from April 3, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
2018. There may not be an NL tomorrow, or it may be later than normal,
for tomorrow I will not have electricity for 6 hours (with many others).
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 April 3, 2018
1. China’s Communist Party Is Abandoning Workers
2. Bernie Sanders Details a Nefarious Plot Within the Trump
As Facebook Scrutiny Grows, New Campaign
Demands Tech Giants
Pledge to Build
4. Thanks to Climate Disruption, Earth Is Already Losing
5. Starvation Wages Are a “Crime”: Lessons from MLK &
Sanitation Strike, 50 Years
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:
Communist Party Is Abandoning Workers
This article is by Harvey Tomlinson on The New York Times. It starts as
China is a sea of
labor unrest. During the first 10 weeks of this year there were more
than 400 publicly reported strikes, more than double the number during
the comparable period last year. President Xi Jinping’s government has
responded with a firm hand: Labor activists are being arrested and
assaulted simply for demanding their wages.
First, Harvey Tomlinson is
reporting from Hong Kong. And I did not know any of the
above, though it does not amaze me. Also, you should realize
that 813,589 labor conflicts in 2015 means that there was one labor conflict in China in 2015 for approximately every 1500 workers. And that
is a lot of conflicts, in a nominally communist country.
China’s rate of economic growth has slowed over the past few years, China Labour Bulletin, a Hong
Kong-based organization, tracked a surge in reported strikes — most
likely a small measure of all the actual strikes — from fewer than 200
in 2011 to 1,256 in 2017. Government data indicates a 38 percent
increase in the number of labor dispute cases heard by Chinese courts,
from 589,244 in 2011 to 813,589 in 2015.
Here is more on what these workers do strike for:
That is, the workers strike to
get being paid for work they did, but were not paid
fact is that in most strikes Chinese workers are demanding only to be
paid wages and benefits that are owed to them, and for their legal
right to collective bargaining. Still, why are strikes on the rise?
slowing economy has squeezed manufacturers and service-oriented
companies. Many owners have responded by simply not paying workers.
Many companies close shop overnight, surprising workers with the
closure and the news that they won’t be paid wages that are owed to
them. Meanwhile, it appears that workers are becoming more aware of
their legal rights to demand pay and benefits.
And here is the final bit of this article:
ensuring that workers can use their legal right to collective
bargaining, the government could help families to share more of the
rewards of growth and give a boost to the rebalancing of the economy.
This was the story of America’s postwar boom years, when strong unions
helped to expand the middle class.
Communist Party should fully embrace its historical claim to
representing workers. By enforcing legal protections the party may find
that higher household incomes are a solution to slower growth as well
as to the country’s more serious ills of unfairness and inequality.
I agree with the second paragraph, but I add that it seems very
unlikely to me. Then again, while I am interested in China, I do not
know Chinese. And this is a recommended article, if only because one
out of seven living men is Chinese.
Sanders Details a Nefarious Plot Within the Trump Administration
This article is by Andrea Germanos on AlterNet and
originally on Common Dreams. This is from near the beginning:
Echoing comments he
made to the Washington Post last week, Sanders said,
"Let us be clear...you have the Koch brothers—the third wealthiest
family in this country who are going to spend some $400,000,000 on with
their billionaire friends on the coming elections—having enormous power
over the Trump administration."
"And what the Koch brothers
believe," he said, "is not just that we have to privatize the Veterans
Administration. They want to privatize Medicare ... they want to
privatize Medicaid... they're beginning to go after Social Security."
"We have a Secretary of
Education who does not believe in public education, a Secretary of the
...EPA who does not believe in environmental protection. So what you're
looking at under the leadership of the Koch brothers is a massive
effort to privatize agencies of the United States government and give
them over to private corporations. That is what the removal of Shulkin
is all about," Sanders said.
I think Sanders is
right about this, and here is some support for him:
Sanders' perspective on the
president's booting of Shulkin is shared by Iraq war veteran and
director of government relations for VoteVets Will Fischer, who told MSNBC Thursday
that Trump and the Concerned Veterans for America's desire "to destroy
and privatize the VA" was the motivating factor.
Indeed. There is more
in the article, that is recommended.
Facebook Scrutiny Grows, New Campaign Demands Tech Giants Pledge to
Build 'Surveillance-Resistant Web'
This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts
Facebook's data breach at the hands of Cambridge Analytica spurs widespread
privacy concerns and demands for accountability over how
massive internet companies mine the data of their users for profit, a
coalition of civil libertarians and human rights groups on Monday
launched a new
that all tech companies take concrete steps to protect users'
information from exploitation and help build "a surveillance-resistant
I say, for I did not know
this, and I agree with the new campaign. Also, I do like to point out
that Facebook + Cambridge Analytica got data about 50 million American
users of Facebook, which is extremely
much more data than "the Russians" could gather (for $115,000 dollars
it seems, also on Facebook), but that hardly anything of this seems to
get through the propagandists
on the mainstream media (that still insist with Hillary Clinton
that "the Russians did it", in spite of there not
having been produced any decent
evidence for this purported fact in almost 1 1/2 years).
Here is more on the new campaign and on Facebook (that should be
renamed to "Fuckbook", since its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, described his
members - rather correctly also, it seems to me - as "dumb fucks who
"This is a watershed
moment for the internet," Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the
Future, declared in a statement on Monday.
"Millions of people now
understand how their data can be weaponized and used against them, and
they are demanding change," Greer said. "Cambridge Analytica is just
the tip of the iceberg, and this problem doesn't begin and end with
Facebook. If the largest tech companies take the steps outlined in the
security pledge, it will change the course of human history for the
Well... I basically
agree with Evan Greer, although "millions of people", who "now
understand how their" private data can be used to
completely fuck them over by both the rich corporations and
the secret services (any one, from anywhere), does not appear to be enough in view of the
fact that Facebook has more than two billion members (who for
the most part are solidly ignorant of
computing and its dangers).
Then again, these are
the facts. Here is more on the demands of the new campaign:
Spearheaded by ACLU, Free
Press, Demand Progress, Color of Change, and several other prominent
organizations, the "Security
Pledge" calls on tech giants to:
- Move toward "meaningful
transparency" by ensuring that users "have access to and control over
- Protect users' personal
information by providing "end-to-end encryption" that would prevent
corporate and government surveillance;
- Cease collecting and
storing data that "isn't necessary for your product or business";
- Provide equal
protections to all communities and stop collecting "information that is
vulnerable to misuse," like immigration status and political views; and
- Support "laws that
require a warrant before the government can demand information about
your users" and "reforms that curtail mass surveillance."
Well... I am quite
willing to agree with all the demands, although I add
immediately that only end-to-end
encryption of all and any personal information will help.
Besides, both the secret services and the big
corporations have been collecting private data for at least 17
years now, and they will not stop (legally or illegally)
until all personal data are encrypted, and they cannot
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
David Segal, executive
director of Demand Progress, argued in a statement on Monday that tech
companies' long-term response to the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica
scandal will ultimately determine whether the internet is used "for
transformational change for the better" or for "the extraction of
sensitive private information and manipulation towards the benefit of
large corporations or for social control by governments."
"The major online platforms
are facing a reckoning: How they respond in this moment will help
determine whether the utopian vision that inspired so many internet
pioneers and users stands a chance of becoming a reality, or whether
companies will ignore the public interest and turn the internet against
its users towards the end of private benefit," Segal concluded.
I think Segal is too
optimistic. Neither the tech companies nor the NSA nor any other
spying organization will stop spying until spying is made impossible
for them, and this can be done only by encrypting.
And I feel quite
certain (after 17 years of continuous and continued spying on
absolutely everyone connected to the internet) that the internet will
be used against its users, simply because spying is extremely profitable, and because all
the rich corporations and all the spies from any government anywhere
have had continuous access to almost anyone
on the internet since 17 years, and both
the big money and the big power are strongly for
aggrandizing their profits and their powers.
to Climate Disruption, Earth Is Already Losing Critical Biosphere
This article is by Dahr Jamail on Truth-out. It starts as
Two weeks ago, I gave a
keynote presentation about anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) at a
large sustainability conference in Chico, California. During the
question-and-answer session following my talk, a student asked me what
I thought the world would look like by 2050. His question stopped me in
my tracks. I had to pause and take a deep breath, to prepare myself
emotionally for what I had to tell him.
Here is the gist of what I
said: Based on years of research for my forthcoming book, The End
of Ice, along with my work compiling these monthly climate
disruption dispatches for four years now, I know that by 2050, we will
be inhabiting a dramatically different planet. I believe we will
already have tens -- if not hundreds -- of millions of climate refugees
from sea-level rise and conflicts born of lack of food and water. What
we currently call extreme weather events (massive floods, droughts,
hurricanes) will have long since become the norm. In the US, growing
food in the Midwest and the central valley of California will be
extremely difficult, if not largely impossible, due to shifting weather
patterns of rainfall and drought. Some swaths of the world, including
the Gulf states in the Middle East and parts of the US Southwest, will
be largely uninhabitable due to simply being too hot. Greenland and the
Antarctic will both be experiencing dramatically advanced melting, and
most of the glaciers in the contiguous 48 US states will have long
since ceased to exist. And given that we are officially already amidst
the Sixth Mass Extinction Event of the planet,
which humans triggered, the biological annihilation that comes with
this is happening apace.
I say - and I note that
2050 is about 30 years away. And I am rather strongly inclined to
believe Dahr Jamail, and that for two reasons:
The first reason is
that I have been following "the environment" since 1972, when I first
Limits to Growth", while my second reason is that it turned out by
2014 that the predictions this had made in 1972 (which were then often
ridiculed) were still correct - which also implies that all of the - heavily advertised -
governments' actions to improve "the climate" had been without any noticeable effect for 45 years.
Here is some more:
I say, again. There is
more in the article, which is strongly recommended. I close on a
personal note: In 2050 I will become 100, which makes it extremely
unlikely that I will live as long. Then again, I hope not to
get drowned some time in the coming 30 years, because I live in
Amsterdam, which is over 2 meters below sea level. (And if either Dahr
Jamail or BP and Shell are correct in their assessments, Amsterdam may
need visiting by diving in 2050.)
Meanwhile, a recently published World Wildlife Fund report has
predicted catastrophic losses in the world's forests: As much as 60
percent of the plants and half of all the animals are predicted to
disappear by 2100. if temperatures rise by more than 1.5 degrees
Celsius (1.5°C). The scientific consensus states that a 1.5°C rise is a
given; in fact, some prominent scientists believe an increase of 3.2°C
by 2100 is most likely, given current national commitments. If
emissions remain unchanged, which is the current actual trajectory, a
4.5°C rise is the forecast. It is worth noting that oil giants BP and
Shell are planning on 5°C of planetary warming by 2050.
Wages Are a “Crime”: Lessons from MLK & 1968 Memphis Sanitation
Strike, 50 Years Later
This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on
Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
commemorations are being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the
assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The civil rights leader and
peace activist was gunned down April 4, 1968, on the balcony of his
hotel room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just 39
years old. King was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers,
who he saw as being on the front lines of fighting poverty and integral
to his new initiative, the Poor People’s Campaign. “It is a crime for
people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages,” King
told people in Memphis shortly before his death. In the late 1960s,
King recognized that the next phase in the quest for civil rights and
equality would focus on the economic divide.
In fact, I do
recall the murder of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, for I was then 18 and a member of
various quite leftist groups. And I had expected some more about King's
but maybe it was too early.
Also, while I normally like the interviews on Democracy Now! I did not
find it interesting this time. There probably will be more on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tomorrow or the
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 (!!).