in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from April 21, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
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 April 21, 2019:
1. The Two Words That Capture Corporate
Media's Disdain for the Left
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. UK Blurring Two Very Different
3. Hell Mixed With Futility
4. What’s the Deal With George W.S. Trow
5. How Congress Can Follow Up on the Incomplete and Redacted
Two Words That Capture Corporate Media's Disdain for the Left
article is by Alan MacLeod on Truthdig and originally on FAIR. It
starts as follows:
Yes indeed, and the two words
mentioned in the title are
"purity test", which in turn imply that anything that would
be a test
of the purity of the motives of some politicians in fact must be an
attack on their good intentions, their honesty and their wisdom.
The Democratic primaries
are heating up, and dozens of candidates representing all manner of
political positions have entered the ring hoping to be the party’s 2020
presidential nominee. One notable feature of the race is the strong
presence of progressive candidates, a sign of the rising influence of
the left in the party.
This phenomenon has many in
the establishment wing of the party worried. Barack Obama, the most
recent Democratic president, recently decried the “purity tests” of the
left, which he called an “obsessive” ideological fanaticism that is
setting the party up for failure. Obama told an audience in
Berlin, Germany (HuffPost, 6/4/19):
One of the things I do
worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States…is a
certain kind of rigidity where we say, “I’m sorry, this is how it’s
going to be,” and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a
circular firing squad, where you start shooting at your allies because
one of them is straying from purity on the issues, and when that
happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens.
Which is total bullshit.
Here is one explanation of "purity tests":
Quite so - that is, anyone who
doubts the good intentions,
honesty and wisdom of the present leaders makes a dishonest attack on
In the political world,
term “purity test” has a very specific meaning, largely used by elites
to chastise and attack the left, or to gaslight them into supporting
more centrist or right-wing policies. Boston Globe columnist
Joan Vennochi (4/24/17),
for example, bemoaned the ideological “activists” infiltrating the
Democratic Party, undermining “more pragmatic party leaders everywhere”
with their “purity tests.”
Here is some more:
Well... I'd say that Obama was
mock progressive, as is
Hillary Clinton, who herself accepted enormous amounts of money
Wall Street. But if you point out that, then the anti-puritists insist
that you are an evil person for doubting the obvious
honesty of these millionaires who became millionaires by doing politics.
Much has been written about
Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ refusal to accept corporate donations
for their presidential campaigns, with many outlets (Atlantic, 12/18/18;
The Hill, 8/24/17)
describing this as a new Democratic “purity test” to establish
2016 presidential candidate
Hillary Clinton (CNBC, 2/5/16)
scorned Sanders’ test, claiming, “Under his definition, President Obama
is not a progressive because he took donations from Wall Street!” Some
might argue that is accurate, particularly as Obama describes
himself as a 1980s-style “moderate Republican.”
Here is some more:
Clearly, MacLeod is right, I'd
say, as he is in the ending of this article:
Instead, the left is
browbeaten and cajoled into supporting business-friendly right-wing
Democrats, and told their preferred policies are either unrealistic or
unpopular. The Hill (8/24/17)
warns us, “If Democrats want to destroy any chances of winning national
office, establishing purity tests is the quickest way to do it.”
But this is demonstrably
not the case. Seventy-five
percent of Americans (and nearly two-thirds of Republicans) support
Medicare for all. Three-quarters of
the population support higher taxes on the wealthy, while tuition-free
public college is popular even
among Tea Party supporters.
Precisely, and this is a strongly
When you hear the phrase
“purity test” in the media, be on the alert. The phrase is code for
elites being pressured in ways they don’t like, and is often a shield
against legitimate criticism of corruption or dependence on corporate
Blurring Two Very Different Extradition Claims
article is by Jonathan Cook on Consortium News. It starts as follows:
In a previous blog
post, I warned that the media and political class would continue with
their long-running deceptions about Julian Assange now that he has been
dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy. They have wasted no time in
proving me right.
Yes indeed, but then Obama and
Trump differ in some respects (you'll be surprised to learn) and one is
that Obama trusted the New
Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian, whereas Trump
are and have been lying all the time.
The first thrust in their
campaign of deceit was set out on The Guardian’s front page on Friday,
April 12, the day after Assange was imprisoned.
There should have been
wall-to-wall outrage from public figures in the U.K. at the United
States creating a new crime of “doing journalism” and a new means of
arrest for those committing this “crime” overseas, what I have termed
Remember that all of the
information contained in the U.S. charge sheet against Assange – the
supposed grounds for his extradition – were known to the previous Obama
administration as far back as 2010. But President Barack Obama never
dared approve the current charges against Assange because legally there
was no way to stop them being turned against “respectable” journalists,
like those at The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian.
Here is some more:
Now we can see how
the media is going to collude in a narrative crafted by the political
class to legitimize what the Trump administration is doing.
Quite so. Here is some
Rather than focus on the gross
violation of Assange’s fundamental human rights, the wider assault on
press freedoms and the attack on Americans’ First Amendment Rights,
U.K. politicians are “debating” whether the U.S. extradition claim on
Assange should take priority over earlier Swedish extradition
proceedings for a sexual-assault investigation that was publicly
dropped back in 2017.
In other words, the public
conversation in the U.K., sympathetically reported by The Guardian,
supposedly Britain’s only major liberal news outlet, is going to be
about who has first dibs on Assange.
For seven years the
political and media establishments have been deriding the suggestion
that Assange faced any threat from the U.S., despite the mounting
private and public evidence that he did. Assange again has been proved
conclusively right by current events, and they decisively wrong.
I think the above is also
correct. Here is the ending of this article:
The Guardian knows that
Assange did not need political asylum to avoid a sex case. So reporting
this not as a claim by his detractors but as an indisputable fact is
simple, Trump-supporting propaganda meant to discredit Assange —
propaganda that happily treats any damage to the cause of journalism as
Second, the only major
politicians prepared to highlight the threats to Assange’s personal
rights and wider press freedoms posed by the U.S. extradition request
are opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his ally, Diane Abbott,
the Labour shadow home secretary. They have rightly noted that the U.S.
is using the extradition demand to silence Assange and intimidate any
other journalists who might think about digging up evidence of the
crimes committed by the U.S. national security state.
But what Corbyn and
Abbott have done is to make a clear political, legal and moral
demarcation between the Swedish case, which must be resolved according
to accepted legal principles, and the U.S. extradition, which has no
legal or moral merit whatsoever.
Yes, I quite agree and
this is a strongly recommended article.
What these U.K. MPs and The
Guardian have done in this front-page story is muddy the waters yet
further, with enthusiastic disregard for the damage it might do to
Assange’s rights, to Corbyn’s leadership and to the future of
Mixed With Futility
article is by Robert C. Koehler on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes, this is more or less
correct, although I'd say (or add) that those who believe that they
should make sure that "we
have money available for healthcare too" are the - corporate - Democrats rather than the
Oh, the normalcy of
militarism! Our annual financial hemorrhage to this complex menagerie
of institutions — from the Pentagon to Homeland Security to the Nuclear
Security Administration to the CIA and its secret expenditures — must
not be seriously questioned in the corridors of Congress, even though,
all things considered, it comes to almost a trillion dollars annually.
Call it the Defense budget,
smile and move on.
Even the current “liberal
revolt” in the House of Representatives over the Dems’ proposed budget
isn’t a serious questioning of the American way of war but, rather, a
demand for “parity” between social and defense spending, which, if
anything, further hardens the latter into an unquestioned reality. Yes,
yes, America spends more on its military than the next seven countries
combined, but let’s make sure we have money available for healthcare
Then there is this:
Well, I'd say almost
everything is wrong with that, but I - strongly - disagree
said that "America that
has (..) the values of democratic socialism, a la Canada and Western
Europe" for that is real bullshit
- at best a few Americans (such as Bernie Sanders) fit in the
tradition of social democracy, which again is not at all the
democratic socialism. Besides, anyone who does want to know
"socialism" means should read Crisis:
Solomon called it the “toxic lure of guns and butter,” this
creation of an America that has both the values of democratic
socialism, a la Canada and Western Europe, and yet is the global cop
extraordinaire, fighting (and creating) terrorism, bombing civilians,
operating some 800 military bases in over 80 countries and maintaining
a nuclear arsenal second to none (indeed, developing “usable” nukes).
What’s wrong with that?
Anyway. Here is some more:
Which is to say that the
Pentagon, since 20 or 30 years also, has been making total bullshit of
fair and honest administration. I think that indeed is a fact.
Taibbi writes at Rolling Stone: “Despite being the taxpayers’
greatest investment — more than $700 billion a year — the Department of
Defense has remained an organizational black box throughout its
history. It’s repelled generations of official inquiries, the latest
being an audit three decades in the making, mainly by scrambling its
accounting into such a mess that it may never be untangled.
“Ahead of misappropriation,
fraud, theft, overruns, contracting corruption and other abuses that
are almost certainly still going on, the Pentagon’s first problem is
its books. It’s the world’s largest producer of wrong numbers, an
ingenious bureaucratic defense system that hides all the other rats’
nests underneath. Meet the Gordian knot of legend, brought to life in
Here is the ending of this article:
Yes, and I think Albright
frightening liar speaking about the USA's "material and moral privilege to police the
world", while I agree
with Wertheim. And this is a strongly recommended article.
The endless wars are
endless because the United States has appointed itself the world’s
‘indispensable nation,’ in Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s
formulation, responsible less for ensuring its own safety than for
maintaining its material and moral privilege to police the world.”
I repeat Wertheim’s primary
point: Permanent armed supremacy produces permanent armed conflict.
This is my cry to every progressive — indeed, to every —
member of Congress. The time to look this truth in the eye is now.
the Deal With George W.S. Trow
article is by Kyle Chayka on The Nation. It starts as follows:
In November 1980, The
Yorker devoted most of an entire issue to a single essay. Beyond
the extravagant length, the essay remains one of the strangest things
the magazine has ever published. Written by staff writer George W. S.
Trow and edited by the mercurial William Shawn, “Within the Context of
No Context” is a fever dream of media criticism. In a fractured cascade
of subtitled riffs (on “Pseudo-Intimacy,” “Experts,” “Celebrities,”
“Magazines in the Age of Television”) that accrues its own manic
momentum through prose-poem-like repetition, Trow analyzes how that
great, fetid swamp of American culture—television—ruined our
sensibilities, or at least warped them forever.
In fact, I had no
who George W. S.
Trow was, but this is a link. Also, I have not read
him, but I do suppose I agree with him on television, namely for
simple reason that I do not have a television since 1970 (almost 50
years now), and I neither have nor want it because by 1970 I had
decided that nearly all TV is stupid, is directed at the stupid, and
offers extremely little chance of learning anything whatsoever: If
you really want to learn things, I thought in 1970 and I
think now, you
have to read.
Here is more:
Certain essays stand as
cultural landmarks: After reading them you see the world differently;
they become part of your mental landscape. For many of its readers,
“Within the Context of No Context” certainly belongs in that pantheon.
It was republished again as a standalone book in 1997, with a new
introduction called “Collapsing Dominant,” in which Trow reflected on
what had changed in the two decades since the original — if anything,
it was all worse.
Most recently, it was the centerpiece for critic Christian Lorentzen’s Harper’s
Magazine philippic against the Internet’s effects on
contemporary book-reviewing. Trow’s work is still so relevant because
everything he wrote about television applies doubly for social media.
If Trow thought television was bad, then Facebook would be his
As I said, I never
anything by Trow, but I think Lorentzen (whom I also did not
probably is quite correct in insisting on "the Internet’s effects on
(indeed in part for the reason
the 2.3 billion "writers" and "publishers" on Facebook in majority
hardly read any book, whereas their uninformed opinions are
closely by machines because they all have money to spend on
Also, I agree
that "if Trow thought
television was bad, then
Facebook would be his
nightmare" for the simple
reason that I think the same.
Here is some more:
Trow argued that the rise
television decimated the elite American intellectual community to which
he had belonged as the far descendant of printing magnates, a Harvard
graduate, and a magazine writer. It cut out what he posed as society’s
heart: the reading, debating, literary demographic that consumed his
I only consider Trow's
claim "that the rise of
television decimated the elite American intellectual community". I do not know how he came by
claim, but I think it is probably correct.
Here is some more:
Between 1997 and 2019,
Internet grew as a competitor to television and then subsumed it in the
form of Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube. The Internet has a similar
tendency toward erasure as well as the ability to transmit longing and
doubt on an enormous scale, much larger than television’s. Instead of
the grid of 200 million TV watchers, we are now enmeshed in the grid of
2.3 billion Facebook users, with an even greater distance, and thus
vertigo, from the grid of intimacy, or our humanity.
I more or less agree
(and see here). Finally, there is this:
We are in the grid of
social-media users created by that 21st-century bogeyman, the
Algorithm. Loosely defined, the Algorithm—Twitter’s, Facebook’s,
Spotify’s, Amazon’s, Google’s, so on and so forth—mediates what we
read, watch, and listen to online, encouraging us to consume whatever
appears on the screen. It regulates how often we get updates from our
friends, whose unpopular posts or opinions we might not see if we don’t
seek them out. Based on the data it collects, it can tell when we’re
flush, lonely, engaged, or pregnant and then sell us products
accordingly. We don’t understand the Algorithm, but we hate it. We
don’t know how the Algorithm works, but we love what it brings us. We
can’t escape it. Trow might not have foreseen social media, but he
provided a framework to understand how it takes over our identities for
the sake of profit.
No, I am sorry: I disagree
with this, firstly because of the term "the
should have been replaced by "programs", and - as I have indicated - I
do not belong to the "we" sketched above. Then again, I like
of this text sufficiently to make it strongly recommended.
Congress Can Follow Up on the Incomplete and Redacted Mueller Report
article is by Charles Tiefer on Truthout and originally on The
Conversation. This is from near its beginning:
Yes, I agree with
indeed mostly because the Mueller report has not been fully
but only has appeared in part (with what seems large areas
i.e. made unreadable).
The Trump administration
will want to argue that the
release of the Mueller report is the end of investigating the
On the contrary, the
version of the report released is only the start of wide-ranging and
intensive House investigations.
I served as special
deputy chief counsel of the House Iran-contra investigation of
the Reagan administration. We did months
of hearings on the type of material that is either
incomplete or redacted, as today’s Congress will find, in the Mueller
Here are some of the ways
the House will likely follow up with more investigation.
Tiefer has 5 ways in which he thinks that "the House will likely follow up with more
investigation", and here is
the first (and I only cites parts of his texts):
Yes, I agree. Here is
1. Bring in Witnesses to
The House will call some of
the witnesses mentioned in the report for their full story, not just
their cameo appearance in this incomplete report.
For example, the
report has the public’s first account from Michael T.
Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.
Yes, I agree. Here is
2. Intelligence Committee
Attorney General Barr has
announced that a “less
redacted” version is, or will be, prepared for a few
congressional figures. Presumably he means that the classified parts of
the report that describe secret intelligence, which have been redacted,
will be shown to the congressional leadership.
But, the leadership cannot
itself undertake an investigation.
This is the kind of
material that normally goes to the entire House Intelligence Committee.
Yes, I think that is correct and
I agree. Here is the last bit I quote from this article (and I skipped
item 4, which you can read here):
3. Release Grand Jury
Furthermore, the report
redacts not just classified information, but grand jury information as
well. And Barr may well have omitted, rather than redacted, invaluable
grand jury evidence, especially documents.
These could be released by
the attorney general to Congress with a court order under what is called
Criminal Rule 6(e).
Yes, I agree again, and
a recommended article.
5. Documents, Documents,
Finally, this is just
Mueller’s report. Behind it is much more that would be of vital
interest to congressional investigators and the public.
This 400-plus page report
is not the underlying
information alluded to in the report, like copies of emails or
other documents, that provides broader information about so many
The House has every reason
to seek and to receive the underlying information.
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 (!!).