in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from March 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:
A. Selections from March 28, 2019:
1. Google Is Conducting a Secret
“Performance Review” of Its Censored
The items 1 - 5 are today's
selections from the 35 sites that I look at
everyorning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
China Search Project
2. OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma to Pay
3. Ralph Nader: Americans Should Be Demanding Trump's
4. Theresa May Pitches Her Resignation in Exchange for Brexit
5. Barr Is a Distraction. We Must Insist on the Moral
Indictment of Trump.
Is Conducting a Secret “Performance Review” of Its Censored China
This article is by
Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
I say, and I have written
repeatedly about this project Dragonfly before. What I think about it
amounts to this:
Google executives are
carrying out a secret internal assessment of work on a censored search
engine for China, The Intercept has learned.
A small group
of top managers at the internet giant are conducting a “performance
review” of the controversial effort to build the search platform, known
as Dragonfly, which was designed to blacklist information about human
rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest.
reviews at Google are undertaken annually to evaluate employees’ output
and development. They are usually carried out in an open, peer
review-style process: Workers grade each other’s projects and the
results are then assessed by management, who can reward employees with
promotion if they are deemed ready to progress at the company.
In the case of
Dragonfly, however, the peer review aspect has been removed, subverting
the normal procedure. In a move described as highly unusual by two
Google sources, executives set up a separate group of closed “review
committees,” comprised of senior managers who had all previously been
briefed about the China search engine.
(1) Working for the Chinese Communist Party and sorting out which
Chinese wrote about ¨human
rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest¨, so that they can be picked up by some
Chinese governmental institution to ¨re-educate¨ them, perhaps by
torture or locking them up for decades, will be extremely profitable
for the leaders of Google, although
(2) not all of Google´s staff are happy that the leaders of Google
seem to have chosen for profit rather than for human rights, and
(3) Google is now trying to push through Dragonfly in secret,
as reported above, and indeed may even decide (or may already have
decided) to keep Dragonfly mostly or completely secret, in the interest
of great profits for Google´s leaders, whose profits in
China will be earned by repressing over a billion Chinese.
At least, that it what I think. Here is some more from this
supports what I wrote above. Here is the last bit that I quote from
of the Dragonfly review committees has not been disclosed to
rank-and-file Google employees, except for the few who have been
evaluated by the committees because they worked on China search. Fewer
than a dozen top managers at the company are said to be looped in on
the review, which has involved studying documents and technical work
related to Dragonfly.
has decided to commit to keeping this stuff secret,” said a source with
knowledge of the review. They are “holding any Dragonfly-specific
documents out of [employees’] review tools, so that promotion is
decided only by a committee that is read in on Dragonfly.”
Well ... as I see it
Brin - who was worth $51 billion dollars in 2018 - and Google are
now rich enough to try to push Dragonfly through. It is an
exta-ordinarily sick and totalitarian
system, that I do compare with fascism-by-the internet,
but hey... for almost any American capitalist, the richer they are the
better things are for them, and I suppose it is the same here. And this
is a strongly recommended article.
a search engine in China in 2006, but pulled out of the country in 2010, citing concerns
government interference. At that time, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said
the decision to stop operating search in the country was principally about “opposing censorship and speaking out for the freedom of
represented a dramatic reversal of that position. The
search engine, which Google planned to launch as an app for Android and iOS devices, was designed to comply with
strict censorship rules imposed by China’s ruling
Communist Party regime, enabling
surveillance of people’s searches while also blocking thousands of
terms, such as “Nobel
prize,” “human rights,” and “student protest.”
than 60 human rights groups and 22 U.S. lawmakers wrote to Google criticizing
Maker Purdue Pharma to Pay $270 Million
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It
starts as follows (and is part of several more articles on
OxyContin on Democracy Now!):
The state of Oklahoma has
reached a $270 million agreement with Purdue Pharma—the makers of
OxyContin—settling a lawsuit that claimed the company contributed to
the deaths of thousands of Oklahoma residents by downplaying the risk
of opioid addiction and overstating the drug’s benefits. The state says
more Oklahomans have died from opioids over the last decade than have
been killed in vehicle accidents. More than $100 million from the
settlement will fund a new addiction treatment and research center at
Oklahoma State University in Tulsa. “It’s really just the first move in
what is a very complicated legal chess game,” says Barry Meier, author
of “Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid
Epidemic.” Meier was the first journalist to shine a national spotlight
on the abuse of OxyContin. He asks, “Is this money going to be used
wisely in terms of treating addiction?”
I say, although I knew
about OxyContin before, as I knew that much medicine in the USA
these days seems more interested in increasing the profits of the
makers of drugs than in serving or helping the people who have to
consume these drugs. In the present case, that means that Purdue
Pharma has been ¨downplaying
the risk of opioid addiction and overstating the drug’s benefits¨ at the same time as ¨more Oklahomans have died from opioids over
the last decade than have been killed in vehicle accidents¨.
Then again, I did not
yet know about Barry Meier. Here is some more:
GOODMAN: Purdue is one of
several firms named in the lawsuit that alleges pharmaceutical
companies like Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical knowingly
helped create the opioid crisis. The trial for the other companies is
still on track for May 28th. This is the first settlement Purdue has
made amid some 2,000 additional lawsuits connecting its painkiller
OxyContin to the opioid crisis. Government data has found deadly opioid
overdoses are responsible for nearly 50,000 deaths per year in the
United States alone. Purdue argues U.S. Food and Drug
Administration-approved labels for its opioids carried warnings about
the risk of abuse and misuse associated with them.
Yes indeed - and incidentally
(see Vietnam War)
the number of Americans who were killed in Vietnam in all were 58,318 deaths, while ¨deadly opioid overdoses are responsible for
nearly 50,000 deaths per year in the United
Here is some more:
GOODMAN: So, the
significance of the Oklahoma settlement, Barry?
MEIER: Well, this
settlement is the first settlement in what is likely to be a wave of
settlements or a wave of cases brought against Purdue Pharma, as well
as other manufacturers and distributors of opioids. It is also
significant because it comes amid a threatened bankruptcy filing by
Purdue that would halt all this litigation. So it’s really just the
first move in what is a very complicated legal chess game going on.
Yes, I suppose that is all
quite true. Here is some more:
GOODMAN: And then you have
this huge popular understanding of what’s taken place. The Sacklers,
who own Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, having faced increased
outrage in recent months for their role in the crisis. The family known
worldwide for their patronage of the arts, and the Sackler name, though
it doesn’t appear on the drugs—that’s Purdue Pharma—it appears in the
wings of museums all over the world, including the Metropolitan Museum
in New York. In the past week, the Tate museums in London, the
Guggenheim—talk about what they have decided.
MEIER: Well, I mean, they
have decided that they do not want any money from the Sacklers. They
apparently have taken the position that somehow this money is tainted,
that a portion of this money was derived from the street sales of
OxyContin. And they don’t want to have anything to do with that.
What is fascinating is that
the Sackler family has denied any wrongdoing.
I say, for I am rather amazed
(and pleased) that (among others) ¨the
Metropolitan Museum in New York¨
and ¨the Tate museums in London,
the Guggenheim¨ decided that they
did not want money from the owners of Purdue Pharma.
Then again, I am not at
all amazed that the owners
of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family, ¨has denied any wrongdoing¨.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
I say - and let me calculate:
MEIER: (..) Purdue Pharma
basically turned the drug industry and the medical profession upside
down. They convinced doctors that this drug was safe. They convinced
doctors that this drug had a lower risk of addiction. They admitted in
2007 that they had lied to doctors, they had lied to patients, they had
lied to public health authorities, that the entire marketing of
OxyContin had been built on a basis of deceit. And basically, they—
GOODMAN: And talk about
the increasing potency of these drugs, that they understood would kill
MEIER: Well, they
certainly understood that people could become addicted to these drugs.
They understood that the higher dosages of these drugs could pose the
greatest health threats to people. And they basically, certainly for a
number of years, incentivized their sales representatives to market
these drugs and to convince these doctors to use these drugs at the
highest dosages possible. As it turns out, those higher dosages also
brought the greatest profits to the company.
From 2007 - when Purdue Pharma admitted ¨that they had lied to doctors, they had lied to patients,
they had lied to public health authorities, that the entire marketing
of OxyContin had been built on a basis of deceit¨ - till 2018 is (let us say) 10 years,
which times 50,000 deaths per year due to ¨deadly opioid overdoses¨ equals a mere 500,000 American deaths
in these 10 years because of ¨deadly opioid
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Nader: Americans Should Be Demanding Trump's Resignation
This article is by Ralph Nader on
Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Special Counsel Robert
spent almost two years to produce a $25 million report that is a flat
tire. Still unreleased in full to the American people, Trump’s acolyte,
Attorney General William Barr, a longtime friend of Republican Mueller,
gave us what Trump long craved—by stating that “the investigation did
not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or
coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference
activities” during the 2016 election. As for obstruction of justice by
Trump, Attorney General Barr cryptically burped, that “The Special
Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the
President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”—whatever
that means. Give people the whole report now, as the House of
Representatives voted 420 to 0 to do.
I more or less agree,
and especially with the last quoted statement. Here is some
[Trump] is pushing to
weaken or eliminate modest controls over imperial Wall Street,
upsetting even Wall Streeters like Timothy Geithner, setting the stage
for another Wall Street collapse on the economy, causing workers to
lose their pensions and savings, before they, as taxpayers, are
required to again bailout the Wall Street speculators and crooks.
He lies repeatedly about
current realities, falsely brags about conditions he is actually
worsening. He opposes any increase in the frozen federal minimum wage
of $7.25 an hour and does not adequately enforce fair labor standards.
He has hired and personally profited from many undocumented workers
while attacking their presence in the U.S.
He pays more attention to
one golf ball than he does to the estimated $60 billion in annual wage
theft or $350 billion a year in the health industry’s computerized
billing fraud, or the gouging drug prices he falsely promised the
people he would reduce.
Never mind impeachment,
millions of Trump’s victims, regardless of how they voted in 2016,
should demand his resignation. A million-people march should surround
the White House and peacefully make this demand repeatedly.
Again I more or less agree.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I agree
with Nader´s diagnosis of his fellow Americans who ¨tolerate with chronic indifference (..) the
flaying of the rule of law, and the principles of decency, helpfulness,
peace, and justice¨ although my
own diagnosis of this ¨chronic indifference¨ is a combination of stupidity and ignorance in
the majority of American voters.
Cheating Donald J. Trump
has gotten away with everything in his failed businesses and his
Electoral College-caused Presidency. In so doing, he has taught us much
about ourselves, how much we tolerate with chronic indifference to the
flaying of the rule of law, and the principles of decency, helpfulness,
peace, and justice.
He has taught us about the
costs of not doing our political homework, of staying home civically
and electorally. He has taught us that if we do not look ourselves into
the mirror, the three horsemen of fascism, lawless plutocracy, and
oligarchy will run our beloved country into the ground, if not over the
I also fear that Nader´s diagnosis that ¨the three horsemen of fascism, lawless
plutocracy, and oligarchy will run our beloved country into the ground,
if not over the fiscal cliff¨ may
very well be quite correct. And this is a strongly
May Pitches Her Resignation in Exchange for Brexit Deal
This article is by
Eoin Higgins on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
I say. Well... I agree
that this is very probably ¨the
beginning of the end of the May era¨, but I also think that May simply should be
removed, much rather than remove herself after Parliament has
accepted her deal (which has been voted down twice now).
In the latest development
of the seemingly never-ending Brexit saga, beleaguered British Prime
Minister Theresa May promised
to step down from office—but only once Parliament accepted her deal to
leave the European Union, a caveat that generated frustration
from the country's fed-up population and opposition parties.
The announcement marks the
beginning of the end of the May era, which began after her predecessor
David Cameron resigned after the British people chose Brexit in a
stunning vote on June 23, 2016.
her fellow lawmakers in the Conservative Party of her decision in a
closed-door meeting Wednesday, reported The Irish Independent.
Brexit is currently under a
postponement negotiated with the EU that would see the country exit the
continental federation on May 22 if Parliament accepts May's deal or
April 12 if it does not.
Here is one more bit from this article:
Yes indeed: I agree
with Corbyn, and this is a recommended article.
The political opposition
was less kind to May, pointing out that a change of government under
the circumstances laid out by May was akin to a threat.
"Theresa May's pledge to
Tory MPs to stand down if they vote for her deal shows once and for all
that her chaotic Brexit negotiations have been about party management,
not principles or the public interest," said Labour
Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
"A change of government
can't be a Tory stitch-up," Corbyn added, "the people must decide."
Is a Distraction. We Must Insist on the Moral Indictment of Trump.
This article is
by Sarah Abramsky on Truthout. It starts as follows:
Since Attorney General
William Barr’s “summary” of the report by Robert Mueller was issued,
there’s been a lot of hand-wringing among progressives about what went
wrong, and a lot of gloating from conservatives, and of course, from
Donald Trump himself, about how Trump has been “exonerated.” Sean
Hannity has talked of taking down Trump accusers one by one; Trump has
called his opponents treasonous and “evil.”
This is, quite simply,
utter nonsense. First off, Barr’s memo is so brief and cryptic, so
cherry-picking in its use of quotes, and so devoid of the broader
context in which Mueller presumably placed those quotes, as to be next
to useless. We don’t know how much corruption, if not collusion,
Mueller discovered, or how many spin-off cases were forwarded to other
prosecutors. We don’t know where the Southern District of New York
investigations are now heading, or which members of the Trump inner
circle are likely to face prosecution down the road as these other
investigations gather steam. Until the full report, or at the very
least a comprehensive summary, is released, which I have no doubt at
some point will be the case, these questions remain open.
I mostly agree with the
above (although ¨at some point¨ may well be too late to be effective).
Here is some more:
Trump has used his
platform, the vast reach of his Twitter feed and the huge audiences
that his presidential speeches command, to demonize immigrants,
including refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors fleeing drug
gangs, and those so poor they walk hundreds of miles, with nothing but
the clothes on their backs, to find succor in the United States.
He has instituted a travel
ban against residents from five majority-Muslim countries, as a result
of which no Syrian or Yemeni refugees are being allowed into the
country, effectively condemning huge numbers to death in the most
violent war zones on earth, and in Syria in particular, he has made it
clear that the U.S. doesn’t care how much life is sacrificed. Under
Trump, the language of human rights is entirely off the table. Last
year only 11 Syrian refugees were
admitted into the United States. Not a single one was admitted from
I think all of the above two
quoted paragraphs are correct. Here is some more:
the administration is doing everything it can to undermine health care
access for poor people – including its decision this Monday to argue before an
appeals court that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.
It is attempting to shred the food stamps safety net. It is making it
all but impossible for immigrants and their U.S. citizen children to
access any public benefits, even emergency nutritional and health
assistance. And in its attacks on organized labor, its hostility to an
increased minimum wage, its weakening of the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau, and its embrace of exploitative payday lending
companies, it has gone out of its way to hurt the working poor.
I again quite agree.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I agree again, and this is
a strongly recommended article.
The Trump administration is
wildly destroying public health and environmental regulations that took
a half-century or more to build up. It is making it exponentially
easier for corporations to do grab-and-runs, extracting resources from
the ground as fast as possible and leaving others to clean up the
pollution of air, land and water that accompanies that plunder.
As for climate change —
almost certainly the most urgent challenge facing humanity over the
coming years — not only has Trump’s team turned the EPA and other
agencies into agitprop centers for the fossil fuel industry, but it
has, at every opportunity, tried to undermine efforts, from the local
to the international, to mitigate the scale of global warming and its
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 (!!).