in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from June 16, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
I realize that I did not commemorate the fact that I am writing
Crisis files for six years now,
started to do so after June 10, 2013,
which taught me about Snowden.
I am registering it now, and may write about it the coming days, but I
am also somewhat worse at present than I was for a long time.
There will be more about computers and Ubuntu in Nederlog soon, but I
am happy to announce that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, that I installed in 2017,
works again as it did before on May 24, and after 24 hours of misery.
And on May 23 I also got a working computer with 18.04 LTS
worse than 16.04 LTS because its Firefox also is a menuless
horror that I refuse to use, but
happily SeaMonkey is not, for it still has it menus and can be
installed on 18.04), so I
present - and after two weeks of struggling - in the possession of two
more or less, though not yet quite decently working computers.
So today there is a more or less common Nederlog, where "common" is the
style I developed in 2013.
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
four crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading (well... not today: only two out of
four files, but it is Sunday today):
A. Selections from June 16, 2019:
1. Why Can’t Everyone Get A’s?
The items 1 - 4 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:
Kong Leader Delays Extradition Bill Amid Mass Protests
3. Will the World End in Fire or in Flood?
4. John Pilger: The
Global War on Assange, Journalism & Dissent
Can’t Everyone Get A’s?
This article is by Alfie Kohn on The New York Times. It
starts as follows:
Here’s a thought
experiment. Suppose that next year virtually every student passed the
tests. What would the reaction be from politicians, businesspeople, the
media? Would these people shake their heads in admiration and say,
“Damn, those teachers must be good!”?
I am sorry but Mr. Kohn is
the type of utter idiot that collaborated with many to
destroy all rational standards in education that I first heard 50+
years ago, in 1969. What he does not understand is that (i)
all people differ from one another in many ways (ii) some
people excel in a few ways - mathematics, languages, sports, music,
facial beauty etc. etc. - from most others, and (iii) so far,
at least, no one excels all or most others in more than 1 or 2 ways,
out of many tens or possibly hundreds of various human talents.
Of course not. Such remarkable
success would be cited as evidence that the tests were too easy. In the
real world, when scores have improved sharply, this has indeed been the
reaction. For example, when results on New York’s math exam rose in
2009, the chancellor of the state’s Board of Regents said, “What
today’s scores tell me is not that we should be celebrating,” but
instead “that New York State needs to raise its standards.”
The inescapable, and deeply
disturbing, implication is that “high standards” really means
“standards that all students will never be able to meet.” If everyone
did meet them, the standards would just be ratcheted up again — as high
as necessary to ensure that some students failed.
standards-and-accountability movement is not about leaving no child
behind. To the contrary, it is an elaborate sorting device, intended to
separate wheat from chaff. The fact that students of color, students
from low-income families and students whose first language isn’t
English are disproportionately defined as chaff makes the whole
enterprise even more insidious.
But Mr. Kohn - if he is judged by many of the others I have read the
last 50 years - does not have an excellent or a remarkable
intellect; dislikes the few who do; and seems for that reason to
want to destroy any difference whatsoever in all manners and schools of
education, by destroying all tests that would make this clear.
I heard the same 50 years ago in Holland, and already
then it had the sort of results Kohn wanted: It was considered very
unfair that the very few who managed to score an average of
a 7 1/2 or better (out of 10 maximal) in gymnasiums (that at that time
still had 16 subjects to be examined in, including 5 foreign languages
and mathematics, physics and chemistry) - which were then the
preparatory school to be allowed to study medicine in Holland -
were given the chance to study medicine, whereas those who did not
quite make that had to be taken in by a lottery, for there were more
students than places in medicine.
This was extremely unfair according to the majority of
egalitarians, and indeed in 1969 or 1970 the very few who did score
an 7 1/2 or better were denied the right to study medicine and had
to take part in the lottery.
Since then both the preparatory education for the Dutch
universities have been destroyed (only 6 subject were examined, of
which 2 only verbally, which meant that by 2008 they had to impose half
a year of - university! - education in mathematics for engineers etc.)
and all the university educations were also very much less
(at most half) of what they were between 1865 and 1965 in Holland.
But since there always are vastly more non-talented people than
talented people, for each and every human talent, this whole so-called
"democratization" of education, which was in fact an enormous
simplification of all education, was an remained popular in Holland for
50 years, indeed thanks to the many Alfie Kohns who were Dutch in
1969 and later.
In case you doubt this: What if sports
were "democratized" so that only average or worse people (in any sport)
could take part in it? No one wants that, but the vast majority
does still want an M.A. degree without any intellectual troubles,
because that way they can make more money than those without an M.A.
Here is one more bit by Alfie Kohn:
This again is utter baloney.
Mr. Kohn apparently refuses to see that there are considerable
differences in humans as regards to intellectual talents, and if he
does see the differences, he wants to undo them by lowering the
standards of education so that everyone passes.
Richard Kamber, a philosopher at the College of New Jersey, sees it,
“If grades are to have any coherent meaning, they need to represent a
relative degree of success.”
goal, in other words, isn’t to do well but to defeat other people who
are also trying to do well. Grades in this view should be used to
announce who’s beating whom. And if the students in question have
already been sorted by the admissions process, well, they ought to be
sorted again. A school’s ultimate mission, apparently, is not to help
everyone learn but to rig the game so that there will always be losers.
I think he is an utter idiot but indeed many are like him. I am not,
because I became an M.A. in psychology with an average of 9,3 out of 10
maximal, without following any lectures because I was
ill all the time, but then I had an IQ of over 150 in 1978. I suppose
the Kohns of this world really dislike such differences
between people, so he probably also enjoys the fact that I never made
any money with my degree because I was too ill for that as well. This
article is utterly worthless.
Kong Leader Delays Extradition Bill Amid Mass Protests
This article is by Eileen Kurtenbach and Christopher Bodeen
on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It starts as
Embattled Hong Kong leader
Carrie Lam sought to quell public anger Saturday by shelving an
unpopular extradition bill that has highlighted apprehension about
relations with mainland China, but opponents of the measure said it was
Activists said they were
still planning a mass protest for Sunday, a week after hundreds of
thousands marched to demand Lam drop the legislation, which many fear
would undermine freedoms enjoyed by this former British colony but not
elsewhere in China.
The battle over the
proposal to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance to allow some
suspects to face trial in mainland Chinese courts has evolved into Hong
Kong’s most severe political test since the Communist Party-ruled
mainland took control in 1997 with a promise not to interfere with the
city’s civil liberties and courts.
Yes indeed. Then again
here is more Lam (who was appointed by the Chinese government
rather than that of Hong Kong) still wants to arrest those who dislike
China and deliver them to the Chinese police:
But [Lam] insisted the bill
was still needed.
“Give us another chance,”
Beijing-appointed Lam said
she had the central government’s backing for her decision to yield to
the protests. A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said in a
statement Saturday that the Chinese government “expresses support,
respect and understanding” for Lam’s decision.
Yes, I suppose because they
think it will be a matter of time - say half a year or a year, in which
they also may be right.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
The extradition bill has
drawn criticism from U.S. and British lawmakers and human rights
groups, prompting Beijing to lash back with warnings against
“interference” in its internal affairs.
But analysts say China also
has to weigh the risk of seeing Hong Kong, a vital port and financial
center of 7 million people, possibly losing its special economic status.
Under the 1992 U.S.-Hong
Kong Policy Act, Beijing needs to abide by its “one country, two
systems” promises to respect the territory’s legal autonomy for 50
years as promised under the agreement signed with Britain for the 1997
Already, many here believe
the territory’s legal autonomy has been significantly diminished
despite Beijing’s insistence that it is still honoring those promises.
Yes, I think all of this is
correct, and this is a recommended article.
the World End in Fire or in Flood?
This article is by David Bromwich on Truthdig and originally
on TomDispatch. This is from near its beginning:
Can we still have inner
weather when the outer weather changes so regularly and drastically?
When 500 tornadoes rip through the
country from Kansas to Pennsylvania in a matter of weeks? Or when
875,000 California acres burn down in the course
of a summer? Rather than hear the message, we look into our smartphones
or at our computer screens whose backgrounds may include breathtakingly
lovely pictures of the planet — photos that show how beautiful a place
it has been. As if we could have this Earth forever in reach, as if we
could preserve it with a password or, by logging off, exchange it for
another as lovely.
I say?! Why am I almost
always getting demeaned if some journalist uses the word "we", which is
to say "you, me and the other"?! I do not even have or want a
smartphone; I have been worrying about the climate/environment ever
since reading "The Limits to Growth" in 1972; I have been removed from
the university just before taking my - excellent - M.A. in philosophy
because I publicly criticized the utterly incompetent teachers I was
given; I am a radical but not a Marxist, like
both of my heroic parents were (who were in the real resistance
against the Nazis in WW II) but hey - by simply writing about "we"
and "us" all these differences between and others are simply denied and
also, effectively, Mr. Bromwhich accuses everyone of not being willing
to accept the truth if it is slightly painful ir worse.
I reject this bullshit for
myself, and indeed for quite a number of informed
people, though I admit these are in a minority.
Here is more by Bromwich:
warming, climate change, climate disruption. Think of the
succession of words we’ve used to describe the gradual onset of
catastrophe and you see at once how inadequate words can be. In our
time, corporate lingo has even rendered “disruptive” an admiring
adjective for tech innovations on a par with “transformative.”
I say, again?! Well... words
may be inadequate, but words and symbols are the only means we have to
communicate most of our ideas.
Here is more by Bromwich:
The issue that should
everything in sight today is planetary climate destruction. It’s
happening in plain sight and all around us, and most of us clearly
can’t bear to think about it. Why not? Because we are creatures of
habit and immediacy, because the imagination can’t fix for long on a
distant and unbearable future. Habit disposes us to normalize the
abnormal. It’s a human propensity as natural as the protective
mechanism that helps us not get stopped in our tracks by the painful
things we did or suffered.
I say, once more, which I do
because Bromwhich insists that "we are creatures of habit and immediacy, because the
imagination can’t fix for long on a distant and unbearable future.
Habit disposes us to normalize the abnormal." WE. That is: ALL of us.
Well thank you, but I
neither am an idiot nor do I accept this bullshit. Here is the ending
If I had been an American
I'd also be accused by him of having the "habits [of] the last
superpower". My goodness!
This is another worthless article.
Let us be optimists and
suppose our luck holds out for another generation. Suppose we are
spared destruction by fire. Climate change remains and its effects will
be devastating, even though those effects are regularly dealt with as
if they belonged to separate categories: immigration, inequality,
environmental destruction, and war. There will be wars as a result of
climate change; there will be mass migrations; there will be
environmental destruction almost beyond imagining; and there will be
increased inequality from all of those causes. Meeting the disruption
that is already upon us will require kinds of planning and
international arrangements that are foreign to our habits as the last
Pilger: The Global War on Assange, Journalism & Dissent
This article is by Denis Bernstein and Randy Credico on
Consortium News. It starts as follows:
The muckraking work of Oscar- and
Emmy-award-winning filmmaker John Pilger is revered and celebrated by
journalists and publishers all over the world. While still in his
twenties, Pilger became the youngest journalist to receive Britain’s
highest award for journalism, “Journalist of the Year,” and was the
first to win it twice.
Yes indeed, and this is also a
fairly good interview. Here is some more:
In this interview with Dennis J. Bernstein and
Randy Credico, Pilger talks about what is happening to his friend and
colleague Julian Assange, founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, and how
his persecution could be the beginning of the end of modern
investigative reporting as we know it. Since Assange’s high-profile
arrest and maximum-security imprisonment on a bail-jumping charge,
journalists and whistleblowers have been pursued, arrested and have
their documents and hard drives seized in the U.S., France, Great
Britain and Australia.
Yes indeed. Here is more by Pilger:
Pilger: Well, it’s happening all over
the world now and certainly all over that part of the world that
regards itself as the enlightened. We are seeing the victimization of
whistleblowers and journalists who tell the truth. There is a global
war on journalism. More than that, there’s a global war on dissent. The
speed with which these events has happened is quite remarkable since
April 11th when Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian
embassy in London by police. Since then, police have moved against
journalists in the United States, in Australia, spectacularly, in Latin
America. It’s as if somebody has waved a green flag.
Yes indeed (and there are examples in
the article). Here is one from several:
Pilger: There is an “Assange Precedent”
at work all over the world. In Australia there was a raid on the public
broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, where the federal
police marched in with warrants, one of which gave them the authority
to delete, change and appropriate the material of journalists. It was
one of the most blatant attacks on journalistic freedom and indeed on
freedom of speech that I can remember. We saw even Rupert Murdoch’s
News Corporation attacked.
Yes, I quite agree and especially
with the last paragraph.
The political editor of one of Murdoch’s
papers, The Sunday Telegraph, watched as her house was ransacked and
her personal belongings, intimate belongings, rifled. She had reported
on the extent of official spying on Australians by the Australian
government. Something similar has happened in France where [President
Emmanuel] Macron’s police have moved against journalists on the
Assange predicted this while he was being
smeared and abused. He was saying that the world was changing and that
so-called liberal democracies were becoming autocracies. A democracy
that sends its police against journalists and carries away their notes
and hard drives simply because those journalists have revealed what
governments have not wanted people to know is not a democracy.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Pilger: The WikiLeaks disclosures were,
if not co-published, were picked up by newspapers and journals and
investigative programs on television all over the world. That makes all
the journalists involved, all the producers, all the presenters, all of
them complicit. And, of course, the hounding of Assange and the
intimidation of others make a mockery of the First Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution, which says that you have every right to publish; you
have every right to “publish and be damned.” It’s one of the
demonstrably noble principles of the U.S. Constitution that has been
thrown away completely.
Yes, I agree and this is a strongly
recommended article, in which there is also a lot more than I quoted.
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 (!!).