in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from February 5, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
I have been
writing about the crisis since September
1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) and about
the enormous dangers of
surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since more than three years
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
I shall continue.
2. Crisis Files
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from February 5, 2019:
1. Goodbye to the Dollar
The items 1 - 5 are today's
selections from the 35 sites that I look at
every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. A More Honest State of the Union
3. The State of Our Disunion
4. Google Screenwise: An Unwise Trade of All Your Privacy for
5. Beware the Moderate Democrat
to the Dollar
is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I think this is mostly
true, but I also admit that I do not really know, mostly
because I was never interested in speculations with money (in part
because I never had any money to speculate with).
The inept and corrupt
presidency of Donald Trump has unwittingly triggered the fatal blow to
the American empire—the abandonment of the dollar as the world’s
principal reserve currency. Nations around the globe, especially in
Europe, have lost confidence in the United States to act rationally,
much less lead, in issues of international finance, trade, diplomacy
and war. These nations are quietly dismantling the seven-decade-old
alliance with the United States and building alternative systems of
bilateral trade. This reconfiguring of the world’s financial system
will be fatal to the American empire, as the historian Alfred McCoy
and the economist Michael
Hudson have long pointed out. It will trigger an economic death
spiral, including high inflation, which will necessitate a massive
military contraction overseas and plunge the United States into a
prolonged depression. Trump, rather than make America great again, has
turned out, unwittingly, to be the empire’s most aggressive gravedigger.
The Trump administration
capriciously sabotaged the global institutions, including NATO, the
European Union, the United Nations, the World Bank and the IMF, which
provide cover and lend legitimacy to American imperialism and global
Then again, I do agree that "The Trump administration has capriciously sabotaged the
global institutions" etc.
Here is some more:
When George W. Bush
unilaterally invaded Iraq, defying with his doctrine of preemptive war
international law and dismissing protests from traditional allies, he
began the rupture. But Trump has deepened the fissures. The Trump
administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement,
although Iran had abided by the agreement, and demand that European
nations also withdraw or endure U.S. sanctions saw European nations
defect and establish an alternative monetary exchange system that
excludes the United States. Iran no longer accepts the dollar for oil
on international markets and has replaced it with the euro, not a small
factor in Washington’s deep animus to Teheran. Turkey is also
abandoning the dollar. The U.S. demand that Germany and other European
states halt the importation of Russian gas likewise saw the Europeans
ignore Washington. China and Russia, traditionally antagonistic, are
now working in tandem to free themselves from the dollar. Moscow has
transferred $100 billion of its reserves into Chinese yuan, Japanese
yen and euros. And, as ominously, foreign governments since 2014 are no
longer storing their gold reserves in the United States or, as with
Germany, removing them from the Federal Reserve. Germany has
repatriated its 300 tons of gold ingots. The Netherlands repatriated
its 100 tons.
Again I have to
say that I believe this is mostly true, but that I do not
really know. In fact, I did not even know that the Netherlands
(I am Dutch) has "repatriated
its 100 tons" (and I admit
that although I live in Holland, I mostly avoid Dutch news, in part
because hardly any Dutchman has reacted to my site the last 22 years).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
The U.S. intervention in
Venezuela, the potential trade war with China, the withdrawal from
international climate accords, leaving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear
Forces (INF) Treaty, the paralysis in Washington and disruptive
government shutdown and increased hostilities with Iran bode ill for
America. American foreign and financial policy is hostage to the
bizarre whims of stunted ideologues such as Mike Pompeo, John Bolton
and Elliott Abrams. This ensures more global chaos as well as increased
efforts by nations around the globe to free themselves from the
economic stranglehold the United States effectively set in place
following World War II. It is only a question of when not if
the dollar will be sidelined. That it was Trump, along with his fellow
ideologues of the extreme right, who destroyed the international
structures put in place by global capitalists, rather than socialists
these capitalists invested tremendous resources to crush, is grimly
I also do not know to what
extent the last quotation may be true. There is considerably more in
this article, that is recommended.
More Honest State of the Union
is by The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
I think the first two
paragraphs are not honest, for while I suppose it is true that "three in five Americans think the country is
on the wrong track" it
is also true that they have very good reasons (read the Crisis series of the last five or
ten years, although this is a great amount of reading), while none
of these reasons is as much as hinted at.
By many measures, America is
thriving. The economy is humming, and unemployment is at 4 percent.
High-school graduation rates are at an all-time high,
and teenage pregnancy rates are at an all-time low.
The crime rate is way down, and illegal immigration has been declining
for over a decade.
And yet: Polls show that
three in five Americans think the country is on the wrong track. A
majority expect things to get worse
in the coming year. The president’s job approval numbers
are underwater; Congress’s even
As President Trump prepares
to deliver his delayed State of the Union address on Tuesday, he might want to
ask himself why people are so unsettled.
Our dysfunctional political
system is surely taking a toll. Witness the recent partial government shutdown over the
president’s demand for $5.7 billion in border-wall funding: For 35
days, a quarter of the federal government was derailed and 800,000
workers stripped of their livelihood, at an estimated loss of $3
billion in economic activity. All in service of nothing but a
One certainty: There was not
— and is not — a border emergency meriting the infliction of such pain
and damage, or the waste of billions on a futile wall.
The other three paragraphs are correct.
Then again, there is more in this article, that mostly deals with Trump's
promises to his voters and to Americans in general that were never kept,
that covers the following subjects: Health care, opioids, economic
inequality, infrastructure, foreign policy, the high price of higher
ed, gun safety and climate change.
I think that is mostly correct but I quote none of it for
reasons of space and time. This is a recommended article.
3. The State of Our
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump says his State
Union address on Tuesday evening will be about “unification”. But
Trump discussing the state of the union is like pyromaniac discussing
fluids. His goal is, and has always been, disunion.
The man thrives on
how he keeps himself the center of attention, fuels his base and
no matter what facts are revealed, his followers will stick by him.
There’s another reason
Trump aims to
divide – and why he pours salt into the nation’s deepest wounds over
immigration, race and gender.
He wants to distract
the biggest and most threatening divide of all: the widening imbalance
wealth and power between the vast majority, who have little or none,
and a tiny
minority who are accumulating just about all.
I think this is mostly
correct, and especially the ending. Here is some more to support that
Yes, this is all quite
true - and please note that "four decades"
more or less equals the full period of work
that most men do in their lives, which again means that the
vast majority has not gotten any more than they received
forty years ago (corrected for inflation), while the few rich have
three to six times more riches than they ever had.
Over the last four decades,
median wage has barely budged. But the incomes of the richest 0.1% have
by more than 300% and the incomes of the top 0.001% (the 2,300 richest
by more than 600%. The net worth of the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans
equals that of the bottom 90% combined.
This grotesque imbalance is
undermining American democracy.
Here is some more:
I think this is a little misleading: I strongly
dislike Pelosi, because I do have a
reasonable idea who and what she is for, and she is and was mainly for
the rich, at least if these are Wall Street bankers or pay considerably
to the Democrats.
Sitting behind Trump’s left
on Tuesday night when he delivers his State of the Union will be a
speaker of the House, Nancy
who refused to blink when Trump closed the government in an attempt to
wall at the Mexican border.
Has Trump met his match?
question is whether, and to what extent, Pelosi and other Democrats
unblinkingly take on America’s increasing concentration of wealth and
In recent weeks, senators
Warren and Bernie Sanders, both eyeing the White House, have with
freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for sharp
taxes on the super-rich. Democratic presidential hopefuls are also
expand access to health insurance by creating Medicare for all.
Polls show strong public
the corporate Democrats who bankroll much of the party are not happy
drift to the putative “left”.
I also think I can answer Reich's question with a high
probability of truth:
If "the real
question is whether, and to what extent, Pelosi and other Democrats
unblinkingly take on America’s increasing concentration of wealth and
power", then my answers are that the past shows that Pelosi and the majority of the
elected Democrats mostly and mainly support the rich, and they
also will do so until they are removed - somehow - from power.
This article ends as follows:
But Democratic leaders
candidates appear to understand
that the largest threat to the state of the union – one that trumps all
rendering it all but impossible to address anything else – is the
divide of wealth and power between the many and the few.
No, I am sorry, for I do not
think so. What I think is much rather that while the majority of
the so-called moderate Democrats do know
about "the deepening
divide of wealth and power between the many and the few" (and they must be utterly crazy or moronic not
to know this), they also decided that as long
as there is a fair chance that they will be paid and re-elected, they
will be paid and probably re-elected, and do nothing or very
little for the non-rich. For more, see item 5.
Screenwise: An Unwise Trade of All Your Privacy for Cash
is by Sydney Li and Jason Kelly on Common Dreams and originally on the
Electronic Frontier Foundation. It starts as follows:
Imagine this: an
enormous tech company is tracking what you do on your phone, even when
you’re not using any of its services, down to the specific images that
you see. It’s also tracking all of your network traffic, because you’re
installing one of its specially-designed routers. And even though some
of that traffic is encrypted, it can still know what websites you
visit, due to how DNS
resolution works. Oh, it’s also
recording audio from a custom-microphone that’s placed near your TV,
and analyzing what it hears.
It’s an always-on
panopticon. In exchange for your privacy (and the privacy of any guests
who may be using your Internet connection, or talking near your
television), you receive a gift card for a whopping $20.
No, we’re not talking
about Facebook—we’ve already detailed
the frightening consequences of Facebook’s sneaky, privacy-invading and
security-breaking “user research” program. This is Google’s “ScreenWise
Meter,” another “research program” that, much like Facebook’s, caused
an upheaval this week when it was exposed.
think that those responsible for the above are sick, degenerate,
immoral, illegal and criminal pieces of stealing and peeping shits,
who ought to be removed as fast as possible from destroying
everyone's privacy so as to get incredibly rich themselves.
This is also why I do not want anything to do with Google,
Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, for to get programs or computers of
these suppliers in your home is inviting the peeping criminals to your
everything and exploiting the knowledge they got to bombard you with
Here is more about the latest peeping spy constructed by Google:
If I knew a single person who
did the above to me, I would go to the police or to a lawyer and demand
that my privacy gets protected.
The Screenwise Meter mobile
app and web
extension basically allow Google to see what you see
on your phone screen and web browser window. The application could monitor
all your app usage and network traffic via
side-loading a “custom” app on your smartphone. Since Google doesn’t
ask you to install a root certificate like Facebook did, they can’t
traffic, but the app can see anything
on your screen, as detailed by the “Content on Screen” section of its privacy
Let's say you open
the Snapchat app. Google could see that. Let's say you need to type in
your password. Google could see that, too. Let's say you send a
Snapchat to a friend. Yes, Google could see that as well.
The web extension
even goes beyond the level of tracking that Facebook was willing to do.
Like Facebook, apparently being able to track 80% of
all Internet traffic wasn’t enough: the web extension
reports all of your web browsing back to Google, even if it’s over
HTTPS. It can also collect every single action you make on any website
(from composing private messages to browsing a shopping site), and any
information stored or saved in your browser.
But in fact (1) the privacies of 4 billion
users of computers are almost completely open to all security services
(the anonymous spies of your country, and eighty or a
hundred more) and also since 15 to 20 years to (2) the sick, degenerate, immoral, illegal
and criminal pieces of stealing and peeping anonymous shits from
Google, from Facebook, from Apple and from Microsoft (and quite a
few more: some tenthousand of corporations are doing similat things
The police, the courts and the laws all are without any say,
for the privacies of everybody with an internet computer are in fact
almost completely lost. And that applies to 4 billion persons now.
Here is more about the sick, degenerate, immoral, illegal and
criminal pieces of stealing and peeping anonymous shits from Google:
Screenwise invades your private living spaces through a
custom router. It can’t intercept HTTPS traffic. But
because DNS lookups are currently
unencrypted, Google can record every single site that
anyone visits while connected to your WiFi. And, of course, it can see
any unencrypted app and web traffic on your home WiFi, too.
To top it all off,
there’s the “TV
Meter,” which is an always-on microphone in your house
that collects and sends Google audio from your TV as well as any nearby
chatter it picks up—a wiretap for your living room.
I said these are
criminals (and I do not care what any judge
says, for judges are in general far more ignorant of computing,
politics, psychology and philosophy than I am).
Here is a conclusion from this article:
Yes indeed, but
unfortunately I think that the only way to get the peeping
terrorists from Google and Facebook etc. etc. out of your house is an
international collapse of the economy - which will come, but I do
not know whether this will be large enough to remove these spies
forever into a jail. And this is a strongly recommended
With each passing
day, it’s increasingly clear that we can’t rely on the “ethics” and
“value systems” of corporations to judge their own messaging around
consent. Jargon-filled dialog boxes, pages of fine print, and hidden
privacy policies aren’t enough. When profits are driven by collecting
and selling our data, companies are incentivized to manipulate as many
people to “opt in” as possible.
Google’s extensive “research” into user behavior, in exchange for a few
gift cards, is more evidence of the dire need for new carefully-tailored
rules to protect user privacy, and an end to the era
of companies dictating users’ legal rights.
the Moderate Democrat
is by Les Leopold on Common Dreams. This is from near its beginning -
and it can well be construed as an answer to item
But what is the substance
of all this centrism and moderation?
First and foremost, these
moderates are united by their unwillingness to take on Wall Street. And
because of that unwillingness, they are unable to confront the defining
problem of our era—runaway inequality. They cannot face up to the
fact that the wages of the average worker have been stagnant for an
entire generation. Meanwhile the pay gap between the top 100 CEOs and
the average worker has risen from 40 to 1 in 1980 to an obscene 800 to
The centrists run away from
this problem in large part because they are in a desperate race to win
the very first primary—the fundraising primary. And it is no secret
that victory goes to the candidate who garners the most financial
support from Wall Street/corporate Democrats.
I think this is
mostly quite correct (and it goes considerably further than
Robert Reich did in item 3, although the facts that Leopold and Reich
use to support their ideas are the same).
Here is more from this article:
From this coziness with
Wall Street flows the trope about being "socially liberal" and
"fiscally conservative." The moderate centrists, and their Wall
Street donors, support LBTQ rights, the advancement of women in
business, immigration and criminal justice reform, gun control, and
abortion rights. At the same time, they believe the entire
progressive runaway inequality platform is an affront to economic
reason: High taxes on the rich will discourage initiative and
innovation; single-payer health care and free higher education will
bankrupt the country; breaking up the big banks will cripple investment
Of course, the moderates
must ignore the reams of data from all over the world that show that
these progressive reforms would reduce inequality and enhance the
well-being of nearly everyone (..)
Yes, I think this is
also quite correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this
Quite possibly so. In any
case, I do not like moderate Democrats, although I fear Leopold's
expectations may be correct. This is a strongly recommended
Given enough financial
support, a "moderate" might be able to buy her or his way through the
Democratic primaries, especially if many candidates split the
progressive populist vote. One could imagine one of the "moderates"
becoming a media darling of the center, which might further enhance his
or her status.
But should one of them
squeak through to become the nominee, we might have a Democratic
debacle. The nativist economic populists on the right might flock back
to Trump along with the arch conservatives who will never leave him.
Trump may look incredibly weak now, but a Wall Street-backed Democratic
"moderate" with a natural base of 3.8 percent could give the worst
president in American history a real chance.
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 (!!).