in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from May 14, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
I bought a computer on May 9 with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS MATE and am for the
coming months (at least) "between two computers". I shall
continue - for the time being - to write and upload my files from
LTS (that is: from the old computer, that I bought in 2012)
that is easier right now and the old computer still works (and may
continue to work for another two years or more, although I do not know
Also, and in any case, I decided to write less on the crisis (I did review over 10,000 files since 2013),
in part because it makes no difference and in part because I am 69.
But I'll continue Nederlog. At present this is in a midway position
between the old style (five reviews each day) and some new style, that
I do not know yet, and that for the time being I fix on three reviews
each day (but that may change).
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
A. Selections from May 14, 2019:
The indented text
link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
1. Sweden Reopens Investigation of Julian
Assange for Rape
2. Integrity Forged in Cages
3. The Left Is Taking a Beating All Over the Globe
4. The So-Called "Middle Ground" and the Tyranny of
Reopens Investigation of Julian Assange for Rape
This article is by
Robert Mackey on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
I say. I do so mainly
because of the following three points (which also may partially
to my ignorance): (1) to the best of my (far from complete)
the allegation of rape is not very well founded, and also (2) I
take Ms. Fritz very seriously, at least as long as her client is
Authority reopened an investigation of Julian Assange for rape on
Monday and will seek his extradition from Britain, the country’s deputy
director of public prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson, told
reporters in Stockholm.
The Swedish request will
force British authorities to decide whether to send the detained
WikiLeaks founder to Sweden or the United States, or neither, at the
end of his 50-week
jail sentence. He is currently serving for violating bail
conditions in 2012, when he took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy after
losing his final appeal against extradition to Sweden.
“On 20 August 2010, a
police report was made regarding a suspected rape in Enköping, Sweden
on 17 August 2010. The alleged offender was reported as being the
Australian citizen, JA, born 3 July 1971,” the prosecution authority
said in a
written explanation of the decision. “The courts in Sweden have, on
several occasions during the preliminary investigation, considered the
decision to detain JA in his absence, and on each occasion found there
exists probable cause for JA to be suspected of rape.”
At a news conference on
said, “After reviewing the preliminary investigation in its current
state, my assessment is that there is still probable cause that Mr.
Assange committed rape.”
Elisabeth Massi Fritz, a
lawyer for Assange’s unidentified Swedish accuser, said that her client
welcomed the reopening of the investigation, despite the “great
deal of hate” she has faced from supporters of the WikiLeaks
founder who have cast doubt on her claims.
Besides (3) I don't think the Swedes are much interested in a
- unproven, alleged - rape of nearly ten years ago, but I
believe that they re-opened the case becaust it is about Julian
Here is some background:
This is correct in so far
as Manning and Assange are concerned, while I think I should add that I
do not like Assange's (supposed) offer of helping Trump.
While the Obama
administration had reportedly contemplated but decided against charging
Assange with a crime related to the
2010 publication of troves of Pentagon and State Department
documents provided by Chelsea Manning, the Trump administration secretly
filed criminal charges against him last year related to that leak.
Those charges were filed
despite the fact that WikiLeaks had secretly
offered help to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, in a series of
private Twitter messages sent to the candidate’s son Donald Trump Jr.,
and the candidate had repeatedly praised the group for releasing emails
stolen by Russia from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. In one
post-election message to Trump Jr., WikiLeaks even suggested that, as a
form of payback, it would be “helpful for your dad to suggest that
Australia appoint Assange ambassador to DC.”
A British judge gave the
deadline of June 12 to make its case for the extradition of
Assange, who has denied both the rape allegation in Sweden and
conspiring with Manning to break U.S. law.
Here is some more:
I think this may well be
correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
It is also possible that,
from a legal standpoint, Assange might be better protected from
extradition to the U.S. by agreeing to go to Sweden, allowing the rape
investigation to proceed.
“Sweden, like the U.K., is
party to the European Convention on Human Rights, and so it would not
be lawful for him to be extradited to America if there is any risk of
torture or the death penalty,” Green observed.
Mark Klamberg, a professor
in public international law at Stockholm University, agreed that
Assange might have more legal protection against extradition to the
U.S. if he goes to Sweden.
Possibly so, but then
again I think the case about Julian Assange is far more directed
against Assange than against some eventual crime he may have committed
in 2010. And I definitely agree that Assange should not
to the USA, where I think it is fair to assume that he may be tortured
somehow. And this is a recommended article.
Even if Sweden does not
renew its investigation, Assange’s extradition to the U.S. is likely to
be challenged by his lawyers with reference to Article 4 of the extradition
treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom signed in
2003, which states that “extradition shall not be granted if the
offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.”
And extradition between the
two countries is far from automatic.
Forged in Cages
article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It is in fact the text of a
speech Hedges made to 27 graduating students who were incarcerated,
some of whom Hedges also taught. It starts as follows:
My fellow college
Integrity is not an inherited trait. It is not conferred by privilege
or status or wealth. It cannot be bequeathed by elite schools or
institutions. It is not a product of birth or race or gender. Integrity
is not a pedigree or a brand. Integrity is earned. Integrity is
determined not by what we do in life, but what we do with what life
gives us. It is what we overcome. Integrity is the ability to affirm
our dignity even when the world tells us we are worthless. Integrity is
forged in pain and suffering, loss and tragedy. It is forged in the
courtrooms where you were sentenced. It is forged in the shackles you
were forced to wear. It is forged in the cages where you lived,
sometimes for decades.
Integrity is to refuse to become a statistic. Integrity is to rise up
and shout out to an indifferent universe: I AM SOMEBODY.
Well... perhaps, although I
think these lines from the Wikipedia on integrity seem to
describe it better (quoted minus note numbers):
Integrity is the
practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising
adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics,
integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness
or accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can stand in
opposition to hypocrisy (..). The word integrity
evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete.
In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" deriving
from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that
others "have integrity" to the extent that they act according to the
values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.
I agree with
and this also immediately raises a question: What percentage - let
say - of adults has integrity in the above sense?
My answer is: A
percentage, that is certainly not larger than 5 or 10%, for the
reason that most people lie, mislead, and posture to make careers.
Also, I am rather
certain of the above, because both of my parents had a lot
integrity, but they also were communists for 45 or more years of their
lives, and also were both members of the resistance against the
in WW II, in which at most 5% of the Dutch participated, and as a
consequence of which my father and his
father (also a communist) were
arrested in 1941 and condemned (by collaborating Dutch judges, who were
never punished) as "political terrorists" to the concentration camp.
(My father survived over 3 years and 9 months of this; my grandfather
You may object these
are only my parents and a grandparent. I don't think that this
is much good, but let us take a famous other case: George Orwell
(of whom I have read almost everything he published).
I think it is fairly
obvious he also did not think much of the integrity of most
neither do I, meanwhile at 69.
Anyway. Here is some
I have spent many hours
you in prison classrooms. I know the scars you bear. You will bear
these scars, this trauma, for life. Own your suffering. Do not deny it.
And know that healing comes only by reaching out to others who suffer.
It is to say to those thrown aside by society: “I too was despised. I
too was where you are. I too felt alone and abandoned. But like me, you
can and will endure.” I am not romantic about suffering. I saw a lot of
it as a war correspondent. Suffering can make some people better.
Others, it degrades and destroys.
Perhaps. Here is some more:
Yes indeed: Quite true.
Here is some more:
And there was something
learned as a war correspondent: Education is morally neutral. The
highly educated can be as cruel and sadistic as the illiterate. This is
why so many human predators who profit from the misery of the poor in
corporations such as Goldman Sachs have been groomed in Ivy League
Yes I quite agree,
although perhaps "criminal" is the
wrong word, for the rich also changed the laws that made the
things not criminal. Then again, "criminal" has several meanings, and I
agree with Hedges that what he describes as "criminal" should be
Is it not criminal to
more than 12 million children in the United States to go to bed hungry
every night while Amazon, which earned $11 billion in profits last
year, paid no federal taxes? In fact, in our system of corporate
welfare, Amazon received a $129 million tax rebate from the federal
government. Is it not criminal that half of all Americans live in
poverty, or near-poverty, while the three richest men in America,
including the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, have combined fortunes
worth more than the total wealth of the poorest half of Americans? Is
it not criminal that millions of factory jobs, which once allowed
families to earn a living wage with health and retirement benefits,
have been shipped to places like Monterrey, Mexico, where Mexican
workers in GM plants earn $3 an hour without benefits? Is it not
criminal that our families have been sacrificed to feed the mania for
corporate profit, left to rot in violent and post-industrial wastelands
such as Newark or Camden?
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Joshua Heschel said of society that “some are guilty, but all are
responsible.” The crime of poverty is a communal crime. Our failure, as
the richest nation on earth, to provide safe and healthy communities,
ones where all children have enough to eat and a future, is a communal
crime. Our failure to provide everyone, and especially the poor, with a
good education is a communal crime. Our failure to make health care a
human right and our forcing parents, burdened with astronomical medical
bills, to bankrupt themselves to save their sick sons or daughters are
communal crimes. Our failure to provide meaningful work—in short, the
possibility of hope—is a communal crime. Our decision to militarize
police forces and build prisons, rather than invest in people, is a
I mostly agree, but observe -
once again - that most of these "communal crimes" are what they are
mostly because there are very many stupid or ignorant persons.
is a strongly recommended article.
Left Is Taking a Beating All Over the Globe
article is by John
Feffer on Truthdig and originally on TomDispatch. It starts as
I do not know who John Feffer is, though I take it for several
reasons that he is a leftist (with or without quotes), but I
should say immediately that I do not much like this style or
theorizing, about what happens or seems to happen politically on
the scale of the whole planet.
In the Americas, the Trump
tsunami has swept across both continents and the “pink tide” of
progressivism has all but disappeared from
the southern half of the hemisphere. In Europe, with the recent exception of Spain,
the left has been banished to the political margins. In Africa and
Asia, socialism has devolved into nationalism, authoritarianism, or
just plain corruption. And forget about the Middle East.
In this planet-wide rising
tide of right-wing populism, the liberal left commands only a few
disconnected islands — Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea,
Spain, Uruguay. In so many other places, increasingly illiberal leaders
are in charge. Add up the numbers and significantly more than half the
world’s population currently lives under some form of right-wing
populist or authoritarian rule, courtesy of Donald Trump in the United
States, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Narendra Modi in India, Recep Tayyip
Erdogan in Turkey, Vladimir Putin in Russia, and Xi Jinping in China,
And while I allow I do so sometimes as well, I have never done it on
the present scale - and as readers of Nederlog can testify, I tend
to mostly limit myself to countries of which I speak the language
(and I read seven languages).
Anyway... here is some more:
If you think that - that democracy
will prevail as long as there are elections - all I can say is that you
are very naive (though it seems as if Feffer agrees with me on
In addition, pragmatists
out that many of these latter-day autocrats, for all their
anti-democratic tendencies, came to power through elections. Yes, they
have since sought to change constitutions, pack courts, muzzle the
media, and crack down on civil society, but they remain constrained by
the guardrails of the
more-or-less liberal political systems they still run. In the end, so
goes such thinking, democracy will prevail.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
In fact, there is a lot
more in this article, but as I said: I do not like his style
level of theorizing. Here is one point (of quite a few) that I make
against this style:
(..) have championed national sovereignty against the interventions of
multilateral organizations, while blasting multicultural values and the
human-rights groups that promote them. And they have taken advantage of
social media like Facebook and Twitter that promote a version of participatory totalitarianism in which
individuals can freely relinquish their privacy and abandon
conventional news media for daily dispatches from their favorite
Election results in the
world’s most populous democracies suggest that liberalism — in its
free-market economic form and its more tolerant, inclusive, and statist
political version – has become discredited at a popular level.
He may be right about the importance of Facebook and Twitter, but these
are important especially for two reasons Martin Luther
King Jr. saw clearly, but which have been hardly discussed
ever since the last 50 years:
Facebook and Twitter give voice to some 2 billion people who
traded their privacy to get some voice, whereas the vast majority of
these 2 billion people write anonymously (for ordinary readers) and do
not have anything interesting, valid or original to say, because most
are either stupid
but are followed nevertheless, because
they gave up their privacy while they are important numerically in
So-Called "Middle Ground" and the Tyranny of Capitalism
This article is by
John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
I mostly agree,
have a problem with the "issue-by-issue" basis on which Atcheson bases
his trust that "people are
You read a lot these days
about polls telling us why—gasp—socialist could never win the
presidency, about how “radical” progressives will make it impossible
for Democrats to take the Senate, or pretty much accomplish anything
There are two things wrong
with this. First, it’s simply not true. Polls clearly show
least on an issue-by-issue basis—people are overwhelmingly
progressive. Second, it essentially freezes in place a
de facto coup
perpetrated by extremist free marketeers who accomplished it by
decades’ worth of propaganda designed to move the nation to the right
of center and keep it there.
I think Atcheson is right, but then again voting in elections is
usually not based on something one may call "issue-by-issue".
Then again Atcheson may well be aware of this fact. Here is some more:
Yes indeed: I completely
agree, and in fact this is one of my main reasons to hold that the
majority of the elected Democrats in the Senate and the House
have been corrupted
by money and/or by lobbyists.
Democratic Party is well to the right of where Republicans used to be
in the first half of the 20th Century.
For example, under
top marginal rate on income taxes was 90 percent, and he was
responsible for implementing one of the most extensive public works
projects in U.S. history, the Interstate Highway System. Nixon
established the Environmental Protection Agency and recognized China.
Today, Pelosi and other establishment leaders in the party scoff at a
70 percent top marginal rate, do little to defend the EPA from a
full-on assault, and ridicule any meaningful climate crisis legislation
like the Green New Deal. At the same time, they do their best to ignore
the fact that capitalism is creating an extraordinarily rich upper
class of a percent or so, while ripping off the rest of us. As for
their foreign policy? It seems to boil down to hawkish support of
stupid wars and astronomical defense budgets.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I think that is mostly
correct, and this is a recommended article.
Now how about
conservative? As Kevin Drum put it in an article in Mother
Every American over the
age of ten knows what the GOP and the conservative movement stand for.
Sing it with me now: low taxes, small government, strong defense,
traditional families. See? You know the tune, and the harmony line,
too… Everybody knows what the conservative brand stands for, because
the conservative leadership has spent four decades nurturing a
consistent brand identity for themselves.
So essentially, a cadre of
ultra-rich plutocrats and corporations have managed to use Madison
Avenue techniques to completely divorce the words “conservative” and
“liberal” from the values they espouse. The Republican
Party—which is essentially run by anti-science whack jobs using discredited
economists to justify policies favoring corporations and the
ultra-rich, is completely untethered from reality, but they’ve used
distraction, hate, blame, fear and greed to distract folks from
realizing that they are getting screwed by the trickle-down,
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 (!!).