in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from May 23, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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, after 24 hours of misery.
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 May 23, 2019:
1. Why We Must Legalize Marijuana
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:
2. This Is How Republics Die
3. Interview With Brazil’s Ex-President Lula
4. How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities
1. Why We Must Legalize
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed. Then again,
Reich nowhere in his article (which is reasonable)
mentions the health reasons for
marijuana, which I learned a
full 50 years ago, in 1969, from the British Wootton Report,
from 1968, that was published in January 1969.
What it said was - among quite a lot more - this (in 1968/69):
In 1968/69 marijuana was not
legal in Holland (it still is not, in spite of many lies in -
especially - the American press) and that situation basically continued
for 50 years, except that Amsterdam's former mayor Van Thijn in
1986-1990 introduced an illegal ruling that was accepted by all Dutch
judges, to the effect that marijuana still was illegal and
could be sold in "coffeeshops" in Amsterdam, and a little later in
Holland, which made it appear that marijuana is legal in
"The long term
cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects (…) Cannabis
is less dangerous than the opiates, amphetamines and barbiturates, and
also less dangerous than alcohol. (…) An increasing number of people,
mainly young, in all classes of society are experimenting with this
drug, and substantial numbers use it regularly for social pleasure.
There is no evidence that this activity is causing violent crime, or is
producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or
psychosis requiring medical treatment (…) there are indications that
(cannabis) may become a functional equivalent of alcohol."
I do not know what moved former mayor Van Thijn to do this, but I do
know that there has been one
(and only one) parliamentary report on
marijuana in 1996/1997
that indicated that the sales of (only)
marijuana in Holland (in
the semi- "legalized" "coffeeshops") amounted to 10
billion euros a
year, which means that it has sold over
300 billion euros in Holland
alone, and probably much more, also in cocaine and
heroin in the
rest of Europe, basically because the legal punishments in Holland
much less than in surrounding countries, and the jails are less
unpleasant than in surrounding countries.
I think it personally a lot less
probable than probable that the
Dutch mayors, who for thirty years have been
deciding who "of their
personal friends" may semi-"legally" deal marijuana from a "coffeeshop"
- for that is the rule since Van Thijn was mayor of Amsterdam in the
late 1980ies - did this completely for free. Instead, I think
this not done completely for free.
If the Dutch mayors got 1% of the marijuana they allowed to be
sold semi-"legally" in Holland, which is very easily paid by
those who buy marijuana in Holland, they earned semi-"legally" a mere 3
billion dollars. (I do not know this, but I do consider
that more probable than its denial.)
But that is marijuana in
Holland, to which I can add that I learned over the past 50
years that marijuana is a lot less dangerous
than alcohol. (But it
is still illegal in Holland, apparently to give Dutch mayors
income, which incidentally can be made by the taxes that the Dutch
Anyway, back to Reich and the present USA who says that at least 6
billion dollars can be made in the USA in taxes if marijuana is
legalized, and who continues:
Yes indeed. The article ends as
I quite agree and
a strongly recommended article.
Just as with the
prohibition on alcohol in the 1920s, the federal prohibition of
marijuana has been unnecessarily cruel – wasting billions of dollars,
unjustly harming millions of lives, and furthering racist
It’s time to legalize
Is How Republics Die
article is by Thom
Hartmann on Common Dreams and originally on the
Independent Media Institute. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed. Here is some
The American republic could
die, just like Rome.
Wavering for some time on
the verge of becoming a complete oligarchy, America is on the verge of
flipping from a democratic republic to a strongman or autocratic form
of government, something that’s happened to dozens of democracies in
the past few decades, but never before here. It’s possible we won’t
recover from it.
The death of a republic is
different from the death of a nation; Rome was a nation for nearly
2,000 years, but its period of being a republic was only around 300
years long. For the rest, it was a brutal empire with a small but
wealthy and corrupt ruling class and a thin patina of
Trump is openly defying the
norms and laws of our republic, while calling for the imprisonment of
both his political enemies and members of the very law enforcement
agencies that might hold him to account. And he’s only able to do it
because billionaires like Rupert Murdoch, with Fox News, and the
billionaires Republicans depend on to fund their re-elections are
providing him with cover.
And they’re largely able to
do that because five “conservatives” on the Supreme Court empowered
billionaires to own the political system with the 1976
Buckley and 2010
Citizens United decisions.
Quite so. Here is
Republics die when the
of losing political struggles becomes higher than individual
politicians are willing to pay, so they just roll over in favor of the
interests of whoever is most powerful. Republics die when compromise is
seen as betrayal, and a single principled vote, position or statement
is enough to cause donors and party to turn their back and end a
political career, or even end a person’s ability to earn a living.
Precisely. Here is
A republic falters
ceases to be functional and democratic—meeting the needs of the people
and being governed by the people—when behind-the-scenes plutocrats,
warlords, or corporations achieve near total—and nearly
invisible—political/financial dominance over the visible political
Quite so. Here is
A republic is dying when
the price of political activism becomes so high that the only people
willing to engage in it are also willing to kill or die for their
positions. But before the physical killing and dying happens, first
comes financial and political killing and dying.
When politicians are
terrified that the wrong statement or vote will lose them their
political and financial patrons—or could even get them thrown in jail
or killed—they cease to be players in a republican democratic drama,
and instead become sycophants to and enablers of the plutocrats who
have the actual political power, even though they don’t hold office.
Quite so - and
incidentally: This has been going on voor almost 40 years, and
nearly half of the American voters voted for Trump. Hazlitt said:
The modern Republican
has, since the Reagan era, stood exclusively for making the very rich
much richer, privatizing Social Security, ending Medicare and Medicaid,
gutting food stamps and other programs to help those in poverty and the
working poor, increasing levels of poison and pollution in our air and
water, and turning our entire school system over to for-profit vultures.
I believe in
the theoretical benevolence of mankind and its practical malignity.
He also said:
mankind had wished for what is right, they might have had it long ago.
The theory is plain enough; but they are prone to mischief, "to every
good work reprobate."
with both quotes. Here is some more:
I do not know
is true, but I believe it is. Here is some more:
Republican politicians now
live in such fear of these billionaires and the corporations who made
them rich that they’re unwilling to acknowledge simple science like
climate change or the impact of industrial pollution on children.
These are the signs of a
Yes indeed. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this fine article:
These are the symptoms of a
republic in crisis:
- Calling the press “the
enemy of the people.”
- Refusing to interact
with Congress as the Constitution dictates
- Packing the courts with
demonstrably unqualified ideologues
- Lying to the people on a
- Embracing autocrats
while trashing traditional allies
- Breaking the law and
flaunting a Nixon-era “guideline” from the DOJ saying that the
president can’t be prosecuted, while he runs out the clock on the
statute of limitations
- Bragging that he’s
making money on the presidency and daring anybody to stop him
- Putting lobbyists in
charge of public lands, our banking system, and our environment
- Embracing violent and
hateful people and movements, both at home and abroad
I think this is probably
correct. There is a lot more in this excellent article that is very
America will not “bounce
back” from the Trump presidency when it ends, and may lose all ability
to recover at all if that presidency lasts six rather than two more
If Republicans in the
Senate are too cowardly to repudiate the petro-billionaires who
threaten to fund their primary opponents, we will continue on the rapid
downward slide Rome experienced in the first century BCE.
And if Democrats don’t take
strong, immediate, and decisive action to curb GOP excesses, we may
well never again have a chance to return to our democratic-republican
With Brazil’s Ex-President Lula
article is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept. I abbreviated the
title. Incidentally, here is the interview with
Lula on video. The article starts as follows:
Yes indeed. Here is some
more on Lula and Brazil:
Among the planet’s
significant political figures, no one is quite like Lula.
Born into extreme poverty, illiterate until the age of 10, forced
to quit school at the age of 12 to work as a shoe shiner, losing a
finger at his factory job at 19, and then becoming a labor activist,
union leader, and founder of a political party devoted to a defense
of laborers (the Workers’ Party, or PT), Lula has always been, in
all respects, the exact opposite of the rich, dynastic, oligarch-loyal,
aristocratic prototype that has traditionally wielded power
That’s precisely what makes
Lula’s rise to power, and his incomparable success once he obtained it,
so extraordinary. And that’s what, to this very day, makes him so worth
listening to regarding the world’s most complex and pressing political
questions: As the ascension of right-wing nationalism and populism
at times seems unstoppable, Lula is one of the world’s very
few political figures of the last several decades able to figure
out how to win national elections in a large country based on left-wing
populism in the best sense of that term.
Here is the last bit that
I quote from this article:
So bold and charismatic was
Lula’s leadership that it not only transformed the lives of millions
but also the perception of Brazil itself: both domestically and
globally. Brazil was awarded the World Cup and then became the first
South American country to host the Olympics. Tens of millions of
Brazilians who resigned themselves to eternal, inescapable deprivation
began to believe for the first time that a brighter future was
possible. When Obama saw him at the G-20 summit in
2008, he anointed
Lula “my man,” adding: “He’s the most popular politician on Earth.”
Obama was right: By the
time he left office in 2010, Lula had an approval rating of 86 percent.
Yes, although - having
read the transcript - I think much is about Brazil, which also is
justified. And this is a strongly recommended article.
one-hour interview with very few edits so that the full vibrancy of our
exchange can be seen. It was a sweeping discussion with one of the
world’s most incisive political minds, involving a wide range of
issues, some of which were about Bolsonaro and Brazil, but most of
which were about the dangers the planet faces from collective
threats and global political changes around the world.
The complete transcript is below.
China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities
article is by Chris Buckley and Paul Mozur on The New York Times. This
is from near its beginning:
This is the vision
of high-tech surveillance — precise, all-seeing, infallible — that
China’s leaders are investing billions of dollars in every year, making
Xinjiang an incubator for increasingly intrusive policing systems that
could spread across the country and beyond.
Yes indeed, although I
think I should add that (1) the internet
is - by far - the strongest argument and
the strongest reason for a neofascistic
future for all of mankind, and (2) it
has been designed to be so from the late
1960ies (!!) onwards, as is explained in this Nederlog article.
It is also a vision that some
of President Trump’s aides have begun citing in a push for tougher
action against Chinese companies in the intensifying trade war. Beyond
concerns about market barriers, theft and national security, they argue
that China is using technology to strengthen authoritarianism at home
and abroad — and that the United States must stop it.
Developed and sold by the
China Electronics Technology Corporation, a state-run defense
manufacturer, the system in Kashgar is on the cutting edge of what has
become a flourishing new market for technology that the government can
use to monitor and subdue millions of Uighurs and members of other
Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
Treating a city like a
battlefield, the platform was designed to “apply the ideas of military
cyber systems to civilian public security,” Wang Pengda, a C.E.T.C.
engineer, said in an official blog post. “Looking back, it truly was an
idea ahead of its time.”
The system taps into networks
of neighborhood informants; tracks individuals and analyzes their
behavior; tries to anticipate potential crime, protest or violence; and
then recommends which security forces to deploy, the company said.
On the screen during the
demonstration was a slogan: “If someone exists, there will be traces,
and if there are connections, there will be information.”
Here is some more:
It is a virtual cage
that complements the indoctrination camps in Xinjiang where the
authorities have detained a million or more Uighurs and other Muslims
in a push to transform them into secular citizens who will never
challenge the ruling Communist Party. The program helps identify people
to be sent to the camps or investigated, and keeps tabs on them when
they are released.
Yes indeed. Here is some
In the city of
Kashgar, with a population of 720,000 — about 85 percent of them Uighur
— the C.E.T.C. platform draws on databases with 68 billion records,
including those on people’s movements and activities, according to the
demonstration viewed by a Times reporter at the industry fair, held in
the eastern city of Wuzhen in late 2017.
I say - and I add this
the probable future of the internet everywhere. Here is the last
that I quote from this article:
By comparison, the F.B.I.’s
national instant criminal background check system contained about 19
million records at the end of 2018.
“The goal here is
instilling fear — fear that their surveillance technology can see into
every corner of your life,” said Wang Lixiong, a Chinese author who has
written about Xinjiang as well as China’s surveillance state. “The
amount of people and equipment used for security is part of the
Yes indeed - and in fact
the present (bolding added) "surveillance technology can see into every corner of
your life", and it can do so everywhere, though not yet as
in the authoritarian China. And this is a strongly recommended
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 (!!).