in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from May 15, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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 or four
each day (but that may change and probably will).
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 15, 2019:
The indented text
link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
1. Google’s Censored Search Would Help
China “Be More Open,”
Said Ex-CEO Eric Schmidt
2. Robert Reich: America Urgently Needs
a Wealth Tax
3. Jair Bolsonaro Poses a Legitimate Threat to Humankind
4. Redacting Democracy
Censored Search Would Help China “Be More Open,” Said Ex-CEO Eric
This article is by
Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed. As to Schmidt's
saying that "he believed that
[Dragonfly] could “help change China to be more open”": I think Schmidt is a sick and
degenerate extremely rich liar. He could as well have said (and would
have been much more honest) that helping to repress over a
billion persons with the help of Dragonfly (an obvious piece of
sadodascistic code) contributes enormously to democracy and
personal freedom in China. And what he really meant was: This is very
good because it will make me even more
Former Google CEO Eric
Schmidt has defended the company’s plan to build a censored version of
its search engine in China.
In an interview with
the BBC on Monday, Schmidt said that he wasn’t involved in decisions to
build the censored search platform, code-named Dragonfly. But he
insisted that there were “many benefits” to working with China and said
he was an advocate of operating in the country because he believed that
it could “help change China to be more open.”
As The Intercept first revealed
in August, Google developed a prototype of the censored search engine
that was designed to remove content that China’s ruling Communist Party
regime deems sensitive. The search engine would have blacklisted
thousands of words and phrases, including terms such as “human rights,”
“student protest,” and “Nobel Prize” in Mandarin.
Here is some more:
Yes, I think these Google
employees are right, but then again I also think they are working for a
A major complaint from
Google employees about the plan for the censored search engine was that
they felt the end uses of their work had been withheld from them. For
instance, some employees discovered that they had been working on code
or improvements to aspects of Google main search platform, which was
then being implemented without their knowledge or approval into the
censored version of search for China.
In a protest letter published
last year, Google employees said that they did “not have the
information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our
work, our projects, and our employment.” They called for “more
transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open
processes,” adding, “Google employees need to know what we’re building.”
Here is some more:
I am rather certain that when
a stinkingly rich major fraud like Schmidt says he wants to "help change China to be more open" what he means is that repressing
over a billion Chinese will make him and Google a whole lot richer.
During Schmidt’s tenure as
CEO, in 2006, Google launched a search engine in China but pulled out
of the country in 2010, due to concerns about Chinese government
interference. At that time, Brin said
the decision to stop operating search in the country was mainly about
“opposing censorship and speaking out for the freedom of political
Schmidt revealed in his BBC
interview that he had argued against Brin — believing that the company
should remain in China, despite the censorship requirements. He said he
felt that it was better “to stay in China and help change China to
be more open.”
And here here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Quite so (and
notice that Schmidt again was lying saying that "I shouldn’t comment” while he evidently did
comment). And this is a strongly recommended article.
Today, according to
analysts, the level of internet freedom in China has continued to
degrade. The country’s government has ramped up constraints on the flow
of information into the country. In 2016, the Communist Party regime
passed a new cybersecurity law, which Human Rights Watch said “strengthens censorship,
surveillance, and other controls over the internet.” The group noted
that “internet control has reached new heights since President Xi
Jinping assumed power in March 2013.”
Schmidt told the BBC that
Google was no longer pursuing Dragonfly but couldn’t rule out that
changing in the future. “I am no longer involved in the management of
the company so I shouldn’t comment,” he said.
2. Robert Reich: America
Urgently Needs a Wealth Tax
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed: I think all of
the above is quite correct. Here is some more:
indeed - and this raises a question for me, which is as
follows: Reich wants to save capitalism (the title of a recent
book of his), which I do not quite understand because I do not
know what he understands by "capitalism" - but if the rich have
over the last 40 years succeeded in making most of capitalism serve the
rich, then why are "the
kind of dynasties common to European aristocracies in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries"
they presently form still capitalist? Or worth saving?
America is now on the cusp
of the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history. As
wealthy boomers die, an estimated $30
trillion will go to their children over the next three decades.
Over time, this wealth will
continue to grow even further – without these folks lifting a finger.
This concentration of wealth will soon resemble the kind of dynasties
common to European aristocracies in the seventeenth and eighteenth
It’s exactly what our
Founding Fathers sought to combat by creating a system of government
and economy grounded in meritocracy.
And I am not saying there are no rational answers to my
question, but I am saying I do not know them from Reich.
Here is some more from this article:
Yes, I agree - and here is
Dynastic wealth also
magnifies race and gender disparities. Because of racism and sexism,
women and people of color not only earn less. They have also saved
less. Which is why the racial
wealth gap and the gender wealth gap are huge and growing.
Today, government is
financed almost entirely by income taxes and payroll taxes – totally
ignoring the giant and growing wealth at the top.
So how do we address the
crisis of wealth inequality?
I agree, but this does not
answer my own question above - which I agree
is probably hard to answer.
A wealth tax, as proposed
by Senator Elizabeth Warren, would begin to tackle all this by placing
a 2 percent tax on to wealth in excess of 50 million dollars.
According to estimates,
this tax would generate 2.75 trillion dollars over the next decade,
which could be used for health care, education, infrastructure, and
everything else we need.
Not only would a wealth tax
raise revenue and help bring the economy back into balance, but it
would also protect our democracy by reducing the influence of the
super-rich on our political system.
We must demand an economy that
works for the many, not one that concentrates wealth in the hands of a
few. A wealth tax is a necessary first step.
Bolsonaro Poses a Legitimate Threat to Humankind
article is by Greg Wilpert on Truthdig and originally on The Real News
Network. It starts as follows:
GREG WILPERT: It’s
The Real News Network and I’m Greg Wilpert in Baltimore. Eight
Brazilian former ministers of the environment issued a warning last
Wednesday that the government of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro is
in the process of systematically destroying Brazil’s environmental
protection policies. The ministers from across the political spectrum
say that the environmental ministry’s powers are being stripped, and
that after a period of slowing the deforestation of the Amazon
rainforest, it is now on the rise again. Marina Silva, who was
Environmental Minister under President Lula da Silva called him “an
exterminator of the future.” Joining me now to discuss what is
happening with regard to Brazil’s environmental policies is Alexander
Zaitchik. He is a freelance journalist (..)
I fear all of the above
is quite correct. Here is some more:
Alexander Zaitchik: (..)
[L]oggers, miners, and agribusiness interests, who are emboldened by
the rhetoric coming out of the government where they just feel like the
laws won’t be enforced. In fact, that is exactly what’s happening. The
agencies that have been empowered to protect what’s left of the
Brazilian Amazon— and again, we’ve already lost a fifth of it— are
being held back. They’re being defunded. They’re being reshuffled, put
under hostile ministers, the environmental protection agency, IBAMA. I
think the exact number is something around a quarter has been cut from
its funds. The conservation agency, ICMBO, is being staffed by
right-wing police officers from Sao Paulo. All of the scientists who
were running that organization have been fired.
I fear this is correct
as well. Here is some more:
: (..) Pretty much all of the scientific boards are being replaced with
agribusiness hacks and the politicians from the [inaudible] bench. And,
you know, it’s a sort of an echo of what’s happening in the US where
the scientific community is, sort of, seen as a hostile force working
against the development of the Brazilian economy and this authoritarian
vision of development in the Amazon, which goes way back. It’s worth
mentioning that this precedes Bolsonaro, it precedes the military junta
that he is nostalgic for, that ran the country during the 60s, 70s, and
80s. I mean, it’s a long strain in Brazilian history to see the Amazon
as this wild territory that has to be settled and populated with “real
Brazilians,” both as part of some modernization drive but also as a
geopolitical imperative. There’s this paranoia that the Amazon will be
taken over by Brazil’s neighbors, that it will be somehow
internationalized as some sort of commons because it’s so crucial to
the global climate. So it’s being militarized (..)
I fear again this is quite
correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
The governments of Asia, Europe and North America are going to be
crucial in making sure that another twenty percent of the forest is not
destroyed by the policies that Bolsonaro is putting in place right now
because scientists tell us that another twenty percent risks triggering
this feedback loop called dieback, in which the forest will simply
collapse and its systems will no longer be able to sustain themselves.
There will be a, sort of, domino effect of dry-out and burns, and then
you’ll have this enormous release of carbon as well as an absorption of
heat that is now being reflected back into space. And of course, the
huge loss of biodiversity, which is just—we don’t even really know how
great it is because so little of the rainforest has been studied.
Something like one percent of all of the plants of the Amazon have been
studied, and from that one percent, we’re getting a quarter of our
pharmaceutical products. So the potential there that would be lost,
would be as significant as the impact on the climate.
And again I fear this is
correct and this is a strongly recommended article.
This article is by
Karen Greenberg on Common Dreams and originaly on TomDispatch. This is
from near its beginning:
Yes, I quite agree. And in
fact I think the Mueller report should have been handed - quite
possibly with a few "redacted" (i.e. disappeared) - bits to (at least)
the members of the House and the Senate, for the simple reason that if
these do not know what the government is doing, the government can more
or less do as it likes, which already is the case under Trump and
probably also since 9/11.
With the release of the
Mueller report, the word “redaction” is once again in the news, though
for those of us who follow such things, it seems but an echo of so many
other redactions, airbrushings, and disappearances from history that
have become a way of life in Washington since the onset of the Global
War on Terror.
In the 448 pages of the
Mueller report, there are nearly 1,000 redactions. They appear on 40%
of its pages, some adding up to only a few words (or possibly
names), others blacking out whole
pages. Attorney General William Barr warned House Judiciary
Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler about the need to classify parts of the
report and when Barr released it, the Wall
Street Journal suggested that the thousand unreadable passages
included “few major redactions.”
Still, on the whole, while
there was some fierce criticism of the redacted nature of the report,
it proved less than might have been anticipated, perhaps because in
this century Americans have grown used to living in an age
Such complacency should be
cause for concern. For while redactions can be necessary and
classification is undoubtedly a part of modern government life, the
aura of secrecy that invariably accompanies such acts inevitably
redacts democracy as well.
Here is once again the warning of Hermann Goering about how democracies
That is what has happened in the USA since 9/11. Back to the article:
I think I agree with
Greenberg if I say that (nearly) all of these "redactions" (blackings
out) of these reports were strongly anti-democratic - and
have been going on since 9/11.
(..) [T]he post-9/11
stands out in American history for its relentless reliance on redacting
material in government reports. Consider, for instance, the 28
pages about Saudi Arabia that were totally blacked out of the 9/11
Commission Report, an investigation of how the United States failed to
prevent al-Qaeda’s attacks that fateful day. Similarly, the 2005 Robb-Silberman Report
on Weapons of Mass Destruction, classified -- and therefore redacted --
entire chapters, as well as parts of its chief takeaway, its 74
recommendations, six of which were completely excised. (..) And the
nearly 400-page executive summary of the extensive Senate Select
Intelligence Committee’s Torture Report
was partially redacted, too, even though it was already a carefully
chosen version of a more than 6,700-page report that was not given a
Here is some more:
I say, and I regard this
again as strongly anti-democratic. It seems Greenberg agrees
is the last bit of this article:
In March, for instance,
President Trump issued an executive
the need for the Pentagon to make public its drone strikes in the war
on terror or the civilian casualties they cause. In a similar fashion,
the American military command in Afghanistan announced
its decision to no longer report on the amount of territory under
Taliban control, a metric that the previous U.S. commander there had
called the “most telling in a counterinsurgency.” Similarly, President
Trump has repeatedly displayed
his aversion to any kind of basic note taking or record-keeping during
White House meetings with aides and lawyers (as the Mueller report
Yes indeed, except perhaps for
the very last statement, for I do not think American ordinary
can be made responsible for the deletions and false
their government indulges in. And this is a strongly
[D]emocracy itself can, in
the end, be redacted if the culture of blacking-out key information
becomes Washington’s accepted paradigm. And with such redactions goes,
of course, the redaction of the very idea of an informed citizenry,
which lies at the heart of the democratic way of life. Under the
circumstances, perhaps it’s not surprising that polls show trust in
government in steady
decline for decades (with a brief reversal right after 9/11).
In the end, blacking out the
record of the grimmest aspects of our own recent history will leave
American citizens unable to understand the country in which they live.
Informed or not, we all share responsibility for the American future.
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 (!!).