in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from May 16, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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
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 16, 2019:
The indented text
link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
Aren't Just Hurting Democracy—They're
Other Files from
May 16, 2019:
2. The House Now Has A Constitutional
Duty to Impeach
3. Why Everyone in the U.S. Who Counts
Aren't Just Hurting Democracy—They're Destroying It
This article is by
Karen Greenberg on Truthdig and originally on TomDispatch. This is from
near its beginning:
In the Soviet Union, (..)
photographic airbrushing became a political art form.
Today, however, when it comes to repeated acts meant to erase reality’s
record and memory, it wouldn’t be Eastern Europe or Russia that came to
mind but the United States. 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.
Yes indeed. As to Stalin's
Soviet Union where very many photographs were doctored, here is one bit
Yezhov, who was for two years the head of Stalin's NKVD and
therefore the chief of Stalin's torturers.
As to the Mueller report,
there is this:
Yes, I agree and I
do so for the simple reason that the more of a government's actions
are secret, the less democratic that government is.
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.”
On the other hand, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey
was typical of congressional Democrats in suggesting that the
speed — less than 48 hours — of Barr’s initial review of the document
was “more suspicious than impressive.” 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 of redactions.
Such complacency should
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.
This is about the governmental secrecy in the current USA:
own conclusion, which is not based on just the redacting that is the
subject of this article, is that democracy is mostly dead in the USA.
Consider, for instance,
the 28 pages about
Saudi Arabia that were totally blacked out of the December 2002 report of the Joint
Congressional Inquiry into the failure 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.
Infamously enough, the
numerous military reports on the well-photographed abuses that
American military personnel committed at Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison,
came out with substantial redactions.
So, too, have the reports and books on the CIA’s use of enhanced
interrogation techniques on war on terror detainees held at its “black
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 public
Here is more on the redactions of the U.S.'s government:
This supports what I said above. Here is some more, that is also
redacting, but this time of the books former members of government
may want to write:
It’s worth noting that
acts of redaction have taken place in an era in which information has
been removed from the public domain and classified at unprecedented
levels — and unacceptable ones for a democracy. In the first 19 years
of this century, the number of government documents being classified
has expanded exponentially, initially accelerating in the
immediate aftermath of 9/11. Between 2001 and 2005, for instance, the
number of government documents classified per year doubled. Even former New
Jersey Governor Tom Kean, chairmanof the 9/11 Commission, pushed back
against the growing urge of the national security state to excessively
classify — that is, after a fashion, redact — almost any kind of
One may have some
understanding for this, but the general conclusion of Greenberg is this:
Another government tactic
that, as with former FBI agent Soufan’s book, has given redaction a
place of pride in Washington is the ongoing strict pre-publication
review process now in place. Former public servants who worked in
intelligence and other positions requiring security clearances
(including former contractors) and then wrote books about their time in
office must undergo it.
Quite so. And
incidentally, my conclusion that democracy
is mostly dead in the current USA is in part based on the fact that the
government redacts very much of what it does, and in part on the
fact that ordinary American people's
wishes, thoughts and values have hardly
any role on the government, the House or the Senate. And this is a strongly
[D]emocracy itself can,
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.
2. The House Now Has A
Constitutional Duty to Impeach Trump
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
I say, for this
appears to be based on honest knowledge what is going on in the current
USA. Here is some more:
Donald Trump is causing a
constitutional crisis with his blanket refusal to respond to any
So what happens now? An
impeachment inquiry in the House won’t send him packing before election
day 2020 because Senate Republicans won’t convict him of impeachment.
So the practical political
question is whether a House impeachment inquiry helps send him packing
after election day. That seems unlikely.
Besides, the inquiry probably wouldn’t reveal much that’s not already
known, because House subpoenas will get tangled up in the courts for
the remainder of Trump’s term (even though courts give more deference
to subpoenas in an impeachment inquiry).
Worse yet is the chance
that an impeachment inquiry plays into Trump’s hands by convincing some
wavering voters that Democrats and the “deep state” are out to get
Trump, thereby giving him more votes than he’d otherwise get.
Does this mean House
Democrats should avoid taking the political risk of impeaching Trump?
Not at all.
Yes indeed. Here is some
Every child in America is
supposed to learn about the Constitution’s basic principles of
separation of powers, and checks and balances.
But these days, every child
and every adult in America is learning from Donald Trump that these
principles are bunk.
By issuing a blanket
refusal to respond to any congressional subpoena, Trump is saying
Congress has no constitutional authority to oversee the executive
branch. He’s telling America that Congress is a subordinate branch of
government rather than a co-equal branch. Forget separation of powers.
Yes indeed. And here is
By unilaterally shuttering
the government in order to get his way, Trump has said he has the
constitutional right not to execute the laws whenever it suits him.
By directing the attorney
general, the Justice Department, the FBI and the Secretary of the
Treasury to act in his own personal interest rather than in the
interests of the American people, Trump is saying that a president can
run the government on his own. Adios, Constitution.
Yes, I agree. This
article ends as follows:
By doing whatever he could
to stop an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016
election, including firing the head of the FBI, Trump has told America
it’s OK for a president to obstruct justice. Goodbye, law.
The core purpose of the
U.S. Constitution is to prevent tyranny. That’s why the framers of the
Constitution distributed power among the president, Congress and the
judiciary. That’s why each of the three branches was designed to limit
the powers of the other two.
In other words, the framers
anticipated the possibility of a Donald Trump.
Well... I agree
with the argument, although I also think it may be too late now,
and that basically for three reasons: (i) Trump's government
has been destroying democracy (what remained of it) since the beginning
of 2017; (ii) the Senate is Republican and very probably will not want
to impeach Trump; and also (iii) it is quite possible that the
reaction of most editors for TV is to give Trump - once again, as in
2016 - very much free TV-time "to defend himself".
Trump surely appears to be
usurping the powers of the other branches. Under these circumstances,
the Constitution mandates that the House undertake an impeachment
inquiry and present evidence to the Senate.
This may not be the
practical political thing to do. But it is the right thing to do.
Then again I do think this is a good argument in favor of
impeaching Trump, and this is a strongly recommended article.
Everyone in the U.S. Who Counts Wants Julian Assange Dead
article is by Thomas Neuburger on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Below is a full video
of Collateral Murder, the 2007 war footage that was leaked in
2010 to Wikileaks by Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning. This version
was posted to the Wikileaks YouTube channel with subtitles. It will
only take about 15 minutes of your life to view it.
Yes indeed. Here is some more:
It's brutal to watch, but I
challenge you to do it anyway. It shows not just murder, but a special
kind of murder — murder from the safety of the air, murder by men with
heavy machine guns slowly circling their targets in helicopters like
hunters with shotguns who walk the edges of a trout pond, shooting at
will, waiting, walking, then shooting again, till all the fish are
The film also
shows war crimes that implicate the entire structure of the
U.S. military, as everyone involved was acting under orders, seeking
permission to fire, waiting, then getting it before once more blasting
away. The publication of this video, plus all the Wikileaks
publications that followed, comprise the whole reason everyone in the
U.S. who matters, everyone with power, wants Julian Assange dead.
They also want him hated.
Generating that hate is the process we're watching today.
I suppose this is mostly
true. Here is some more:
"Everyone" in this case
includes every major newspaper that published and received awards for
publishing Wikileaks material; all major U.S. televised media outlets;
and all "respectable" U.S. politicians — including, of course, Hillary
Clinton, who was rumored (though unverifiably) to have said, "Can't
we just drone this guy?"
Yes, Julian Assange the
person can be a giant jerk even to his supporters, as this exchange reported by Intercept
writer Micah Lee attests. Nevertheless, it's not for being a jerk that
the Establishment state wants him dead; that state breeds, harbors and honors the very worst criminal
jerks everywhere in the world. They want him dead for publishing
videos like these.
I suppose this is also mostly
true. This article ends as
The Wikileaks page for the
video is here. A transcript is here.
This was done in our name,
to "keep us safe." This continues to be done every day that we and our
allies are at "war" in the Middle East.
Bodies pile on bodies as
this continues. The least we can do, literally the least, is to witness
and acknowledge their deaths.
Yes, I agree
and this is a strongly recommended article.
This article is by
Jenny Uglow on The New York Review of Books. This is not a
crisis file but a review of "The
Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age".
I review this article basically because, while I have not read
"The Club:" I have read most of Boswell and much of Dr.
Johnson, while I am also fairly well-read in 18th Century English
My main reasons for doing so is that I like the 18th Century
English literature and that I like Dr. Johnson and Boswell,
though I am not much like either.
This article starts as follows:
Yes indeed. Here is some
The Literary Club, known simply as “The Club,” was
established in early 1764 after the portrait painter Joshua Reynolds
became worried about his friend Samuel Johnson, who was sinking into a
black depression. An old Oxford friend, William Adams, had visited
Johnson the previous autumn and “found him in a deplorable state,
sighing, groaning, talking to himself, and restlessly walking from room
to room.” Johnson told Adams, “I would consent to have a limb amputated
to recover my spirits.” An evening of talk with friends, Reynolds
suggested, was a less drastic remedy.
This was an age of clubs, when men met in inns,
coffeehouses, and homes, sharing interests ranging from scientific
experiments to glee singing—and drink, which played an important part
in the Club’s weekly meetings. These took place every Friday in a
private room at the Turk’s Head Tavern in Gerrard Street, in Soho. In
addition to Johnson and Reynolds, the nine founding members of the new
Literary Club included Edmund Burke, Oliver Goldsmith, and the
magistrate and historian of music Sir John Hawkins (who left after a
quarrel with Burke), as well as Burke’s father-in-law, Christopher
Nugent, a stockbroker, Anthony Chamier, and two other friends, Topham
Beauclerk and Bennet Langton.
Yes indeed, and incidentally many
members of the Club were leading intellectuals in 18th Century England.
At Club meetings the talk ranged widely. In one session
recorded by Boswell in 1778, topics swung from a statue of Alcibiades’
dog to the price of sculpture (and, thereby, the relationship of cost
to value), emigration to the colonies, the way travel revealed
different sides of human nature, and the degree of guilt one might feel
after exposing another to temptation, like laying a purse of guineas
before a servant.
By this time, the membership had swelled. New members had
to be elected unanimously, and existing members could blackball names
they did not like (the musicologist Charles Burney was sore for years
after being blackballed by Hawkins, who was writing a rival history of
music), but by 1775, a decade after it was founded, there were
twenty-three men in the Club. Among recently elected members were David
Garrick, Adam Smith, Edward Gibbon, the philologist Sir William Jones,
and the politician Charles James Fox.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article
As I said, I did not
read "The Club", but it sounds like an interesting book from this
review, which is well-written and informed. There also is a lot
more in it that I did not quote, and it is a strongly
could indeed, in their different spheres, be seen as men who shaped
their age. But the Club had no shared agenda, and in his engaging and
illuminating The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped
an Age, Leo Damrosch makes no attempt to describe it as a coherent
entity, or to follow its development and endow it with a specific part
in “shaping an age.” Instead, he uses the Club to give a fresh slant to
the more familiar story of the friendship between Johnson and Boswell.
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 (!!).