in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from February 28, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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 28, 2019:
1. Michael Cohen Accuses Trump of
Expansive Pattern of Lies and
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. Read Michael Cohen's Prepared
Testimony in Its Entirety
3. Our Five Biggest Delusions About Climate Change
4. A Conman, a Liar, and a Rigged System
5. Counter-histories of the Internet
Cohen Accuses Trump of Expansive Pattern of Lies and Criminality
This article is by
Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos on The New York Times. It starts as
Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer accused him on Wednesday of an
expansive pattern of lies and criminality, offering a damning portrayal
of life inside the president’s orbit where he said advisers sacrificed
integrity for proximity to power.
D. Cohen, who represented Mr. Trump for a decade, laid out for Congress
for the first time a series of deceptions by the president. He charged
that Mr. Trump lied to the public about business interests in Russia,
lied to reporters about stolen Democratic emails and told Mr. Cohen to
lie about hush payments to cover up sexual misconduct.
accusations, aired at a daylong hearing before the House Oversight and
Reform Committee, exposed a dark underside of Mr. Trump’s business and
political worlds in the voice of one of the ultimate insiders. Perhaps
no close associate has turned on a president in front of Congress in
such dramatic fashion and with such high stakes since John Dean
testified against President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate
is a racist. He is a con man. And he is a cheat,” Mr. Cohen said of the
president. Mr. Cohen, who has pleaded guilty to lying under oath to
Congress, among other crimes, said he did so to protect Mr. Trump. “I
am not protecting Mr. Trump anymore,” he said.
I say, which I do because the above evidence is
given by someome who was for ten years very close to Trump, and because
the evidence is rather sensational. This is also the reason
that in today's Nederlog there are three articles about Cohen's
Here is some more:
While the details have been
different, his portrait of the president broadly resembles those
provided by others who have split with Mr. Trump, including former
aides, business associates and even his onetime ghostwriter, who
likewise have described a president who bullies, dissembles and cheats
to serve his own interests.
But it remained unclear whether Mr. Cohen’s testimony would change the
political dynamics of a series of scandals that have already polarized
Washington and the country and that could lead to an impeachment battle
Well... in fact I am unclear what a
"it remained unclear
whether Mr. Cohen’s testimony would change the political dynamics of a
series of scandals" is
supposed to mean.
For me, it is pretty meaningless ("would change", "the
political dynamics", "a
series of scandals").
What does seem a fact, at least in my
that Michael Cohen was for ten years very close to Trump.
Here is some more on Cohen and his sincerity:
with so many other moments of the Trump era, the hearing seemed to be
as much about partisan theater as fact-finding. Democrats and
Republicans set forth their conflicting narratives about the man who
once served Mr. Trump, either as a duplicitous disgruntled former
employee or a fallen sinner trying to redeem himself by coming clean.
it all sat Mr. Cohen, 52, with dark circles under his puffy eyes,
already tired from eight hours of testimony behind closed doors the day
before and awaiting a three-year prison term that begins this spring.
Apologizing repeatedly to his family, Mr. Cohen portrayed himself as a
broken man brought down by hubris, at one point choking up and wiping
tears from his eyes at the mention of the effect on his daughter.
some five hours of nationally televised testimony, Mr. Cohen described
his years working for Mr. Trump as a trip into a world of deceit in
which the now-disbarred lawyer ignored his own conscience to get close
to a magnetic person of power.
I certainly do not know when and where Cohen is
sincere, but I do think his present evidence seems a lot more
than when he was still Trump's personal lawyer. Besides, while some of
Cohen's evidence (5 hours) was nationally televised, there is more
evidence (8 hours) that was not released to the public.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Mr. Cohen offered some
tantalizing hints of more to come. Asked about his last conversation
with Mr. Trump, he said he could not answer because it is “being
investigated right now” by federal prosecutors in New York. Asked if he
knew of other wrongdoing or crimes by Mr. Trump, he said: “Yes. And
again, those are part of the investigation.”
More generally, Mr. Cohen
compared Mr. Trump to a mobster who inflated his net worth to the
public while understating it to tax authorities, rigged an art auction
using his charitable foundation and threatened those who got in his way.
Mr. Cohen estimated that Mr.
Trump had asked him to threaten someone perhaps 500 times over 10
years, from berating a “nasty reporter” to warning of lawsuits. He
provided letters he wrote during the campaign at Mr. Trump’s direction
to the president’s high school, colleges and the College Board
threatening civil and criminal action if they released his grades or
Mr. Trump did not run for
president to make the country great, according to Mr. Cohen, instead
calling his campaign the “greatest infomercial in political history”
for his business. “He never expected to win the primary,” he said. “He
never expected to win the general election. The campaign, for him, was
always a marketing opportunity.” But now, Mr. Cohen said, he fears that
if Mr. Trump loses re-election next year, “there will never be a
peaceful transition of power.
Incidentally, note that "Mr. Trump had asked [Cohen] to threaten
someone" happened for
ten years on average (almost) each and every week. And I do
believe Cohen's "[Trump] never expected to win the primary” and his "He never expected to win the general election", which incidentally also suggests that one
important factor in Trump's winning both was the nearly endless
free time that was given to him on the corporatist (mainstream) media.
Anyway, this is a recommended article. Here is more on Cohen:
Michael Cohen's Prepared Testimony in Its Entirety
This article is by
The Associated Press and Truthdig Staff. It starts as follows:
President Donald Trump’s
former personal lawyer is preparing to tell a House committee Wednesday
that Trump knew ahead of time that WikiLeaks had emails damaging to his
rival Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and that he is a
“racist,” a “con man” and a “cheat.”
Michael Cohen suggests in
prepared testimony obtained by The Associated Press that Trump also
implicitly told him to lie about a Moscow real estate project. Cohen
has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the project, which he
says Trump knew about as Cohen was negotiating with Russia during the
Cohen says Trump did not
directly tell him to lie, but that “he would look me in the eye and
tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the
American people by saying the same thing.”
Cohen said that “in his
way, he was telling me to lie.”
In the testimony, Cohen
apologizes for his actions and says “I am ashamed that I chose to take
part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my
I think I believe
Cohen's evidence in the first four quoted paragraphs, and I like
explanation of how Trump made Cohen lie: By denying what are now
presumed painful facts to the public, which means that Cohen had to
follow him or else was forced to explicitly deny Trump.
Then there is this on
Cohen also says that Trump
made racist comments about African-Americans, saying at one point that
black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.
Cohen says that he and Trump once drove through a struggling
neighborhood in Chicago and that Trump remarked that only black people
could live that way.
He also says Trump once
asked him to name a country run by a black person that wasn’t falling
apart, though he says Trump used a vulgarism. At the time Barack Obama
was America’s president.
I think I also believe the
above statements. Then there is this in the article:
He met with the Senate
intelligence committee for more than nine hours behind closed doors on
Tuesday. Cohen said he appreciated the opportunity to “clear the record
and tell the truth” after acknowledging he lied to the committee in
It was the first of three
consecutive days of congressional appearances for Cohen. After the
public hearing Wednesday, he will appear before the House intelligence
panel Thursday, again speaking in private.
Note that Cohen said
lot more behind closed doors (measured in terms of hours) than was
public, and this may be quite important later.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
This is here only to
who want to read all that Cohen publicly said, a chance to read all he
said. (I will not be one of them, but then I am ill and have
do.) And this is a recommended article.
Read the statement in its
Five Biggest Delusions About Climate Change
This article is by
David Wallace-Wells on Common Dreams and originally on Los Angeles
Times. This is from near its beginning:
[C]limate change isn’t
binary, and this is one of the five major misapprehensions even engaged
liberals have about warming. It’s not a question of whether it will
happen or not, or whether it will be like the 2018 wildfire season or
64 times worse. Climate change is a function that will get worse over
time as long as we continue to emit greenhouse gas.
No matter how bad it gets,
it will always be the case that the following decade could bring more
suffering — or less. And believe it or not, the amount will always be
up to us. Climate change may seem intimidatingly large, but the
responsibility is entirely ours.
I have no idea about who
Wallace-Wells is, but I learned that an earlier article of his about
climate change was accused by "scientists" of exaggeraring. And while
I also do not know whether that is probable or true, I reject
his statement that "the
responsibility" for climate change "is entirely ours":
I am reading about the
environment (let's say) since 1972, and one of the things that
clear is that a man like myself, who is poor and ill, has no
responsibility for the environment, simply because I lack
power, and do not control any corporation or any politician
any political party.
But Wallace-Wells absolutely
wants to accuse me and everyone else (much rather than the
wealthy and very powerful persons who did
make the decisions):
We tend to think of
global warming as a legacy of the Industrial Revolution. In fact,
according to my research, more than half of the carbon exhaled into the
atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels has come in the last 30
years. That is, since Al Gore published his first book on climate, and
since the premiere of “Seinfeld.”
The United Nations
established its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988,
signaling to all the world a scientific consensus about the problem.
Since then, we have done more damage, knowingly, than we did over
preceding centuries, in ignorance.
No, I do not "think of global warming as a legacy of the
Industrial Revolution", and no I
have not "done more damage, knowingly" than I or "we did over preceding centuries".
Then there is this:
misunderstanding is about scope. So much of what we know to fear about
global warming concerns sea level rise; if we don’t live right on the
coast, we tend to think, we should be OK. In fact, if warming continues
unabated, by the end of even this century, no life will remain
Agricultural yields could
fall by half. Warfare could double, since every half-degree of warming
is likely to bring 10%
to 20% more armed conflict. Global GDP could fall by as much as a
third; the impact would be twice as deep as the Great Depression, and
permanent. Overall, according to my calculations, the damage could
reach $600 trillion, or more wealth than exists in the world today.
No, I don't fear "sea level rise" especially, though Amsterdam (where I live) is at present
a bit over 2 meters below sea level, while all the rest of the above
quoted paragraphs might become
true but are at present the speculations of Wallace-Wells.
Here is more:
The fourth delusion is
about severity. For decades, scientists have defined two degrees as the
threshold of climate catastrophe, and many of us have treated that
level of warming as a worst-case scenario. In fact, it is a best-case
scenario that, at this point, will be almost impossible to achieve.
With an increase of two
degrees, many cities in India and the Middle East would become
literally unlivable because of heat, and several ice sheets would begin
an irreversible collapse. If we lost all Arctic and Antarctic ice, sea
levels could, over centuries, rise by 200 feet. Or more.
No, I have never
believed that two degrees of warming was the "worse-case scenario" (not
since 1972). Also, while it might be true that "sea levels could (..) rise by 200 feet. Or
more." this also is the case "over
centuries", and one thing I have learned from the (former) science of futurology
is that all predictions of what is supposed to happen in
several hundreds of years is essentially boloney.
Here is the fifth "major misapprehension" I suppose
Wallace-Wells supposes me to be "deluded" (his term) about:
[T]he fifth major
misapprehension is that science is even capable of containing and
describing the sum total of the assaults. In fact, the indirect effects
may be even more profound: on our psychology, our culture, our sense of
place in nature and history, our relationship to technology and to
capitalism. Not to mention our geopolitics.
So "science is" not
"capable of containing and
describing the sum
total of the assaults"
(from the climate)? I am sorry, but who should we then ask if not
scientists? Psychics, perhaps?
I am sorry, but I think
this is an exaggerated story with hardly or no independent
and if you want to read a similar appraisal by Michael Mann, a
climatologist who does believe - like almost all climatologists - in
climate change, you should look here.
Here is one bit of Mann:
"The article argues that
climate change will render the Earth uninhabitable by the end of this
century," Mann wrote. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary
evidence. The article fails to produce it."
Conman, a Liar, and a Rigged System
This article is by
Peter Bloom on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
This is the third article
on Cohen's evidence in Congress, and it is the best of those that I
have read about it, and the above appreciation seems correct to me.
Present Trump’s former
personal lawyer Michael Cohen is testifying in front of congress today.
On the surface, this is an attempt to get to the truth of Trump’s
misdeeds as a candidate. Cohen has intimate knowledge of his actions
and character, and give a first hand account of hush money payments,
WikiLeak conspiracies, and even potentially possible Russian collusion.
Republicans, not surprisingly, have been quick to paint Cohen as a
quite literally unbelievable. Yet the picture, Cohen provides of Trump
is both credible and shocking.
The testimony will most
probably be best remembered for Cohen referring to the President as a
“conman” and a “racist”. These are not new claims to be sure. However,
hearing them backed up with such rich ancedotes as Trump getting
pleasure out of underpaying or not paying for services or questioning
whether black people could successfully lead countries in private
conversation, reinforces an image of him as morally corrupt and
Here is some more:
Yes, I agree. Here is more:
If there is one thing
everyone from all sides can agree upon, in this regard, it is that
Cohen’s testimony is certainly salacious. He is recounting tales of
sex, money, and power. Of Trump using charity money to secretly have
someone buy a portrait of himself for huge amounts of money at an
auction. Of him bragging that the government was so stupid for giving
him 10 million dollars in tax refunds. It is also political theater at
It is undeniably
that an entity such as WikiLeaks could use its subversive powers to
hurt Clinton for Trump’s advantage. However, it is also worrying that
everything it released about Clinton was in fact true. And even more
so, that the mainstream media has failed for so long to critically
uncover the systematic corruption of elites and the status quo. It is
the absence of an independent media that gives birth to such rogue and
unregulated viral leakers.
I do not
agree to the first quoted statement above, especially not as the next
statement says that "everything
it released about Clinton was in fact true", but the rest is correct, and this is a recommended
of the Internet
This article is
by Marta Figlerowicz on Public Books. This is from near its beginning:
Two recent books
similar speculative scenarios in the course of offering alternative
histories of the internet: David Clark’s Designing an Internet
and Joy Lisi Rankin’s A People’s History of Computing in the
United States. Clark’s book introduces its readers to scientists
who designed our networks, many of whom still dream of redesigning
them. Rankin writes about groups of students and researchers who used
early computers with uncommon egalitarianism. Both authors wonder why
versions of the internet that they personally favor have not prevailed.
They also hope that recalling such forgotten projects could inspire
their readers to fight for a better digital future. In fact, this article
is a review of the two books mentioned above. I did not like it much,
but this may not be the fault of Figlerowicz. Also, I have my own
theory of the rise of the internet, that I will expound - briefly,
again - at the end of the present review.
Here is some more by
Extant histories of the
internet favor either heroic or deterministic narratives. (...)
With some variations, these narratives portray the digital revolution
as born from the improbable marriage of countercultural hippie
experiments and the military-industrial complex. The blame for their
unfortunate offspring—namely, rampant self-expression monetized by
savvy entrepreneurs and embraced by a generally ignorant populace—is
laid at the feet of now one, now the other of its putative parents.
I think that a
portrayal of "the digital
revolution as born from the improbable marriage of countercultural
hippie experiments and the military-industrial complex" is partially
correct, but is definitely too vague in blaiming "the military-industrial complex", for the simple reason that it was
clearly DARPA -
i.e. the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - that
the arisal of the internet and much else.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
In fact, both books
two wholly different and new tasks. First, they show how much of early
computing was done amid multigenerational, partly aimless academic
communities working collectively, more motivated by curiosity and
pedagogy than by ego, power, or profit. Second, they contest the
evolutionary logic that would accept the current version of the
internet as the most optimal possible outcome. The internet, as they
see it, emerged out of a multiplicity of divergent trajectories and
models of development.
I think that is
correct. I said above that "I have my own
theory of the rise of the internet" that I would expound below, and here
it is once again.
taken from my Crisis:
and Control: Brezezinski 1968 that I wrote in October of 2012 (much hindered then by very
bad eyes, that meanwhile are a lot better but not healed), and I will
simply quote what I wrote then:
I've read about the French student revolt of May 1968, that I have seen
myself in Paris, is by Stephen Spender:
"The Year of The Young Rebels". MY copy is from May 1969, in Vintage
Books., Library of Congtress Card Nr. 78-78801.
interesting for many reasons, and one is the following
rather amazing quotation, especially in view of what has been happening
lately with civil liberties.
Note that the
following was published in 1969 - and I copy with line
breaks and all:
idea of the
technotronic society seems to be under the
Brezezinski, until recently a member of
Staff of the State Department, and now
Research Institute of Communist Affairs at
The 'technotronic society' seems to be the
society of 'spontaneity' demanded by
students, who Mr Brezezinskin evidently regards
throw-backs, survivors of Romantic days, forlornly
anachronistic roles: (1)
Our society is
leaving the phase of spontaneity and is entering a
more self-conscious state;
ceasing to be an industrial society, its is being shaped to an
ever-increasing extent by technology and electronics,
(1) New Republic, 13 December 1967
and thus becoming the first technotronic society.
This is at least in part the cause for much of
the current tensions and violence, and largely the reason why events
in America today do not fit established categories
that the technotronic society fills some
(in this respect the reactionaries and the
Mr Brezezinski does not expect that the Luddite
anarchy will seriously obstruct the new
'it will soon be possible to assert almost
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-
containing even personal information
personal behaviour of the citizen, in
customary data.' Moreover it will be
and plan to meet any uprisings in the
will even be able to forecast crises before the
conscious of wanting them.
e.g. my Crisis:
Big Brother is watching you written 44 years later. And
note that Mr Brezezinski
is still alive, and may still be advising the powers that be. The
Wikipedia article on him is quite interesting and long, and also
contains this quote:
involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a
society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional
values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files
containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These
files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities." –
Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era, 1970
I could quote some more,
such as the fact that Brzezinski was the head of national security
under Carter, but Brzezinski recently died; almost all references
to Spender's book have disappeared, as have most painful details
about Brzezinski on Wikipedia (as quoted above); and I am also getting
rather tired from repeating this over and again - and note that the
last quote gives what was realized on
the internet by the 1990ies - without ever getting any
In any case, I find the enormous power that the
surveillance state has given to the secret services one of the
most frightening bits there is about the future - which I am very
glad that I mostly will miss because of my age (nearly 69).
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 (!!).