in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from June 6, 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 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 June 6, 2019:
1. Tech Giants Amass a Lobbying Army
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. Trump Cries
“Fake News” as 75,000 March in London
3. ‘No One is
Above the Law’ (Except the U.S.A.)
4. If Democrats Can’t Win the Economic Debate, Trump Will Win
Giants Amass a Lobbying Army
article is by Cecilia Kang and Kenneth P. Vogel on The New York Times.
I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:
with the growing possibility of antitrust actions and legislation to
curb their power, four of the biggest technology companies are amassing
an army of lobbyists as they prepare for what could be an epic fight
over their futures.
slow to develop a presence in Washington, the tech giants — Amazon,
Apple, Facebook and Google — have rapidly built themselves into some of
the largest players in the influence and access industry as they
confront threats from the Trump administration and both parties on
four companies spent a combined $55 million on lobbying last year,
doubling their combined spending of $27.4 million in 2016, and some are
spending at a higher rate so far this year, according to the Center for
Responsive Politics, which tracks lobbying and political contributions.
That puts them on a par with long-established lobbying powerhouses like
the defense, automobile and banking industries.
Well... for me Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are criminal
corporations that dominate the internet because they have
attempted to get all private information about absolutely anyone with
an internet computer, and largely succeeded - indeed perhaps
wholly, for who knows what these neofascist corporations know.
again, I also know this is what I think, and I know
that my opinions, that fairly may be called the opinions of a
brilliant person with a great amount of relevant knowledge, are both unknown
and largely unwanted by the average person on the internet, who
never went to university, have an IQ of maximally 115,
nearly all publish as aliases, and have hardly any
adequate idea about computing, or indeed almost all other things.
So I suppose these
neofascist corporations will very probably
win. Here is how they do it:
they have tracked increasing public and political discontent with their
size, power, handling of user data and role in elections, the four
companies have intensified their efforts to lure lobbyists with strong
connections to the White House, the regulatory agencies, and
Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
Of the 238 people registered to lobby for the four companies in the
first three months of this year — both in-house employees and those on
contract from lobbying and law firms — about 75 percent formerly served
in the government or on political campaigns, according to an analysis
of lobbying and employment records.
Quite so. Here
is some more:
this week, the threat of government action became more real, driving down their stock prices. The House Judiciary
Committee announced a broad antitrust investigation into big tech. And
the two top federal antitrust agencies agreed to divide oversight over Apple, Amazon, Facebook
and Google as they explore whether the companies have abused their
market power to harm competition and consumers.
concentrated economic power in the hands of a few is dangerous to
democracy — especially when digital platforms control content,” Speaker
Nancy Pelosi tweeted after the Judiciary Committee announced its
investigation. “The era of self-regulation is over.”
think that if you believe Pelosi you either are a saint or an idiot,
and indeed she definitely totally lied when she said
that “The era of
self-regulation is over”.
is in fact a lot more on various aspects that relate to
lobbying and the tech giants, that I all skip and leave to your
is the last bit that I quote from this source:
“We have seen these tech
companies escape accountability for years,” said Lisa Gilbert, the vice
president of legislative affairs for the government watchdog group
Public Citizen. The group, which has called for more user data
protections and for breaking up Facebook, published a study
last month showing that in the last two decades, 59 percent of top
Federal Trade Commission officials who left the agency entered
financial relationships with technology interests regulated by it.
so - but this shows (I think) the likely outcome of the lobbyists for
the neofascistic tech giants: I am sorry to say that I think it is
likely they will win. And this is a recommended article.
Cries “Fake News” as 75,000 March in London
article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now. I
abbreviated the title. It starts with the following introduction:
President Trump met with
Minister Theresa May on Tuesday to discuss Brexit and a future trade
deal, while protests rocked London. In a wide-ranging press conference,
Trump laid out plans for a post-Brexit trade deal with the United
Kingdom, saying that the U.S. should have access to all sectors of the
British economy, including the National Health Service. Trump later
walked back his comments after they sparked outrage. Trump’s state
visit comes just days before May is scheduled to resign her post on
Friday after repeated failed attempts to strike a Brexit deal.
Thousands took to the streets of London to protest Trump’s visit—a fact
that Trump denied on Tuesday, calling the demonstrations “fake news.”
We speak with Cambridge professor Priya Gopal, who says Trump’s claim
about the protests is “an outright lie.”
Yes indeed. Here is
GOODMAN: Among those who
may replace Prime Minister May after she leaves office Friday is
far-right former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, whom Trump has
repeatedly praised, telling The Sun newspaper before his
visit that Johnson would be an “excellent” choice for the next prime
minister. Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn responded to Trump’s
comments, saying, quote, “President Trump’s attempt to decide who will
be Britain’s next prime minister is an entirely unacceptable
interference in our country’s democracy.” Trump said Tuesday he had
turned down a request to meet with Corbyn during his state visit.
Instead, Corbyn joined thousands of demonstrators in the streets to
protest Trump’s state visit.
Of course, I think Corbyn is
right. Here is more on Trump:
GOODMAN: Trump called the
protests against him “fake news.”
I don’t see any protests. I did see a small protest today when I
came—very small. So a lot of it is fake news.
GOODMAN: In fact, the
protests against the president greatly overwhelmed any well-wishers in
London this week. Anti-Trump demonstrators have been flying a
20-foot-long giant baby Trump blimp to protest the president.
Quite so. Here is the first
bit of Priya Gopal:
GOPAL: (..) The
discussion around the NHS is a very good
example. We do know that if there is a trade deal with the United
States post-Brexit, then, as Trump said, everything is up for
negotiation, including the NHS. His
backtracking is not to be taken seriously. What is to be taken
seriously is that Brexit is precisely about breaking up and selling off
parts of the United Kingdom, particularly its public services. Now, in
Northern Ireland and in Scotland, and indeed in parts of England and
Wales, there is going to be tremendous resistance to this. Across party
lines, people value the National Health Service. And the idea that it
can be broken up and sold off piecemeal to U.S. investors and
privatizers, I think, genuinely does worry many people.
I think Gopal is
correct, but I also think if there is a Brexit without any
deal and Boris Johnson is the next British prime minister almost
anything may happen, except that almost nothing of what may
happen will be any good by my values.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
GOODMAN: President Trump
has both expressed his support for Nigel Farage, as well as Boris
Johnson. He also criticized Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who he called
a “negative force.” He said, if Corbyn were to become prime minister,
he may not share intelligence with him. Your response, Professor Gopal?
GOPAL: I mean, this is
clearly unacceptable. On the one hand, there is all this talk of a
special relationship. And, in fact, we really need to be asking what
exactly the special relationship means. But if the people who talk the
talk of a special relationship are sincere—and Trump is one of the
people who uses this phrase—then it seems extraordinary to say that you
will not work with the elected prime minister of the United Kingdom
because you don’t happen to agree with the choice that the British
electorate made. So, that strikes me as extremely unprofessional and,
in a sense, really out of line.
I agree and there is a
lot more in this article that is strongly recommended.
One is Above the Law’ (Except the U.S.A.)
article is by Greg Barns and Lisette Adam on Consortium News.
On 11 April 2019, UK
Prime Minister Theresa May informed that nation’s Parliament about the
arrest of Julian Assange and thanked the Ecuadorian government and
Metropolitan Police for their actions and collaboration contributing to
the WikiLeaks publisher’s arrest and subsequent detention. In her
statement, May said: “This goes to show that, in the United Kingdom, no
one is above the Law.”
In fact, May was lying as if she is
called Trump: The laws have been broken against Assange, and have
been broken knowingly by the English, and besides, if anything is clear
about being ¨above the Law¨ in Great Britain, it is that the rich, the
politicians, the government and the GHCQ are all almost completely
above the law.
Keeping May’s statement in
mind, think about the fact that in her own backyard, on May 20 we had
the extraordinary spectacle of U.S. law enforcement agencies being
invited by Ecuador to walk into its Embassy and steal Assange’s
belongings. Four days later, the U.S. loaded up the indictment it had
filed against Assange by adding seventeen additional U.S. charges
including; espionage, criminal conspiracy and computer hacking.
Globally, there are
fundamental rights, embedded in the 1945 United Nations Charter and the
1954 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and
designed to protect individuals against mistreatment by governments and
non-state actors. Fundamental rights are there to protect any
individual irrespective of who they are, or where they are.
Yes, I more or less
agree, but if you just take a superficial glance at the United Nations Charter you will find that the Western
governments that have ruled the last 40 years have forgotten nearly
everything about it, although I do agree that the formal
principles of it still are formally valid.
Anyway, there is this about Assange:
But in Assange’s
case, fairness is an endangered species if not, completely extinct.
Quite so, to the
best of my knowledge. Here is more:
The Ecuadorian government
completely ignored Assange’s fundamental rights in facilitating the
confiscation of Assange’s personal property. Personal property
including confidential documents, his legal defense strategy, medical
records and electronic equipment. Assange’s seized property was
subsequently handed over to the U.S.
If Assange is
extradited to the U.S. and faces a trial there, there will be no
respect to procedural equality of arms as Assange will have no
reasonable opportunity of presenting his case under conditions that do
not disadvantage him as against other parties to the proceedings.
Yes indeed. Then there is
this on the general proceedings that Western governments (and
especially those of the USA, Great Britain and Sweden in this case)
have been using:
conduct relating to the proceedings against Assange are anything but
legal; it is a political witch-hunt without merit. The gathering of
evidence in such an unlawful way indicates the desperation of the U.S.
prosecutor to build a case against Assange. A case that has nothing to
do with the Law, Assange is supposed to serve as an example; a
precedent and a warning that no whistle-blower, organization or person
should disclose information about U.S. intelligence, no matter how
gruesome this information may be.
I agree with the above, except
for ¨the desperation of the U.S.
prosecutor to build a case against Assange¨, for I think a case against Assange is in fact quite
easy, simply because almost all laws and all legal procedures that
would protect him have been systematically been denied - successfully,
also - since 2010 at the latest.
Worse still, the high human
cost of this biased and tunnel vision persecution is ignored by the UK,
the U.S. and let’s face it the country of which he is a citizen,
This article ends as follows:
One can wonder, why
do fundamental rights exist if we allow certain countries to ignore and
breach them when it suits them? Theresa May was right: no one should be
above the Law. Let’s be clear: ‘No one’ should include the U.S. ’
Well... I think the opening
question of this bit is pretty senseless: Fundamental rights are
one thing, and quite important; the breaching of them by many
governments is a quite different thing, and shows that those
governments which break them are above these laws. But this us a
Democrats Can’t Win the Economic Debate, Trump Will Win in 2020
article is by C.J. Polychroniou on Truthout. It starts as follows:
I think this is both
pessimistic and probably correct. Here is some background:
Pundits and economic
predict that if nothing changes in the next two years on the economic
front, Donald Trump will be re-elected in 2020 by a bigger margin than
in 2016. To be sure, the economy is usually the top priority for voters
heading into a presidential election, and the U.S. economy appears on
paper to be doing well since Trump moved into the White House.
Nonetheless, while the
economy looks strong, the economic condition of most Americans is
anything but rosy. And, according
to a Federal Reserve’s “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S.
Households in 2018,” roughly 40 percent of households would not be
able to cover a $400 “unexpected expense.”
At the same time, the
majority of Americans think that the economic system benefits mostly
the wealthy, and want to see the government do something about this
Yes indeed, and I like
to add that while I am very poor in Dutch terms, and indeed never
in my life since age 17 earned or got as much as a minimal income (even
my minimial pension is less than minimal because I lived nearly three
years in Norway) I am better of than 40 percent of American households,
for I can easily cover $400 dollars ¨unexptected expense¨. (I
have been careful with money, but I have for 50 years earned less than
almost any Dutchman not in prison.)
Next, there is this:
And here is Pollin himself:
[W]e interviewed Robert
Pollin, distinguished professor of economics and co-director of the
Political Economy Research Institute at the University of
I say, although I think
the quoted numbers may be a little high. Here is more Pollin:
Wage stagnation has been
defining feature of economic reality under neoliberal capitalism for
almost 50 years now, in the U.S. and elsewhere. The average real wage
for non-supervisory workers in the U.S. was about $23 an hour in 1972.
(That is the wage in 1972 expressed in today’s dollars, after adjusting
for inflation). As of 2016, it was about $22 an hour, 4 percent lower.
Meanwhile, average labor productivity more than doubled between 1972
and 2016. If the average wage had kept up with productivity over this
44-year period, the average worker would be earning $49 an hour today.
In other words, the gains from rising productivity have flowed upward,
primarily to the top 1 percent. This is the single most important
factor driving the overall rise in U.S. inequality.
Yes, I agree, but
should add that the - elected - Democrats were almost as guilty of
wage stagnation in the last 50 years as the elected Republicans,
which leads me to infer that it is unlikely that the
Democrats (in majority) will do so.
Should the Democrats focus
on wage stagnation as an issue? Absolutely, yes. Wage stagnation has
been a major driver alienating working people who traditionally
supported the Democratic Party. Trump has capitalized on this
alienation by blaming immigrants for “stealing” jobs from U.S.
residents. The Democrats need to explain the real reasons behind the
persistence of wage stagnation and consequent rise of inequality.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I agree and this is a
recommended article, in which there is a lot more than I quoted.
In my view, these
the Green New Deal should be front and center for any Democratic Party
politician, no matter what office they are seeking. Trump and his
Republican acolytes are insistent climate deniers. Given what we know
about the science of climate change, it is clear that we are courting
ecological disaster by not advancing a viable global climate
stabilization project. As such, any politician of any party or
persuasion is embracing an immoral position by not supporting the most
aggressive climate stabilization program possible. The Green New Deal,
as I understand the program, has the greatest chance of achieving
climate stabilization while also expanding job opportunities and
improving mass living standards.
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 (!!).