in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from March 7, 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 March 7, 2019:
1. “The End of the Myth"
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. Facebook CEO Vows to Double Down on
3. Top Democrats Are Enabling Climate Catastrophe
4. What’s the Real American Story?
5. Debating a Maximum Wage
End of the Myth"
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the
title. It starts with the following introduction:
As the Senate appears
to pass a resolution to overturn President Trump’s national emergency
declaration to build a wall along the southern border, we speak with
historian Greg Grandin about his new book, “The End of the Myth: From
the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America.” Grandin writes
in his book, “The wall might or might not be built. But even if it
remains only in its phantasmagorical, budgetary stage, a perpetual
negotiating chip between Congress and the White House, the promise of a
two-thousand-mile-long, thirty-foot-high ribbon of concrete and steel
running along the United States’ southern border serves its purpose.
It’s America’s new myth, a monument to the final closing of frontier.
It’s a symbol of a nation that used to believe that it had escaped
history, or at least strode atop history, but now finds itself trapped
by history, and of a people who used to think they were captains of the
future, but now are prisoners of the past.” Greg Grandin is a professor
at New York University and a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
I say, which I do this
time because I do not think that this story of historian
which is about how ¨the
Mind of America¨ (?!)
thinks about ¨America’s
new myth¨ (?!) which is the
border wall, which is ¨a
symbol of a nation that used to believe that it had escaped history, or
at least strode atop history, but now finds itself trapped by history¨ (?!) - is interesting and
I am sorry, but I am
nearly 70 and a philosopher and a psychologist, but I find it very
to understand the above.
Here is some more about
GOODMAN: (..) Talk about
the significance of the wall, both what Trump is attempting to do right
now, and you look at it as a metaphor as well as a reality.
GRANDIN: Right. Well, the
way to understand the significance of the wall in American history is
to step back and look at that other myth of American history, that for
decades kind of underwrote American exceptionalism, America’s sense of
nationalism, and that’s the frontier. The frontier has been a kind of
proxy for a privilege that no other nation in history has enjoyed, and
that’s the ability to use expansion, use the promise of limitless
growth, in order to organize domestic politics. The frontier as a
symbol of moving out in the world, as a symbol of the future, as—you
know, this has been ideologized by various theorists going back to
Frederick Jackson Turner at the end of the 19th century.
And so, one of the themes of
the book is trying to look at the way the wall has trumped the frontier
as the national symbol, and what that means. Where the frontier
symbolized expansion and the future and a certain kind o openness to
the world, the wall symbolizes almost its exact opposite, kind of. It
embodies what some theorists have called a race realism, a sense that
the world isn’t limitless, that there are limits, and that the United
States has to take care of its own.
there is this ¨Myth of the Wall¨, which in turn - according to Grandin,
to be sure - has been based on ¨that
other myth of American history¨
viz. ¨the frontier¨ and that ¨frontier¨ in turn is ¨a symbol of moving out in the world, (..) a
symbol of the future¨, which has
been trumping ¨the frontier as
the national symbol¨.
Well... I am sorry, but
rather than a historian, Grandin seems a mythologist,
and I am not
interested in mythologists.
Here is one more bit from
GONZÁLEZ: We only have about a minute left, but I wanted to
ask you about the family separations, because one of the things
that—points in your book is that this tactic of separating families is
not new, but, actually, the Border Patrol was doing it back in the ’80s
and ’90s and decades ago.
GRANDIN: Yeah. I mean,
there’s nothing that you’re reading about now, under Trump, that is
new. The Border Patrol has been on the vanguard of some of the worst,
most brutal policies that one can imagine. It just hadn’t been covered.
I mean, there were certainly families separated. There’s certainly the
tactic of separating children from parents in order to make parents
break or confess. There was the releasing of children back into Mexico
without any supervision, including U.S. citizens that were accused of
not being U.S. citizens. There was sexual terrorism. There was violence
and brutality and abuse and beatings and corruption. The INS was riddled with corruption through the 1970s
and 1980s. You know, there’s nothing—Trump politicized the issue. Trump
turned it into national spectacle, a kind of abuse—a system of abuse
that had been more subterranean.
At least Grandin is speaking
about facts here
rather than myths,
although I disagree with his ¨there’s nothing that you’re reading about
now, under Trump, that is new¨,
for while Grandin may have forgetten this in contemplating the various
myths that he asserts ¨the Mind of America¨ (?!) is thinking about, in fact Trump´s plans
wall are new.
Anyway. I don´t blame
Democracy Now!, but I will not recommend this nonsense.
CEO Vows to Double Down on Privacy
This article is by
Michael Liedtke on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It
starts as follows:
If you trust
Zuckerberg - a ¨digital gangster¨ according to British
parliamentarians, after 1 1/2 years of research, who called his clients
on Facebook ¨dumb fucks¨ because ¨they trust me¨ - I think you must
a dumb fuck yourself.
Mark Zuckerberg said
Facebook will start to emphasize new privacy-shielding messaging
services, a shift apparently intended to blunt privacy criticisms of
In effect, the Facebook
co-founder and CEO promised to transform the service from a company
known for devouring the personal information shared by its users to one
that gives people more ways to communicate in truly private fashion,
with their intimate thoughts and pictures shielded by encryption in
ways that Facebook itself can’t read.
But Zuckerberg didn’t
suggest any changes to Facebook’s core newsfeed-and- groups-based
service, or to Instagram’s social network, currently one of the
fastest-growing parts of the company. That didn’t sit well with critics.
“He’s kind of pulled
together this idea that the thing that matters most to people is
privacy between peers and one-to-one communication, ignoring completely
the idea that people also value their privacy from Facebook,” said
Forrester analyst Fatemeh Khatibloo.
And while I don´t think Liedtke is as dumb as that, he repeats
that ¨the Facebook
co-founder and CEO promised to
transform the service from a company known for devouring the personal
information shared by its users to one that gives people more ways to
communicate in truly private fashion¨ - which I think was essentially a lie, for this was
only about Facebook internally and not about Facebook
contacts people on Facebook make with others, such as suppliers.
Anyway. Here is some more by Liedtke:
As part of his effort to
make amends, Zuckerberg plans to stitch together its Messenger,
WhatsApp and Instagram messaging services so users will be able to
contact each other across all of the apps.
The multiyear plan calls
for all of these apps to be encrypted so no one could see the contents
of the messages except for senders and recipients. WhatsApp already has
that security feature, but Facebook’s other messaging apps don’t.
Creating more ways for Facebook’s more than 2 billion users to keep
things private could undermine the company’s business model, which
depends on the ability to learn about the things people like and then
sell ads tied to those interests.
Yes, I think that is
probably correct, as it is probably also correct that the ¨dumb fucks¨
(Zuckerberg´s terminology) who are still on Facebook must
word of Mark Zuckerberg that thet are ¨encrypted so no one could see the contents of
the messages except for senders and recipients¨. You may, but I stay away from Facebook, which seems very
much safer to me. And this is a recommended
Democrats Are Enabling Climate Catastrophe
This article is by
Paul Jay on Truthdig and originally on The Real News Network. It starts
In fact, I mostly agree
with Jay, but not quite: I think myself that ¨the most immediate problem¨ is Trump´s lack of mental sanity,
for that may easily blow up the whole world as long as he is president
of the USA.
What follows is a
conversation among journalists Jacqueline Luqman, Eugene Puryear,
Norman Solomon and The Real News Network’s Paul Jay. Read a transcript
of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the
PAUL JAY: Welcome
to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay.
With all the discussion,
debate, news reporting about the Michael Cohen hearings, the Trump
scandals, the continuing soap opera in Washington, it’s very difficult
to actually spend time focusing on the thing that’s actually the most
threatening facing human civilization as we know it.
The climate crisis is
without any question the most immediate problem, and it does
continuously get lost in the context that the fact this guy is a
climate denier, even that kind of gets lost in the fact that he’s
involved in corruption scandals and so on. Of course, corporate media
doesn’t care much about what’s important, they care about what drives
media, but that goes for a large part of the leadership of the
Democratic Party as well.
But this is probably a matter of interpretation or personal values, and
Jay is correct in the rest he says. Here is some more (a quotation):
Yes indeed, I completely
agree, apart from - again - believing myself that Trump´s insanity is more
important than climate change (but hey: I am a psychologist, so
what madness is, and most people have little or no idea).
BERNIE SANDERS: What
you’re asking is maybe–you know, a couple years ago, I don’t know if
you were moderating, well I don’t know if it was you or CBS, I can’t
remember. Somebody asked me, they said, “What is the major national
security issue facing this country?” You know what I said? I said,
“Climate change,” and people laughed. Wasn’t that funny? Well, people
are not laughing now, because they have read the scientific reports and
they know that if we don’t get our act together in the next twelve
years or so, there’s going to be irreparable damage.
So let me lay it out on the
line. We are going to have to not only take on Trump and his deniers,
but we are going to have to take on the power of the fossil fuel
industry, that is the coal companies and the oil companies and the gas
companies. And we are going to have to transform our energy system away
from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
Here is some by Norman Solomon from the interview:
Yes, I agree
differing a bit on the importance of things). Here is the last bit that
I quote from this article:
(..) The climate deniers are augmented by the climate
enablers, as you put it, and the enablers are at the top of the
Democratic Party in the Congress. And so, when we look at where there
are areas for progressives to hammer on the Democratic Party leadership
such as it is, I think climate is at the top of the list. We’ve got
Pelosi and Hoyer in the House, we have Schumer and Durbin in the
Senate, and as you put it, they’re good at the lip service, but this is
totally inadequate in terms of anything that is being done by those top
Democrats given the threat involved.
Yes indeed. And this is quite
right: ¨the fraud of
this whole attack on big government and planned economy is that the
biggest planned economy already exists, and it’s called the
militarization of the American economy and the Pentagon¨. This is a recommended article.
PAUL JAY: Right.
The big attack on the Green New Deal coming from Trump and the right is
that this is “just an excuse” for more big government. And that phrase,
more big government, is just a symbol, a tag word for more socialism,
for more planned economy. The problem is two parts to it. Number one,
yeah, you’re going to deal with climate change, there’s going to be a
planned economy. You have to plan to get off fossil fuel and onto
sustainable. That’s going to take government planning, because without
doubt, it’s clear the free market is not going to go there. And number
two, the fraud of this whole attack on big government and planned
economy is that the biggest planned economy already exists, and it’s
called the militarization of the American economy and the Pentagon.
4. What’s the Real
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
I agree with most
above, but I doubt that ¨the
four tales Americans have been telling ourselves¨ are very relevant, although I will quote parts of two
of them. Here is the first:
Donald Trump has perfected
the art of telling a fake story about America. The only way to counter
that is to tell the real story of America.
Trump’s story is by now
familiar: he alone will rescue average Americans from powerful alien
forces – immigrants, foreign traders, foreign politicians and their
international agreements – that have undermined the wellbeing of
These forces have been
successful largely because Democrats, liberals,
“socialists,” cultural elites, the Washington establishment, the
media and “deep state” bureaucrats have helped them, in order to enrich
themselves and boost their power. Not surprisingly, according to Trump,
these forces seek to remove him from office.
What makes Trump’s story
powerful to some Americans despite its utter phoniness is that it
echoes the four tales Americans have been telling ourselves since
before the founding of the Republic.
This is utterly false,
the simple reason that each and every rich society there is, is a
pyramid with a few at the top (1% or 0.1%, depending on which norms you
use) and a lot at the bottom, and indeed most not rich at all.
The first tale: The
It’s the little guy or gal
who works hard, takes risks, believes in him or herself, and eventually
gains wealth, fame and honor. The tale is epitomized in the life of Abe
Lincoln, born in a log cabin, who believed that “the value of life is
to improve one’s condition.” The moral: with enough effort and courage,
anyone can make it in America.
This fact will limit the chances of anybody who is not
rich to become
rich: It is at most 1% or 0.1% - and because I like
here it is again:
shape of each and every rich society: The vast majority cannot become
rich without a revolution of some serious kind.
Here is the other myth I will quote part of:
Yes indeed, though I would
add that not only have ¨billionaires,
powerful corporations, and Wall Street have gained control over much of
our economy and political system¨: they also select many of the ¨cultural elites¨ and ¨the
media¨, and may also be
involved in selecting the ¨“deep
state” bureaucrats¨. And
this is a recommended article.
The fourth and final
tale: The Rot at the Top.
This one is about the
malevolence of powerful elites – their corruption and irresponsibility,
and tendency to conspire against the rest of us.
This tale has given force
to the populist movements of American history, from William Jennings
Bryan’s prairie populism of the 1890s through Bernie Sanders’
progressive populist campaign in 2016, as well as Trump’s authoritarian
Trump wants us to believe
that today’s Rot at the Top are cultural elites, the media and “deep
But the real Rot at the Top
consists of concentrated wealth and power to a degree this nation
hasn’t witnessed since the late 19th century. Billionaires, powerful
corporations, and Wall Street have gained control over much of our
economy and political system, padding their nests with special tax
breaks and corporate welfare while holding down the wages of average
a Maximum Wage
This article is
by Colin Hickey on Common Dreams. This is from near its beginning:
Well... OK, although I am
a proponent of a maximum wage (see my: Crisis: On Socialism) who sets ¨an upper limit on the ratio between
and lowest earners¨
(which is 20 to 1, in my case, and 10 to 1 in Orwell´s case).
In the wake of the lively debate following Rep.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s proposal for a top marginal tax rate of 70%
on annual income over $10 million, it is clear the mood is ripe for a
national discussion of ambitious proposals to tackle inequality.
And in a modern media
environment that rewards simple, bold, and slogan-ready proposals, the
maximum wage is an intriguing idea with clear rhetorical punch.
Moreover, the moral
arguments in favor of it are substantial. So much so, that it is
revealing to look at what someone, from the right or left, who would
resist an upper limit on annual income has to be committed to in
There are many forms a
“maximum wage” could take. One option would merely set an upper limit
on the ratio between
and lowest earners (e.g., capping the CEO-worker pay ratio).
But for the purposes of
argument, consider a simpler version which simply selects an income
point past which all earnings are taxed at 100%.
Hickey´s proposal is simpler, but since the discussion is theoretical
anyway, this does not matter much.
And here are first two arguments for
a maximum wage:
Yes, I agree with both
arguments (though I would have put the first a bit differently, but OK).
The most basic arguments
for a maximum wage come in two main forms.
The first results from the
recognition that there are morally urgent unmet needs which
could be eliminated with appropriate funding generated by the tax
revenue on income above the maximum wage. And that relief would come,
at most, at the cost of significantly less morally important values,
mere luxuries, in the process.
The second argument comes
a recognition that rampant economic inequality undermines core
democratic values and rights of political equality. Wealthy people are
able to convert their
financial power into political power to skew nominally democratic
processes toward their interests (via campaign and Super PAC spending,
lobbying, gatekeeping, media access, agenda setting, think-tanks,
etc.). This strips lower earners of the real value of their democratic
Here are two counter-arguments, of which this is the first:
Yes, I agree. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this article, which concerns the second
counter-argument of the few rich:
First, a high earner
suggest they deserve their riches as a product of their
labor. However, it is important to recognize that many claims about
desert are indexed to
a set of rules, institutions, or expectations.
Given the alternative purposes such excess income could go to in
halting the erosion of democratic equality and securing the most basic
human rights of the worst off, resistance to the maximum wage proposal
as a matter of desert, amounts to a claim that the rich morally deserve
their surplus resources more than the countless innocent
victims of terrible, avoidable suffering. But it is simply not
plausible to think someone deserves their 2.6th or 10th million
dollar more than someone in poverty deserves their basic
human rights fulfilled.
Failing a plausible
claim, others might worry that the maximum wage proposal would stifle
incentives for innovation and wealth creation.
The philosopher G.A. Cohen evocatively compares this
kind of mindset to a ransom. It effectively holds the poor and
downtrodden hostage. The wealthy could do the same productive
work, for $2.5 million—still living in world-historical luxury. But
they choose not to. And that choice to ransom their
productivity for ever more luxury is something we shouldn’t excuse or
Yes, I agree
also insist there are more arguments, but they are not dealt
with in the
present article, which is strongly recommended.
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 3 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 (!!).