from September 28, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Friday,
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 28, 2018:
1. Why Brett Kavanaugh Wasn’t Believable
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. New U.S. Privacy Law Could Be Good for Google, Bad for You
3. Leaked Video Reveals Amazon's Belligerent Anti-Worker
4. In the Heart of a Dying Empire
5. Harbingers: Florence, Forest Fires, and the Future
Brett Kavanaugh Wasn’t Believable
This article is by
The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
a study in contrasts:
Where Christine Blasey Ford was calm and dignified, Brett Kavanaugh was
volatile and belligerent; where she was eager to respond fully to every
questioner, and kept worrying whether she was being “helpful” enough,
he was openly contemptuous of several senators; most important, where
she was credible and unshakable at every point in her testimony, he was
at some points evasive, and some of his answers strained credulity.
Dr. Blasey’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on
Thursday was devastating.
the eyes of the nation on her, Dr. Blasey recounted an appalling
trauma. When she was 15 years old, she said, she was sexually assaulted
by Judge Kavanaugh, then a 17-year-old student at a nearby high school
and now President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
description of the attack, which she said occurred in a suburban
Maryland home on a summer night in 1982, was gut-wrenchingly specific.
She said Judge Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, both of whom she
described as very drunk, locked her in a second-floor room of a private
home. She said Kavanaugh jumped on top of her, groped her, tried to
remove her clothes and put his hand over her mouth to keep her from
screaming. She said she feared he might accidentally kill her.
Yes, indeed. Then again, I should also say that
I selected today just this one article on Kavanaugh, while I
could have selected hundreds, for it seems almost every
journalist who has any name whatsoever, can write about
Kavanaugh and does write about Kavanaugh.
Anyway. Here is Kavanaugh's reply:
Kavanaugh, when it was his turn, was not laughing. He was yelling. He
spent more than half an hour raging against Senate Democrats and the
“Left” for “totally and permanently” destroying his name, his career,
his family, his life. He called his confirmation process a “national
may defeat me in the final vote, but you will never get me to quit,”
Judge Kavanaugh said, sounding like someone who suddenly doubted his
confirmation to the Supreme Court — an outcome that seemed preordained
only a couple of weeks ago.
if Kavanaugh's appointment is pushed through by the Senate, I will call
him the sado- fascistic rapist, I think, and the Supreme Court,
which anyway is a strange institution in the USA (for it seems,
among other things, that no other Supreme Court nominates judges for
life) will be given up by me.
no, I do not think my opinions make any political
difference, but I do like to write what I think is true, and nominating an uninvestigated possible rapist in the
highest court in the USA makes the whole Supreme Court ludicrous.
just heard about Kavanaugh. This is about Blasey:
contrast, Dr. Blasey bolstered her credibility not only by describing
in harrowing detail what she did remember, but by being honest about
what she didn’t — like the exact date of the gathering, or the address
of the house where it occurred. As she pointed out, the precise details
of a trauma get burned into the brain and stay there long after less
relevant details fade away.
was also honest about her ambivalence in coming forward. “I am
terrified,” she told the senators in her opening remarks. And then
there’s the fact that she gains nothing by coming forward. She is in
hiding now with her family in the face of death threats.
This is from the ending of this article:
Republican majority on the committee has scheduled a vote for
is no reason the committee needs to hold this vote before the F.B.I.
can do a proper investigation, and Mr. Judge and possibly other
witnesses can be called to testify under oath. The Senate, and the
American people, need to know the truth, or as close an approximation
as possible, before deciding whether Judge Kavanaugh should get a
lifetime seat on the nation’s highest court.
I totally agree. This is a strongly recommended article.
U.S. Privacy Law Could Be Good for Google, Bad for You
This article is by
Marcy Gordon and Matt O'Brien on Truthdig and originally on The
Associated Press. It starts as follows:
Congress is taking the
first steps toward setting national rules governing how companies use
consumers’ data — although one of its goals might be to prevent states
from enacting stronger privacy protections of their own.
The approach being pondered
by policymakers and pushed by the internet industry leans toward a
relatively light government touch. That’s in contrast to stricter
European rules that took effect in May and a California law that takes
effect in 2020. Other states are also considering more aggressive
However it works out, any
regulatory push will find it challenging to reconcile the concerns of
privacy advocates who want people to have more control over the use of
their personal data — where they’ve been, what they view, who their
friends are —and the powerful companies who mine that information for
Well... I think that
(1) ALL consumer data should be
hidden, and I also think (as a
European) that the European laws are very bad for
consumers (for they also further rather than limit the usage of
consumer data), while (2) NO company
should have the
right to mine personal information for their
personal profit: it is
sick sadistic theft that totally destroys
Then again, I also know
that the whole internet has been set up since
the late 1960ies (!!!) to become what it has become:
To provide the most
complete personal and private information on each and every person who
uses the internet that will allow the secret services - each and every
secret service, anywhere - to arrest persons even before they
plan anything; that allows a whole new kind of society that was
called "the technotronic society" in the late 1960ies, but should honestly
have been called neofascism
(which has both private information on any user anywhere
accessible to any secret service, but also has nearly the
same private information on any user anywhere accessible for
each and every of the rich corporations Facebook, Google, Apple and
Microsoft); and that intentionally breaks
each and every personal privacy of each and every user.
But it seems that very
few users of the internet are interested in the incredible
extremely vast abuses that the internet has been designed
to install since the late 1960ies, indeed in part because you need to
know quite a lot to be intellligently interested.
Anyway... I have been explaining this over and again since 2012 when I
discovered this, but it seems nobody is interested. For more see Crisis: propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968
Here is more on present
developments (which are ridiculous in my eyes):
The Senate Commerce
Committee hearing comes amid increasing anxiety over safeguarding
consumers’ data online and recent scandals that have stoked outrage
among users and politicians. The committee’s chairman, Republican Sen.
John Thune of South Dakota, said both Republicans and Democrats now
want to reach consensus on a national privacy law that “will help
consumers, promote innovation, reward organizations with little to hide
and force shady practitioners to clean up their act.”
An early move in President
Donald Trump’s tenure set the tone on data privacy. He signed
a bill into law in April 2017 that allows internet providers
to sell information about their customers’ browsing habits. The
legislation scrapped Obama-era online privacy rules aimed at giving
consumers more control over how broadband companies like AT&T,
Comcast and Verizon share that information.
In brief: Forget it. Trump and Google and
Facebook and Apple plus all secret services from anywhere do NOT want it, and what they want happens.
The new developments
will be excellent for Google and Facebook and Apple and all secret services
from anywhere. The human rights of any private user simply are
completely irrelevant. That is the future
(and at 68 I am glad that I lived in about the first and the last
period of relative freedom in the world, in Western Europe, that lasted
from 1946 till the 1990s).
Video Reveals Amazon's Belligerent Anti-Worker Tactics
article is by Jake Johnson on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams.
It starts as follows:
As Amazon works to
combat its public image as a starvation-wage employer by doling
out mere pennies in pay hikes and deploying an army
of workers to sing the company’s praises on Twitter, a video leaked
on Wednesday revealed that the trillion-dollar company is continuing to
work feverishly behind the scenes to crush any attempts by workers to
unionize and bargain collectively for better wages and working
Yes, this seems quite
true. Here is some more:
anti-union video—which recommends tactics that one commentator said “should
be illegal“—was sent to Whole Foods managers just weeks after
employees of the grocery chain took
initial steps toward unionizing in an effort to achieve a
higher minimum wage and better benefits.
The training video emerged
as Amazon and company CEO Jeff Bezos—the richest man in the world—have
faced intense scrutiny from progressive lawmakers like Sen. Bernie
Sanders (I-Vt.), who last month introduced the
“Stop BEZOS Act,” which would impose a “100 percent tax on large
employers equal to the amount of federal benefits received by their
“While Mr. Bezos is worth
$155 billion and while his wealth has increased $260 million every
single day this year, he continues to pay many Amazon employees wages
that are so low that they are forced to depend on taxpayer-funded
programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing just to
get by,” Sanders said in a statement.
Quite so - and I
also have a personal conclusion about Jeff Bezos, Larry Page and Sergey
Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cooke and Bill Gates (all recent
billionaires it seems): It seems to me that the richer you get, the
more sub-human, neofascistic,
and morally degenerate you get - as is illustrated in the present
case by the infinite greed joined to the complete personal
irresponsibility of Jeff Bezos.
the Heart of a Dying Empire
This article is by Tom Engelhardt on Common Dreams and
originally on TomDispatch. It starts as follows:
Think back to that
year when the other superpower, the lesser one of that era, so
unbelievably went down for the count. Try to recall that moment
when the Soviet Union, its economy imploding, suddenly was no more, its
various imperial parts -- from Eastern Europe to Central Asia -- having
largely spun free. It’s hard now to remember just how those months
after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and that final moment in 1991
stunned the Washington establishment. Untold sums of money had been
poured into “intelligence” during the almost half-century of what
became known as the Cold War (because a hot war between two
nuclear-armed superpowers seemed unimaginable -- even if it almost
happened). Nonetheless, key figures in Washington were remarkably
unprepared for it all to end. They were stunned. It simply hadn’t
occurred to them that the global standoff between the last two great
powers on this planet could or would ever truly be over.
Yes, this is true and it
also was the first time just one
country in the world -
the USA - was and indeed still is by far the strongest country
in the world (for the USA also has by far the largest budget to make
Imagine! After so many
centuries of rivalries between great powers and that final showdown
between just two superpowers, it was all over (except for the
bragging). Only one power, the -- by definition -- greatest of all, was
left on a planet obviously there for the taking.
Here is more, this time on Donald Trump:
In 2016, in what
came to be known as the “homeland,” American voters responded to that
reality in a visceral way. They elected as president a truly
strange figure, a man who alone among the country’s politicians was
peddling the idea that the U.S. was no longer great but, like Putin’s
Russia, would have to be made great again. Donald Trump, as I wrote
during that campaign season, was the first presidential candidate to
promote the idea that the United States was in decline at a moment when
politicians generally felt obliged to affirm that the U.S. was the greatest,
exceptional, most indispensable
place on the planet. And, of course, he won.
Yes. And this is on
what Trump did:
You know that it's
and pocketbooks of the 1% that are really booming, expanding,
exploding at the moment; that the rich have inherited,
if not the Earth, then at least American
politics; that the wealth
possessed by that 1% is now at levels
not seen since the eve of the Great Depression of 1929. And, honestly,
can you doubt that the next crash is
somewhere just over the horizon?
I agree there will
be a next crash, and I think it will probably be considerably (or
much) larger than the crisis of 2008 (that still persists for
everybody who does not belong to the 10% of the richest and their
servants and bureaucrats).
No one knows when it will come. I am in favor of it, because I think
far too much has gone wrong in major ways, such as the whole internet (which
was designed to spy on everyone, and
which does spy on everyone: see item 2 above) and the totally incredible earnings
of the very rich, but then again I also know that virtually
every revolution has had a quite different outcome from what the
Here is Tom Engelhardt's vision of the future:
Believe me, folks,
it’s going to be anything but pretty. Welcome to that most
unpredictable and dangerous of entities, a dying empire. Only 27 years
after the bells of triumph tolled across Washington, it looks like
those bells are now preparing to toll in mourning for it.
I think this is probably
correct and this is a recommended article.
Florence, Forest Fires, and the Future
This article is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts
Climate change catastrophe
is upon us. We see it in the record-breaking floods from storms like
Florence, and in the record-breaking fires across the US once again
this year. But the media – which
barely mentioned the link between these catastrophes and climate change
-- is preparing to move on to the next new, new, thing. Can’t
blame them. Trump and the Republicans are providing enough fodder
to feed a thousand news cycles with daily outrages that keep the
country on the edge of chaos.
But here’s the thing –
climate change will affect us more profoundly, more negatively, and
sooner than anything we’ve been led to believe. What we’re seeing now
is just a taste of what the future holds, and the disasters we’re
causing today with our continued use of fossil fuels will soon be a
permanent feature of our existence, irrevocable in anything other than
geologic time, if we don’t act immediately.
Yes, I think this is
true (apart from "Can’t
blame them") and I also
think it is very probably true that climate changes is "a permanent feature of our existence".
Here is some more:
A recent report published
in the prestigious Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences, identifies ten feedbacks that
could – and absent immediate action, likely will – increase the pace
and extent of warming; something they refer to as the “Hothouse Earth”
pathway. Hothouse Earth is not a planet compatible with the world
humans evolved in, nor is it capable of sustaining civilization as we
know it. For example, under the Hothouse Earth pathway, sea level
would ultimately rise by as much as 60 meters (about 197 feet) and stay
that way for millennia. This would inundate virtually every coastal
city in the world, and displace close to 3 billion people. And
these billions of refugees would come on top of others already
displaced by heat, drought, disease, storms, hunger and the political
unrest they would cause.
In fact, I do not
think that either the economy or the social structures that we have
are capable of surviving the
inundation of "virtually
every coastal city in the world" or indeed the displacement of some "3 billion people".
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I call Bullshit on the
anti-doom and gloomers. Again, standard risk management
strategies suggest we use the utmost caution – which is to say, assume
the worst, and spare no expense in adopting policies which will prevent
an outcome that is potentially ubiquitous, cataclysmic and
irreversible. Nothing, with the possible exception of an all-out
nuclear war, fits that category better than climate change.
But because of what James
Hansen calls scientific reticence, scientists have been reluctant to
raise alarms, and when they have, many were not particularly good at
it, couching there concerns in the careful language of science.
As a result, people don’t
fully understand the true nature of the threat that climate change
poses, and the press – when they bother to cover it – understates it.
I agree and
there are some quite interesting bits on the very weak
are being used, that I skipped because they are too long and
Also, I think James
Hansen is too friendly on most scientists: Most scientists also know
that they have relatively good incomes, which they like to keep, which
substantially changes - in many but not all cases - their attitudes to
such evidence as there is.
Then again, Atcheson is
right in his above conclusion in his last statement, and this is a
strongly recommended article.