in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from June 19, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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:
A. Selections from June 19, 2019:
1. Assange Indictment “Criminalizes the
News Gathering Process”
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:
Plans Its Own Digital Currency for 2 Billion-Plus Users
3. Can Donald Trump Hold Off an Economic Crash Until the
4. The Remorseless
Working of Things: A Political Tragedy in Three
1. Assange Indictment “Criminalizes the News
This article is by Amy Goodman
and Juan González on Democracy Now!. I abbreviated the title. It starts
with the following introduction:
A London judge has
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to appear before a court in February
2020 to face a full extradition hearing. Prosecutors in the U.S. have
indicted Assange on 18 counts, including 17 violations of the Espionage
Act. This is the first-ever case of a journalist or publisher being
indicted under the World War I-era law. Assange said that his life was
“effectively at stake” if the U.K. honors a U.S. request for his
extradition. Assange is currently serving a 50-week sentence in
London’s Belmarsh Prison for skipping bail in 2012. We speak with James
Goodale, former general counsel of The New York Times. In 1971, he
urged the paper to publish the Pentagon Papers, which had been leaked
by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.
Yes indeed. Here is
GOODMAN: (..) Talk about
what Julian Assange faces right now. It’s become very clear with the,
what, 17 charges of espionage against him and now the court clearing
the way for this extradition case next year.
GOODALE: Well, the first
thing that happens, as you said, is there will be a trial as to whether
he will be extradited or not. That will be interesting to follow, five
days. If he loses, which most people think he will, he then comes back
here, and he faces charges under the Espionage Act—espionage, if you
can believe it—for publishing and gathering the news. Those charges are
absolutely novel in the history of this country.
And if the government
succeeds with the trial against Assange, if any, that will mean that
it’s criminalized the news gathering process. Fancy way of saying when
a reporter, like the two of you, go out and try to get a story from
someone who has classified information—by the way, all information is
classified in the government—you run the risk of going to jail. So
that’s why the Assange case, from a journalist’s point, is very
important. And from a publisher’s point, since he also has a website
and he publishes, it’s astounding that the government has brought
criminal charges against a publisher. Think of The New York Times,
Yes indeed. I completely
agree, except that I do not think it ¨astounding¨ that
Trump´s government ¨has brought criminal charges to a publisher¨, simply
because Trump has said from the very beginning he regards the press as
liars. What is a bit more astounding is that this has been more or less
Anyway. Here is some more:
GOODALE: Well, the press
attitude has been terrible. First, it’s driven by ignorance of what
I’ve just said. And I think I’ve got the true view of this. But
secondly, I think their view, and perhaps the public’s view, of Assange
is that he’s a rapist. He faced rape charges in Sweden. He steals
information. He causes leaks to take place.
All of this is totally irrelevant to what we’re talking about today,
which, I want to emphasize, deals with publication by The New York
Times, by four companion papers, by Julian Assange, 10 years ago.
Anything that’s happened since then is not part of the charge. So,
therefore, if you hate Julian Assange because he screwed up the
election, or if you hate him because he’s been accused of rape, forget
it. It’s got nothing to do with that. We’re now talking about something
that happened 10 years ago. And it raises huge issues of principle with
respect to journalism and the news gathering process.
Yes, I completely
agree with Goodale.
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
GOODALE: [T]he CIA has been trying for half a century to cut back
the First Amendment to stop leaks. That’s what this case is all about.
First, following the Pentagon Papers, the Justice Department was able
to convict sources of leaking to reporters, but they couldn’t get
reporters, so they got half of the equation, so to speak. For 50 years,
they’ve been trying to get the other half of the equation, to get
reporters and put them in jail and limit the First Amendment protection
of reporters in that regard. So, I think Assange is right. I also
think, tell the truth, Pompeo’s got the right to say it. But you think
about what he said. He’s just trying to cut back the First Amendment.
Yes indeed, I completely
agree again and this is a strongly recommended article.
Incidentally, there also is a Part 2 on Democracy Now!
2. Facebook Plans Its Own Digital Currency
for 2 Billion-Plus Users
This article is by Rachel Lerman
on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It starts as
Facebook already rules
daily communication for more than two billion people around the world.
Now it wants its own currency, too.
The social network unveiled
an ambitious plan Tuesday to create a new digital currency similar to
Bitcoin for global use, one that could drive more e-commerce on its
services and boost ads on its platforms.
But the effort, which
Facebook is launching with partners including PayPal, Uber, Spotify,
Visa and Mastercard, could also complicate matters for the beleaguered
social network. Facebook is currently under
federal investigation over its privacy practices, and along
with other technology giants also faces a new
antitrust probe in Congress.
Creating its own
globe-spanning currency — one that could conceivably threaten banks,
national currencies and the privacy of users — isn’t likely to dampen
regulators’ interest in Facebook.
Indeed, and I agree
with the above.
Also, I think it is utterly
ridiculous that Facebook - Mark Zuckerberg, in fact, in majority - should
be allowed to create its own currency, just as I think it would be utterly
ridiculous if it should be allowed to create its own laws and
My reason is the same
in both cases: Money and laws are some of the things that should be
limited to governments of countries, and not to some spooky private
business (and yes, this applies to Bitcoin as well).
Here is some more:
Facebook is taking the
building Libra and its underlying technology; its more than two dozen
partners will help fund, build and govern the system. Facebook hopes to
raise as much as $1 billion from existing and future partners to
support the effort.
I take it that is
correct. Here is some more:
Facebook won’t run Libra
directly; instead, the company and its partners are forming a nonprofit
called the Libra Association, headquartered in Geneva, that will
oversee the new currency and its use. The association will be regulated
by Swiss financial authorities, Facebook said.
I take it this is also
correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Many analysts believe
Zuckerberg wants to create a U.S. version of the Chinese service
WeChat, which combines social networking, messaging and payments in a
single app. Libra would take Facebook a step closer to that end.
also checks everything anyone says, and sanctions and punishes
(indirectly but effectively) whoever deviates from the norms imposed by
the Chinese communist party. I do not think it incredible if
Zuckerberg wants something similar, and with him in charge. (Because
¨power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely¨ - Lord Acton.) And
this is a recommended article.
3. Can Donald Trump Hold Off an Economic
Crash Until the Election?
This article is by Thom Hartmann
on Common Dreams. This is from not far from its beginning, but I think
I have to write a brief introduction first:
Hartmann´s thesis is that Trump faces a similar difficulty as Bush
and Cheney faced in 2007-2008, namely an impending crash of the economy
- which indeed happened, and which may also have given
Obama the majority to win the presidency. (I think he is probably
Having said that:
Yes indeed - and nearly
all of the ¨millions
of unqualified new home buyers¨ lost their homes in 2008-2009, together with many
To further goose the
economy, Bush and Cheney illegally got us into two wars, raising
defense spending from the $290 billion ceiling it had hit during the
1990s to over $595 billion in 2008, pouring literally trillions into
the defense industry.
In particular, the old Ayn
Rand cult member and acolyte Alan Greenspan got into the act by
lowering the Fed funds rate—the basis of U.S. interest rates—from 6.5
percent at the end of 2000 to below 2 percent in 2002. Greenspan kept
the interest rates below 2 percent right up until just after the
election of 2004, when he let them float up slightly. Bush rewarded his
good efforts by reappointing him as Fed chair in 2005, which many
speculate was why he’d jacked up the economy so hard leading up to the
election of 2004, giving Bush a credit-fueled “feel good economy.”
And it was insanely
credit-fueled. Between 2000 and 2006, housing prices in the United
States doubled because the low interest rates, combined with repeated
Republican deregulation of the banking and security sectors, allowed
millions of unqualified new home buyers into the marketplace, driving
demand toward the sky.
Here is some more on the present economy:
Yes, I think that is
correct, and this is part of the reason why I have been writing the
Crisis series for 11 years now,
which is combined with my personal poverty as well: I am one of the
poorest Dutchmen there is (being ill for over 40 years, in spite of
a truly excellent M.A., which disease also was denied to exist
for 39 1/2 years, because I have ME/CFS)
and almost nothing changed since 2008 for me, and indeed
for everyone else who is very poor.
Trump, Steven Mnuchin, and
Jerome Powell have virtually cloned the process, from tax cuts to
defense spending to low interest rates, and the inevitable result is
increasingly obvious to financial publication opinion writers. Op-eds
in staid publications like the Financial Times and the Economist are,
with growing frequency, somewhere between, “The sky is about to fall!”
and, “There’s a meteor coming the size that wiped out the dinosaurs!”
And with good reason.
Anyway, here is some more:
Yes. I completely agree.
Here is more on the American economy:
In fact, though, demand
is what drives economies. And, while rich people might buy a few yachts
and fancy mansions, it’s the purchasing power of the bottom 99 percent
that is known by economists as “aggregate demand” and actually moves
economic system we’ve been living under continuously since 1981—has
wiped out the purchasing power of the bottom 99 percent. In the same
time that the rich have gotten $21 trillion richer, the bottom 50
percent of Americans have lost—vanished, gone forever, lost—over
Cheap credit is the only
thing that’s keeping most Americans buying anything beyond groceries
and medicine, and both of those are exploding in price because of
climate change, monopoly, and fraud.
Yes, I think I agree, in fact
mostly because of my experiences and knowledge of the crisis of 2008.
All of our
national economy’s growth has been on borrowed money for all
of Trump’s presidency: there’s quite literally no “there” there.
This is not how a
healthy economy is supposed to work; instead, Trump is maintaining and
inflating an economic Potemkin village, a pretend economy made out of
cardboard, chicken wire and bubble gum that will collapse in the face
of the first stiff economic wind.
If Trump and his
collaborators can hold back the winds until November of next year, the
GOP has a chance in the elections.
And, as a bonus for Trump,
if Democrats sweep the 2020 elections and Powell and Mnuchin pull out
the economy’s temporary props right afterward, crashing the economy,
Republicans will blame Democrats for the ensuing economic disaster for
the next generation or two.
Here is the ending of this article:
Yes, I agree and
this is a strongly recommended article.
And a crash before
the election could offer our nation an opportunity, should Democrats
nominate an actual progressive who will take us off the neoliberal
Reaganomics we’ve suffered under since 1981.
A 2021 return to New Deal
Keynesian economics, which rescued America after the Republican Great
Depression and built the strongest middle class in history between 1933
and 1980, could return working-class Americans to opportunity, life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In either case, winter is
coming, and we all need to be prepared, both politically and
4. The Remorseless Working of Things: A
Political Tragedy in Three Parts
This article is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It
starts as follows:
indeed - and in fact I have been following the climate/environment
since 1972, when I first read ¨The Limits
to Growth¨, and it is a fact that since then till now almost
nothing has changed in the - ever worsening - climate/environment
(again, also according to the authors of ¨The Limits to
Part One — The
Imagine a world
heading—remorselessly, inexorably—towards tragedy. A world in
which a clear alternative to tragedy was available, cheap, and simple,
but was being undercut, if not ignored. That’s our world. That’s
today. And of all Trump’s offenses against reason, reality,
decency and honesty, it is his insistence that we continue on this
tragic path toward a climate crisis that is his worst transgression.
And the chances are, the
climate crisis and the tragedy it will create is likely far worse than
you’ve been led to believe, for two reasons.
First, most of the
climate-related estimates you hear in the news and from the IPCC have
built in assumptions that we humans will take necessary actions to
mitigate the worst of the climate crisis.
There’s no evidence that
making such assumptions is a prudent thing to do.
The second reason the climate crisis is likely far more dire than most
people have been led to believe is that the IPCC, most of the
scientific community, and the media present mid-range scenarios for
temperature increases, not worst-case forecasts, and usually they don’t
include potentially dangerous feedbacks.
In other words, despite
knowing that we were heading toward a planetary crisis for more than
three decades we’ve stayed relentlessly, remorselessly on track to meet
or exceed the worst-case IPCC estimates.
Here is some more:
Yes, I completely agree
(and if you don´t, you should read Nederlog, which has over 2300 Crisis files written since 2008).
Part 2 — Corporate
Tyranny, Wealth and Income Inequality
Imagine a world in which a
very few exploited the many, absconding with the vast majority of
wealth and creating an economy marked by an unsustainable mix of
inequality and injustice. This too, is our world.
For example, here in the
of a recent study revealed that since 1989—when the data used in
the study was first reported—the top 1 percent increased their wealth
by $21 trillion, while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion. This
trend began in earnest in 1980, when Republicans instituted their
trickle-down, corporate-friendly two step, and neoliberal Democrats
But obscene theft of wealth
and income isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon, it’s global. And it too
tracks the embrace of neoliberal economics and politics which seeks to
shrink government’s influence, eviscerate regulatory programs, and tilt
the playing field to favor capital instead of labor.
Again, the numbers reveal
just how badly this neoliberal con has played out. At the end of 2017,
the world’s richest 26
people owned as much as the bottom half of the world's population.
This inequality is a
result of government policies, and the solutions are relatively
well-known. The dirty little secret that free-marketeers don’t want you
to know is that embracing neoliberalism inevitably leads to monopolies
and monopsonies, ultimately giving corporations and the ultra-rich
sufficient market and political power not only to steal the 99 percent
blind, but also to completely
Here is some more:
Part 3 — The Death
of the Enlightenment
Imagine a world where
superstition supplanted reason; where myth trumped reality.
Increasingly, that’s our world too. In many ways this is the root cause
of the other tragedies we are creating. We are witnessing an
epochal shift in our socio-political world. We are de-evolving,
hurtling headlong into a past that was defined by serfs and lords; by
necromancy and superstition; by policies based on fiat, not facts.
I agree again and know this has been happening since 40 or 50 years
already, as I know that the academic year 1978-1979 (over forty years
ago) was opened officially by a speaker who insisted - as a professor,
in a university - that
- ¨Everyone knows
does not exist¨
after which he was warmly
applauded, and after which I found out that 95% (!!!) of both
the students and the staff of the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam agreed
(forty years ago), which I know because there were then
yearly elections in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam, which also were
terminated in 1995 or before.
Here is more on science and superstition:
Yes, again I completely agree
- and see above on the dominance of superstition
in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam already 40+ years ago, which
incidentally also taught me that at most 5% of mankind is truly
intelligent, and the rest is not, for various reasons.
Two main things
distinguished the post Enlightenment world from the pre-Enlightenment
First, Francis Bacon’s Novo
Organum Scientiarum (The New Instrument of Science) introduced a
new way of understanding the world, in which empiricism, facts
and—well, reality—defined what was real. It essentially
outlined the scientific method: observation and data collection,
formulation of hypotheses, experiments designed to test hypotheses and
elevation of these hypotheses to theories when data and experiments
consistently supported them. It was and is a system based on
skepticism, and a relentless and methodical search for truth.
Now, we seek to operate by
revealed truths, not reality. Decrees from on high—often issued
by an unholy alliance of religious fundamentalists, self-interested
corporations, and greedy fat cats—are offered up as reality by
rightwing politicians. And of course, nothing can match the
non-sense—and I use the term literally—of Trump’s insane
Here is the ending of this article:
Quite so - and this is again one of the times I congratulate
myself on being almost 70 and having no children (because of 40 years
of illness) and only one brother as family, because I agree
with Atcheson that a collapse of society and of civilization, or
its total destruction by an atomic war, are at present much more likely
than not. And this is a very strongly recommended article.
And this may be the
greatest tragedy of all—those who advocate the kind of progressive
policies that would halt climate change, restore an equitable
distribution of wealth, and take on the increasingly irrational drift
of our culture are rejected
by their party, under-covered
by the media, and discounted by the pundits.
Unless we the people rise
up these tragedies will continue to play out, remorselessly,
inexorably, and inevitably.
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 (!!).