in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from May 29, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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 29, 2019:
1. The Indictment of Assange Is a
Blueprint for Making
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:
Journalists Into Felons
2. Can Socialism Save American
3. We All Share Julian Assange's Fate
4. What Does Oligarchy Mean?
Indictment of Assange Is a Blueprint for Making Journalists Into Felons
article is by Glenn Greenwald on Common Dreams and originally on the
Washington Post. It starts as follows:
The U.S. government on
Thursday unveiled an 18-count
against WikiLeaks founder
Julian Assange, charging him under the 1917 Espionage Act for his role
in the 2010 publication of a trove of secret documents relating to the
Iraq and Afghanistan wars and diplomatic communications regarding
dozens of nations. So extreme and unprecedented are the indictment’s
legal theories and likely consequences that it shocked and alarmed even
many of Assange’s most virulent critics.
The new indictment against
Assange bears no relationship to WikiLeaks’ publication of Democratic
Party and Clinton campaign documents or any of its other activities
during the 2016 presidential campaign. Instead, it covers only
publication of a massive archive of classified U.S. government
documents that revealed a multitude of previously unknown, highly
significant information about wars, government and corporate
corruption, and official deceit. WikiLeaks, in 2010, published those
materials in partnership with some of the largest media outlets in the
world, including the New York Times,
the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais,
outlets that published
many of the same secret documents that form the basis of the criminal
case against Assange.
We'll come to the legal indictments against Assange below, but I want
to comment here on the fact that these indictments do not cover
any of "WikiLeaks’
publication of Democratic Party and Clinton campaign documents or any
of its other activities during the 2016 presidential campaign" and do cover what Wikileaks
published in 2010, together with the New York Times, the Guardian, Der
I think the explanation is fairly simple: (i) Trump's prosecuters
to protect the centrist Democrats, led by Pelosi, and (ii) hope
with the New
Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel etc., but especially the New York
Times and the Washington Post after Assange has been convicted.
Here is some more by Greenwald:
Yes, I think that is
correct: Trump's government does want to make journalism in the
at least the journalism that doesn't praise Trump and his government, a
criminal affair and a felony.
With these new charges,
Trump administration is aggressively and explicitly seeking to
obliterate the last reliable buffer protecting journalism in the United
States from being criminalized, a step that no previous administration,
no matter how hostile to journalistic freedom, was willing to take. The
U.S. government has been eager to prosecute Assange since the 2010
leaks. Until now, though, officials had refrained because they
concluded it was impossible to distinguish WikiLeaks’ actions from the
typical business of mainstream media outlets. Indicting Assange for the
act of publishing would thus make journalism a felony.
Also, I think that if this succeeds the USA has turned neofascistic
(but since I have been looking for something like ten years to find
single journalist who could frame a decent definition of fascism, and
found no one at all, I merely state this as my belief,
and will not
cover this further in this review).
Here is something about press freedoms and the Trump era:
I completely agree.
Press freedoms belong to
everyone, not to a select, privileged group of citizens called
“journalists.” Empowering prosecutors to decide who does or doesn’t
deserve press protections would restrict “freedom of the press” to a
small, cloistered priesthood of privileged citizens designated by the
government as “journalists.” The First Amendment was written to avoid
precisely that danger.
Most critically, the U.S.
government has now issued a legal document that formally declares that
collaborating with government sources to receive and publish classified
documents is no longer regarded by the Justice Department as journalism
protected by the First Amendment, but rather as the felony of
espionage, one that can send reporters and their editors to prison for
decades. It thus represents, by far, the greatest threat to press
freedom in the Trump era, if not the last several decades.
Here is part of the reason why Assange is
Yes, I agree.
Many of the most
and celebrated press revelations of the last several decades — from the
Papers to the Snowden
archive (which I worked on with the Guardian) to the disclosure of
illegal War on Terror programs such as warrantless domestic NSA spying
and CIA black sites — have relied upon the same methods which the
Assange indictment seeks to criminalize: namely, working with sources
to transmit illegally obtained documents for publication.
Incidentally, I have repeatedly argued in Nederlog t7hat I am not
a journalist, basically because I was not educated at all as a
journalist but as a philosopher and a psychologist. And I think that is
correct, but does have nothing to do with whether or not
Assange is a
Indeed, here is the last bit that I quote from this article, that is
about the question whether Assange is a journalist:
Yes indeed, and the main
two arguments in the above bit are that (i) "the state does not license who is and is not
a “journalist”" (unlike
medical doctors and lawyers) and that (ii) "[t]he sole requirement to be a “journalist” is
to engage in an act of journalism, with in turn is best defined as the
reporting to the public of events in the public interest".
“Julian Assange is no
journalist,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers pronounced in
announcing the indictment. By this reasoning, imprisoning Assange for
publishing documents poses no dangers to “real journalists” because
press freedoms are inapplicable to Assange (or, presumably, anyone else
denied the “journalist” designation).
But this distinction
between “real journalists” and “non-journalists” is both incoherent and
irrelevant. The claim reveals a glaring — and dangerous — confusion
about what press freedom means, how it functions and the reasons the
Constitution guarantees its protection.
Unlike doctors and lawyers,
“journalist” is not some licensed, credentialed title which only a
small, privileged set of professionals can legitimately or legally
claim for themselves upon fulfilling a defined set of educational and
professional requirements. Unlike those professions, the state does not
license who is and is not a “journalist.”
The opposite is true: a
“journalist” can be, and is, anyone, regardless of education,
credentials or employment status, who informs the public about
newsworthy matters. The sole requirement to be a “journalist” is to
engage in an act of journalism, with in turn is best defined as the
reporting to the public of events in the public interest, particularly
when such revelations inform the public about what democracy’s most
powerful factions are doing behind a wall of secrecy. ‘
I think both arguments are correct and I consent that
in that sense I
also am a journalist, as is Assange. There is a lot more in
article, which is strongly recommended.
2. Can Socialism Save American Democracy?
This article is by Jacob
Sugarman on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
To answer the last
question in the above quotation:
It was all but a formal
declaration of his re-election strategy. “Here in the United States, we
are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” President
Donald Trump bellowed during his State
of the Union address in February. “Tonight, we renew our resolve
that this will never be a socialist country.” (It should be noted that
the line earned applause from several congressional Democrats,
including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.)
Since then, the Republican
chorus has only grown louder, crescendoing last month with Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s call to make 2020 a “referendum
on socialism.” McConnell’s recent remarks beg the question: Amid a
historic transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top, is this still
the reliable line of attack the GOP seems to think it is?
I think myself that the GOP may well be right in their
assumption, and if it is, it is so basically because the term
"socialism" has been very much abused in the USA, since six or
seven decades at least, even to the extent that thoroughly capitalist
Russia (since nearly 30 years!) still can be treated as
were - at least - close to socialism in great parts of
The rest of this article is an interview with Bhaskar Sunkara
who is 29 and who has mostly
somewhat vague ideas about socialism, which itself is a vague idea.
Here is one bit by Sunkara:
“Socialism has survived a lot over the past century,” he writes. “It’s
survived persecution from tyrants and the tyrants that it itself gave
birth to. It survived the radical reshaping of capitalism and that of
its great protagonist, the working class. But does socialism really
have a future? … Technical and political barriers to progress can’t be
underestimated, but if we are to make something better of our shared
world, socialist politics, broadly conceived, offer us the best tools
we have for getting there.”
To which one can probably
say yes, but then again socialism has not been defined at all
Sunkara (which I agree is difficult to do well).
So I do not think this is very interesting, and give just one more
quotation from this interview:
Again I probably say yes
to the above and observe that socialism is not defined at all. And this
is a recommended article.
Bhaskar Sunkara: What
seeing, I think, is the growth of an opposition movement that’s clearly
defined to the left of liberalism, that actually stands for something.
The anger isn’t just posturing—it’s connected now with real policies
like the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all. And I think our message
is frightening because we’re telling people that they deserve more and
better, and that by joining with their neighbors in solidarity, they
can lift themselves up.
All Share Julian Assange's Fate
article is by Bill Blum on Truthdig and originally on The Progressive.
It starts as follows:
Yes indeed, although I partially disagree with the title
of this article: Yes, we all share the consequences of
Assange's conviction, if he is convicted, but no: Assange - if
he is convicted - may be tortured and may have to go to jail for 175
years, and I and most others will not.
prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act
represents a dangerous turn in President Donald Trump’s war on the
First Amendment. Whether you love Assange or loathe him, it is vital to
understand the eighteen-count indictment
filed against him on May 23
in the context of that wider conflict. In a very real sense, we are all
defendants in the case against Assange.
The new charges allege that
Assange collaborated with former Army Intelligence Officer Chelsea Manning from 2009 to 2011 to
obtain and publish national defense information about the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq. items supplied by Manning included more than
250,000 classified State Department cables as well as several
CIA-interrogation videos. Manning also leaked the now-widely viewed video of a 2007 attack
staged by U.S. military Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed two
Reuters employees and a dozen other people.
Here is some more by Blum:
Yes, quite so. Here is
ending of this article:
Although the prosecution of
government leakers like Manning has become more common in recent
decades, prosecution of a news entity for publishing leaked information
is something new. As the Congressional Research Service noted in a
lengthy 2017 analysis:
“While courts have held
that the Espionage Act and other relevant statutes allow for
convictions for leaks to the press, the government has never prosecuted
a traditional news organization for its receipt [and publication] of
classified or other protected information.”
Indeed, the prosecution of
Assange for alleged violations of the Espionage Act reopens a threat to
press freedom that hasn’t been seen in decades.
Yes, I agree and this is
a recommended article.
Unless and until the
prosecution of Assange is dismissed, no publication will be safe from
the Trump Administration’s vengeance and overreach.
4. What Does Oligarchy
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed. As to the last
question of the above quotation: I'd say that the present USA is quite
oligarchial, though a bit less so than Russia.
government of and by a few at the top, who exercise power for their own
benefit. It comes from the Greek word oligarkhes, meaning “few
to rule or command.”
Even a system that calls
itself a democracy can become an oligarchy if power becomes
concentrated in the hands of a few very wealthy people – a corporate
and financial elite.
Their power and wealth
increase over time as they make laws that favor themselves, manipulate
financial markets to their advantage, and create or exploit economic
monopolies that put even more wealth into their pockets.
is an oligarchy, where a handful of billionaires who control most major
industries dominate politics and the economy.
What about the United
Here is some support for that position:
Yes indeed: I think that
is correct. Here is more about oligarchy in the USA:
Yes, I think this is correct as
well. Here is the ending of this article:
Well... I agree with Brandeis
and this is a recommended article.
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 (!!).