone but itself, but that I
do not know
Back to the argument:
which has no bill of rights, is a logical place to test new strategies
for collecting intelligence that can later be adopted elsewhere. Among
other things, the proposed law would create a process for “designated
communications providers” — defined so expansively that it covers any business
hosting a website — to assist intelligence and law enforcement agencies
to do almost anything to give them access to encrypted communications.
For example, providers may have to build tools, install software or
keep agencies up-to-date with developments. In essence, state agencies
will be able to circumvent encryption, either with the cooperation of
tech companies or by compulsion.
I take it this will mean mostly compulsion ("Our
Government Needs To Protect YOUR Children And Therefore You Will Give
Me The Encryption Keys Or Go To Jail For 25 Years"), but then again I
don't know this either.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I definitely would have
put this stronger: "The
Australian government is intentionally and completely destroying the
limits of our democracy by seeking to empower the surveillance state". It is preparing absolute tyranny
by its government plus its secret
services. But this is a recommended article.
Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 that the American and British spy
agencies had tried to weaken encryption so that they could tap digital
communications, cryptography scholars voiced their shock
that these agencies would act “against the interests of the public.”
“By weakening all our security so that they can listen in to the
communications of our enemies,” they wrote, “they
also weaken our security against our potential enemies.”
The same is true today. The
Australian government is testing the limits of our democracy by seeking
to empower the surveillance state, and what it learns will have
Confirmation Hearings Begin Despite Suppression of 100K Documents
article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts
with the following introduction:
hearings begin for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Justice Anthony
Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court. If he is confirmed, it would
likely make the court the most conservative since the 1930s. Kavanaugh
is 53 years old and could serve on the Supreme Court for decades to
come. Critics warn his confirmation could lead to major rollbacks of
civil rights, environmental regulations, gun control measures, voting
rights and reproductive rights, including possibly overturning Roe v.
Wade. We speak with Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of
the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Last week the
committee released a damning report on Kavanaugh’s record on cases and
issued a statement opposing Kavanaugh’s nomination. She will attend the
Senate confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh this week.
Yes indeed, although I
don't think this political problem is the most serious problem
Here is some more:
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Confirmation hearings
begin today for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s pick to fill
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court. If he is
confirmed, it would likely make the court the most conservative since
the 1930s. Kavanaugh is 53 years old and could serve on the Supreme
Court for decades. Critics warn his confirmation would lead to major
rollbacks of civil rights, labor protections, environmental
regulations, gun control measures, voting rights and reproductive
rights, including possibly the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Yes indeed. I have a
possibly somewhat naive question, but why are Supreme Court Judges
judged periodically, say every 10 years, to see whether they acted as
decent Supreme Court Judges?! (I really have no idea.)
Here is more:
SEN. DICK DURBIN: Assertion of executive privilege
by the White House to take 100,000 documents and say the American
people will not get a chance to see them, as they reflect on
Kavanaugh’s background, is the first time in history. This denial of
access to documents violates a rule that we thought was the tradition
of the Senate under Senator Sessions and Senator Leahy, time and again,
when it came to Obama nominees. They are suppressing these documents.
If we’re lucky, we will see 6 percent—6 percent—of all of the documents
that have been produced, or could be produced, to reflect on
Kavanaugh’s true position on issues.
Yes precisely. And for me
to nominate someone as a Supreme Court Judge, essentially on the
of the fact that 100,000 documents are suppressed and cannot be
evaluated is not a valid but a criminal
Here is some more:
So this is a most extraordinary position. Securing a lifetime seat on
our nation’s highest court really requires that both the Senate and
public exercise the highest level of vigilance in understanding who
Brett Kavanaugh is, in understanding his record both on and off the
Quite so. Here is the last
bit that I quote from this article:
Yes indeed, and this is a
CLARKE: This is total
hypocrisy. There is a double standard in place. In the modern era, the
Senate has insisted that we have full transparency when it comes to
evaluating the records underlying Supreme Court nominees. And as you
heard, Jeff Sessions, then senator, threatened to boycott Ms. Kagan’s
nomination. And ultimately, every single document from Kagan’s tenure
in the White House was turned over. There’s a gross double standard in
In just an hour or so, the
Senate will open hearings on Brett Kavanaugh despite the fact that
millions of documents from his time in the White House, where he worked
in both the White House Counsel’s Office and as secretary, working
shoulder to shoulder with President Bush—none of these materials have
been turned over.
As far as we know, this is the
first time a president or a White House has ever invoked executive
privilege in this era—in this way. And we have to remember, this is the
Trump White House invoking the privilege for documents from the Bush
era, from a period that predates him by over a decade. Bush himself has
said, “I authorize these documents to be disclosed. I want this review
process to be guided by the principle of transparency.” But as we’ve
seen throughout the Trump administration, their rule is to operate in
secrecy and to keep information away from the American public.
Hedges: America Is Entering Its 'Final Phase'
article is by Ilana Novick on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
“If any of you came here
this evening with the idea of hearing how well we’re all doing in
America these days, you want to leave now.” So began Bradley Graham,
owner of Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., introducing Chris
Hedges during a recent talk and book-signing event.
Hedges, a veteran
journalist and Truthdig columnist, spent much of his early career as a
foreign correspondent but in recent years has turned his incisive eye
toward the United States. His new book, “America:
The Farewell Tour,” details a nation destroying itself through an
array of ills: xenophobia, the opioid epidemic, economic inequality and
the rise of the far right, among them.
Yes, indeed. Also, the
main reasons why I am reviewing this article are that I
Hedges because he is a good writer with a fine mind, with whom I often
agree, and also because I think that someone with decades of
in collapsing states must have something to say on the present
collapsing America - for I think it is, if only because 60% of the
present Americans are hardly capable of coughing up $400 for anything
that may have gone wrong in their lives. (And no, while I almost
certainly am the poorest Dutchman of the last 50 years, I am not
extremely poor position of 60% of all Americans.)
So here is more:
“Civilizations, over the
past 6,000 years, have a habit of eventually squandering their futures
through acts of colossal stupidity and hubris. We are not an exception.
We are entering this final phase of civilization,” Hedges writes of
America. At his Aug. 22 book talk in Washington, he described the
reporting process that led him to this conclusion and discussed
interviewing Americans in every region as he traveled the country to
write the book.
Yes, I agree, though I
should add that I neither read the book nor saw the video that the
present article introduces.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Hedges spoke to workers in
an Indiana town who voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary and
then backed Trump in the general election because they remembered Bill
Clinton’s support of NAFTA, which took away their union jobs. They are
among millions living in towns decimated by decades of globalization.
He also described his
interviews with Americans whose families and towns were wrecked by
opioid addiction, and told of being around a bonfire with members of
the alt-right, a gathering where he and his research assistant felt so
unsafe they eventually fled.
Yes. I have seen
neither the book nor the video this article introduces, but, given the
general qualities of Chris Hedges, I am sure I can recommend them, as I
can this article.
Lying about interview with Bob Woodward
is by Matthew Chapman on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
With the release of Bob
Woodward's new book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," President Donald
Trump is not pleased. And he is raging that Woodward did not even
bother to consult him.
"It’s just another bad
book. He’s had a lot of credibility problems," Trump said of the former
Watergate reporter in an exclusive
interview with the right-wing Daily Caller. "It’s just
nasty stuff. I never spoke to him. Maybe I wasn’t given messages that
As a matter of fact, Trump
did speak to Woodward, in a lengthy interview in April that was posted to YouTube.
Yes indeed. And how a
president can forget "a lengthy interview" with one of the most
prominent of American journalists within 4 months of its occurrence
somewhat of a problem to me, unless of course I assume the president is
(also) loosing his memory.
Anyway. Here is some
from that completely forgotten interview:
Interestingly enough, Trump
did not appear to believe Woodward had any "credibility problems"
during their discussion. Indeed, Trump, lavished him with praise,
saying that "I think you've always been fair," and that even though he
was expecting it to be a "negative book," he genially quipped that he
was "50 percent used to that."
I say. Here is more on
what appears to be Trump's Number One Rule:
However, such a change of
heart is not out of character for Trump, who notoriously excises people
from his good graces at the slightest perception of disloyalty. He is openly
longing to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to quash
the Russia investigation, even though Sessions has in every other
Trump's bidding to the letter.
That is, all of
menials do not need to do anything good for America or some
part of it;
they may all lie
as they please, but the one rule
that they should never break is that they ought to be
absolutely loyal to Trump, indeed also if they know he is lying or
or deceiving his voters.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article, which is mostly about his deep
appreciation for his loyalists:
Yes. And this is a
recommended article, as is the next one, which is a slightly sharper
Woodward's book alleges,
among other things, that Trump privately called
retarded" and "a dumb Southerner," and the late Sen. John McCain "a
coward," that he wanted
to bomb North Korea and assassinate Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,
that his aides stole his papers "to
protect the country," and that he continually frustrated
his own lawyers while trying to prep for a possible interview with
Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Russia investigation. The
book is slated to be released next week.
Most Disturbing Excerpts From Woodward's New Book on Trump
is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It has a subtitle:
"This is one of the
most disturbing accounts of what is going on in the White House that
we've seen yet. If one-tenth of it is accurate, we are, in a very real
sense, in the midst of a national emergency."
Yes, and there are three
reasons (at least) for the above conclusion: (i) the way Trump
and denigrates his ministers (which is all evidence that he is a
seriously disturbed megalomaniac); (ii) the ways in which his
react to their demeanings and denigrations; and (iii) the fact
Trump tries to nominate a super-conservative justice to the Supreme
Court, while keeping secret no less than 100,000 pages of information
(that were written while Bush Jr. was president).
This article starts as follows:
journalist Bob Woodward has a book coming out next month that details
the first year and a half of Donald Trump's presidency, and excerpts
published by the Washington
Post and CNN
on Tuesday depict a White House in the midst of a "nervous breakdown,"
sparked by a man who top aides have referred to as "an idiot," a
"fucking moron," a "professional liar," and "a goddamn dumbbell" who
has the understanding of "a fifth- or sixth-grader."
These are examples of item
(ii) I mentioned above.
Here is more about Trump:
According to the Post—where
Woodward has worked as a reporter and editor for decades—the "thrust"
of Fear: Trump in the White House "mostly focuses on
substantive decisions and internal disagreements, including tensions
with North Korea as well as the future of U.S. policy in Afghanistan."
But these substantive
decisions and disagreements often produced startling moments in which
the president revealed his total ignorance and lack of fitness for
I certainly will not
say "No" to that last diagnosis, and here is Chief of Staff John Kelly,
who knows Trump quite well:
"He's an idiot. It's
pointless to try to convince him of anything," White House Chief of
Staff John Kelly reportedly complained during a small group meeting.
"He's gone off the rails. We're in Crazytown. I don't even know why any
of us are here. This is the worst job I've ever had."
Again, I shall not
disagree with a man who know Trump as well as Kelly. Here is more:
"Don't testify. It's
either that or an orange jumpsuit."
Despite Trump's reported
insistence that he would be "a real good witness" in an interview with
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the president's former lawyer John
Dowd—who resigned in March—firmly believed that Trump would commit
perjury if he talked to Mueller.
According to Woodward, Dowd
explained to Mueller in January that he did not want the president to
do an interview because he didn't want to "sit there and let him look
like an idiot."
The president's attorney
also worried that if a transcript of the interview leaked, as it
inevitably would, people would say, "I told you he was an idiot. I told
you he was a goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?"
pleaded with Trump directly: "Don't testify. It's either that or an
is, in brief: The (former) president's attorney insisted the
would have to go to jail if he testified (!!).
is the last bit that I quote from this article:
"An administrative coup
Reportedly alarmed by
Trump's volatile combination of ignorance and impulsiveness, Woodward
reports that top White House aides devised a strategy of stealing
documents from the president's desk so he wouldn't see or sign them.
In Woodward's account, last
spring former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn swiped "a
letter off Trump's desk" the president planned to sign that would have
withdrawn the U.S. from a trade agreement with South Korea.
Cohn later told an
associate that Trump never noticed the letter was missing.
this is to say that his (former) aides stole documents from the
president's desk to prevent that he would sign them.
Woodward's book is probably going to be pretty sensational, and this is
a recommended article.