in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from February 18, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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:
. Selections from February 18, 2019:
1. What’s the Plan for Brexit? There Is No
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. The Most Dangerous Weapon Ever
3. Do Facebook and Google need to be broken up?
4. States Prepare Legal Challenge to Trump's Emergency
5. Trump Is Our One-Man National Emergency
the Plan for Brexit? There Is No Plan
This article is by
The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed: This all seems
quite true for me, as does the title of this article.
chaos of a British exit from the European Union without a deal has
been often foretold, and in frightening detail — goods stranded for
weeks, shortages of medicines, flight of businesses and jobs. The
deadline, 11 p.m. London time on March 29, is so close that the civil
service has begun advertising for applicants to an “E.U. Exit
Emergencies Centre.” Yet Prime Minister Theresa May and her
Parliament seem capable only of futile votes whose main effect is to
harden positions and bring the precipice closer.
votes themselves are often on matters that are symbolic at best — the last, on Thursday, was a nonbinding motion to support Mrs. May’s
battered strategy. Her humiliating loss by a 303-to-258 vote was
another example of the prime minister’s inability to overcome a deep
rift within her own party, much less the partisan divisions in
Parliament, since the resounding defeat of her Brexit plan last month.
with every lost vote, her authority — and the European Union’s faith in
her ability to get any deal through Parliament — is further diminished.
Still, she remains at 10 Downing Street, the nominal head of a bitterly
divided party loath to risk an election it could lose to Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, an old-fashioned left-winger whose own
party is divided over Brexit.
I also think there is no plan because of the many
between the Tories and Labour, while these contradictions have been
strengthened by the fundamentally undemocratic elections in Great
Britain (that still makes Great Britain ruled by one of two parties,
the Tories or Labour).
Also, I have been against Brexit from the beginning, mostly
based on my
expectations that a genuine Brexit will reduce Great Britain to a small
nation with huge costs - but I grant that expectation is more personal
than well-founded, although they do seem rational.
Here is one more bit from this article:
What is alarming in this
whirlpool of conflicting schemes and fears is the evident sentiment
among hard-core Brexiteers that a no-deal exit is not only feasible, but perhaps
desirable as a way for Britain to dramatically reaffirm its
sovereignty. Their contempt for the chorus of warnings from businesses
was best expressed by Boris Johnson, the
former foreign secretary, when he was overheard last June to dismiss
such concerns with an expletive. The hard-core Conservative camp has
voted against any attempt to legislate a rejection of a no-deal exit.
Yes indeed. And I do not know what to expect in
of a no-deal Brexit or one which will almost undoubtedly will be a bad
deal Brexit, but I do expect in case of any Brexit that Great
will be considerably poorer. And this is a recommended article.
Most Dangerous Weapon Ever
This article is by
James Carroll on Truthdig and originally on TomDispatch. I abbreviated
the title. It starts as follows:
Yes, I agree with
Carroll's analysis. Also, here is some background on "low-yield"
Last month, the National
Nuclear Security Administration (formerly the Atomic Energy Commission)
announced that the first of a new generation of strategic nuclear
weapons had rolled off the assembly line
at its Pantex nuclear weapons plant in the panhandle of Texas. That
warhead, the W76-2, is designed to be fitted to a submarine-launched
Trident missile, a weapon with a range of more than 7,500 miles. By
September, an undisclosed number of warheads will be delivered to the Navy for deployment.
What makes this particular
nuke new is the fact that it carries a far smaller
payload than the thermonuclear monsters the Trident has been hosting
for decades — not the equivalent of about 100 kilotons of TNT as
previously, but of five kilotons. According to Stephen Young of
the Union of Concerned Scientists, the W76-2 will yield “only” about
one-third of the devastating power of the weapon that the Enola
Gay, an American B-29 bomber, dropped on Hiroshima on August 6,
1945. Yet that very shrinkage of the power to devastate is precisely
what makes this nuclear weapon potentially the most dangerous ever
manufactured. Fulfilling the Trump administration’s quest for
nuclear-war-fighting “flexibility,” it isn’t designed as a deterrent
against another country launching its nukes; it’s designed to be
used. This is the weapon that could make the previously “unthinkable” thinkable.
I take it this is correct
as well, and especially the fact that most
of these "low-yield"
nuclear weapons had been
eliminated for something like
thirty or more years.
There have long been
“low-yield” nuclear weapons in the arsenals of the nuclear powers,
including ones on cruise missiles, “air-drop bombs” (carried by
planes), and even nuclear artillery shells — weapons designated as
“tactical” and intended to be used in the confines of a specific
battlefield or in a regional theater of war. The vast majority of them
were, however, eliminated in the nuclear arms reductions that followed
the end of the Cold War, a scaling-down by both the United States and
Russia that would be quietly greeted with relief by battlefield
commanders, those actually responsible for the potential use of such
ordnance who understood its self-destructive absurdity.
Here is some more on intercontinental strategic nukes:
Yes, I fear that is quite
correct. Then there is this on the Bulletin
of the Atomic Scientists, that has been warning against the spread
of atomic weapons and the probable doomsday for every human being this
implies by various means, included - since 1947 - the Doomsday Clock.
Unlike tactical weapons,
intercontinental strategic nukes were designed to directly target the
far-off homeland of an enemy. Until now, their extreme destructive
power (so many times greater than that inflicted on Hiroshima) made it
impossible to imagine genuine scenarios for their use that would be
practically, not to mention morally, acceptable. It was exactly to
remove that practical inhibition — the moral one seemed not to count —
that the Trump administration recently began the process of
withdrawing from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces
Treaty, while rolling a new “limited” weapon off the assembly line and
so altering the Trident system. With these acts, there can be little
question that humanity is entering a perilous second nuclear age.
That clock is now again as close to doomsday as it was (for
time) in 1953, all thanks to Donald Trump (who has also
wondered why nuclear arms aren't used, since they exist).
Here is some more on the
There is considerably more
in the article that I skip. It ends as follows:
By 2018, after a year of
Donald Trump, it clocked in at two minutes to midnight, a shrill alarm
meant to signal a return to the greatest peril ever: the two-minute
level reached only once before, 65 years earlier. Last month,
within days of the announced manufacture of the first W76-2, the Bulletin’s cover
for 2019 was unveiled, still at that desperate
two-minute mark, aka the edge of doom.
Yes indeed: I quite agree
and this is a strongly recommended article.
In the upcoming season of
presidential politics, the nuclear question belongs at the top of every
candidate’s agenda. It belongs at the center of every forum and at the
heart of every voter’s decision. Action is needed before the W76-2 and
its successors teach a post-Hiroshima planet what nuclear war is truly
Facebook and Google need to be broken up?
This article is by
Matthew Rozsa on Salon. It starts as follows:
Well... I don't find
to believe and I also think that a - criminal - medium like Facebook
should not be called "a social media" but an a-social media
precisely because Facebook gathers private and "intimate personal details of around one-third
of the world's population while controlling their access to information": That must be a crime (or if
should be a crime) just as is the gathering of
private and personal
data (including all e-mails) of everyone who is a member of Facebook
(who almost never know what they are a member of nor how much they
abused, mostly because of their ignorance).
It's hard to believe that,
as recently as two years ago, there was serious
talk of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg running
for president. Regardless of whether one supports his idea for a
universal basic income, a strong argument can be made that a President
Zuckerberg would have been the single most powerful human being to ever
live. He would have controlled the world's mightiest superpower and a
social media platform that provides him with intimate personal details
of around one-third of the world's population while controlling their
access to information.
I make this point because,
while any incipient Zuckerberg presidential campaign has been thwarted
by the endless
controversies surrounding Facebook's role in the 2016 election, the
sheer power of both that platform and the search engine Google — the
most visited website in the world — give them considerable control over
a number of businesses. This is something that people in my industry
know firsthand: When Facebook or Google decide to change their
algorithms, those of us who work in the media immediately worry that
our employers will be hurt and our jobs will be on the line. Such was
the case, for instance, when Facebook
changed its algorithm in 2018, resulting in many layoffs of editors
Incidentally, the business of Rozsa is journalism while to the best of
my knowledge the actual algorithms Facebook uses are its secret.
Then there are Franklin Foer and Eleanor Fox both of whom are quoted in
the article. I will only quote a few bits from them, and start with
Eleanor Fox (and I take it the "from me" in the first paragraph is an
She added, "From the European point of view, it is that
Google is a gatekeeper and Google has the responsibility of fair
dealing to those on its platform. That is a violation under their
treaty on the European Union, the treaty on the functioning of the
European Union, which says that from me not abuse its dominance."
Foer echoed Fox's observation, drawing parallels between
the experiences of journalists in the Google/Facebook age and the
international economy in general.
"I feel like the problem that journalism is experiencing
with Google and Facebook, it’s a broader economic problem which is that
we’ve developed these platforms on which everybody else is dependent,
and that dependence is ultimately harmful to the world because whatever
Facebook and Google decide is most important at any moment then becomes
the thing that’s most important for everybody else," Foer explained.
"Their values become the values of everyone who depends on the
platforms, and that’s problematic."
Well... yes, but I think
both Google and Facebook are not only too big and too powerful, but
they also are criminal, and I totally refuse to use them,
because I very much dislike them, and I think they are criminal (e-mail
ought to be private, just as mail that arrives by old-fashioned post),
but also because I hate inviting advertisers in my own house
proceed to copy everything they can lay hands on.
Finally, if it is a matter of
personal choice, both Google and Facebook should be forbidden and
wholly broken up, while the task of gathering search indexes,
does, should be given to some publicly controllable entity that doesn't
work for profit.
Prepare Legal Challenge to Trump's Emergency Declaration
This article is by
Julia Conley on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
I say, which I do because
I did not know this, and think it is rather important.
At least five states are
preparing a legal challenge to President Donald Trump's national
emergency declaration, which he made on Friday to secure funding for a
border wall after congressional Democrats refused to approve $5.7
billion in funds for the project.
California Attorney General
Xavier Becerra appeared
on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday to say a lawsuit he's
preparing with officials in Minnesota, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Oregon
will be filed "definitely and imminently."
"We knew something like
this might happen, and with our sister state partners we are ready to
go," Becerra told Martha Raddatz.
Becerra said Trump's own
admission that he "didn't need to" declare the emergency left him
vulnerable to legal
action like the one he as well as the ACLU, Citizens for
Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and other government watchdogs
"He himself said it,"
said. "He did not need to announce or declare a crisis. He did not have
to call this an emergency. He has also said he knows he's going to lose
in court and he's hoping that he can count on a conservative court in
the Supreme Court to give him a victory because he knows he's going to
lose all the way up the ladder of the courts, the federal court system."
Also, I think Becerra is quite right in insisting that the
"emergency" of Trump cannot be an emergency, for the simple
Trump himself said he "didn't
need to" declare the emergency".
Here is some more:
Yes indeed: Becerra is
right (and Trump's emergency implies that money will be taken from
other governmental ends, and given
to building the wall), and this is a recommended
Becerra added that although
Trump has focused largely in recent days on building the portion of the
border wall that would separate Texas from Mexico and not the part that
would lie in California, his state stands to lose vital funding for
disaster relief services should Trump succeed in raiding government
funds for up to $6.6 billion in funding for the wall.
"Whether it's emergency
response services, or whether it's fires or mudslides in California, or
maybe tornadoes and floods in other parts of the country, or whether
it's our military men and women and their families who live on military
installations that might—that might have money taken away from them, or
whether it's money taken away from drug interdiction efforts in places
like California, a number of states, and certainly Americans, will be
Is Our One-Man National Emergency
This article is
by Michael Winship on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Well... I don't
whether Winship is correct in the above quotation (and I dislike Obama,
although that is hardly relevant), but he is correct - or so I
that Trump is a racist.
The fact that his
predecessor was a smart, witty and popular black man makes Donald Trump
crazy. Especially the black part.
Remember the stories about
his alleged fury in 2011 when Barack Obama so effectively zinged Trump
as he sat fuming from his table at the White House Correspondents
Association dinner? Supposedly it was that humiliation at the hands of
a black president that convinced Trump to seek the presidency and, God
help us, get the last laugh.
As a candidate, and once he
assumed the highest office, in addition to its fundamental principle of
Not America But Me First, the Trump platform has been built on planks
of anything-Obama-did-I-reject-and-attack. So out went Obama
regulations and trade deals. Iran nuclear pact? Be gone. Farewell,
Paris climate accord.
Here is some more:
I think this is mostly
correct. Next, there is this and the speaker in the first paragraph is
Philip Klinkner (who is a professor of government):
But in constantly knocking
Obama and his time in the White House, the president not only is
engaging in his usual pattern of childishly insulting anyone critical
of him, he’s reflecting the deep-seated racism that infects so much of
him, and what got him into office.
Think back to Trump’s
birther madness. His bogus claims that Barack Obama was born in Kenya
went on for years until 53 days before the 2016 election when he was
forced to make a non-apology from a ballroom in the about-to-open
Trump International Hotel. "President Obama was born in the United
States. Period," Trump announced, begrudgingly. "Now, we want to get
back to making America strong and great again." Strong, he meant, and
out of the hands of another minority citizen.
I agree with Winship that
building the wall is no emergency (but a useless, expensive
“I think for many
Americans, the whole definition of America is caught up with race: [the
belief] that whites are the only people who have the requisite
characteristics that would allow them to be full citizens and therefore
the political leaders of the country.”
Such racial fabrication and
delusions of white superiority were at the heart of Trump’s
presidential campaign – from his birther bilge to those Mexican rapists
– and subsequently have reignited in so many of the lies and
misrepresentations this president has inflicted on the country since he
took the oath of office.
Yet there are few so
heinous as the great lie and metaphor for hatred and separation of them
all, the “big, beautiful wall” for which, he says, we need to call a
There is no emergency.
Here is Winship's idea on what is the real national emergency:
I agree with
I realize this is mostly due to an agreement on other values
You know as well as I:
real national emergency isn’t refugees of a different color trying to
get into the United States. It’s the white guy sitting on Pennsylvania
Avenue with too much “executive time” on his hands.
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 (!!).