from January 25, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
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.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from January 25, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. A Conservative’s Case Against Donald Trump
2. Apple Can’t Resist Playing by China’s Rules
3. For Pope Francis, Fake News Goes Back to the Garden of Eden
4. 9 Explosive Claims from Michael Wolff's Book That the
5. Mainstream Media and Imperial Power
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:
Conservative’s Case Against Donald Trump
This article is by Adrian Wooldridge on The New York Times. This is a
review of David Frum´s
book ¨The Corruption of the American Republic¨.
This is from near the beginning:
has usually been at or near the front of the pundit pack with a
succession of articles in The Atlantic, where he is a senior editor.
Most commentators are dyed-in-the-wool liberals who exhausted the
language of fulmination during George W. Bush’s presidency. Frum worked
for Bush and even had a hand in writing his “axis of evil” speech. Most
commentators regard conservative America as an alien land inhabited by
monsters. Frum has been writing sharp but sympathetic books on that
land since his first, “Dead Right,” on the weaknesses of Reaganism, in
1994. The central theme in Frum’s excellent new book, “Trumpocracy,”
which draws on his Atlantic articles, is what Trump’s career tells us
about the deeper structural problems of America in general, and
conservative America in particular.
This is sketch by
Wooldridge of David Frum´s position. I quoted it to give some
background to the author of the book, and not because I completely
agree with it.
But I want to make two remarks about Wooldridge´s ¨Most
commentators regard conservative America as an alien land inhabited by
The first is that I have no idea to what extent (¨Most¨?!,
¨alien¨, ¨monsters¨) this might be true, and in
fact I do think it is too vague and too sensational,
but this is all less important.
My second remark is more important. I
think that one way of looking at politics and the news these days is with
the help of the following two - admittedly simplifying
Belief in factual truths + Leftism - Non-belief in factual truth - Belief in factual truths + Rightism
That is, for - genuine - Leftists (who these days write mostly
for the non-mainstream media) there are still facts and truths,
which conviction is embedded in a left-wing ideology; for - genuine - conservatives
(I shall say) - there also are still facts and truths,
but this time
the convictions are embedded in a conservative ideology
(who these days also to a considerable extent are excluded from the
mainstream media). 
What is new is the group in the middle, that these days cover all
the mainstream media, both of the leftist 
kind and of the
rightist  kind, and that basically gave up
the notions of fact
and of truth, and effectively replaced them by propaganda
(of various kinds and various strengths) and baloney about the
personal values by the mainstream media represent- atives of these ¨ideologies¨.
And all that matters for the - largest - middle group of the
mainstream media are the various kinds of propaganda and baloney
they spread (colored by a leftish or a rightish ideology) and the
profits they make that way.
I immediately admit that the above is also a simplification, but it
seems more correct to me than the more normal simplifications of the
left and the right. One way of summarizing it is that the mainstream
media have sold out to propaganda + profits.
Back to the article. This is on a difference between Hillary Clinton
and Donald Trump:
against Hillary Clinton was in some ways a model of how not to run
campaigns — he lurched from crisis to crisis and never bothered to
enumerate any detailed policies. But he understood her great
limitation: that she represented the nexus between meritocracy and
plutocracy, indebted to Big Money and divorced from millions of
More specifically (and I
think this is true): Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all
started as poor politicians, while the Clintons now have more
million dollars, it seems mostly from the bankers, and Obama
than $65 million, mostly from selling autobiographies, it seems.
It seems that all three are grossly corrupt, and it
sense to look at the conventional politicians not as being
foremost politicians, who are trying to represent and lead citizens,
being money-makers for themselves, and as budding
the political ways of propagandizing, lying and deceiving.
In any case, this is my explanation of Wooldridge´s
Hillary Clinton, that in fact also holds for Bill Clinton, Barack
Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and most leading Democrats: They represent ¨the nexus between meritocracy and
plutocracy" and are extremely ¨indebted to Big Money¨, that indeed - in part - set out to
corrupt them, and that succeeded enormously.
Back to Wooldridge´s article:
The line between
truth and falsehood is becoming dangerously blurred. Again, America’s
knowledge elite is partly responsible for this: Armies of postmodern
academics had prepared the way for Trump by arguing that truth is a
construct of the power elite. But the biggest culprit is technological
progress. Digitalization is not only creating a deafening cacophony of
voices. It is also making it harder to finance real journalism while
simultaneously making it easier to distribute tripe.
In fact, I think these are
(at least) three different propositions, that I shall briefly try to
restate from my point of view (which is neither Frum´s nor
In fact (at least for the mainstream media: see above)
have been replaced (quite consciously also, at
least in the media) by propaganda
+ profit: What the mainstream media
spread is mostly conscious propaganda, and the only real thing
binds it are not the real facts or the real truths, but the
profits that are made by the mainstream media, as indeed was also
admitted by CNN (who agreed that Trump was talking bullshit in his
presidential campaign, but it was all very profitable, and that was the
reason to show it day in and day out).
Next, Wooldridge is quite correct this exchange of truth and falsehood
for propaganda and profit was prepared by the postmodernistic
academics, who did in fact insist that there is no truth
and that all truths are propaganda, but it is my guess that
is mistaken about how long this took: In Holland it started in 1978,
when the academical year was opened with the special and public total
(in fact: fascistic)
¨Everybody knows that truth does not exist¨
This was then also the
of - at least - the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam, and has been maintained
as the official ideology till 1995 (though less explicit than in 1978
at it gained more and more terrain).
Third, as to the ¨deafening
voices¨: It is especially Facebook
and Twitter that have introduced something like 2 billion
publishers who cannot really write (and so are remarkably glad to
limit their slogans and insults to 148 characters, that was the
limit of what one could write on Twitter) and who mainly
communicate with themselves while most can neither define
¨propaganda¨ nor ¨truth¨ nor ¨falsehood¨ in any clear rational
(in which most anyway disbelieve).
There is more to be said about each of my three remarks, but not here
and now. I quote the last bit of this article:
Frum thinks the
combination of Trump’s drive for self-aggrandizement and America’s
current weaknesses is nothing less than a threat to the democratic
order. “The thing to fear from the Trump presidency is not the bold
overthrow of the Constitution, but the stealthy paralysis of
governance; not the open defiance of law, but an accumulating
subversion of norms; not the deployment of state power to intimidate
dissidents, but the incitement of private violence to radicalize
And I think Frum is quite
right about this. This is a recommended article.
Can’t Resist Playing by China’s Rules
This article is by Cheng Guangcheng
- he is a blind Chinese who managed to escape with his wife and
children to the USA in 2012 - on The New York Times. It starts as
Apple is selling
out. It’s not about the latest version of the iPhone, but the huge
cache of personal data that will be going directly to the largest, and
one of the harshest, authoritarian regimes in the world: the Communist
government of China.
Chinese government’s continuing crackdown on human rights and freedom
of speech under President Xi Jinping, as well as its deepening reach
into Western democracies, Apple’s policies in China have far-reaching
implications for us all.
so: Apple is selling out - betraying
over a billion Chinese, in fact - and it is doing so because
doing so is profitable. (And also
more on what is happening in China:
That is to say: Apple will
be doing directly, contractually, explicitly, and for profit in
what it has been doing indirectly, secretively, implicitly and for
profit in the West: Absolutely everything anyone thinks,
desires, and in fact is, is being directly delivered to the secret
services of the Chinese Communist Party (who thereby also
know all the
family and all the friends of those they have all the materials of).
Apple announced that it
would be partnering with Guizhou-Cloud Big Data, a state-owned
company with Communist Party connections, to build Apple’s first
data-storage center in China. Beginning Feb. 28, the iCloud content of
Apple ID users registered in China will be sent to and managed by
Guizhou-Cloud Big Data.
registered in China, according to Apple’s new terms and conditions
agreement for the country, must “understand and agree that Apple and
G.C.B.D. will have access to all data that you store on this service,
including the right to share, exchange and disclose all user data,
including content, to and between each other under applicable law.”
In short, all personal user
information stored on the iCloud — including photos, videos, text
files, contacts, calendars and iCloud email — will be shared with
Guizhou-Cloud Big Data and could be available to the Chinese
authorities as well.
Here is how Apple faces away from any responsibility - e.g. for
effectively delivering the materials to the Chinese government that
allow it to torture its inmates:
Under the agreement,
Apple seems to be absolving itself of responsibility for what the
authorities may choose to do with personal data in G.C.B.D.’s hands.
Users who refuse Apple’s terms will be denied iCloud services. Users
who accept run the risk of unwittingly provoking the ire of the
aggressive police state, resulting in deleted data or accounts, or
harassment and imprisonment.
In fact, this deal that
Apple offers to the Chinese looks very much like the deal that
offers to its members.
Here is the neofascist
multi-billionaire, Apple´s Cook, posturing his
pretended personal values:
In a 2015 interview
with NPR, the Apple chief executive Tim Cook emphasized that privacy
“is a fundamental human right that people have,” from a “values point
of view,” not “a commercial interest point of view.”
it now seems that such “values” are taking a back seat to profits.
In 2017, Apple
also announced it was halting the sale of virtual private networks,
apps that allow users inside China to get access to blocked content
that is critical for activists and regular citizens. IPhones in China
also no longer include some Western news outlets like The New York
Times on the News app.
- or perhaps rather: For a man like Tim Cook the pretension of
personal values is one of the means to push through the most
profits for Apple and Cook himself.
the last bit that I quote from this fine article:
Actually, I find it extremely
believe that Apple is caving in to the regime like this¨ (but I am
living 67 years in the West, also): I think Apple is like the
mainstream media (see here): Apple has sold out truth + honesty to propaganda +
profits (and it
will continue to do so until it has been legally stopped,
It’s hard to
believe that Apple is caving in to the regime like this. The only
conclusion I am left to draw is that the company is O.K. with taking
part in the suppression of freedoms abroad while espousing high-minded
values at home.
To be fair, many American tech
companies have been tripping over themselves to get into China.
Facebook has reportedly been developing
censorship software so that it can win approval to operate in
China, while the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has long
been courting the Chinese leadership. For such companies, the Chinese
market is simply too big of a temptation when weighed against less
quantitatively measurable things like human rights and freedom of
Pope Francis, Fake News Goes Back to the Garden of Eden
This article is by Jason Horowitz on The New York Times. It starts as
The serpent in the
Garden of Eden hissed the
first fake news to Eve and it all went downhill from there, Pope
Francis wrote in a major document about the phenomenon of fake news
released on Wednesday.
“We need to
unmask what could be called the
‘snake-tactics’ used by those who disguise themselves in order to
strike at any time and place,” the pope wrote in a message ahead of
what the church has designated as its World Day of Social
Communications, in May.
Arguing that the
“crafty” serpent’s effective
disinformation campaign to get Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge
“began the tragic history of human sin,” he added, “I would like to
contribute to our shared commitment to stemming the spread of fake
I like Pope
Francis, although I am a lifelong atheist, who
doesn´t see anything convincing in Catholicism or any other religion. My
reason is mainly that Francis is more realistic than previous
popes, and also has a number of attitudes that I like.
while I like the above quoted bit, I would have liked it better
if Francis had either avoided or clarified the terms ¨fake news¨ and
¨disinformation campaign¨, for the simple reasons that both are euphemisms
which is what they are.
Here is some
But in a varyingly
sophisticated, spiritual and questionable analysis of the fake news
epidemic, the 81-year-old pontiff tried on the cap of contemporary
media critic to address an issue that has wreaked havoc and undermined
democracies from the United States to Europe and beyond.
In doing so, he offered
a largely cleareyed assessment of the problem, its social impact, and
the responsibility of social media giants and journalists. And he
called on news consumers to break out of their comfortable echo
chambers and cushy news feeds by seeking out different points of view.
I agree with that. Here is more:
somewhat antiquated view that separates dead-tree and digital outlets,
the pope defined fake news as the spreading “online or in the
traditional media” of disinformation that is intended to deceive and
manipulate consumers for political and economic interests.
that fake news is effective because, like the snake in the garden, it
insidiously mimics real news, and is “captious” — pope for clickbait —
meaning that it grabs people’s attention by exploiting “emotions like
anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration.”
identified social networks as the delivery systems for such fake news.
can spread so quickly that even authoritative denials fail to contain
the damage,” he wrote, adding that those living virtual lives in
like-minded silos allow disinformation to thrive and that the absence
of opposing viewpoints turns people into “unwilling accomplices in
spreading biased and baseless ideas.”
I have no idea what Horowitz has in mind when he speaks of
while I insist that Francis spoke more or less correctly in the
just cited bit, but would have spoken more correctly if he had
made the following changes: ¨lies¨ for ¨fake news¨; ¨lies¨ for ¨disinformation¨, and ¨false¨ for
out if you disbelieve me. Here is the last bit that I quote from
To achieve a climate of open-minded dialogue, Francis
exalted journalists, who have been generally demonized by President
Trump and other leaders in efforts to undercut critical coverage. The
pope called them the “protectors of news” and characterized their
profession as a “mission.”
others means forming others; it means being in touch with people’s
lives,” he wrote. “That is why ensuring the accuracy of sources and
protecting communication are real means of promoting goodness,
generating trust, and opening the way to communion and peace.”
Well... I agree with the pope, and this is a
Explosive Claims from Michael Wolff's Book That the Media Missed
This article is by Chris Sosa on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the
Trump White House are still being felt as the author uses
interview appearances to maintain a place in the news cycle. The book
has already resulted in the ouster of White House chief strategist
Steve Bannon, whose extreme nationalist views were among the strongest
influences on President Trump’s administration.
On Friday, Wolff
claimed during an interview on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher that
Trump is having an affair while in the White House. Wolff said the
information can be read “between the lines” in the book. Some have
wondered whether the subject is U.N.
ambassador Nikki Haley.
award-winning Wolff’s factual reliability is a matter of continued
debate, his book is anchored by hours of recorded interviews and
copious notes. Many of the most explosive allegations have yet to be
examined at-large in the mainstream media. Here are some of the most
disturbing and fascinating claims found in the pages of Fire
reported on both the "Fire and Fury" and on Michael
Wolff before on Nederlog (see the index of this
year) and I will limit Sosa´s report on the ¨9 explosive claims
(..) that the media missed¨ to their titles, and suppress the
(which you can read by going to the original):
Coulter tried to stop Trump from employing his children.
2. Jared Kushner is the victim of
anti-Semitism in the White House.
3. Trump’s preferred health care solution
4. Steve Bannon wanted to succeed Trump as
president of the United
5. Hope Hicks is the subject of abuse as Trump keeps
6. Trump isn’t convinced Richard Nixon was
guilty in the Watergate
7. The war in Afghanistan infuriates Trump for its lack of
8. Trump is sympathetic to the contemporary
9. Trump planned to lose the 2016 election
and was 'horrified' when he
And I also do not think all
are ¨explosive¨ although several are interesting, notably the last.
I did not
know this in the detail it is reported here, and will copy part of the
on the negative response Melania Trump was reported to have upon
learning of Trump’s victory. Much less coverage was dedicated to how
Trump felt about winning the presidency.
described a "befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and
then into a quite horrified Trump.” Don Jr. reportedly told a friend
that his father “looked as if he had seen a ghost.”
But Trump quickly
morphed in a way that will sound familiar to those who have watched him
occupy the office for the past year.
“[S]till to come
was the final transformation: suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who
believed that he deserved to be and was wholly capable of being the
president of the United States,” Wolff writes.
I say. And
this is a recommended article.
Media and Imperial Power
This article is by Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico on
Consortiumnews. This is from near the beginning:
Randy Credico and Dennis J
Bernstein spoke with Pilger on January 18 about the multiple failures
of the corporate press in fanning the phony flames of Russiagate, and
turning its back on Julian Assange–acting more like prosecutors than
journalists, whose responsibility it is to monitor the centers of power
and report back to the people.
They also spoke with Pilger
about the recent decision by the British Library to acquire his
substantial works and invaluable archives and make them readily
available to a much wider audience
First of all, I like
and admire John
Pilger and I am quite glad that the British Library has
acquired his work, which in fact means that future generations
- if there are any - will be abled to see his many fine and courageous
films that document quite a large number of events in the last forty or
fifty years, and normally in a considerably better way than the
mainstream media did, at the same time.
Here is more on Pilger:
Dennis Bernstein: I
would like to read a little of what they said on the record when they
welcomed your material into the library. They write, “Throughout
his career, John Pilger has demonstrated the power and significance of
investigative journalism in uncovering stories of people who have been
ignored by the mainstream media or left otherwise without voice.
His groundbreaking work in Cambodia revealed the devastation
caused by the Khmer Rouge and his film Year Zero: The Silent Death
of Cambodia has subsequently been described as one of the ten most
influential documentaries of the twentieth century.”
I would like to read now a
little of the statement that you sent to the World’s Socialist
Conference where they were discussing the deep nature of censorship.
You wrote, “Something has changed. Although the media was always
a loose extension of capital power, it is now almost fully integrated.
Dissent, once tolerated in the mainstream, has now regressed to a
metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves toward a form of
corporate dictatorship.” And it is getting worse at an
exponential rate, wouldn’t you say?
agree with everything, and my explanation is given (in part) above: The mainstream media have sold out truth +
honesty to propaganda
Here is some more by
Yes. Chris Hedges is an example of that. He was right
in the mainstream at The New York Times and now finds himself
outside it. Another example is America’s most celebrated
investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, who it appears now can only
get published in Germany. Hersh has effectively been ejected from
the mainstream in the United States.
In my own case, I navigated
my way through the mainstream. My films are still shown on
commercial TV in Britain. My written journalism, however, is no
longer welcome. Its last home was The Guardian, which
three years ago got rid of people like me and others in a kind of purge
of those who were saying what The Guardian no longer says
Yes indeed - and The
Guardian has changed from a somewhat Leftist, mostly
factual, mostly honest newspaper into a Blatcherist
paper, and indeed I have seen this happening over the five
years that I closely followed The Guardian: It is - at
least from my point of view, and from the point of view of many
Leftists - a far worse paper than
it was five years ago.
Here is more, on telling
the truth and on Julian Assange:
I agree with Pilger. And
here is Pilger´s judgement on the mainstream media:
Dennis Bernstein: It
has come to the point where to tell the truth is to commit professional
At the recent World Socialist Conference, Julian Assange warned
of what he called the “super states” on the internet and how much power
they have–the Facebooks and Googles, etc.
John Pilger: He raised
the whole specter of artificial intelligence and how it can be abused
by the undemocratic forces that control so much of the world. I
think what he had to say was very interesting and extremely timely.
It is important to remember that Assange is a refugee and that
the refugee is almost a symbol of our times.
CNN and NBC and the
rest of the networks have been the voices of power and have been the
source of distorted news for such a long time. They are not
circling the wagons because the wagons are on the wrong side.
These people in the mainstream have been an extension of the
power that has corrupted so much of our body politic. They have
been the sources of so many myths.
Yes indeed, and that is a
very great loss, and this is a
strongly recommended article.
Media in the West is now an
extension of imperial power. It is no longer a loose extension,
it is a direct extension.
have now been
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 (!!).
 In fact, rather a lot has been
comprised in this paragraph, and I will also only give a few partial
explanations here of the terms I use.
First, there is a presumed background, which
has been sketched in Naturalism, Natural
Philosophy and Natural Logic,
and indeed also in science,
and fact, while
should be considered.
Second, Leftists and conservatives (or Rightists) are both
characterized by their beliefs in truths and facts, even though their
actual ideologies are quite opposed.
And third, ¨leftist¨ and ¨rightist¨ are distinguished from
¨Leftist¨ and ¨Rightist¨ by their having given up a real belief in
truths and facts: They are in fact mere leftist and
without any belief in something like proof, fact or truth.
Finally, the above explanations are also partial (but
this is a Nederlog and not a long treatise).
 These ¨leftist¨ and ¨rightist¨
have been defined in the previous note: Mere propaganda, without any belief in something like proof, fact or truth