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Nederlog

May 18, 2019

   Four Crisis Articles + Some Remarks on Ubuntu: 1


“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.






Sections

Introduction

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from May 18, 2019
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, May 18, 2019.

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 16.04 LTS (that is: from the old computer, that I bought in 2012) because 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 that).

Well, here is a change I made yesterday (May 17):

I did not like 18.04 LTS mostly because quite a few files I have been editing for 20+ years can't be installed any more on that (for incomprehensible reasons also) so I had 18.04 deinstalled and got 16.04 LTS reinstalled on the new computer - but that too is different from the 16.04 LTS on the old computer...

More below.

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 reviews each day (but that may change and probably will).

1. Summary

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.

On the moment and since more than three years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and I shall continue.

2. Crisis Files

A. Selections from May 18, 2019:

The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
1. Has Freedom of the Press Become an Illusion?
2. Yale psychiatrist explains how to deprogram Trump
     supporters

3. I Oversaw the US Nuclear Power Industry. Now I Think It
     Should Be Banned.
4. War's Unanswered Questions
3. Other Files from May 18, 2019:
5. Some Remarks on Ubuntu: 1

1. Has Freedom of the Press Become an Illusion?

This article is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

“How can you have a free press if you don’t have free sources?” asks Edward Wasserman, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence.” The question strikes directly at the heart of journalism ethics during an era in which sources and—in the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange—publishers are being persecuted or prosecuted for speaking truth to power. Wasserman’s April op-ed for The New York Times, “Julian Assange and the Woeful State of Whistle-Blowers,” makes a strong case for enshrining the rights of media sources in the Constitution, alongside freedom of the press. His powerful defense of Assange is based on his belief that “the First Amendment is no better than the willingness of people to come forward.”

I say, for I missed the article of Wasserman. Here is some more:

Scheer, who has argued in the past that the persecution of Assange endangers journalism as we know it, points out the discrepancies between how whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Assange have been treated, both by the U.S. government and the world media, and how, for example, Gen. David Petraeus went unpunished for leaking state secrets.

Yes indeed - and the state secrets Petraeus told to his mistress (who wrote his biography) were much more serious than anything Manning or Assange have been accused of. But indeed Petraeus was not punished at all.

Here is some more:

That doesn’t mean the U.S. government has given up trying to conceal information from the public. On the contrary, in recent years, whatever transparency existed is being slowly chipped away.

“It’s a very dangerous situation, where more and more information has greater and greater impact, and is being put under the veil of secrecy without any real recourse, without any oversight, without any accountability. And the small number of people who come forward […] are being punished with a ferocity that we’ve never seen before,” Wasserman tells Scheer.

Yes, I totally agree.

Besides, there is another though related difficulty: Since the NSA tries to get everything anyone wrote or said or photographed on the internet this means that the tools to research journalists, e.g. to find how decent they are in terms of the NSA's (secret) standards have very much increased.

Here is some more:

So let me turn to you, Ed, because you wrote a column which I just—let me put my own prejudice out there—I thought was one of the best things I’ve read on the question of Julian Assange. And it seems to me, whether it was your intention specifically or not, you took, generally, the media to task—the mainstream media—for abandoning Julian Assange. And you make the point that they were quite happy to use the information that he revealed through WikiLeaks from Chelsea Manning and others, but now that he’s in deep trouble, they’re going to sort of stressing his—the adverse aspects of his character, rather than the free speech issues of whether this very important publisher should be held criminally responsible for what he’s done.

I think this is correct as well. Here is some more:

Edward Wasserman: (..) So Assange is kind of a test case, but in fact we’ve had, what, six or seven Espionage Act prosecutions since George W. Bush through the Obama administration, and now it’s continuing through the Trump administration. And the question I’m raising is, well, how can you have a free press if you don’t have free sources? What good does it do to say the media are free to publish what they can without fear of prosecution? In fact, the media are not prosecuted for publishing these secrets. What good does it do to the public if the sources who have provided that information are subject to that kind of fierce and harsh reprisal?

Yes, quite so. Here is more:

EW: I think it’s—you raised some really good points, and I think the important thing about the context that you’re describing is that these were not cases that we would normally call espionage. These were not people with high-level security clearances who were selling secrets to our enemies, or trying to nourish foreign powers with information they have no business with. These were people who were privy to things that were going on in government that were wrong, and either did not believe or had failed to see them redressed within the mechanisms made available within the government, and so turned to the press to make that information public, in the hopes that that would trigger the kind of corrective response that they were unable to see any other way to achieve otherwise. So none of these people, none of the cases that we’re talking about—I believe it’s true, none—involve anything that you and I would associate with espionage. These were whistleblowers in the sense of people privy to wrong, to wrong action, either corrupt or incompetent actions, or things that had gone terribly wrong and that people in power needed to be held accountable for. And they went to the press as a mechanism of that.

Yes, I totally agree. Here is more, by Scheer:

RS: (..) And in national security, my experience—I worked for the L.A. Times for 29 years—my experience in that area, the government—every government in the world—lies with impunity. And they hide behind this national security label. And most of what the media prints, not out of choice but out of necessity, are handouts from government, what the government decides to release.

Quite so - and in fact (I would add) this means that (i) the government controls most of the things and the ways that may get published, and therefore (ii) "the free press" is extremely limited these days.

Here is more:
EW: (..) What has changed is that these prosecutions do not rely on reporters ratting out their informants. These prosecutions are able to proceed because cops and surveillance people are able to identify the names of sources by going to emails, going to wiretaps, going to all the sort of—the whole panoply of surveillance mechanisms now available to high-level law enforcement. So they don’t need the reporters anymore. And so that’s why the sources are newly vulnerable.
    (..)
And yet my fear is that the effectiveness of law enforcement and surveillance and the like is going to make that harder and harder for facts of that importance to reach the public. And that’s a very scary thing, and that’s why I was arguing in the column: Sources require, demand, deserve a level of legal protection that they don’t now have under our system of laws.
As to the first quoted paragraph: Precisely. In fact, this is the way in which I think the internet is by far the best way (for a government, especially) to introduce neofascism.

And the second quoted paragraph is also quite correct. Here is the last bit that I am going to quote from this article:

EW: (..) The question of—you know, we have such a strange environment right now when it comes to informational freedom. On the one hand, our own personal information is being routinely pillaged and harvested and sold in ways that we’re completely oblivious to—in ways that—and because it’s done for commercial advantage, we don’t see that as being kind of legally significant. And I think that’s a problem.
    (..)
So we have nowhere—we have an unimaginably vast amount of information there that people can’t get access to. And the amount of information, the amount of new secrets being generated every day, is extraordinary. And there is no adult supervision; there is nobody looking at whether this is a legitimate thing that should be kept from the public. And the bureaucrats in government are able to basically assign things, security clearances, based upon whim, based upon the idea that well, we just don’t want other people knowing this, and it’s better if we keep this to ourselves.
    (..)
So it’s a very dangerous situation, where more and more information has greater and greater impact, and is being put under the veil of secrecy without any real recourse, without any oversight, without any accountability. And the small number of people who come forward—and you’re right, there are not very many whistleblowers out there–the small number of people who come forward with things that we should know about, are being punished with a ferocity that we’ve never seen before.

Precisely - and as I said: This is the way the internet will bring neofascist control and repression to everyone unless the internet is much changed, which is quite unlikely. And this is a strongly recommended article, in which there is a lot more than I quoted.

2. Yale psychiatrist explains how to deprogram Trump supporters

This article is by Tana Ganeva on AlterNet and originally on Raw Story. I abbreviated the title. This is from near its beginning:

Raw Story spoke with Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist at Yale School of Medicine, about why Trump supporters are so loyal to the President. She and several co-authors recently submitted an analysis of what the Mueller report revealed about the President’s mental health, covered here and here. Their summary of the report was the number one article in the Boston Globe.

Dr. Lee has also been a vocal critic of the American Psychiatric Association’s alteration of the Goldwater rule since the Trump administration, so much so that she held a conference on it in April 2017, inviting the most preeminent psychiatrists in the nation.

Their critique of the altered Goldwater rule led to a book in defiance of the change, which became the New York Times bestseller, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” Since then, thousands of mental health professionals joined her to form the World Mental Health Coalition (dangerouscase.org), intended as an alternative to the American Psychiatric Association, and named her president.

I say, for while I know about Dr. Bandy X. Lee and have written quite a few times about her, nearly always in connection with her ideas about Donald Trump's mental sanity, which I agree - as a psychologist - is insane, I had no idea she has started to create the World Mental Health Coalition, that is intended as an alternative to the American Psychiatric Association.

Well... I can well imagine why Dr. Lee would want to do so, but I do not know whether I agree. I shall explain my position after the next quotation:

Dr. Bandy X. Lee: I rather hold responsible the institutions that propped him up for their short-term profits, and the American Psychiatric Association is chief among them. Given that the insidious effects of mental pathology defined this whole presidency, the Association was in a unique position to prevent vast suffering. Psychiatrists understand not just mental illness but criminal behavior, violence, capacity to serve in an office, and many other things. By aggressively shaping a milieu where mental health professionals would not be able to share their knowledge as a national mental health crisis was unfolding, the Association instead primed the public to become the president’s prey.

First of all, I agree with Dr. Lee (who is a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, as I am) on her dislike of the American Psychiatric Association: I do as well, though less for the reasons she gives than because it has been for the last forty years a prominent force to interpret the serious and chronic disease that my ex and I have for forty years not as an ill understood disease, but as a well-known case of "psychiatric knowledge": The more than 17 million people who claim to have M.E./CFS were all put a way as neurasthenics, psychosomatizers, hallucinators, liars etc.

My ex and I know that was and is total bullshit, because nobody hallucinates for forty years while being perfectly normal apart from lack of energy (hallucinated or lied according to the APA) and muscle-aches (also
hallucinated or lied according to the APA), and also because we both, while ill, and not able to follow any lectures, got excellent M.A.'s in psychology (which then we could not use for anything for lack of energy).

In fact, here also lies a fundamental disagreement I have with dr. Lee, that may be summed up in two general points: (1) I do not believe psychiatry is a real science at all, and also (2) I do not even believe psychology is a real science.

There are many reasons why psychiatry is not a real science, and I will not give them in this article, though I will say one strongly sufficient reason is that my ex and I (and 17 million others) have been "diagnosed" as insane, for no less than 40 years on end, simply because we insisted that we had a "serious and  chronic disease", while psychiatrists were virtually unanimous in insisting we (and 17 million others) were insane - which also was an utterly false judgement that was repeated by nearly all of the Dutch medical doctors, and indeed by nearly all medical doctors until very recently.

I also will not say here and now why I think psychology is not a real science, though indeed less so than psychiatry, but I refer you to Psychology and Neuroscience by Paul Lutus. (I do not quite agree with him either, but this is an interesting article.)

In any case, I do have fundamental disagreements with Dr. Lee, although I do agree with her on Trump's insanity.

Here is some more:

Dr. Bandy X. Lee: I have described the current president’s condition as worse than Ebola—and yet, imagine if the Ebola doctors were prohibited from even uttering a word of caution, for fear of upsetting the high official, and leaving the disease to its natural course. By propagating popular misconceptions that mental health issues are somehow different than other health issues, that it is imaginary or subjective—or worse, just an insult—the APA has effectively stigmatized the entire field of mental health. By allowing a serious condition to continue without even educating the public, it has allowed pathology to spread unchecked.

No, I am sorry: Ebola is a real and serious disease with a known physical pathology while all the insanities that psychiatry recognizes, with the possible exception of Alzheimer's disease, do not have any known physical pathology.
Therefore (among other things) "
mental health issues are somehow different than other health issues", for they are in the end based on opinions of psychiatrists and psychologists, and not on any known pathology.

Here is the last bit from this article that I quote:

Dr. Bandy X. Lee: We are now in a constitutional crisis, about to enter catastrophic wars, and economic breakdown is looming—all in ways that were wholly predictable from having a mentally unstable president.

Science now shows that even diagnosis does not require a personal interview. By distorting ethics and falsely intimidating experts, it deprived the public of critical knowledge at a critical time. Edmund Burke said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” And what better way to serve tyranny than to institutionalize this silence?

Well... I more or less agree with Dr. Lee on moral or ethical grounds, but not because she is a psychiatrist who claims to be a scientist. And this is a recommended article.

3. I Oversaw the US Nuclear Power Industry. Now I Think It Should Be Banned.

This article is by Gregory Jaczko on Common Dreams and originally in the Washington Post. It starts as follows:

Nuclear power was supposed to save the planet. The plants that used this technology could produce enormous amounts of electricity without the pollution caused by burning coal, oil or natural gas, which would help slow the catastrophic changes humans have forced on the Earth’s climate. As a physicist who studied esoteric properties of subatomic particles, I admired the science and the technological innovation behind the industry. And by the time I started working on nuclear issues on Capitol Hill in 1999 as an aide to Democratic lawmakers, the risks from human-caused global warming seemed to outweigh the dangers of nuclear power, which hadn’t had an accident since Chernobyl, 13 years earlier.

I say, which I mainly do because I strongly disagree with this physicist that "[n]uclear power" (...) would "produce enormous amounts of electricity without the pollution caused by burning coal, oil or natural gas" and namely because he totally does not mention (not in the whole article) the pollutions caused by nuclear power plus the fact that nuclear power needs tenthousand years of careful control once it has been started.

I find that rather odd, although I like it that Jaczko is now an opponent of nuclear power.

Here is some more:

Despite working in the industry for more than a decade, I now believe that nuclear power’s benefits are no longer enough to risk the welfare of people living near these plants. I became so convinced years after departing office that I’ve now made alternative-energy development my new career, leaving nuclear power behind. The current and potential costs — personal and economic — are just too high.

OK - I like this. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

In 2016, observing these trends, I launched a company devoted to building offshore wind turbines. My journey, from admiring nuclear power to fearing it, was complete: This tech is no longer a viable strategy for dealing with climate change, nor is it a competitive source of power. It is hazardous, expensive and unreliable, and abandoning it wouldn’t bring on climate doom.

The real choice now is between saving the planet or saving the dying nuclear industry. I vote for the planet.

I more or less agree and this is a recommended article.

4. War's Unanswered Questions

This article is by Robert Koehler on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

You have the world’s largest military, you’re going to use it, right? Donald Trump and his team, led by National Insecurity Advisor John Bolton, are playing rogue right now with two countries not currently under U.S. control, Iran and Venezuela.

For those who already know that war is not only hell but utterly futile, the raw question hovering over these potential new exercises in mass murder transcends the obvious question: How can they be stopped? The larger question begins with the word “why” and then breaks into a thousand pieces.

Why is war the first — and seemingly the only — resort in so many national disagreements? Why is our trillion-dollar annual military budget sacrosanct? Why do we not learn from history that wars are based on lies? Why does the corporate media always hop aboard the “next” war (whatever it is) with such enthusiasm, with so little skepticism? Why does patriotism seem to require belief in an enemy? Why do we still have nuclear weapons? Why (as journalist Colman McCarthy once asked) are we violent but not illiterate?

I think these are good questions, but most are difficult to answer in a brief compass.

Here is one more bit:

And going to war is a political game, a decision made or not made by a few important individuals — Bolton, Pompeo, Trump — while the general public looks on either in support or outrage, but either way as spectators. This phenomenon provokes an enormous, unasked “why?” Why is war a top-down directive rather than a collective, public decision? But I guess the answer to that question is obvious: We couldn’t go to war that wasn’t pre-orchestrated by a small group of powerful individuals. All the public has to do is . . . pretty much, nothing.

Yes, I am afraid that is true, and I am quite sure that Bolton, Pompeo, Trump are the worst individuals on their positions at least since Coolidge or Hoover were presidents of the USA. And this is a recommended article.

5. Some Remarks on Ubuntu: 1

I wrote above that there is a change that I had made yesterday (May 17):

I did not like 18.04 LTS mostly because quite a few files I have been editing for 20+ years can't be installed any more on that (for incomprehensible reasons also) so I had 18.04 deinstalled and got 16.04 LTS reinstalled on the new computer - but that too is different from the 16.04 LTS on the old computer.

In fact, this 16.04 LTS is also quite different from the 16.04 LTS that I have installed on the old computer.

I do not like this and in fact I had expected it to be otherwise.

And I have now started to upload the files that I use on the old computer to the new computer, and will keep you informed.

Note
[1] I have now been saying since the 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.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they 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 will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only 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 (!!).
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