in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from May 26, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
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 May 26, 2019:
1. Julian Assange’s Attorney Decries
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. Daniel Ellsberg: Julian Assange's
Espionage Charges Are a
3. The Only Solution to America's Political Crisis
4. Inequality Chasm Between CEOs and Workers 'Totally Out of
Assange’s Attorney Decries Espionage Charges
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It
starts with the following introduction:
In an unprecedented move,
Justice Department has indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on 17
charges of violating the Espionage Act for his role in publishing U.S.
classified military and diplomatic documents exposing U.S. war crimes
in Iraq and Afghanistan. The documents were leaked by U.S. Army
whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The Espionage Act of 1917 has never been
used to prosecute a journalist or media outlet. The new charges come
just over a month after British police forcibly removed Assange from
the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he took asylum in 2012.
Initially the Trump administration indicted Assange on a single count
of helping Manning hack a government computer, but Assange faces up to
170 additional years in prison under the new charges—10 years for each
count of violating the Espionage Act. We speak with Jennifer Robinson,
an attorney for Julian Assange. “It is a grave threat to press freedom
and should be cause for concern for journalists and publishers
everywhere,” Robinson says.
Yes, I agree
Robinson (“It is a grave
threat to press freedom and should be cause for concern for journalists
and publishers everywhere”)
but want to make or at least indicate a few more points
- Assange is an
Australian: In what sense can an Australian be accused of espionage
against the Americans if all he does is publishing, also from outside
- To continue the
above point: If a publisher can be prosecuted for publishing
the American government doesn't like, what would prevent the Russian or
the Chinese government, or any other government from prosecuting any
publisher (say: The New York Times) for publishing materials these
governments don't like (and threaten with sentences of 170 years
publishing what te publishers think is true)?
I do not think
questions are fully answered by what follows below, but some of
answers are quite relevant.
Here is first a bit by Amy Goodman:
Press freedom advocates
have denounced the new charges. Ben Wizner of the American Civil
Liberties Union said, quote, “For the first time in the history of our
country, the government has brought criminal charges against a
publisher for the publication of truthful information. This is an
extraordinary escalation of the Trump administration’s attacks on
journalism and a direct assault on the First Amendment.” Joel Simon,
the head of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said, quote, “Press
freedom in the United States and around the world is imperiled by this
prosecution.” The legendary journalist Seymour Hersh told The New
York Times, quote, “Today Assange. Tomorrow, perhaps, The New
York Times and other media that published so much of the important
news and information Assange provided,” unquote.
Yes, I fear all of the above
quotations are quite true. Here is some more by Robinson:
ROBINSON: (..) It is a
grave threat to press freedom and should be cause for concern for
journalists and publishers everywhere, because, of course, Julian
Assange is not American. Everything that he did was outside of the
United States. So this is a concern for all journalists and publishers
anywhere in the world who are publishing truthful information about the
Precisely - and indeed
because they all now run the serious risk that the American government
may start a prosecution for espionage against - say - a German
publisher because he publishes materials thay the American government
does not like.
Here is more by
Yes, I agree - and note
that in Holland you may get eight (8) years for committing a murder,
while the Norwegians have a maximum punishment of 20 years for any
ROBINSON: (..) It is not
right or appropriate that a publisher should face criminal prosecution
in this way. And 170 years, certainly a very long time in prison, is,
for a publisher who has won journalism awards—he’s won the Sydney Peace
Prize, journalism awards the world over—for having revealed government
wrongdoing, human rights abuse, war crimes—this is a direct attack on
the press and democracy itself.
Here is more
Yes, I quite agree,
this includes the thesis that "[t]his is what journalists do, investigative
all the time. It is criminalizing the investigative journalism process
and will place a massive chill on national security journalism in the
United States and elsewhere".
ROBINSON: Well, if you
look at the indictment, while it is the Espionage Act, it’s publishing
classified information damaging to the United States. But if you look
at the indictment and the way in which it’s been described, effectively
what this is, is a journalist and a publisher having conversations with
a source about what information is available, and discussing with that
source publishing the information. This is what journalists do,
investigative journalists do, all the time. It is criminalizing the
investigative journalism process and will place a massive chill on
national security journalism in the United States and elsewhere around
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article, which is from 2012:
Yes, I think that is quite
correct. Also, Assange is quite correct that this interpretation
endangers any journalist, whether or not American, helping to
publish anything anywhere, that the U.S. government
considers classified: The U.S. government should not be criticized by
any journalist writing anything anywhere, or so it seems. There is a
lot more in this article, which is strongly
ASSANGE: The new
interpretation of the Espionage Act that the Pentagon is trying to
hammer in to the legal system, and which the Department of Justice is
complicit in, would mean the end of national security journalism in the
United States, and not only the United States, because the Pentagon is
trying to apply this extraterritorially. Why would it be the end of
national security journalism? Because the interpretation is that if any
document that the U.S. government claims to be classified is given to a
journalist, who then makes any part of it public, that journalist has
committed espionage, and the person who gave them the material has
committed the crime, communicating with the enemy.
Ellsberg: Julian Assange's Espionage Charges Are a Travesty
article is by Sharmini Perles on Truthdig and originally on The Real
News Network. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed - and I am
sorry if I do not know Sharmini's last name, since it is quite
printed as "Perlis" next to the article and as "Peries" in the article.
SHARMINI PERIES: It’s
The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from
In breaking news, the U.S.
Department of Justice just charged Julian Assange on 18 counts of
having violated the 1917 Espionage Act. This is a significant
escalation of charges against him. Previously he was indicted on a
charge of hacking into a Pentagon computer system. Assange is currently
in prison in London after Ecuador revoked his political asylum at the
London embassy, where he lived for almost seven years.
Joining me now to discuss
the Assange indictment is Daniel Ellsberg. Daniel is a former U.S.
military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation who became famous in
1971 when he released the Pentagon papers. The papers revealed top
secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision making about the
Vietnam War. His recent book is The Doomsday Machine, and you’ll find a
series of interviews right here at The Real News Network with Daniel
Ellsberg about the book.
Here is some more:
Yes, I agree. Here
was sure that the Trump administration would not be content with
keeping Julian Assange in prison for five years, which was the sentence
for the one charge of conspiracy that he was charged with earlier. So I
was sure they would go after him with a much longer sentence under the
Espionage Act. I was charged with 12 counts, including one of
conspiracy, in 1971, for a possible sentence of 115 years. In this case
they brought 17 counts under the Espionage Act, plus the one
conspiracy. So they’re facing him with 175 years. That’s, frankly, not
that different from 115. It’s a life sentence. And it’ll be enough for
ELLSBERG: But the challenge is on as of now, right now.
journalist in the country now knows for the first time that she or he
is subject to prosecution for doing their job as journalists. It cuts
out the First Amendment, essentially. That eliminates the First
Amendment freedom of the press, which is the cornerstone of our
American democracy and of this republic. So there’s an immediate focus,
there should be an immediate concern not just for journalists over here
and publishers, but for everyone who wants this country to remain a
Yes, I agree
also observe - having read 35 internet sites each day, nearly all
journalistic, since 2013 - that few of the present journalists
publishers seem to agree with Ellsberg and me (and others).
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
Demer for the Department of Justice, I notice just now, is trying to
distinguish Julian from journalists. In fact, he’s saying he’s not a
journalist, although the New York Times, to whom he gave Chelsea
Manning’s information initially, as I did, is saying very frankly that
what he does is what The New York Times does. And clearly if he’s
prosecuted and convicted, that confronts the New York Times, The
Washington Post, and you, and every other journalist, with the
possibility of the same charges.
So this shows, in other words, that they’re saying, well, we won’t
prosecute responsible journalists. But that assurance is worth nothing,
aside from the question of who they’ll consider responsible or not.
Remember that President Trump’s unprecedented charge here is that the
American press, the mainstream press, is the enemy of the people.
That’s a phrase that was used under Stalin, and also under Hitler, to
describe people who were to be eliminated. It’s a very, very ominous
These indictments are unprecedented. And I would say they are blatantly
unconstitutional, in my opinion. Which is not worth that much, except
it’s a subject I’ve been close to for a long time. This is an
impeachable offense, to carry on a prosecution this blatantly in
violation of the Constitution, which the president and the attorney
general are sworn to uphold. They are not doing that at this moment.
Yes, I completely
agree and this is a strongly recommended article.
Only Solution to America's Political Crisis
article is by Paul Street on Truthdig. This is from not far from its
Well... I admit that I
agree with the above, but I also have a fundamental
difficulty with it,
which is this:
Piecing all these and
countless other horrific stories about Trump and his presidency
together, anyone with any basic knowledge of fascism, past and present,
can easily and correctly identify him as an aspiring fascist leader. It
is rare, however, for liberal corporate media operatives to go all the
way with the F-word—fascism—when it comes to describing Trump.
Their silence here is
ironic. Worried talking heads at MSNBC—an outpost of the Democratic
Party’s reigning corporate establishment —and across the liberal
punditocracy warn frequently and loudly about what they consider the Democratic
Party’s “socialism problem.” They do this even though just a small
handful of Democrats (Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and
Rashida Tlaib) identify as “democratic socialists.” They fret over the
socialist menace despite the fact that all these “radical” Democrats
mean by “socialism” is capitalism with some long overdue Western- and
northern European-style social reforms.
Meanwhile, the party in
power is headed by a white nationalist authoritarian buoyed by a
significantly fascist base. The norm-smashing president is moving from
fascist-style politics to fascist-style policy with audacious speed and
zeal. His politics and policies draw heavily on the classic fascist
notion that the nation is menaced by a big, radical left—a notion that
liberal media is helping spread with its warning against Democratic
I have been closely following "the
- at least as it manifests itself in 35 sites I load every day since
2013, and also since the crisis of 2008, which is meanwhile
years old - but so far (i) I have not found one single journalist
or "public person" who has anything like a halfway
decent definition of
(and the last link is to my own definition, which is
decent and informed) and (ii) I have not
even found any journalist or "public person" who seems to be
of the fact that there are more than 20 different definitions
"definitions", for most are now much worth as definitions) of fascism:
See my On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions).
So while I agree with Street, I have to add that he uses a term
"fascism" - that I have not seen anyone
define even half-way correctly
I think this is a serious difficulty, both for Street and also for the
many users of the term "fascism" that I have read since 2013, which was
and is quite frequent since 2015, but which never got as much
Here is some more by Street:
Two other mainstream
silences deserve mention in the age of Trump. The first is the absence
of any serious discussion of how fundamentally defective the American
social and political system was—and is—to allow someone like Trump to
rise to power and stay there.
The harsh systemic reality—the ways in which the corporate state
discredits liberal institutions and democracy to provide ground for the
development of far-right and even fascist politics—is a nonstory in the
dominant media and politics culture.
I agree with the second
paragraph but with the same remarks about fascism
I made above, while I think the first blames "the American
social and political system" but does
not even mention that Trump was elected by more than 60
Americans, that I consider to be in majority stupid or ignorant.
Incidentally, you may
disagree with me, but as I (a psychologist) use terms I think half
of the population of the USA, which had 327 million inhabitants in
2018, must be stupid or ignorant in my
terms, because half of any large unsorted human group has an average IQ
of maximally 100.
That is over 150 million
hardly intelligent inhabitants, which - though this covers children as
well - is easily enough to have voted for Trump.
Anyway... here is some more
A second and related media
silence is on the need for massive popular protest—real
resistance—beyond the election cycle to bring down the Trump regime and
the system that gave rise to it. The media may come up short by failing
to properly portray Trump
as a fascist, but they do accurately present a vicious
authoritarian, a racist, a sexist, a gangster, a malignant narcissist
and a modern-day “royal brute” (to use the Declaration of
Independence’s language referring to King George in 1776).
What should the populace do
about the presence of a soulless despot atop its government who thinks
he’s above the law? Tyrants who would rule like kings are supposed to
face popular upheavals, aren’t they?
Well... I refer you again to my remark about fascism - which, incidentally, I do
know a lot about because both my parents were among the
very few who really resisted Nazism after it had conquered Holland in
1940, which also led to my father being arrested by the Nazis in
1941, and his father being arrested at the same time, both for being
"political terrorists", according to the collaborating Dutch judges
(incidentally: collaboration was the
most popular response in Holland to the Nazis, which also is the
basic explanation for the fact that 104,000 - mostly - Dutch Jews were
murdered in WW II), which again let to my grandfather being
murdered and my father being locked up for over 3 years and 9 months in
4 German concentration camps.
In brief: Unless
least somewhat clearly and somewhat decently defines "fascism" his
complaints about Trump being a fascist (which I think are correct) are not worth
much, although I happen to agree with them.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
If we, the people, are
about stopping Trump, we’ll take to the streets en masse to engage in
substantial and unrelenting civil disobedience. If we are serious about
democracy beyond just the removal of a single noxious ogre, we won’t go
home just because a narrow-spectrum, big money, major media
candidate-centered election is being held on its regular, absurdly
time-staggered, once-every-1,460-days schedule. We won’t go home even
if Trump loses and agrees to leave without incident. If we’re serious
about popular sovereignty, we’ll stick around to “dismantle the
corporate state” (Chris
Hedges) that birthed both Trump and the
inauthentic opposition party (the neoliberal era Democrats),
along with so much else that has long outlived its expiration date
(i.e., the fossil fuel industry and the Pentagon system).
Well... I agree
with Street, but I am afraid that I will not see this happen.
This is a
strongly recommended article.
Chasm Between CEOs and Workers 'Totally Out of Control'
article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title.
It starts as follows:
Well... I quite agree,
though I fear Clarke's "NOT sustainable" ought to be clarified as
follows: "NOT morally sustainable"
for in fact this kind of society,
where the few rich get most things, and the many non-rich get just a
little, has been popular since 1979 or 1980, indeed also among
the majority of the non-rich.
Two studies by the
executive compensation firm Equilar on Friday revealed that CEOs of
some of the wealthiest companies in the U.S. are seeing their pay rise
at about twice the rate of the workers who make the day-to-day
operations of their businesses run.
The Associated Press
a study of compensation for 340 executives at S&P 500 companies
which revealed that the CEOs earned raises averaging $800,000 in 2018—a
seven percent increase over the previous year.
Workers would need to work
158 consecutive years to earn what their bosses make in one year, the AP
"This is not sustainable,"
wrote Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil
Rights Under Law, in response to the AP
Here is the difference between the few American rich and the many
In other words, if the
above is correct, the difference between the few rich and the many
non-rich at present is as 84 cents : 1.1 million. That is, it is less
than 1 dollar : 1 million dollars, which is saying the same, in other
terms, as saying the few rich earned a million times more than the
Equilar also conducted an
annual survey for the New York Times, examining compensation
for 200 of the highest-paid executives in the country.
CEOs at companies including
Tesla, Oracle, and T-Mobile saw their pay increase by an average of
$1.1 million in 2018, bringing their median compansation to $18.6
American workers were given
a raise of just 84 cents on average, reported the Times.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Well... I agree
with the first two quoted paragraphs, but I think Bullock is lying or
speaking the type of propaganda he
hopes will lead to his election.
Both Equilar reports come
amid intensifying anger from progressive lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria
Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) and presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders
(I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Sanders has frequently
decried out-of-control income inequality, epitomized by the
fact that the three wealthiest American families own more wealth
than the bottom 50 percent of earners. One of Warren's first policy
proposals as a presidential candidate was her Ultra-Millionaires
Tax, which would tax wealth over $50 million at three percent per
Montana Gov. and
presidential candidate Steve Bullock tweeted a link to the Times
report, writing, "We can get our country back on track, but that starts
with ensuring every working family gets a fair shot at success."
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 (!!).