from September 26, 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 26, 2018:
1. Trump Boasts and Scorns Globalism to Skeptical U.N. Crowd
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. Michael Moore: Are We Going to Be Like the “Good Germans”
Hitler Rise to Power?
3. Facebook Partners With a Pair of Propaganda Purveyors
4. Donald Trump Has Betrayed the Working Class.
5. Visionary Report Demands 'New Social Contract' to Curb
Giants Pose to Democracy
Boasts and Scorns Globalism to Skeptical U.N. Crowd
This article is by
Mark Landler on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
thrust his commitment to an “America First” foreign policy back onto
the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. But in his second
address on this diplomatic stage, he sounded as eager to claim credit
for his achievements after 20 months in office, as he was to disrupt
the world order.
Mr. Trump had changed, so had his audience — no longer as daunted by
the insurgent figure who left them slack-jawed last year when he vowed
to “crush loser terrorists,” mocked North Korea’s leader as “Rocket
Man” and declared that parts of the world “are going to hell.”
time, emissaries from around the world listened quietly as Mr. Trump
fulminated at foes like Iran and failing states like Venezuela. They
nodded as he singled out an enemy-turned-partner, Kim Jong-un of North
Korea, expressing optimism for a diplomatic opening that would have
seemed far-fetched even a year ago.
when Mr. Trump declared, “In less than two years, my administration has
accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our
country,” the crowd broke into murmurs and laughter.
disconcerted, the president smiled and said, “I did not expect that
reaction, but that’s O.K.”
I say. Well... I am a bit pleased that leading
politicians from other countries than the USA can break "into murmurs and laughter", though on the other hand I do not
believe that these politicians will save the world from the madman - I am a
psychologist - Trump.
Then again, they may do something:
is also evidence that foreign leaders are more willing to push back.
Speaking after Mr. Trump, President Emmanuel Macron of France said the
Paris climate accord had survived despite America’s decision to pull
out. In a not-so-subtle slap at Mr. Trump, he proposed that countries
refuse to sign trade deals with those who do not comply with the accord.
Monday, France joined Germany and Britain — as well as the other
signatories, Russia, China, and Iran — in recommitting to the Iran
nuclear accord, repudiated by Mr. Trump in May. They did so even as Mr.
Trump urged Europe to isolate Iran and warned of draconian new
sanctions that would penalize America’s allies for not cutting off
commercial ties with the Iranians.
I think that is good, but it also is my guess this is about
as far as the prominent non-American politicians will go, besides
murmuring and laughing about some of his words. This is a recommended
Moore: Are We Going to Be Like the “Good Germans” Who Let Hitler Rise
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts as follows:
In his new
documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9,” filmmaker Michael Moore interviews the
last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor, Ben Ferencz, who describes
President Trump’s policy of family separations at the U.S.-Mexico
border and the large-scale detention of immigrant children as a “crime
against humanity.” Moore also looks at the rise of Hitler in Nazi
Germany and compares it to the rise of Trump in the United States.
This is from some days
ago, when Democracy Now! published a series of interviews with Michael
Moore. Also, I totally skip the first part of this, mostly because I am
interested in the opinions of Ben Ferencz, mentioned above.
Here is the first bit that I quote:
Well, that takes me to the last clip that we’re going to play from your
film. We’re talking to Michael Moore, the Oscar-winning filmmaker, who
won that Oscar for Bowling for Columbine, yet another school
shooting. But this one is a clip that features 99-year-old Ben Ferencz,
the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor.
Ben Ferencz, the last
Nuremberg prosecutor. Explain, Michael Moore.
MOORE: Well, I wanted to
go speak to him. I didn’t realize there was only one surviving
Nuremberg prosecutor. He lives just outside the city here. He is 99. I
think his wife is turning 100 in another month or so. And he is a
witness from the past, a witness to what happens when you allow fascism
to become the way of life and the law of the land. And he’s very
powerful, the things he says in the film. At one point he says that
Donald Trump, in doing some of these things that he’s done, is
committing crimes against humanity. And he says, “You know, this is—I
can’t deal with this, because I’m thinking, you know, we hung people
for doing some of these things, for behaving like this.”
I think I more or less
agree with Ferencz, but I do not know, and indeed one major
difference is that the Nuremberg trials
came after a World War against fascism, that it defeated militarily.
I do hope mankind does not need a third World War - that
probably will ne nuclear - to destroy modern fascism, that indeed is
rising spectacularly under Trump.
And one of the inspirations
to make this film was a book I had read back in the 1980s by Bertram
Gross called Friendly Fascism. And in the book, Gross says
that the fascism of the 21st century will not come with concentration
camps and swastikas; it will come with a smiley face and a TV show,
that the fascism that will take hold in the 21st century, there won’t
be a lot of guns fired, because the population will be brainwashed
enough. First they’ll be dumbed down—you know, ruin their schools,
reduce their press, put whistleblowers in jail. And then brand
things—the smiley face. Don’t use swastikas. Just make it happy.
“You’re going to be happier if you go my way, the Trump way.”
As to Bertram Gross: I think this was perceptive in the 1980s, but
while I agree with the dumbing down (that started over 40 years ago
in Holland, when most education started to get halved,
which is also what the Dutch succeeded in doing - and thus
there are far fewer Dutchmen who
learned three foreign languages in high school than there were between
1865 and 1965) and with the influence of the media and the internet,
but Trump also is using concentration camps for children
kidnapped from their parents, while some of his allies parade with
Here is more by Michael Moore:
And this is what I
find most frightening when I think about, and what I hope this film
does in terms of ripping the mask off, what’s really going on here,
that we are on—you used the word “precipice” earlier. We are on a
precipice. We are on that edge. Democracy has no self-correcting
mechanism. It’s a piece of paper, the Constitution. I know we like to
get all teary-eyed and all goo-goo about, you know, our wonderful
Constitution. It’s a piece of paper. And it’s the human beings in each
era that decide exactly what’s going to go on, which part we’re going
to listen to and which part we’re not, of this Constitution. And if we
get too close to the edge, where we’ve given up too many of our rights,
where we’ve allowed the democracy to be whittled down, where we’ve made
voting a most difficult thing to do for people who have the right to
vote and should be voting—if we do all of that, it could easily fall
off that cliff. Before you know it, it could be gone.
I more or less agree
that the USA is currently "on a
precipice". Here is the last bit
that I quote from Michael Moore from this interview:
Quite possibly so. There is considerably more in this article,
which is recommended.
I took this man seriously
from the beginning, and I’m here and I’m telling you now that he has
his plans for the way he’d like things to be. He has no intention of
leaving the White House. He knows he cannot be indicted. He knows the
Constitution won’t allow Mueller to indict him. He can be an
unindicted—not co-conspirator, but he’ll be an unindicted criminal. But
he doesn’t think he’s going to be impeached. He’s going to call it all
rigged. Even if he loses the 2020 election, he’ll say it’s rigged.
Partners With a Pair of Propaganda Purveyors
article is by Alan Macleod on Truthdig and originally on FAIR. It
starts as follows:
giant Facebook recently announced (Reuters, 9/19/18)
it would combat “fake news” by partnering with two propaganda
organizations founded and funded by the U.S. government: the National
Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute
(IRI). The social media platform was already working closely with the
NATO-sponsored Atlantic Council think tank (FAIR.org, 5/21/18).
In a previous FAIR article (8/22/18),
I noted that the “fake news” issue was being used as a pretext to
attack the left and progressive news sites. Changes to Facebook’s
algorithm have reduced traffic significantly for progressive outlets
like Common Dreams (5/3/18),
while the pages of Venezuelan government– backed TeleSur
English and the independent Venezuelanalysis were shut
down without warning, and only reinstated after a public outcry.
I say, for I did not
know most of this, including the - supposed? - fact that TeleSur has
been reinstated (though indeed their website works
As to Facebook
(recently - quite correcly, in my opinion - called "The Toilet" on Last
According to my own
norms Mark Zuckerberg is one of the worst internet criminals I know
of (who stole the personal information of over 2 billion persons)
and Facebook is a horror - but then I have to grant that I am
more intelligent than most and have a better education than most, for
which two reasons I now belong to a small minority of those able to publish
(on their own sites, as I do, or on Facebook, for the lazy, the stupid and the ignorant, who
also don't mind that nearly all of
their personal information gets stolen and sold to advertisers).
For those who disagree
that Facebook is criminal and/or strongly biased there is this
The Washington, D.C.-based
NDI and IRI are staffed with senior Democratic and Republican
politicians; the NDI is chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright, while the late Sen. John
McCain was the longtime IRI chair. Both groups were created in
1983 as arms of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a Cold War
enterprise backed by then-CIA director William Casey (Jacobin, 3/7/18).
That these two US government creations, along with a NATO offshoot like
the Atlantic Council, are used by Facebook to distinguish
real from fake news is effectively state censorship.
This seems to
differ not at all from straight manipulation
- of more than 2 billion users of Facebook.
In case you doubt this, there is this:
Soon after it partnered
with the Atlantic Council, Facebook moved to delete accounts
and pages connected with Iranian broadcasting channels (CNBC, 8/23/18),
while The Intercept (12/30/17)
reported that in 2017 the social media platform met with Israeli
government officials to discuss which Palestinian voices it should
censor. Ninety-five percent of Israeli government requests for deletion
were granted. Thus the US government and its allies are effectively
using the platform to silence dissenting opinion, both at home and on
the world stage, controlling what Facebook‘s 2 billion users see
and do not see.
Quite so. Here
is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Public trust in government
is at 18 percent—an all-time low (Pew, 12/14/17).
There is similar mistrust of Facebook, with only 20
percent of Americans agreeing social media sites do a good job
separating fact from fiction. And yet, worldwide, Facebook is
a crucial news source. Fifty-two percent of Brazilians, 61 percent of
Mexicans, and 51 percent of Italians and Turks use
the platform for news; 39
percent of the US gets their news from the site.
This means that, despite the
fact that even its own public mistrusts it, the US government has
effectively become the arbiter of what the world sees and hears, with
the ability to marginalize or simply delete news from organizations or
countries that do not share its opinions. This power could be used at
sensitive times, like elections.
Again quite so.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Trump Has Betrayed the Working Class
This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as
Start with his new tax
law–one of the very few laws he actually got through the Republican
Congress. Trump said it would likely give every American worker a wage
increase of $4,000,
but the typical
worker’s wages have gone nowhere, which is one reason Republicans
have stopped campaigning on the tax law.
wants to use executive action to cut taxes on the rich by an additional
If that weren’t enough,
Trump has cut the pay of average workers. His Labor Department repealed
overtime protections, at an estimated cost to workers of $1.2
billion in lost wages each year.
Yes indeed - and two partial
explanations are that Trump is rich, and that many of the rich are like
Trump: They got rich by effectively stealing from the poor.
Here is some more:
Oh, and remember Trump’s promise
to replace the Affordable Care Act with something better? Well, you
can forget that one, too. Instead, Trump
has done everything he can to undercut the Act, resulting in an
anticipated near 20% increase in health
insurance premiums, and the biggest burden falling on working
families who earn too much to be eligible for subsidies.
As a result of Trump’s
undermining of the Affordable Care Act, the number of Americans without
health insurance rose
by more than 3 million in 2017, after years of declines following
the implementation of the Act.
Yes, I do remember,
indeed in part because I recently saw a video of Trump promising
precisely that. And yes, the rest Reich says is quite correct.
Here is the ending of this
More or less so - and no,
I still do not believe in "the working class", but then again I
also know no one (other than my brother) who has
my kind of background, so I will not even attempt to explain this here.
And this is a recommended article.
Trump’s most recent budget
proposal skewers working people with a proposed $763
billion cut in Medicaid and other health programs, $494
billion of cuts in Medicare, and major
cuts in education and nutrition over the next 10 years.
Trump has betrayed the working
class – but he still claims he’s on their side. That’s one of his
biggest lies of all.
Report Demands 'New Social Contract' to Curb Threats Tech Giants Pose
article is by Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
"The crisis for
democracy posed by digital disinformation demands a new social contract
for the internet rooted in transparency, privacy, and competition,"
declares a new report
that challenges the overwhelming power wielded by large tech firms and
the online platforms they now control.
Published by the
Washington, D.C.-based think tank New America—and building on a
previous paper titled Digital
Deceit—the new report by Dipayan Ghosh of the Shorenstein
Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and Ben Scott of the
Omidyar Network argues that "as a democratic society, we must intervene
to steer the power and promise of technology to benefit the many rather
than the few."
The intervention they
propose in Digital
Deceit II is not small. As Ghosh told the Wall Street
Journal, "We need to completely reorganize the way that industry
Well... I agree
with what the report says, but I also think it is too late. In
fact, the report seems to explain this itself:
"For two decades, public
policy has taken a hands-off approach to these new markets, believing
that regulation might blunt innovation before these technologies
reached maturity," the report explains. "Now, we have dominant market
players that have built the most valuable companies in the world, and
yet they still operate largely without the oversight of public
Considering that "the
companies that control this market are among the most powerful and
valuable the world has ever seen," it notes, "we cannot expect them to
I agree, sort of, but I
stress the fact that "public policy" the
last twenty years has been conducted in major part by people who knew
little of programming or about computers, while by now
the firms, such as Facebook and Google, that were created in part on
the basis of this vast ignorance have become "the most valuable companies in the world".
And while I completely
agree with the principle that "we cannot expect them to regulate themselves", I should
like to know how you can regulate
them properly: it seems about twenty years too late for that
question, for now they are the richest and most powerful
corporations there are.
Here is a survey of what
the report calls for:
To promote more disclosures
regarding the forces that use social media in hopes of influencing
public opinion, they call for:
- Real-time and archived
information about targeted political advertising;
- Clear accountability for
the social impact of automated decision-making; and
- Explicit indicators for
the presence of non-human accounts in digital media.
To safeguard consumer
privacy and promote users having more control over personal data, they
- Consumer control over
data through stronger rights to access and removal;
- Transparency for the
user of the full extent of data usage and meaningful consent; and
- Stronger enforcement
with resources and authority for agency rule-making.
To ensure that consumers
"have meaningful options to find, send, and receive information over
digital media," they recommend:
- Stronger oversight of
mergers and acquisitions;
- Antitrust reform
including new enforcement regimes, levies, and essential services
- Robust data portability
and interoperability between services.
I agree with all
of that, but I also think this "visionary report" is probably too
late. And this is a recommended article.