in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from May 11, 2019
B. On writing html
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
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 11, 2019:
The indented text
link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
1. Silicon Valley Could Care Less About
Earth’s Imminent Demise
B. On writing html
2. Ralph Nader: The Contented Classes
Must Rise Up, Too
3. Just When Did America Go Nuts?
b. WYSIWYG is possible on 18.04, thanks
Valley Could Care Less About Earth’s Imminent Demise
This article is by Robert Scheer
on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed: I quite
agree - and here is some information about Bill McKibben.
Plenty of people and
companies have had a hand in leading the globe down the destructive,
possibly irreversible path to climate
catastrophe. In his New York Times Best Seller “Falter: Has the
Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?,” Bill McKibben, who has written
over a dozen books about the environment and has been called “the
world’s best green journalist,” fingers the Koch brothers, the
Republican Party and fossil fuel companies worldwide, among countless
others. This is humanity’s endgame, after all, and in a matter so
serious and wide-reaching, there is plenty of blame to go around.
While each of these actors
has played their part in our environmental tragedy, however, there’s
another culprit that has largely gone overlooked: Silicon Valley. In
the global tech capital, McKibben found megamillionaires who are less
interested in saving this planet and more invested in finding a new
planet to inhabit.
Here is some more:
Yes, I quite agree
McKibben traces this
ideology, prevalent in Silicon Valley as well as other sectors of U.S.
society, to such figures as Ronald Reagan, author Ayn Rand and former
U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who popularized an extremely
individualistic worldview about life that reigned for decades.
“That worldview would have
been a problem at any time,” McKibben asserts, “but it’s a tragedy at
the moment, when we desperately needed government to step in and do
something about climate change.”
Scheer maintains that while
Republicans and libertarians certainly played a damaging role in this
environmental story, Democrats such as Bill Clinton, who not only
continued Reagan’s plans but expanded on them, share part of the blame.
And here is some more, that is rather important:
Alarmingly, McKibben, who is
credited with bringing climate change to the world’s attention and who
helped found the environmental organization 350.org, thinks it may be too late to
make significant change to the dystopian trajectory the human race is
to agree with McKibben, indeed for a quite simple reason: I have been
following what I shall call politics,
but which comprises a lot more, for more than 50 years,
and in all of that time I have seen extremely
few rational and decent changes.
Instead, nearly all the
changes I have seen since the late 1960ies were irrational or indecent.
Therefore I am quite pessimistic in
Here is the first of two bits
from the interview that makes up most of the text in this article:
RS: (..) [W]e’ve
got these very smart people out there–first of all, we have one set of,
if not smart, at least successful people, the Koch brothers and others,
and what is characterized as libertarians, but mostly the kind of wild
followers of Ayn Rand and Mises and von Hayek and so forth, the
libertarians. And despite being smart, they’re actually willing to help
destroy the planet at a faster rate, and they’ve put a lot of money
into elections and things. And so there’s a real important alarm bell
sounding here about what’s happened to our democratic process. You
quote these people basically saying they don’t believe in democracy,
want to destroy the system. So the first half of the book is a
compelling argument that these people have put the planet at risk, that
they’re irresponsible, they’ve used their money that they’ve gained
from exploiting the world’s resources, and they’ve used it to destroy
this fragile experiment in representative democracy. So very powerful.
Then, we go into your shift from the old industry to the new. And we
have these people who believe in artificial intelligence, they believe
in–but that part I get. But then they also seem to believe in
preserving their bodies so that they can come back. And some of them
actually think by the year twenty–was it thirty something?–we may have
the means of perpetual life, that we’ll have solved all the medical
Yes, that is mostly correct,
but I do have to remark something about the
smartness of these people (mostly from Silicon Valley),
which I do as a psychologist:
While I do not deny
many of the leaders of Silicon Valley are smart in some sense, one should realize that (i) there
are - at least - many tens and probably more different human talents,
of which (ii) nobody has more than two
or three in any excessive way - which
is to say that even the smartest of men are
mostly quite average as regards the vast
majority of human talents.
That possibly may change with
genetical engineering (which is what many in Silicon Valley believe)
but so far the situation is as I said in my previous paragraph.
Also, in fact I'd say that
most of the political and other beliefs of the leaders of Silicon
Valley are not part of the smartness they do excel in
(say, coding computers) and are also not a part of the
genuine knowledge they do have (again about coding and computers) -
which is to say that these beliefs are not
based on more smartness or more information than most ordinary people
Here is the last bit I quote
from this article:
Yes, I completely agree
with McKibben on this. There is a lot more in this article, that is strongly
I think you’re looking for a kind of level of logic that’s not here.
You have to look for the emotional logic. What is it that if you’re a
tech baron, what is it that you most want? You want to be left alone by
the government. That’s been their, that’s been their cry from the
beginning. And you know, I mean, what did Mark Zuckerberg say when he
started Facebook? “We’re going to move fast and break things.” And boy,
also said about privacy, “Get over it.”
BM: Yeah. So
they don’t want–what they and the Koch brothers don’t want is
society–they don’t want the rest of us in their way. They want to do
what they want to do. And we live in a world, unfortunately, where in
the crucial 30 or 40 years, that view kind of won out. Beginning with
Reagan, the view that government was the problem, not the solution;
beginning with Maggie Thatcher, declaring that there is no such thing
as society, there are only individuals. You know, that worldview would
have been a problem at any time, but it’s a tragedy at the moment when
we desperately needed government to step in and do something about
Nader: The Contented Classes Must Rise Up, Too
article is by Ralph
Nader on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams. It starts as
Yes, I quite
agree. Here is some more:
For all the rhetoric and
all the charities regarding America’s children, the U.S. stands at the
very bottom of western nations and some other countries as well, in
terms of youth well-being. The U.S.’s exceptionalism is clearest in its
cruelty to children. The U.S. has the highest
infant mortality rate of comparable OECD countries. Not only
that, but 2.5 million American children are homeless and 16.2
million children “lack the means to get enough nutritious food
on a regular basis.”
The shamelessness continues
as the youngsters increase in age. The Trump regime is cutting the SNAP
food program for poor kids. In 2018, fewer children were enrolled in
Medicaid and CHIP than in 2017. To see just how bad Trump’s war on poor
American children is getting, go to the web sites of the Children’s Defense Fund
and the Children’s Advocacy
I did not know most of the
above, but I believe Ralph Nader - and
in fact, while I am a quite poor Dutchman, with a less than
minimal pension (because I've lived nearly 3 years in Norway), for
which reason I am very careful with money, I spend about $15
dollars on food every two days, and could
not live for a week on $15 dollars for food.
For years our country’s
political and corporate rulers have saddled college students with
breathtaking debt and interest rates. Student debt is now at $1.5
trillion. Both corporations and the federal government are profiting
off of America’s young. In no other western country is this allowed,
with most nations offering tuition-free higher education.
When you read the stories
of impoverished students, squeezed in all directions, you’d think they
came out of third-world favelas. At the City University of New York
(CUNY), forty eight percent of students had been food insecure in the
past 30 days.
Kassandra Montes, a senior
at Lehman College, lives in a Harlem homeless shelter. Montes
“works two part-time jobs and budgets only $15 per week for food…
[She] usually skips breakfast in order to make sure that her 4-year-old
son is eating regularly.” Montes said: “I feel like I’m slowly sinking
as I’m trying to grow.”
In a nation whose president
and Congress in one year give tens of billions of dollars to the
Pentagon more than the generals asked for, it is unconscionable that
students must rely on leftover food from dining halls and catered
events, SNAP benefits, and whatever food pantries can assemble.
Here is more, and this relates to the title of this article:
As long as we’re speaking of
shame, what about those millions of middle and upper middle class informed,
concerned bystanders. They’re all over America trading “tsk tsks”
over coffee or other social encounters. They express dismay, disgust,
and denunciations at each outrage from giant corporations’ abuses, to
the White House and the Congress’ failings. They are particularly
numerous in University towns. They know but they do
Yes, Nader is quite
right and I have two additional bits of information on the last
it depends how strong you take "being informed" and "being
concerned", but from my point of view (based on a lot
of reading that is mostly summarized in Nederlogs, especially those of
2012 onwards: see the crisis index) I don't
think these are more than 5% of any population of any
country. (You may disagree, but it is certain that in any case
these "informed, concerned" people must be considerably less
And second, I am
personally quite certain (mostly because I am the third
generation of a revolutionary and quite intelligent family) that the
vast majority of these "informed, concerned" people will do little else than "trading “tsk tsks” over coffee or other
social encounters", for that
is what I have seen them do for over 50 years. For some more, see above.
Here is some more by
These informed, concerned
people—who don’t have to worry about a living wage, not having health
insurance, being gouged by payday loans, and having no savings—were
called “the contented classes” in The Culture of
Contentment, a book by the late progressive Harvard economist
John Kenneth Gailbraith. His main point—until the contented classes
wake up and organize for change, history has shown, our country will
continue to slide in the wrong direction. He said all this before
climate disruption, massive money-corrupting politics, and the
corporate crime wave had reached anywhere near their present
Yes, I think Nader and
Galbraith probably are right about this. Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
Well... I can point to Ralph Nader
himself as a very prominent example of the very few of the "informed, concerned" people" who did or may do so. The vast
majority of the
"informed, concerned" people" will do nothing except "trading “tsk tsks” over coffee or other
social encounters", indeed
largely because they are financially well of. And this is a strongly
The question to be asked: Who
among the contented classes will unfurl the flag of rebellion against
the plutocrats and the autocrats? It can be launched almost anywhere
they please. A revolution can start the moment they decide to
prioritize the most marginalized people in this country over their
When Did America Go Nuts?
This article is by Mike Lofgren on
Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes, I mostly quite agree
and especially with "Trumpism could only sustain itself with tens of millions of
people who might not fit the profile of a hater, but are assuredly
either borderline imbeciles or not-quite-certifiably insane".
At the dawn of my
congressional career, after some of us staffers endured a particularly
egregious dose of idiocy, one of my colleagues was moved to compare our
office to Saint Elizabeth’s, then still functioning as a mental
hospital in DC (and now, fittingly, as headquarters
of the Department of Homeland Security). “Not quite,” I responded.
“Here the lunatics are in charge.”
That exchange, alas, has
become a prophecy for the nation at large. It begins, as we are made
aware by each daily tweet-storm, at the very top, but this insanity
could not persist without broad and intense public support. It has
become commonplace to characterize such supporters as haters, but while
it would be dangerous to underestimate the role of sheer malice,
Trumpism could only sustain itself with tens of millions of people who
might not fit the profile of a hater, but are assuredly either
borderline imbeciles or not-quite-certifiably insane.
But I must make a remark as a psychologist: I think there are easily
tens of millions "imbeciles" in the USA (indeed more, for half of
any large unsorted population has an IQ below 100), but I
do not think many of these "imbeciles" are insane in a psychological or
I agree that the term "insanity" has other senses than a psychological or psychiatric sense.
Here is some more:
Yes, I quite agree
- and for more on the myth of "the rational actor" see here and here.
Item. One of the “noble
lies” undergirding modern society is the myth of the rational actor.
So-called enlightened self-interest suffuses economics (although
corporations know better, which explains their lavish expenditures on
advertising); as well as game theory, which supposedly prevents nuclear
war from breaking out; and politics.
Political scientists (and
some psychologists) are fond of proving that people “vote their
interests” by the simple, circular expedient of defining a subject’s
true interests as whatever they opt for. It is time for a sweeping
reevaluation of this canard.
Here is some more:
I quite agree with
Lofgren (and disagree with Andersen, for quite a few reasons).
How in the world did we get
here? Journalist Kurt Andersen, writing in his abundantly detailed Fantasyland:
How America Went Haywire, believes craziness was baked into
the American cake from the moment the Mayflower hove to at Plymouth
Rock. Whether the holy man was Cotton Mather, P.T. Barnum, or Deepak
Chopra, Americans have been primed to believe with the faith of a
five-year-old in Santa Claus. That said, he posits that there were
cycles of remission, when rationality was apparently on top, and then
outbreaks of fever, when the passion burned with naked flame. The
latter applies to an age like this.
My own pet theory is that
American craziness, while always abundant, was relatively contained
until 9/11, which opened a Pandora’s Box of hysterical fear, one of the
basic ingredients of irrationality. It was quickly followed by the
invasion of Iraq, which unloosed an avalanche of vaunting that we were
endowed with special powers to remake the world. Note an essential
component of stupidity: we retaliated for 9/11 by invading a country
which had nothing to do with it.
Here is the ending of this article:
Yes, I quite agree again.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Everything that followed,
like the birther mania, was a signal flare that the Republican Party
and its assorted hangers-on had devolved from merely being a pack of
cynical crooks to full-dress nihilistic cultists.
All of this was
supercharged by the Internet, right-wing talk radio, and Fox News –
media nonexistent during previous bouts of mania. They acted as an
electronic petri dish to purify and amplify the craziness.
We are now seeing the
infection of lunacy on full display, like the alien monster in John
Carpenter’s The Thing bursting out of its human hosts. Where exactly it
will all end is anyone’s guess, but the odds are not good that it will
On writing html
b. WYSIWYG is
possible on 18.04, thanks to SeaMonkey
continues yesterday's file that started as follows:
bought a new (though 2nd hand) computer on May 9 and installed it with
Linux/Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. It does look considerably better than 16.04 LTS
which I have been using for several years and it seems mostly OK -
except for two things:
And I have to give up
KompoZer on 18.04 LTS MATE for it refuses to install on that.
This may be due to MATE (I had 16.04 GNOME) but I do not know that and
anyway the latest KompoZer is from 2008.
- I cannot install
KompoZer on it, which I have been using since 2011
- There is no other
decent html editor on Linux that I found, apart from Seamonkey
Then again I did mention SeaMonkey yesterday, which has fairly decent
html editing on my 16.04 LTS, but about which I did not know
then whether it installs on 18.04 LTS MATE.
I do know today:
The latest SeaMonkey does install
on 18.04 and still does have
decent WYSIWYG html editing - which means that I can edit my Dutch
site in fairly decent WYSIWYG. Then again, I probably have to give up my Danish
site, for I cannot reach that from 18.04.
Also, while WYSIWYG editing is possible on 18.04 that lacks the Verdana
font, which is the font of my site ever since the previous century (and
that is present on 16.04).
Oh well... more tomorrow on both aspects. Today I want to say something
about html-editors on Linux.
First of all, whereas the only decent WYSIWYG html editors on
Linux 16.04 are KompoZer and SeaMonkey, there are plenty of html editors on
Linux that work in text, and some
are reported to be quite good, but I strongly prefer a WYSIWYG
html-editor with a large site - over 500 MB - like mine.
And I completely fail to understand coding in text - with
all html-code constantly visible - on Linux, except if (i)
you only want to write one or a few short files (but my site has
thousands of files) or else if (ii) you are for some strange
reason strongly committed to coding in html.
As to (i):
My site has thousands of files and is over 500 MB, all
in html and has been nearly all written in WYSIWYG html editors
since 1996. I did it that way because it works, and because writing
in a WYSIWYG html
editor is much easier than writing
it in text + html-coding.
But WYSIWYG html
editors seem to have been dying out, certainly on Linux, and the
reasons have - in my opinion - a lot to do with growing stupefication,
for in fact a WYSIWYG
html editor is an addition to a non-WYSIWYG html editor (as in KompoZer,
where you can write code as much as you like if you really want to),
and that seems considerably more
difficult to write (as code) than a non-WYSIWYG
I think that is the main reason there are very few WYSIWYG html editors on Linux - which I
think is a bitter shame, for this
means there are less and less sites written
in html, and more and more people
who are driven to Facebook instead.
As to (ii):
I have been writing html since 1996; I know html pretty well; and I
think anyone who insists that my site should have been coded in
a non-WYSIWYG html editor is crazy. I
also do not understand the reason for it, except if this is a
way of coding that is considerably easier than writing code in
C, Pascal, Assembly etc. Well... I do know how to code in these too,
but strongly prefer my writing html without having to
see the html code.
More later, namely on Verdana (the font of my site since the previous
century, that has disappeared onb 18.04) and on my Danish site, that I
probably cannot reach from 18.04.
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 (!!).