Thursday, September 21, 2017

Crisis: Spicer, International Law, U.S. Democracy, On Capitalism, On ¨Russia-gate¨

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from September 21, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Thursday, September 21, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) 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.

On the moment I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from September 21, 2017

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:

This article is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

Sean Spicer’s playful, glamorous appearance at last night’s Emmy Awards and being honored as a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School (the honorific which the CIA vetoed for Chelsea Manning) has prompted a mix of shock and indignation. Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau wrote: “Harvard fellowships, Emmy appearances, huge speaking fees: there’s just gonna be no penalty for working in Trump’s White House, huh?” Slate’s Jamelle Bouie added: “The degree to which Sean Spicer has faced no consequences is a glimpse into the post-Trump future.”
First - for those who need to know - here is a link to the Wikipedia lemma on Sean Spicer. I don´t like saying that living people are non-entities, but surely he is intellectually extremely small fry, and he seems ethically to be non-existent. Morally - which I use in a different sense, and see also Features of moral norms - he is a major hypocrite and a liar, but for morals these days (which mostly center around groupthinking) that seems quite normal, especially for eager servants of the rich like Spicer.

And second, because these things have been obvious to me a very long time, I do not have ¨
a mix of shock and indignation¨. Then again, neither does Glenn Greenwald:
There should be nothing whatsoever surprising about any of this, as it is the logical and necessary outcome of the self-serving template of immunity which D.C. elites have erected for themselves. The Bush administration was filled with high-level officials who did not just lie from podiums, but did so in service of actual war crimes. They invaded and destroyed a country of 26 million people based on blatant falsehoods and relentless propaganda. They instituted a worldwide torture regime by issuing decrees that purported to redefine what that term meant. They spied on the communications of American citizens without the warrants required by law. They kidnapped innocent people from foreign soil and sent them to be tortured in the dungeons of the world’s worst regimes, and rounded up Muslims on domestic soil with no charges. They imprisoned Muslim journalists for years without a whiff of due process. And they generally embraced and implemented the fundamental tenets of authoritarianism by explicitly positioning the president and his White House above the law.
And that seems all - for those who took the trouble to find the real news the last eight or sixteen years - factually true.

There is this from near the end:

So if initiating an aggressive war (which the Nuremberg Tribunal called “the supreme international crime”), instituting an international torture regime (which Ronald Reagan called “an abhorrent practice” that no circumstance can justify), and embracing the full model of presidential lawlessness does not result in ostracization, sanction, or exclusion from polite society, why on earth would anyone expect that Sean Spicer would face any sort of actual recrimination or consequence?

Yes indeed, although I´d qualify the last statement with ¨from the present U.S. governmental circles¨. And this is a recommended article.

2. Donald Trump Used the United Nations to Threaten a Massive Violation of International Law

This article is by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

The United States has never cared much about international law. But most U.S. presidents had at least made an effort to pretend that they did. Based on President Donald Trump’s speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, this is yet another American tradition that he’s discarding.

Trump’s overturning of this American norm came during his blusterous threats against North Korea:

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.

To clarify the legal significance of Trump’s words, here’s a quick explanation of the rules that purportedly govern the U.S.’s use of force.

Yes indeed, and I made the same inference yesterday, in thise words:

(..) Trump said he may blow up North Korea all by himself, and - it seems - he also said or implied that all international laws are baloney, since he insists that all countries should do as he does: OUR country FIRST. (Incidentally, this seems to be also a reason why the USA´s secret services can pick up all emails and everything else of anyone who is not an American: Everyone not American is - at best - secondary, and has no real citizens´ rights whatsoever, in practice.)

Also, I think Schwarz´s ¨quick explanation¨ of ¨the rules that purportedly govern the U.S.’s use of force¨ is quite good, but I´ll leave that to your interests. Here is Schwarz´s conclusion:

So what does all this mean for Trump and the “Law of the Land”?

Certainly there’s an argument that Trump’s diatribe violated the U.N. Charter, given its prohibition against even the “threat … of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” (Political journalist Tim Shorrock, among others, pointed this out on Twitter.)

This is particularly true given the vagueness of Trump’s statement about the U.S. being “forced to defend itself or its allies.” This could mean anything from an actual first-strike nuclear attack by North Korea on the U.S. or South Korea, to Kim Jong-un making fun of the ratings for “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Quite so. Here is the end of the article:

“The starting point shouldn’t be total destruction,” said Horowitz, pointing to norms governing proportionality. “We’re talking about a country that spans over 45,000 square miles with a population of 25 million.” Milanovic agreed, calling Trump “morally repugnant for treating the 25 million people of North Korea as something to be extinguished at will” and adding that “it is impossible to imagine an attack that North Korea could mount that would justify totally destroying the whole country.” So where Daniel Webster demanded that any preemptive military action be “kept clearly within” necessity, Trump casually committed to the obliteration of an entire nation based on some amorphous criteria known only to himself.

Again quite so. And this is a recommended article.

3. American Democracy Is Drowning in Money

This article is by Celestine Bohlen on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

The tide of money swelling around the American political system continues to rise. In 2016, candidates running for federal office spent a record $6.4 billion on their campaigns, while lobbyists spent $3.15 billion to influence the government in Washington. Both sums are twice that of 2000 levels.

So what does all that money buy? No one seriously thinks that the quality of American representative democracy has doubled in value. Has it instead become doubly corrupt?
Since the Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case, campaign spending in the United States has become even more unrestricted. Today, commentators in Europe often describe the American way as “legalized corruption.” In the United States, veterans of campaign finance reform despair at the ground lost since the 1970s, when the Watergate scandal ushered in a series of controls on campaign contributions.

Well... let´s first define ¨corruption¨ as the Wikipedia does define it [2] (minus footnotes):

Corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Government, or 'political', corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain.

Next, the 2010 decision of the Supreme Court was - I´m sorry - utter trash, that also was based on totally false premises about the meaning of the First Amendment.

And third, I happen to be a European, and I think that politics in the USA is very corrupt - and see the above definition for why I deleted ¨legalized¨: with a Supreme Court as rotten as it turned out to be in 2010, what the US considers ¨legal¨ and ¨non-legal¨, on its highest level, at least, is no longer a matter of rational legal argument, but one of mostly politically inspired bullshit.

Here is some more - and Mr. Wertheimer is the president of ¨Democracy 21, a nonprofit organization dedicated to campaign reform¨:

“The bottom line is we have very serious problems with the functioning of our democracy caused by the unrestrained flow of influence-seeking money into the elections,” Mr. Wertheimer said.

But is it corruption? Do the gigantic sums doled out to campaigns — and later lavished on elected representatives as they are lobbied for their votes — amount to attempts to buy political power? Or is it, as the Supreme Court agreed in the Citizens United case, an exercise in constitutionally protected free speech?

I´m sorry, but the second paragraph is pure bullshit (in the eyes of this ¨European commentator¨): Clearly they indulged in ¨a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit¨, for which corruption is the brief term, while also clearly (in the eyes of this ¨European commentator¨) the Citizen United case was an utterly crooked judgement, meant to help the rich and only the rich, on the basis of a totally false explanation of the meaning of the First Amendment.

Here is more by Fred Wertheimer:

While the United States is fairly strict in cracking down on practices such as bribery and kickbacks, Mr. Wertheimer said, the American system has opened the door to a whole other kind of corruption.

“The corruption in the U.S. does not stem from officeholders putting money in their pocket,” he said. “This is systemic corruption of the process itself. When you are dealing with billions and billions of dollars, much of that focused on buying influence, it overwhelms the system, and it is much harder to defend against and maintain representation for ordinary Americans.”

I more or less agree.

And in fact here is excellent factual evidence, that also - quite correctly, in my eyes - lays the beginning of this enormous corruption with Reagan in the USA (and Thatcher in Great Britain, though she is not mentioned in the article):

This perception is borne out by research from Martin Gilens, a politics professor at Princeton University, which shows that American economic policies over the last 40 years “strongly reflect the preferences of the most affluent, but bear virtually no relationship to the preferences of poor or middle-income Americans.”

Yes indeed. The article ends as follows:

“The amounts are unprecedented and provide an extraordinary advantage to the very rich,” he said. “When you are dealing with huge amounts of money — and when there are no laws to contain them — they overwhelm the process in a way that small sums can’t.”

Quite so. And according to the definition of the Wikipedia that is corruption, indeed on a very massive scale, and underwritten by an utterly sick decision of the Supreme Court, that maintains it. And this is a recommended article.

4. Capitalism: The Nightmare

This article is by Paul Street on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

The neoliberal, arch-capitalist era we inhabit is chock full of statistics and stories that ought to send chills down the spines of any caring, morally sentient human. Nearly three-fourths (71 percent) of the world’s population is poor, living on $10 a day or less, and 11 percent (767 million people, including 385 million children) live in what the World Bank calls “extreme poverty” (less than a $1.90 a day). Meanwhile, Oxfam reliably reports that, surreal as it sounds, the world’s eight richest people possess among themselves as much wealth as the poorest half of the entire human race.

And that indeed is the foundation of capitalism: Intentional extreme differences in power and in wealth (which amount more or less to the same under capitalism: wealth gives power and power gives wealth, and things are - intentionally and structurally - organized so that they should).

Here are two provisos to this fine and quite long article (around 30 pages of text):

First, I am a classical Leftist - and I defined the main differences between the Left and ¨the left¨ here -  like my parents and my grandparents (three out of four: two anarchists and one communist, while both of my parents were - very courageous - communists, who were in the resistance in WW II and/or in a German concentration camp). [3]

Then again, it seems that today there are very few classical Leftists, for the Left has been largely displaced by ¨the left¨, which seems to me an incoherent bunch of mostly false or unfounded beliefs that have little to do with the classical socialism and anti- capitalism of my parents: ¨the left¨ - as I learned to see it, in practice - consists mostly of politically correct people, who love to sanction all language they disagree with; ¨feminists¨ of various stripes that are not feminists if Emma Goldman was a feminist; and ¨ecologists¨ who seem mostly busy with increasing the sales of solar panels.

They lost any ideal of socialism and indeed gave up most of the ideals of the Left, as they changed into consumers who mostly think about their own financial interests, and the rents on their second and third homes, and the extents of their own salaries (pensions, subsidies and extras).

Also, I think absolutely all of the political proponents of ¨the left¨ worked for money (and certainly every leftist I saw in Holland): they were paid as journalists, paid as politicians, paid as advisers, paid as professors, and paid as lecturers. My own parents and most of the real Leftist activists did not work for money at all (and neither did I, ever).

Second, I like this article rather a lot, but it is far too long for me to properly excerpt in the context of Nederlog. So what follows is a very partial excerpt of some points.

In case you are even faintly interested, I recommend reading the whole article.

First, here are the few people for whom capitalism is an enormous success, because it provided them and their familiies with billions of dollars:

The United States, self-described homeland and headquarters of freedom and democracy, is no exception to the harshly unequal global reality. Six of the world’s eight most absurdly rich people are U.S. citizens: Bill Gates (whose net worth of $426 billion equals the wealth of 3.6 billion people), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Larry Ellison (Oracle), and Michael Bloomberg (former mayor of New York City). As Bernie Sanders said repeatedly on the campaign trail in 2016, the top 10th of the upper 1 percent in the U.S. has nearly as much wealth as the nation’s bottom 90 percent. Seven heirs of the Walton family’s Walmart fortune have between them a net worth equal to that of the nation’s poorest 40 percent. Half the U.S. population is poor or near-poor and half lacks any savings.

Quite so. And here are some of the reasons why all this systematic inequality between the very few rich and the very many non-rich and poor was all done by design:

As Joshua Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute showed in his important 2011 study, “Failure By Design,” the following interrelated, bipartisan and not-so-public policies across the long neoliberal era have brought us to a level of inequality that rivals the Gilded Age of the late 19th century robber barons era. These policies include:

● Letting the value of the minimum wage be eroded by inflation.
● Slashing labor standards for overtime, safety and health.
● Tilting the laws governing union organizing and collective bargaining strongly in favor of employers.
● Weakening the social safety net.
● Privatizing public services.
● Accelerating the integration of the U.S. economy with the world economy without adequately protecting workers from global competition.
● Shredding government oversight of international trade, currency, investment and lending.
● Deregulating the financial sector and financial markets.
● Valuing low inflation over full employment and abandoning the latter as a worthy goal of fiscal and economic policy.

In fact, there are quite a few more reasons, but the above list is quite correct (and indeed all these measures were consciously taken by the rich or by politicians working for the rich, and most of these measures were taken after deregulations of earlier much better laws).

Here is what happened after the crisis of 2008 (which I insist still exists as it did in 2008 for everybody who is not rich, though I am willing to agree that the rich - maximally 10% of all - now again are profiting a lot, all for themselves also):

After the crash, the government under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama bailed out the very financial predators who pushed the economy over the cliff. The Obama administration, chock full of Goldman Sachs and Citigroup operatives, left the rest of us to wonder, “Where’s our bailout?” as 95 percent of the nation’s new income went to the top 1 percent during his first term.

Well, the bailout of the 95% went to the the top 1 percent. Next, here are four sections I ony provide the titles of, because Nederlog is too small for a full excerpt:

Ordinary Citizens Have No Influence Over Their Government
Shock Profits
‘Isn’t it Beautiful?’
Capitalist Climate-astrophe
Then there is this section, from which I copy the beginning:
‘A Death Knell for the Species’
Trump has taken advantage of the nation’s plutocratic political dysfunction to become a kind of one-man ecological apocalypse. The fossil-fueled hurricanes, drought and wildfires of 2017 have hit the U.S. at a time when the White House is occupied by an openly ecocidal billionaire whose election rang what Noam Chomsky called an environmental “death knell for the species.” Trump has pulled the United States out of the moderate Paris climate accords. He has removed all references to climate change from federal websites and chose a fellow petro-capitalist climate change-denier dedicated to crippling the Environmental Protection Agency to lead that department. Trump’s secretary of state is the former longtime CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., history’s most powerful fossil fuel corporation—a company that buried and then organized propaganda against its own scientists’ warnings on carbon’s impact on the climate.
Precisely. And here is one consequence (that I agree with):
The System Is Working

Like so much else in U.S. government policy, Trump’s anti-environmental actions are contrary to majority-progressive public opinion. Who cares? It’s one more in a long line of examples showing that “We the People” are not sovereign in the failed, arch-plutocratic and militantly capitalist state that is the 21st century United States.

Yes indeed - the system is working, and it is working quite well for the very rich, indeed in considerable part because it is not working for the many non-rich and poor. But then indeed - as Paul Street correctly infers - if the system does consist in handing over most of the profits to the few very rich, it ceased to be a democracy. And I agree.

Here are some of the points why capitalism is fundamentally unfair:

Capitalism is about profit for the owners of capital—period. They attain this through any number of means. The most damaging include:

● Seizing others’ land and materials.
● Slavery (the leading source of capital accumulation in the United States before it was outlawed in 1863–65).
● Firing workers or replacing them with technology.
● Undermining the value and power of labor by “de-skilling” workers by reducing the amount of knowledge and experience they need to do their jobs.
● Abject authoritarian tyranny in the workplace, where Marxist economist Richard Wolff reminds us that most working-age adults spend the majority of their waking hours.
● Outsourcing work to sections of the world economy with the lowest wages and the worst working conditions.
● Hiring and exploiting unprotected migrant workers.
● Slashing wages and benefits, or cheating workers out of them.
● Purely speculative investment.
● Forming monopolies and using them to raise prices.
● Dismantling competing firms, sectors and industries.
● Deadly pollution and perversion of the natural environment.
● Appropriating public assets.
● Military contracting and war production.
● Working to shape political and intellectual culture and policy in capital’s favor by funding political campaigns, hiring lobbyists, buying and controlling the media, manipulating public relations and propaganda, investing in the educational system, offering lucrative employment and other economic opportunities to policymakers and their families, holding
key policymaking positions, and threatening to withdraw investment from places that don’t submit to capital’s rules while promising to invest in places that do.

Yes indeed (and there is considerably more).

Here is a sum-up of capitalism:

When capitalism is understood for what it is really and only about—investor profit—there is nothing paradoxical about its failure to serve working people and the common good, much less the cause of democracy. (...) Its great corporations (now granted the legal protection of artificial personhood) are working precisely as they are supposed to under U.S. common law, which holds that (as Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled in Dodge v. Ford Motor Company in 1919), corporate “managers have a legal duty to put shareholders’ interests above all others and no legal authority to serve any other interests.”

I quite agree, and I also note that the 1919 rule of Michigan’s Supreme Court is very much what the pro-capitalist Friedman declared: ¨The only moral interest CEOs have is to make a profit¨: They are all - quite intentionally also - adopting the ¨moral rules¨"
of pirates. (But these work quite well, for pirates.)

Of the next two sections I only provide the titles

The Growth Ideology
‘Inclusive Capitalism’
And of the following section I copy the beginning:
‘We Must Make Our Choice’

One does not have to be a Marxist or other variety of radical to acknowledge basic differences and conflicts between capitalism and democracy. “Democracy and capitalism have very different beliefs about the proper distribution of power,” liberal economist Lester Thurow noted in the mid-1990s. “One [democracy] believes in a completely equal distribution of political power, ‘one man, one vote,’ while the other [capitalism] believes that it is the duty of the economically fit to drive the unfit out of business and into extinction. … To put it in its starkest form, capitalism is perfectly compatible with slavery. Democracy is not.”

Yes indeed, and I remark that one - important - difference between my Marxist parents (who both had IQs over 130, which is better than that of most academics, but who were both also not highly educated, because their parents were poor) is that I gave up Marx by the time I was 20, indeed for quite convincing reasons (see Ian Steedman´s ¨Marx after Sraffa¨, for the best and most accessible explanation), that were really understandable to few.

But while I disagree with Marx about the economical analysis of capitalism, and indeed on quite a few more points, I agree with the critics of capitalism who insist that fundamentally capitalism is unfair, unjust, and amounts of the exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few (that also rarely belong to the intellectually or ethically best).

Here is Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (or so it seems):

“We must make our choice,” the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis is reputed to have said or written: “We may have democracy in this country, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”

I do not know whether Brandeis really said so, but if he did he was simply factually correct (if we are also speaking of a real democracy, in which the vast majority receives honest explanations of what is happening in their country).

There is also this about capitalism:

(...) capitalism has always been inexorably pulled like gravity toward the concentration of wealth into ever-fewer hands. In the U.S., as across the Western world, the tendency was briefly and partially reversed by the Great Depression and World War II, producing the long “middle class” Golden Age of 1945-1973. But that was an anomalous era, a consequence of epic economic collapse and two global wars. Capitalism has returned to its longue durée inegalitarian norm over the last four-plus decades.

Yes indeed. And I have two additional points, one of which is a bit personal.

The non-personal point is that anybody who knows about the early capitalism that ruled much of the world all of the 19th century, knows that early capitalism was extremely exploitative of the very many poor, and indeed more so than later capitalism, which was made less exploitative mostly by laws (that now and since Bill Clinton are again deregulated).

My (somewhat) personal point is that I was born in 1950, while I recall the years that lasted from 1965-1980 as much more pleasant, and also as considerably richer for the many, than the years before (my parents were quite poor until 1965) and also than the years after.

But this is only very partially personal, because I mostly agree with Paul Street, and  I also merely changed the period of capitalism-with-a-human-face by putting that period some 5 years later than Street (which also may be factually correct for Holland, although I do not know that).

Here is the end of Paul Street´s article, that was only briefly and partially excerpted in this Nederlog:

Stark as American activist Joel Kovel’s formulation may sound, I suspect he is right: “The future will be eco-socialist, because without eco-socialism there will be no future.”

I agree, indeed because capitalism-without-a-human-face will kill all or most human beings (and see here for some of the reasons why).

And this is a strongly recommended article.

5. More Holes in Russia-gate Narrative

This article is by William Binney (<-Wikipedia) and Ray McGovern (<-Wikipedia). It starts as follows:

It is no secret that our July 24 VIPS Memorandum for the President, entitled “Was the ‘Russian Hack’ an Inside Job?,” gave rise to some questioning and controversy – nor was it a surprise that it was met with almost total silence in the mainstream media.

The ongoing U.S. media campaign against Russia has been so effective that otherwise intelligent people have been unable even to entertain the notion that they may have been totally misled by the intelligence community. The last time this happened in 2003, after a year of such propaganda, the U.S. attacked Iraq on fraudulent – not “mistaken” – intelligence.

Yes indeed. In fact, I have been agreeing with Binney, McGovern and the VIPS since 2016 (see here), and did and do so for three reasons: (i) I have not seen the evidence that Russia is connected, and neither have they or others; (ii) Binney, McGovern and the VIPS are - in my eyes - very much more credible than nearly all others writing about the subject; and (iii) they also know a whole lot more than most others. (I know what computers are, mathematically speaking [4], and I can program in six languages, both of which do make a difference, but that is the extent of my relevant knowledge, which is very much smaller than Binney´s.)

Here is more from the VIPS:

We stand by our main conclusion that the data from the intrusion of July 5, 2016, into the Democratic National Committee’s computers, an intrusion blamed on “Russian hacking,” was not a hack but rather a download/copy onto an external storage device by someone with physical access to the DNC.

That principal finding relied heavily on the speed with which the copy took place – a speed much faster than a hack over the Internet could have achieved at the time – or, it seems clear, even now. Challenged on that conclusion – often by those conducting experiments within the confines of a laboratory – we have conducted and documented additional tests to determine the speeds that can be achieved now, more than a year later.

In fact, this whole point is rather systematically explained in the article. I think it is quite cogent and convincing, but I skip it here and leave it to your interests.

Here is why Binney, McGovern and the VIPS are quite confident (as they have the right to be, with that background):

How can we be so confident? Because NSA alumni now active in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) are intimately familiar with NSA’s capabilities and practice with respect to bulk capture and storage of fiber-optic communications. Two of us actually devised the systems still in use, and Edward Snowden’s revelations filled in remaining gaps. Today’s NSA is in position to clear up any and all questions about intrusions into the DNC.

And there is this from near the end:

If President Trump wants to know the truth, he can order the FBI to do its job and NSA to cooperate. Whether the two and the CIA would obey such orders is an open question, given how heavily invested all three agencies are in their evidence-impoverished narrative about “Russian hacking.”

Actually, I don´t think the FBI and the NSA will cooperate, and indeed my reason is quite the same as Binney´s and McGovern´s: They have been propounding basically
evidenceless bullshit for over a year now, and they also have found that their bullshit
is copied by most of mainstream media.

And this is a recommended article.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that 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.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only 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 (!!).

[2] Incidentally... I much dislike the present Wikipedia bullshit that they are trying to ¨
represent a worldwide view of the subject¨: I think there are norms, and especially truth, that do have a worldwide importance, but anyone who is argueing or advertising that Wikipedia must ¨represent a worldwide view of the subject¨ sounds to me like propagandists for Koch.

I am sorry, but ¨
a worldwide view¨ of almost any subject - religion, politics, morals, values - is a total illusion. What is needed is factual correctness, to the best of one´s abilities, but the rest seems utter nonsense to me, and especially ¨a worldwide view¨. That is politics, and it is not truth.

[3] Then again, I am not a Marxist (since I was 20), which is what both of my parents were, for 45 years also, and I probably also differ from both the Left and (certainly) from ¨the left¨ in my disbelief that all people have the same length, or the same face, or the same value, or the same intelligence. (I am sorry: it would seem to me that most people are less intelligent and also not as tall than I am, and I think that intelligence does make a difference, that also is mostly native (but it needs no rewards in terms of money or power).)

[4] I think the best introduction - that I read, and I read a lot of mathematical logic - is still Marvin Minsky´s (<- Wikipedia) ¨Computation: Finite and infinite machines¨, which was published in 1967 and was read by me in 1971.
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