from December 15, 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 three 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 December 15, 2018:
1. China’s Economy Slows Sharply, in
Challenge for Xi Jinping
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. Australian Gag Order Stokes Global
Debate on Secrecy
3. Reign of Idiots
4. How We're Getting Net Neutrality Back
5. Sex, Russia and Impeachment
Economy Slows Sharply, in Challenge for Xi Jinping
This article is by
Keith Bradsher and Ailin Tang on The New York Times. It starts as
and businesses are
losing confidence. Car sales have plunged. The housing market is
stumbling. Some factories are letting workers off for the big Lunar New
Year holiday two months early.
economy has slowed sharply in recent months, presenting perhaps the
biggest challenge to its top leader, Xi Jinping, in his six years of
rule. At home, he faces difficult choices that could rekindle growth
but add to the country’s long-term problems, like its heavy debt. On the world
stage, he has been forced to make concessions to the United States as President
Trump’s trade war intensifies.
I say, which I do because I did not know the
Also, the main reasons this article is reviewed here are the
of China in the world´s economy and the fact that I dislike Xi Jinping
mostly because he seems to be setting himself up as a dictator in
country, that he also surveys (probably soon with much
help by Google) by internet computer, that gives his secret police
tenthousands of times more information on anyone than the KGB or the
Gestapo ever could have. And this internet information = power - which
makes Xi Jinping quite dangerous.
Here is more:
the magnitude of the slowdown is difficult, given the unreliability of
China’s economic data. But there are signs that the country’s problems
Friday, Chinese officials reported surprisingly weak growth in monthly
retail sales and industrial production weighing on global markets and helping to drag down the
S&P 500-stock index by 1.9 percent. Many economists say the
slowdown is the worst since the global financial crisis a decade ago,
when Beijing was forced to plow trillions of dollars into its economy
to keep growth from derailing.
Jinping has likened China to an ocean that no storm can disturb, but
the tempest now hitting it is by far the biggest” in years, said Diana
Choyleva, the chief economist at Enodo Economics in London, who
estimates that growth has fallen even lower than during the crisis.
I relay this here and do not know whether it is
though I suppose it mostly is. Here is more, this time mostly on
the past two decades, a surging economy gave the Chinese leadership an
ever bigger platform. (..) China has generally negotiated from a
position of strength.
Xi doesn’t have that luxury anymore. He has solidified control over
ever more of Chinese political and social life and the economy. This
year, he removed term limits, setting himself up to be president for
life if he chooses. While the trade war with the United States provides
a handy scapegoat, public blame for a prolonged downturn could
ultimately fall on him. Already the government has ordered that bad
economic news be censored.
I think this is mostly true, and I very strongly
dislike the fact that Xi Jinping has set ¨himself up to be president for
life if he chooses¨, which
according to me is strong evidence that in fact he set himself
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
China has ramped up the sort of government-led spending that bailed out
its economy in the past. At Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group, a
state-owned giant that supplies many highway and rail builders, sales
have jumped 50 percent from a year ago, said Wang Min, the company’s
have also ordered banks to lend more to private businesses. Ministers
have promised to compensate
businesses for not laying off workers. Environmental controls are
being less stringently enforced, making it easier for polluting
factories to stay open.
But China’s options for juicing the economy aren’t as effective as they
used to be.
small but notable rise in defaults in China has made some lenders
nervous. Rules adopted since the financial crisis make China’s bank
managers responsible for life for loans that aren’t repaid, and that
has them more leery of extending financing to keep troubled businesses
afloat. Government-led spending adds to the huge debt pile, making that
long-term drag on growth even worse.
Again I do not know how true this is, though I suppose
it mostly is. And this is a recommended article.
Gag Order Stokes Global Debate on Secrecy
This article is by
Damien Cave on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
There is a criminal
case unfolding in Australia that shall not be named. The defendant is a
figure with a global reputation, someone of great influence in the
country and the world. The charges are serious and of significant
publishing news about this case is illegal.
I say?! This sounds like dangerous bullshit to
that mostly for two reasons:
First, while I accept the fact that a few
be done in relative secrecy, I think all real justice is public
justice: If you can be convicted without anyone
knowing it because this
knowledge is mostly or wholly forbidden, you may as well be convicted
by a dictator.
And second, WTF has the USA, England or Holland to do
with the rulings of an Australian judge?! The law is
international, though indeed there are parts which are inter- national,
but even so, the law is mostly national
and is indeed based on the fact
that there are national stated that will try to maintain it.
Here is some more:
in Australia and some other countries, including Britain, often issue
gag orders that temporarily restrict the publication of information
related to a criminal proceeding on the grounds that it might sway
jurors or potential jurors.
judges even require the existence of these orders to be kept secret.
this case, something unusual is happening — the sweep of the
restrictions is so all-encompassing that the conflict between the
public’s right to know and the defendant’s right to a fair trial is
rippling across the internet and the world, touching news outlets and
institutions in distant countries.
you’re not in Australia, you may have already read recent coverage of
you are in Australia or depend on online news from international
organizations like The New York Times, The Associated Press or Reuters,
you probably know nothing about it.
orders, also known as suppression orders, are supposed to work that
way. They usually apply to speech within a specific jurisdiction.
the global nature of the internet has blurred the lines, giving local
judges the power to threaten any website accessible to local residents,
regardless of where the site or its journalists are based.
includes The Times: The Times is not publishing the latest news of the
case online, and it blocked delivery of the Friday print edition to
Australia, to comply with the judge’s order. The Times’s lawyers in
Australia have advised the organization that it is subject to local law
because it maintains a bureau in the country.
of this is correct, but it seems to me that ¨the global nature of the internet has blurred the lines,
judges the power to threaten any website accessible to local residents,
regardless of where the site or its journalists are based¨ sounds like bullshit to me because - once
again - the law is not
global: it is local and must
be local, because it requires a local
government to institute it as law
and to try to maintain it as law.
as I also said before: Except for a very few cases, all real justice is public justice,
if it is not public, it is not justice.
Here is some more:
core debate is an old one, pitting the right of the accused to a fair
trial against the right of free speech, and of the public to know
what’s going on in the courtroom. Those poles are not mutually
exclusive: Trials in Australia, as in the United States, are usually
both open and fair.
you need for a fair trial are fair and unbiased jurors, not people who
have been kept in the dark,” said Kurt Wimmer, a media and technology
lawyer who is a partner with Covington and Burling in Washington.
of the way technology has shifted the media landscape, gag orders now
raise additional questions of scale and geography. The question now is
whether a local judge, in protecting the right to a fair trial, should
have the unilateral authority to silence journalists and publishers
around the globe.
agree with the first two of the above quoted paragraphs, but not with
the last: A local judge should not ¨have the unilateral authority to silence
around the globe¨
and indeed cannot have it because all laws are in the end national
laws, and are maintained (if at all) only by the nations which have
Here is the ending of this article:
now, one judge in an Australian court is altering how the world sees a
global figure accused of serious crimes. To preserve a local media
blackout, he and the case’s lawyers, who have supported the media ban,
demand that the rest of the world not publicly debate their competence
or the man being prosecuted to ensure, as much as possible, fair
treatment in court.
some, that suppression of information will be seen as a triumph of
justice, a noble win for local self-determination and the rule of law.
others it will be seen as an act that, however well intended,
undermines transparency and accountability in a case that much of the
world would desperately like to discuss.
In fact, I still have no idea whatsoever about
person (who must be very powerful) who is at trial, nor do I have
idea what the trial is about. And clearly I think that this ¨undermines¨ all ¨transparency
Finally, I also think that no Australian judge should have
the power to
stop all discussions outside Australia. And this is a
3. Reign of
is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. Here is a little introduction:
This article was published originally on May 1, 2017, but was republished this
week, possibly because Hedges´ weekly column on
Truthdig (which is
one of my favorites on the internet) was not very popular,
do not know this.
The reason it was not very popular may have been that it was
Christianity this week and indeed it was not popular with
am an atheist
(and a philosopher). But then again, I am quite familiar
with Hedges´ columns and I do know since a long time that one
things he and I disagree about indeed is Christianity.
Also, I don´t much care, although that is mostly due to the fact that I
mostly like Hedges´ views and values. In any case, this week was the first
time - to my knowledge - that two columns
by Hedges were
(re)published in one week, and the present column, from 2017, seems far
more popular than the one that was originally published, that indeed
also disappeared from Truthdig´s
In fact, I have reviewed the Reign of Idiots when it
was published in
2017, and it so happens that I did not quite agree with Hedges´ theses
then as well. Here is my review from 2017, which I republish here
mostly because I like Hedges without agreeing with him:
Reign of Idiots starts as follows:
The idiots take over in the
of crumbling civilizations. Idiot generals wage endless, unwinnable
wars that bankrupt the nation. Idiot economists call for reducing taxes
for the rich and cutting social service programs for the poor, and
project economic growth on the basis of myth. Idiot industrialists
poison the water, the soil and the air, slash jobs and depress wages.
Idiot bankers gamble on self-created financial bubbles and impose
crippling debt peonage on the citizens. Idiot journalists and public
intellectuals pretend despotism is democracy. Idiot intelligence
operatives orchestrate the overthrow of foreign governments to create
lawless enclaves that give rise to enraged fanatics. Idiot professors,
“experts” and “specialists” busy themselves with unintelligible jargon
and arcane theory that buttresses the policies of the rulers. Idiot
entertainers and producers create lurid spectacles of sex, gore and
I don't think so - and I
believe most men are not very intelligent
nor very moral
or ethical, and
are not, according to their own - mostly
pretended or mostly believed - ideas about ethics, morality and value, whatever
But I don't think
most men are "idiots" in any plausible sense of the term; I do think
they are egoists;
I do think they are pretenders; and I do think they are mostly deceiving
themselves as well as others. But most men are not idiots.
Something similar holds for
quotation: It seems much more true (in my pretty experienced
learned eyes) again to speak of egoists rather
than idiots, and perhaps
stress the fact that egoism may entice one into many very gross
The idiots know only one
word—“more.” They are unencumbered by common
sense. They hoard wealth and resources until workers cannot make a
living and the infrastructure collapses. They live in privileged
compounds where they eat chocolate cake and order missile strikes. They
see the state as a projection of their vanity. The Roman, Mayan,
French, Habsburg, Ottoman, Romanov, Wilhelmine,
and Soviet dynasties crumbled because the whims and obsessions of
ruling idiots were law.
And something similar applies
following quotation, although I think I agree with Chris Hedges on the
thesis that Trump is not sane
(as quite a big number of psychologists,
of which I am one, and psychiatrists now seem to agree):
Donald Trump is the face of
our collective idiocy. He is what lies
behind the mask of our professed civility and rationality—a sputtering,
narcissistic, bloodthirsty megalomaniac. He wields armies and fleets
against the wretched of the earth, blithely ignores the catastrophic
human misery caused by global warming, pillages on behalf of global
oligarchs and at night sits slack-jawed in front of a television set
before opening his “beautiful” Twitter account. He is our version of
the Roman emperor Nero (...)
I agree Trump is a narcissistic
megalomaniac, and if you disagree, as you may, I think you should
the last link and consider the probable fact that you yourself does not
know much about madness, insanity or psychology.
But again, most of his
motives also are egoistic
rather than idiotic, though I agree that egoism may entice one into many very gross
falsifications, and certainly tends to do so in politicians,
CEOs, and holders of power,
who try to serve their own
financial interests while pretending to act for the interests
There is also this, that is a
reflection on five centuries of plundering by white men:
Europeans and Americans
have spent five centuries conquering,
plundering, exploiting and polluting the earth in the name of human
progress. They used their technological superiority to create the most
efficient killing machines on the planet, directed against anyone and
anything, especially indigenous cultures, that stood in their way. They
stole and hoarded the planet’s wealth and resources. They believed that
this orgy of blood and gold would never end, and they still believe it.
I think this is too negative,
and it also
seems to presume that most men may be as intelligent and as honest as a
few. I don't think so, and in that sense I am either not an
ordinary "leftist" - for I think there are considerable moral
and intellectual differences between individual men, which most
"leftists" these day deny 
- or else, and far more plausibly, I am a philosophical
anarchist (<-Wikipedia), somewhat like Emma Goldman, who came to
same conclusion as I did, already in my teens: Real leftist radicals
are like aristocrats.
Also, I think that the
standards, the moral and ethical standards, the individuality, the
personal courage, and the honesty of the Leftist  intellectuals
and intelligent men and women are better than the same
qualities of most ordinary men,
at least in the sense that they are
more intelligent, more courageous, and more honest than the norms and
ideas of the average, indeed whether poor or rich.
There is this on the magical
thinking that moves the majorities, especially the not well-educated
Magical thinking is not
limited to the beliefs and practices of
pre-modern cultures. It defines the ideology of capitalism. Quotas and
projected sales can always be met. Profits can always be raised. Growth
is inevitable. The impossible is always possible.
I agree on magical - willful
thinking, but again I add that the ideology of capitalism isn't just
based on magical thinking and wishful
thinking, but also on plain
personal greed and egoism
(that once selected may be followed with
considerable rationality, at least by the few intelligent and
Then there is this, where I
disagree with the pronouns: This does not hold of my
family, and it
also does not hold of quite a few intelligent Leftists, who were mostly
honest and were mostly not deceived (and
may have suffered quite a lot
for being honest and undeceived ):
The merging of the self
with the capitalist collective has robbed us of
our agency, creativity, capacity for self-reflection and moral
autonomy. We define our worth not by our independence or our character
but by the material standards set by capitalism—personal wealth,
brands, status and career advancement. We are molded into a compliant
and repressed collective. This mass conformity is characteristic of
totalitarian and authoritarian states. It is the Disneyfication of
America, the land of eternally happy thoughts and positive attitudes.
The reason this does not hold
for myself or my parents is that neither of us defined
ourselves "by the material
standards set by capitalism",
and that each of us did insist foremost on our independence,
character and our values, which indeed also were all uncommon,
non-existent, also not in others (like friends of my parents).
Here is the ending, with
which I happen to agree mostly if "idiots" is replaced by
And this is a recommended
article, but I think you should replace "idiot" everywhere by "egoist".
Half the country may live
in poverty, our civil liberties may be taken
from us, militarized police may murder unarmed citizens in the streets
and we may run the world’s largest prison system and murderous war
machine, but all these truths are studiously ignored. Trump embodies
the essence of this decayed, intellectually bankrupt and immoral world.
He is its natural expression. He is the king of the idiots. We are his
We're Getting Net Neutrality Back
is by Timothy Karr on Common Dreams and originally on the Free Press.
It starts as follows:
A year ago
today, the Federal Communications Commission under Chairman Ajit Pai
of the worst, most abnormal decisions in the agency’s
It ignored public
consensus and voted to strip away the Commission’s authority to protect
internet users from companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon that
want to block, throttle or de-prioritize the online content people want
The Pai FCC
justified that decision with the bogus
claim that the strong open-internet rules adopted in
2015 were hurting broadband investment and speeds. Powered solely by
these lies, Pai ripped up not just the nondiscrimination rights
embodied in the Net Neutrality rules, but the entire legal foundation
for the FCC to promote broadband deployment, affordability and privacy.
time, then-Commissioner Mignon Clyburn
said in her dissent that “the public can plainly see that a
soon-to-be-toothless FCC is handing the keys to the internet — the
internet, one of the most remarkable, empowering, enabling inventions
of our lifetime — over to a handful of multibillion-dollar
and no. I think I mostly agree with the first three paragraphs (and
Timothy Karr is the senior director of the Free Press), but not with
the last one.
In fact I
think (and I know how to program for more than three decades, and own a
personal computer for over thirty years) that the internet may
remarkable invention, but it was started and designed by the US
Deparment and it was designed with the explicit end to give the
secret spies from the (American) government all the power
that they could get by knowing tenthousands of times more about anyone
anywhere than the KGB
or the Gestapo ever could know.
I think the
internet is the biggest danger for freedoms of all kinds that ever
existed; I think it has been explicitly designed to be so:
See my Crisis: Propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968 that shows this was the case from the late
1960ies (!!!) onwards; and I think the internet is - by far - the
reason to impose neofascism on
everyone everywhere that has ever been
Also, I know my
position is rare - but it also is much better informed
than the views
of most other people, and based on considerably more knowledge, both of
and of programming,
than the vast majority has.
Anyway... back to
Net Neutrality advocates mobilized a record number of elected officials
to our side. Nowhere was this more evident than on Capitol Hill, where
a bipartisan majority in the Senate passed
a resolution in May to restore the open-internet rules.
resolution is still gathering support in the House, where 181 members have
already pledged to sign a discharge petition to bring it to a full
floor vote in the last few days of the congressional session ending
this month. That's short of the 218 required to move the
petition forward, but we've never had this many members of Congress
signal such strong support for Net Neutrality. We wouldn't have seen so
many new champions were it not for the millions of people Free Press
Action and other groups mobilized to speak out.
I do not know
whether the above is true, but I accept it. Here is some more:
The Pai FCC
will also have to defend its repeal and abdication of authority in
court. Free Press and our allies are challenging
the agency’s reversal on the proper definition of broadband, its
flawed justifications for tossing out the rules and the many procedural
fouls that plagued the FCC’s action last year.
is in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, with oral
arguments scheduled for February 1. Pai and his Republican colleagues
will have to defend their phony rationale for destroying the
open-internet protections and putting nothing in their place.
I admit that
- in the short run, at least - my guess is that the court may be more
important than Congress, and I agree with Karr that the internet should
be neutral - but I also think that the internet, as it works now,
much more a very great danger to those using it (more than 4 billion
persons now) than that it will or does liberate them in any sense.
Here is the
ending of this article:
Neutrality, large phone and cable companies will take control of the
stories we tell, deciding who gets a voice and who doesn’t.
It’s why we’re
confident that open-internet supporters will win in the end. And that
victory will come sooner rather than later.
I agree with
the first quoted paragraph, but am skeptical about the second
paragraph. And this is a recommended article.
Russia and Impeachment
is by Reese Erlich
on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes, I agree all of this
is correct. Here is some more:
America's largest city is
abuzz over the latest revelations about Donald Trump's crimes. I'm here
on book tour discussing Iran, but audiences want to know if Trump will
Court documents filed in
the case of Trump's long-time personal lawyer Michael Cohen show The
Donald paid off two women with whom he had sexual relations.
Prosecutors consider the payments, totaling several hundred thousand
dollars, to be illegal
campaign contributions because they were explicitly used to prevent
scandal during the 2016 presidential race.
Top Democratic Party leaders
admit those payments constitute impeachable offenses, but have so far
not called for impeachment.
In my opinion, Trump is
guilty of a number of high crimes and misdemeanors. He has escalated
the undeclared wars in Syria and Yemen. He obstructed justice by firing
FBI Director James Comey and lied about meetings his advisors had with
Norman Solomon, co-founder
of RootsAction, has been
building a grass-roots movement for impeachment over the past two
years. (Solomon is also co-author with me of the book Target Iraq.) He
said Trump regularly violates the Constitution's emoluments
clause. The Trump family directly benefits from foreign governments
renting rooms in Trump hotels in Washington DC., among other shading
I think this also is
all correct. Here is again some more:
You noticed that I didn't
mention Trump's collusion/conspiracy with Putin as one of the
impeachable offenses. I think liberals have overplayed that connection,
and it's likely to backfire.
To date, there's no
evidence that Trump cooperated with Russia to illegally influence the
2016 elections or adopt pro-Russian policies as a quid pro quo for
favorable business dealings.
Yes, the Russians spent a
few hundred thousand dollars to set up fake social media sites to
attack Hillary Clinton and support Trump. But, despite the liberal
outcry, it had relatively
Trump won by less
than 80,000 votes in three key states. The Democrats lost because
Trump appealed to alienated white voters and the Clinton campaign tilted
right rather than mobilizing new voters with a progressive program.
And I agree completely with
this as well (and maintain that position since the end of 2016).
This is from the ending of
Russia is no more threat to
the people of United States than any other lesser imperialist power. We
face far greater threats from the neocons currently occupying the White
I view Russian interference
in US elections the same way I see its espionage. Both countries carry
out illegal spying on one another. Occasionally a spy is caught. One
side self righteously denounces the other, but no one believes
espionage will topple either government.
Quite so, again. And this is
a recommended article.
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 (!!).