from May 4, 2018
B. One extra bit
This is a
Nederlog of Friday,
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.
2. Crisis Files
These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 4, 2018
1. Internet Pioneer Tim Berners-Lee Calls for 'New Web' That
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:
Original Democratic Principles
2. An Ode to Eugene V. Debs and the End of Capitalism
3. Behind the Complex and Secretive Koch Conspiracy Against
Did Hannah Arendt Really Mean by 'the Banality of Evil?'
5. The ‘Values,’ ‘Vision,’ and ‘Democracy’ of an Inauthentic
Pioneer Tim Berners-Lee Calls for 'New Web' That Reclaims Original
article is by Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
As open internet
governments and major
tech companies to respect the free flow of information online and
users' privacy, World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee spoke Wednesday
about how his creation has gone "from utopia to dystopia in 29 short
years," and how it can be reimagined "to empower the hopes we had for
the original web."
I say! And I do so because
Berners-Lee has rather the same idea as I had, somewhere between 2006
and 2010. (I am writing these Nederlogs early every morning and am ill.
I cannot find the reference right now, but will find it later, although
it probably was in Dutch.)
In any case, what I proposed then - around ten years ago - was another
www (for example: wwn) that would be different from
the present www in being completely non-commercial (in the
sense: yes to universities, but no to any corporations or companies or
advertisers) and also has encrypted e-mails.
And I am a bit amazed it is Berners-Lee who proposes
this now, but I do agree with him.
Here is some more:
"The assumption we made in
the '90s was that, if we succeed
in keeping an open web and a neutral internet, there would emerge a
cornucopia of constructive, collaborative things and the world would
become better," Berners-Lee said. Speaking about the prevailing mindset
among his colleagues at the time, he said they believed it
wouldn't matter "how much junk" was out there.
"It's not email, it's not
forced upon you,"
he said. "You only have to read what you want to read. If there's a lot
of bad stuff out there, it's okay because you don't have to read it.
What could go wrong?"
Like many inventions, over
nearly three decades, the web has
evolved in unexpected ways, which has led Berners-Lee to call for
the creation of "a new web," or a reimagining of the internet as we
know it so that it can live up to its founders' expectations.
In fact - although I
admit I was more naive than I should have been between 1996, when I
joined internet, and around 2006 - I never made the assumptions
¨we made in the ´90s¨, and indeed have done my best, ever since 1996, to
avoid mentioning my real name, except from very rarely, and only
Then again, originally
this was not due to my distrust of internet (although that
would have been quite justified) but to the fact that I had
been - literally: I almost died - gassed by either my landlord or the
illegal drugsdealers I was forced to live above from 1988 onwrds, and -
literally - threatened with murder by the illegal drugsdealers in these
words: ¨If you do anything we don´t like we will kill you.¨
And then I found out
that Amsterdam´s city police supported the drugsdealers and
do anything for me; Amsterdam´s Building and Housing Service
Woningdienst¨) supported the drugsdealers and refused to do
for me, but lied copiously to help the drugsdealers; all other
Amsterdam bureaucracies helped the drugsdealers rather than myself; the
mayor Ed van Thijn and his responsible alderman Aboutaleb refused to
answer any of my - very urgent, very clear, very rational e-mails, and
even refused to acknowledge receiving them, and this was all
Van Thijn and others were putting together an illegal schema in which
the Dutch dealers in soft drugs would be quasi
legalized and could deal
soft drugs and were protected by the police (in spite of the fact that
soft drugs are illegal since
1965, and still are).
This illegal schema to
help the dealers in illegal drugs has been working
for 30 years now,
and worked not just for illegal dealers in soft drugs but for illegal dealers in all drugs
and made -
according to the one parliamentary report: Het Van Traa Rapport
(in Dutch) - around 10 billion
dollars in turnovers each year, which sums to 300
billion dollars in 30
And this leaves hard
drugs totally unmentioned, though Holland has become, thanks to
Ed van Thijn, the Columbia of Europe as regards soft drugs and hard
drugs, simply because these are protected, and ordinary
citizens who are gassed and threatened with
murder are denied all hearings and all replies by any Dutch bureaucrat
and by any Dutch politician.
For thirty years, this
Back to the article:
Such an endeavor would
entail bringing together "the brightest minds from business,
technology, government, civil society, the arts, and academia" to
establish a system "in which people have complete control of their own
data; applications and data are separated from each other; and a user's
choice for each are separate."
The overarching goal? "To
build a new web which will again empower science and democracy."
own proposals of around ten years ago were clearer. But
then again I
only know about Berners-Lee proposal for a new internet from the
present publication, and he may have said considerably more elsewhere.
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
"Let's re-de-centralize the
web," Berners-Lee declared. "It was designed as a de-centralized
system, but now everyone is on platforms like Facebook," he added,
detailing how social media can be polarizing to a degree that it
"We read things from
narrower and narrower circles, and meet more people just like us. These
people support the views we express, which validates us and makes us
feel more and more sure of our opinions, and makes others seem more and
more weird," he explained. "Social media maybe fun for the individual
but destructive of society."
although I am
old enough to know there is no cure for genetical stupidity and
probably also no cure for ignorance after
age 30. A new internet, even
if is mostly for those with an IQ over 120, is urgently
and - at least on the basis of my knowledge - technically quite
But it does
need money, and I do not know who would be willing to invest in
a real, democratic internet without advertising and without
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Ode to Eugene V. Debs and the End of Capitalism
article is by Jordan Rieff on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
As people who know
more of my - quite large - site know, I had - intelligent, very
courageous, but not highly educated - communist parents, and also one
communist grandparent and two anarchist grandparents, which in fact
gives me a better leftist family-background than anyone else I
know, with the exception of my brother.
Once upon a time, the word
“socialist” wasn’t considered a dirty word. In fact, in
1912, roughly a million people (6 percent of the popular vote),
voted for a socialist for president. He is the subject of filmmaker
Yale Strom’s new documentary, “American
Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs,” in limited
release in New York from April 27 through May 3 and in Los Angeles from
May 4 through May 10.
A straight chronology using
archival photos and footage, Strom’s movie tells the story of the pioneering
union leader and founding member of International Workers of the
World (IWW). Early in his career, Debs was a member of the Democratic
Party with a focus on union issues and workers’ rights. He co-founded
the American Railway Union (ARU), which galvanized a wildcat strike
over pay cuts into a nationwide Pullman Strike
that landed him six months in prison. Emerging from incarceration, he
was the founding member of the Socialist Party of America and ran for
president five times between 1900 and 1920. The first political figure
jailed for anti-war speech, Debs was sentenced to 10 years in prison
for urging people to resist the military draft of World War I.
Therefore I did know a bit about Eugene Debs since
the 1950ies, and I agree he was an intelligent and courageous person. I
have not written about him earlier, mostly because he died in
1926. But I like it that a film was made about him, because he was
an important man while he lived.
Here is some more about the present time:
Opening and closing the
film are remarks by the prominent Marxian economist, professor Richard D. Wolff, who has taught
at Yale University and City College of New York. He is currently
visiting professor at The New School and professor emeritus at the
University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has written and co-authored
numerous books, including “Democracy at Work,” “Occupy the Economy:
Challenging Capitalism” and “Contending Economic Theories:
Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian,” all released in 2012.
Strom and Wolff spoke with
Truthdig, offering insights on the current resurgence of socialism.
I do know about
Wolff and have read some by him. But with communist and
anarchist parents and grandparents I know a lot about Marxism (and I
also studied philosophy) while I gave Marxism up in
1970, when I was 20. And while I have remained a - real -
leftist ever since, and am quite willing to review almost
anything, I simply don´t like Wolff much.
Then again, here he is:
I’m getting more inquiries about socialism than I have ever had before
in my life. If you’re talking about people 35 and younger, it’s
overwhelming. But I’m noticing older people are beginning to rethink,
partly because their children are talking to them.
of them are Bernie’s age.
Sanders, a moderate kind of socialist, has to open it up. It takes a
little time to discover that the scary thing isn’t scary, and a nice
old man from Vermont helps you do that. He’s been the right guy at the
moment. I have been told by people close to him that he is going to run
Wolff very probably does
get a lot more inquiries about socialism than he ever did, but he also
is - and since a long time - one Marxist professor, so I do not
really know what this means. And I did not know Bernie Sanders ¨is going to run
again¨, and I hope
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
Bezos sits on $120 billion, the richest person on earth. But that
obscenity is also something that led Warren Buffet to say that he
shouldn’t be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. So even at
other levels of society, there’s a recognition, not necessarily that
socialism is the way to go, but that capitalism has worked its way into
a dead end, and something fundamental has to change.
the craziness of capitalism: The more successful the employers are in
lowering the wages or automating jobs, the more problems the public
will have in buying the crap they’re producing. They are shooting
themselves in the foot. This is an internally contradictory system.
Well... (i) this not
just the craziness of capitalism, but has always been
the case when there were a few rich and many non-rich, and (ii) it is ¨an internally contradictory system¨ only if (apart from dialectical materialism)
the rich do not succeed in
repressing the many non-rich rather
like they did in the 19th Century. I see no real reason for
that (and also do not believe there is ¨a moral arch¨ is history, nor
that things can only get better, on average, through the generations).
Anyway. This is a
the Complex and Secretive Koch Conspiracy Against Democracy
article is by Jim Hightower on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
In 1933, a handful
of wealthy Wall Streeters were upset that the newly elected president,
Franklin D. Roosevelt, had dared to tax the rich in order to fund
programs to lessen the painful poverty people were experiencing due to
the Great Depression. They were so upset that they came up with a
ridiculous plan to overthrow Roosevelt and install a military
government. Due to their own ineptitude and hubris, their plan failed,
and important poverty-busting programs of the New Deal like Social
Security, the Works Progress Administration and the Tennessee Valley
Authority put people to work, pulled them out of desperate poverty and
propelled the country into the 20th century.
Yes indeed, and in fact
there is some decent documentation about this ¨plan to overthrow Roosevelt and install a
government¨, namely by way
Butler, about whom I have written several times. Here is a reference to a
long video interview with Gore Vidal about him. The interviews with
Vidal are from 2000, and are listed here,
and are - still - quite interesting and well worth
Here is more from the present article:
Yes indeed. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this article:
But while the 1933 plot was
hairbrained, their plutocratic intent is no laughing matter. Their
presumption of class privilege -- the warped idea that their great
wealth entitled them to rule over and even impoverish the many -- is
not unique. The Wall Street Putsch died and was buried in 1934, but it
is just one manifestation of a deadly serious social disease that has
infected the history of democratic struggles.
And now, that sickness has
grown more virulent, confronting us in the form of a complex,
sophisticated web of efforts funded by brothers Charles and David Koch
and their billionaire buddies who share the same set of extreme,
kleptocratic beliefs that guided last century's class-war militants,
including making property rights supreme over all of the people's
political rights and replacing majority rule with a new governing order
that empowers the owner class (the "Makers," as they dub themselves) to
overrule regulations, taxes, unionization and other collective actions
that the lower classes (the "Takers," or so we're called) try to impose
on the property-rich minority.
The Koch coup is not
one they're planning to spring someday with a brash, illegal military
takeover of Washington. Don't look now, but they've already sprung it!
It's a quiet, multifaceted coup that has been underway for some 40
years and has been astonishingly successful ... and disturbingly legal.
Measure by measure, the Koch brothers and their allied extremists have
used their fortunes to gain a grip on nearly every level of government
(including the courts and whole states like Wisconsin, North Carolina
and Texas), corporatized many of our most basic laws and institutions,
and largely had their plutocratic wish list adopted as the agenda of
the Republican Party.
I agree and there
details in the article, that is recommended.
Did Hannah Arendt Really Mean by 'the Banality of Evil?'
article is by Thomas White on AlterNet and originally on Aeon. It
starts as follows:
Can one do evil
without being evil? This was the puzzling question that the
philosopher Hannah Arendt grappled with when she reported for The
New Yorker in 1961 on the war crimes trial of Adolph Eichmann, the
Nazi operative responsible for organising the transportation of
millions of Jews and others to various concentration camps in support
of the Nazi’s Final Solution.
Arendt found Eichmann an
ordinary, rather bland, bureaucrat, who in her words, was ‘neither
perverted nor sadistic’, but ‘terrifyingly normal’. He acted without
any motive other than to diligently advance his career in the Nazi
bureaucracy. Eichmann was not an amoral monster, she concluded in her
study of the case, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality
of Evil (1963). Instead, he performed evil deeds without evil
intentions, a fact connected to his ‘thoughtlessness’, a disengagement
from the reality of his evil acts. Eichmann ‘never realised what he was
doing’ due to an ‘inability… to think from the standpoint of somebody
else’. Lacking this particular cognitive ability, he ‘commit[ted]
crimes under circumstances that made it well-nigh impossible for him to
know or to feel that he [was] doing wrong’.
Well... to answer both
points this introduction raises:
First, clearly - I would say, but
I did study a lot of
philosophy - one can do evil without being
fact, I think every adult who does not regard himself or
herself as evil should admit he or she did evil sometimes.)
And second, I know
about Arendt and read at least three books by her, but (i) I think she
was mistaken about Eichmann, and also (ii) I do not think she
great philosopher or indeed an interesting one (but then again, I have
read and studied philosophy for 45 years, and very few did).
Here is some more about
the ¨banality of evil¨ thesis:
Well... the critics were right
(and my grandfather was murdered by
the Nazis while my father was
forced to spend over 3 years and 9 months as ¨a political terrorist¨ in
German concentration camps) although I do have a remark on
which I will articulate after the last quotation from this article:
The banality-of-evil thesis
was a flashpoint for controversy. To Arendt’s critics, it seemed
absolutely inexplicable that Eichmann could have played a key role in
the Nazi genocide yet have no evil intentions. Gershom Scholem, a
fellow philosopher (and theologian), wrote to Arendt in 1963 that her
banality-of-evil thesis was merely a slogan that ‘does not impress me,
certainly, as the product of profound analysis’. Mary McCarthy, a
novelist and good friend of Arendt, voiced sheer
incomprehension: ‘[I]t seems to me that what you are saying is that
Eichmann lacks an inherent human quality: the capacity for thought,
consciousness – conscience. But then isn’t he a monster simply?’
The controversy continues to
the present day.
Instead of using
case as a way forward to advance the tradition’s understanding of
radical evil, Arendt decided that his evil was banal, that is,
‘thought-defying’. By taking a narrow legalistic, formalistic approach
to the trial – she emphasised that there were no deeper issues at stake
beyond the legal facts of Eichmann’s guilt or innocence – Arendt
automatically set herself up for failure as to the deeper why of
My remark on ¨banal¨ and ¨the
banality of evil¨ is that ¨banal¨ does not
mean ¨thought- defying¨: it means ¨something that is
common in a boring way"
- see the link. (And ¨banal¨ or ¨banaal¨ is a common term in German and
I can give some
of Arendt´s thesis, namely that ordinary people
are quite capable of doing considerable evil, indeed without
necessarily (!) being evil themselves, but - if they are
not - mostly out of conformism.
And while I think that
is correct and may - perhaps - describe many members of
the ordinary German army in the Thirties and Forties, I think it is quite
about a man like Eichmann (or Himmler or Hitler). But this is a good
article, which is strongly recommended.
‘Values,’ ‘Vision,’ and ‘Democracy’ of an Inauthentic Opposition
article is by Paul Street on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
underestimate the capacity of the United States’ Inauthentic Opposition
Party, the corporate Democrats, for self-congratulatory delusion and
the externalization of blame.
Yes, I agree
in fact one way of describing the present Republicans and the present
Democrats is that while the Republicans are almost all bought by the
rich (the Kochs, the Mercers etc.) the Democrats almost all bought by
the rich bankers (Dimon etc.)
And while that may be a slight exaggeration - but who knows how
money each Senator does get, and from whom?! - it is much more correct
than presenting either class as a collection of persons who are trying
to do good to the many, simply because neither collection is: Street is
right that both are - for the most part - corporatists,
who are being
paid by the rich, who do want repayments in laws that benefit
Hee is more:
Yes, I agree (and in case you
some of the above references under ¨this¨). Here is more:
Russia, like numerous other nations living under the global shadow of
the American Superpower, may well have tried to have some surreptitious
say in 2016 U.S. presidential election. (Why wouldn’t the Kremlin have
done that, given the very
real and grave threats Washington and its Western NATO allies have
posed for many years to post-Soviet-era Russian security and peace in
charging Russia with interfering with US-“American democracy” is like
me accusing the Washington Capital’s star left winger Alex Ovechkin of
interfering with my potential career as a National Hockey League player
(I’m middle aged and can’t skate backwards). The U.S. doesn’t have a
functioning democracy to undermine, as numerous careful studies (see this,this,this,this,this,this,this,this,
Yes, I agree again. And here is
have, rather, a corporate and financial oligarchy,
an open plutocracy. U.S.-Americans get to vote, yes, but the nation’s “unelected
dictatorship of money” reigns nonetheless in the United
States, where, as leading liberal political scientists Benjamin Page
(Northwestern) and Marin Gilens (Princeton) find, “government
policy…reflects the wishes of those with money, not the wishes of the
millions of ordinary citizens who turn out every two years to
choose among the preapproved, money-vetted candidates for federal
and WikiLeaks “destabilized the U.S. political environment”? Gee, how
20 top oligarchic U.S. mega-donors who invested more than $500
million combined in disclosed campaign contributions (we can only guess
at how much “dark,” that is undisclosed, money they gave) to candidates
and political organizations in the 2016 election cycle? The 20 largest
organizational donors also gave a total of more than $500 million. The foremost
plutocratic election investors included hard right-wing
billionaires like casino owner Sheldon Adelson ($83 million disclosed
to Republicans and right-wing groups), hedge-fund manager Paul Singer
($26 million to Republicans and the right), hedge fund manager Robert
Mercer ($26 million) and packaging mogul Richard Uihlein ($24 million).
Again quite so -
case you want to know more about the quite interesting Sheldon Wolin,
there is a series of fine interviews with him by Chris Hedges in 2014,
that is all collected on Nederlog here.
Clinton’s two terms, the Obama years were richly consistent with Sheldon Wolin’s
early 2008 description of the Democrats as an “inauthentic
opposition” whose dutiful embrace of “centrist precepts” meant they
would do nothing to “substantially revers[e] the drift rightwards” or
“significantly alter the direction of society.”
This article ends as
follows, after considerably more:
happens during the next biennial electoral extravaganza, “the crucial
fact” remains, in
Wolin’s words nine years ago, “that for the poor, minorities, the
working class and anti-corporatists there is no opposition party
working on their behalf” in the United States – the self-declared
homeland and headquarters of global democracy.
I agree and this is
a strongly recommended article, in which there is considerably
B. One extra bit
Persons who read considerably more of Nederlog
than a few daily bits -
Nederlog exists since 2006 (or indeed, but the first two years
only about Holland, since
2004) and is fully present on my site - know that
couple of years ago I regularly reviewed seven or eight articles a day.
I stopped doing so for various reasons some years ago. The most
important one is that I have a serious chronic
disease since 1.i.1979 (and meanwhile am almost 68, and also got
serious eye- problems in 2012, that have lessened but have not
disappeared), while a
secondary important one is that I thought reviewing 5 of the best or
most interesting articles I could find every day on 35 sites was
generally sufficient (while it is also something I do not know anyone
But occasionally I do find special bits, and this is one:
It starts as follows:
And therefore Facebook should be deleted. I
quite agree, although I do
not think it will be - and I also do not think that the writer of the
article believes so. But I am a Free Software supporter, and
this is a recommended short article.
Dear free software
On Tuesday, at the Facebook
developers conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg once again asked the social
media site's users for their trust, when he announced a new
privacy control for the site. Called "clear history," Zuckerberg
claims it will allow users to clear their browsing history on Facebook,
apparently including activity like which Web sites one has visited.
This is an empty gesture.
Facebook is clearly attempting to placate an angry public and defend
itself against scrutiny by the US government, but it is still putting
the impetus to protect user privacy on users, rather than simply
to collect information on Facebook users in the first place.
It will surprise many
people clicking this new button to learn that, while Facebook says you
will be able to clear your history, the company will still have a copy
of that activity -- it just
won't be associated with your account.
This is a symptom of a
fundamental problem. When you interact with Facebook, you are giving up
control over your computing to a server run by someone else -- it's Service
as a Software Substitute. The parts of it that do run on
your local system are nonfree
Even if they did
promise to delete your activity from their servers, there is no way to
or the server-side software. Users are left to trust that the code only
Facebook can read does what Facebook says it does. No company can be
trusted with that kind of power over users, least of all one with
Facebook's track record.
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 (!!).