in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from June 12, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
I realize that I did not commemorate the fact that I am writing
Crisis files for six years now,
started to do so after June 10, 2013,
which taught me about Snowden.
I am registering it now, and may write about it the coming days, but I
am also somewhat worse at present than I was for a long time.
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 12, 2019:
1. The Thought Police Are Coming
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:
Is Stronger Than Orwell Imagined
3. The 7 Biggest Failures Of Trumponomics
4. Pompeo’s Vow to
‘Push Back’ Against Corbyn
Thought Police Are Coming
This article is by Chris Hedges on
Truthdig. It starts as follows:
gave this talk Tuesday, June 11, at an event held in London in support
of Julian Assange.
Ask the Iraqi parents of
Sabiha Hamed Salih, aged 15, and Ashwaq Hamed Salih, aged 16, who were
killed by shrapnel in Baghdad on July 31, 2004, what they think of
In fact, there are five more
similarly phrased personal testimonies. I skip them and arrive at this:
Yes indeed - and also I
think I should add I am quite sure of the above, simply because
I have been writing about the Crisis
since September 1, 2008 and have
been writing systematically about "the press" since 2013, after I learned about
Edward Snowden, who said very similar things as I concluded myself in 2012, but who also
had a great amount of evidence for his claims.
There is nothing like the
boot of the oppressor on your neck to give you moral clarity.
None of these war crimes,
and hundreds more reported to the U.S. military but never investigated,
would have been made public without Julian, Chelsea
Manning and WikiLeaks. That is the role of journalists—to give a
voice to those who without us would have no voice, to hold the powerful
to account, to give the forgotten and the demonized justice, to speak
Here is some more:
Yes indeed: I think all
of the above is quite true (including totally insane
punishments for people who only did their duties of 20 years
imprisonment - for example - because of saving people at sea).
We have watched over the
decade as freedom of the press and legal protection for those who
expose government abuses and lies have been obliterated by wholesale
government surveillance and the criminalizing of the leaking and, with
Julian’s persecution, publication of these secrets. The press has been
largely emasculated in the United States. The repeated use of the Espionage
Act, especially under the Obama administration, to charge and
sentence whistleblowers has shut down our ability to shine a light into
the inner workings of power and empire. Governmental officials with a
conscience, knowing all of their communications are monitored, captured
and stored by intelligence agencies, are too frightened to reach out to
Here is some more:
Yes, I think this is also
true. As an aside: I did read some of the
journalism/"journalism" (the second term is more adequate, and reflects
my opinion that most journalism is in fact dead) that criticized
Assange (e.g. a wild attack on him by C.J. Hopkins on The Off-Guardian)
but none of this convinced me in the slightest, if only because
I never knew Assange, I never mailed with him, and all I do
know about him is from "the press" (most of whom lie or propagandize
these days, unlike in the Seventies).
Even if Julian were
which he is not, even if he carried out a sexual offense, which he did
not, even if he was a poor houseguest—a bizarre term for a man trapped
in a small room for nearly seven years under house arrest—which he
was not, it would make no difference. Julian is not being persecuted
for his vices. He is being persecuted for his virtues.
Here is some more:
Yes, I totally agree.
Here is some more:
His arrest eviscerates
pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The
illegalities carried by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments in
the seizure of Julian two months ago from the Ecuadorian Embassy in
London are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings,
abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out
by the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage
a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse
of power, no matter what their nationality, will be hunted down around
the globe and seized, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given
lifetime prison terms. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where
journalism is outlawed and replaced with propaganda, trivia,
entertainment and indoctrination to make us hate those demonized by the
state as our enemies.
The arrest of Julian
official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism and constant state
surveillance, now far advanced in China, that will soon define our
lives. The destruction of all protection of the rule of law, which is
what we are witnessing, is essential to establishing an authoritarian
or totalitarian state.
Yes, I agree again, though I
think "corporate totalitarianism"
in fact goes back to the late Sixties - see
and Control: Brezezinski 1968 - and "constant state surveillance" to the
early 2000s, indeed thanks to the corporate totalitarianism
that makes anybody writing on an internet computer bait (for
everything he or she thinks, wants, values, desires, writes etc. etc.)
for both the large totalitarian corporations like Google,
Facebook and Apple (and more) and for about each and every
statefunded "national security" from almost each and every government.
Here is some more about the present
situation in China:
Governmental abuse of
he wrote, “could deliver to the Communist Party a life map of pretty
much everybody in this country, citizens and foreigners alike.
This is almost certainly our future, and it is a future that Julian has
fought courageously to prevent.
Yes, I totally agree.
Here is some more about "the law":
Under what law did
President Lenín Moreno capriciously terminate Julian’s rights of asylum
as a political refugee? Under what law did Moreno authorize British
police to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy—diplomatically sanctioned
sovereign territory—to arrest a nationalized citizen of Ecuador? Under
what law did Prime Minister Theresa May order the British police to
grab Julian, who has never committed a crime? Under what law did Donald
Trump demand the extradition of Julian, who is not a U.S. citizen and
whose news organization is not based in the United States?
Yes, I agree although I like
to point out that no one can trust "the law" these days, for "the
law" also gets bought these days, certainly in the USA, but also
elsewhere. (For example: As I have pointed out several times the purported
European implementation of the 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights in fact is the opposite of what it claims to be, for it
gives all space to the spies and governmental security to do what they
want, while precisely these are totally excluded
by the 1948 Universal
Declaration of Human Rights - and mind you: That is about Europe.)
Here is some more i.a. about
the corrupt Hillary Clinton:
was championed by the Democratic Party establishment after WikiLeaks
published 70,000 hacked emails copied from the accounts of John
Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. The Podesta emails
exposed the donation of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and
Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State, to the Clinton
Foundation. It exposed the $657,000 that Goldman Sachs paid to Hillary
Clinton to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a
bribe. It exposed Clinton’s repeated mendacity.
Yes indeed. Here is the last
bit that I quote, from the ending of the article:
Well... I agree that it is highly
desirable that "we" try to do these things, but by now - after ten
years of reading and publishing about the ever declining freedoms of
everyone who is not rich or powerful - I think this is unlikely
to happen. And this is a very strongly recommended article.
We must build popular
movements to force the British government to halt the extradition and
judicial lynching of Julian. We must build popular movements to force
the Australian government to intervene on behalf of Julian. We must
build popular movements to reclaim democracy and the rule of law. If
Julian is extradited and tried, it will create a legal precedent that
will terminate the ability of the press, which Donald Trump has
attacked as “the enemy of the people,” to hold power accountable.
Is Stronger Than Orwell Imagined
article is by George
Packer on The Atlantic. It starts as follows:
novel of the past century has had more influence than George
Orwell’s 1984. The title, the adjectival form of the author’s
last name, the vocabulary of the all-powerful Party that rules the
superstate Oceania with the ideology of Ingsoc—doublethink, memory
hole, unperson, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Thought
Police, Room 101, Big Brother—they’ve all entered
the English language as instantly recognizable signs of a nightmare
future. It’s almost impossible to talk about propaganda, surveillance,
authoritarian politics, or perversions of truth without dropping a
reference to 1984.
I think this
is basically correct, although I also believe I should add that
the above is mostly true about intellectuals, and less about
non-intellectuals (who read far less, and also do not prefer to
read what they consider "difficult" or "long" books).
Here is some
I was too young and
historically ignorant to understand where 1984 came from and
exactly what it was warning against. Neither the book nor its author
stuck with me. In my 20s, I discovered Orwell’s essays and nonfiction
books and reread them so many times that my copies started to
disintegrate, but I didn’t go back to 1984.
So when I recently read the novel again, I wasn’t prepared for its
power. You have to clear away what you think you know, all the
terminology and iconography and cultural spin-offs, to grasp the
original genius and lasting greatness of 1984. It is both a
profound political essay and a shocking, heartbreaking work of art. And
in the Trump
era, it’s a best
I think this is also basically
correct, and since I am 10 years older than Packer and also come
from a Marxist
background (parents and grandparents) my own experiences of Orwell are
In fact, Orwell was
one of the reasons I gave up Marxism when I was 20, and namely
because I did know about Orwell since I was 15 or 16 (in
1965/66), I hadn't read any of him until 1970 or so, but I had
heard from quite a few of my communist friends that (i) "Orwell was a
traitor", and that (ii) they knew, although (iii) none of them had read
anything by Orwell because "he was a traitor".
This was one of the first
times I explicitly ran into totalitarianism,
and this was again one of the main reasons (apart from the fact that I
disagreed with much Marx
had written as well) that I gave up Marxism when I was 20 (before
reaching legal adulthood, in fact).
And I did read
Orwell since the early 1970ies, and had read almost everything he
wrote by 1980 (of which I admit I did not much like the
early novels, but liked the rest a lot).
Here is some more:
The Ministry of Truth:
Biography of George Orwell’s 1984, by the British music critic
Dorian Lynskey, makes a rich and compelling case for the novel as the
summation of Orwell’s entire body of work and a master key to
understanding the modern world.
In fact, Linskey's book is
Packer's reason to write his article. Here is some more:
Lynskey traces the
genesis of 1984 to the utopian fictions of the optimistic 19th
century—Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888); the sci-fi
novels of H. G. Wells, which Orwell read as a boy—and their dystopian
successors in the 20th, including the Russian Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We
Huxley’s Brave New
Yes, this is correct, and
while I did not read Bellamy or Wells, I have read both We and
Brave New World.
Here is some more:
The argument recurs every
decade or so: Orwell got it wrong. Things haven’t turned out that bad.
The Soviet Union is history. Technology is liberating. But Orwell never
intended his novel to be a prediction, only a warning.
Well... in the first place, Packer
is right that that Orwell's 1984 is not "a prediction, only a warning" (and the title "1984" is an alternative for 1948, when it
Then again, neither
Zamyatin nor Huxley wrote much or anything about totalitarianism,
while that was Orwell's main fear in "1984", in fact - among other
things - because he had seen rather a lot of it in the 1930ies and
1940ies, while very few did see what he did see. But I think he was
quite right, and very perceptive.
Here is some more:
live under anything
like a totalitarian system. “By definition, a country in which you are
free to read Nineteen Eighty-Four is not the country described
in Nineteen Eighty-Four,” Lynskey acknowledges. Instead, we
pass our days under the nonstop surveillance of a telescreen that we
bought at the Apple Store, carry with us everywhere, and tell
everything to, without any coercion by the state. The Ministry of Truth
is Facebook, Google, and cable news. We have met Big Brother and he is
No, Lynskey is mistaken
and so is Packer, for at least three reasons.
The first is that totalitarianism
has been mounting and mounting over the last 20 or 40 years, even
if you totally abstact from the internet, where almost everyone
seems to be totally known to the local and the non-local spies, and also
from the rich corporations: All of these can steal anything from
almost any computer.
The second reason is that totalitarianism
today is quite differently implemented from how it was implemented in
the 1930ies and 1940ies: Now almost everyone is almost totally
known by many spying organizations maintained by many governments, and
besides by quite a few rich organizations like Google, Facebook and
Apple. For me, that is an extra-ordinary increase in the means
to influence, manipulate and lie to everyone, by the few who can and do
read and store everything they can find about anyone.
The third reason is that totalitarianism
does not depend on who does it, or initiates it, or swallows it, but on
its reach, its dishonesty, its falsity, and its source (the
"national security organizations" maintained by almost every government
and the also by the rich).
Here is some more:
The warnings were
but their emphasis on the mechanisms of earlier dictatorships drew
attention away from the heart of the malignancy—not the state, but the
individual. The crucial issue was not that Trump might abolish
democracy but that Americans had put him in a position to try.
Unfreedom today is voluntary. It comes from the bottom up.
No, I disagree with
this: If "unfreedom
today is voluntary" it is
so mostly because those who want it (i) have been manipulated
successfully by - mostly - totalitarian propaganda and lies, and
because (ii) in fact only a small minority understands much about
computing. (How many can program decently in several languages? I
don't think more than 1%.)
Here is some more:
As Lynskey points out,
didn’t foresee “that the common man and woman would embrace doublethink
as enthusiastically as the intellectuals and, without the need for
terror or torture, would choose to believe that two plus two was
whatever they wanted it to be.”
No, I disagree: He did
foresee so, as should be clear from "1984" and "Animal Farm"
and many essays collected in Orwell's "The Collected Essays, Journalism
and Letters". And indeed, why wouldn't they agree to
totalitarianism if many of the intellectuals of Orwell's times were
also convinced of totalitarianism,
all without any tortures?!
Here is the last bit I quote
from this article:
For example, many on the
now share an unacknowledged but common assumption that a good work of
art is made of good politics and that good politics is a matter of
identity. The progressive view of a book or play depends on its
political stance, and its stance—even its subject matter—is scrutinized
in light of the group affiliation of the artist: Personal identity plus
political position equals aesthetic value.
No. I have read Orwell's "The Collected Essays, Journalism
and Letters", indeed several times, and the above quotation is what
Orwell did claim about most English intellectuals of the 1930ies and
1940ies, indeed in my opinion quite correctly and also as
one of the very few who did so.
Anyway... I liked this
article, but I will not strongly recommend it, mostly because
of the mistakes at the end, but it is recommended.
3. The 7 Biggest
Failures Of Trumponomics
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed. In fact, I
will quote all 7 failures Reich mentions, but in an abbreviated
fashion. If you want to read all click the above title. Here is more:
2. As a presidential
candidate in 2016, he
said he could completely eliminate the federal debt in 8 years.
federal debt has exploded thanks to Trump
and the GOP’s $1.9 trillion tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.
Yes indeed. Here is more:
3. He promised to
wages of American workers, including a $4,000
pay raise for the average American family. Instead, wages
for most Americans have been flat, adjusted for inflation.
the same period, corporate profits have soared and the rich have become
far richer, but the gains haven’t trickled down.
Quite so. Here is more:
Quite so. Here is more:
administration said that corporations would invest their savings from
tax cuts. Instead,
corporations spent more money buying back shares of their own stock in
2018 than they invested in new equipment or facilities.
Yes, though perhaps this
can be stopped if the USA does succeed in electing a leftist president.
Here is more:
promised a tax cut for middle-class families. Instead most
Americans will end up paying more by 2027.
Yes indeed. Here is the
last bit I quote from this article:
promised to keep jobs in America and crack down on companies that ship
jobs overseas. Instead, his
tax law has created financial incentives for corporations to expand
their operations abroad.
promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington lobbyists. Instead,
he’s put them in charge of health, safety, and environmental protections–which
has endangered most Americans while increasing corporate profits even
Quite so, and this is a strongly
Vow to ‘Push Back’ Against Corbyn
article is by Caitlin Johnstone on Consortium News. It starts as
An audio recording from a private meeting
that was leaked to The Washington Post reportedly features U.S.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowing to “push back” against surging
British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and many are concerned that what
he said sounds an awful lot like a top U.S. official promising to
interfere in the UK’s democratic process.
Yes, that is true, although it should be pointed out that (i)
this is since many years the official policy of the USA (who also
have 800 military bases in most other countries of the world), in
fact (ii) also with Harold
Wilson (because he was a socialist who became British Prime
Here is some more on Jeremy Corbyn:
The notion that Jeremy Corbyn advances
anti-Semitism is literally just some gibberish the smear merchants made
up to prevent the rise of a politician who threatens to upset existing
power structures. It’s exactly as believable and exactly as legitimate
as if British newspapers were constantly running headlines claiming
that Corbyn is actually three children standing on each other’s
shoulders inside grown-up’s clothes; the one and only difference is
that they were able to make the anti-Semitism smear stick. Anyone who
pretends to believe that Corbyn is a closet anti-Semite is exactly as
honest and credible as someone who solemnly tells you, “I am very
concerned about the fact that the Labour Party is led by a man who is
secretly a cartoon mascot for a children’s breakfast cereal.”
Yes, I totally agree. The there is this on
So anyway, Pompeo is asked what he’s going to
do in the event of a Corbyn-led Kristallnacht, and WaPo reports on his
response as follows:
Yes, but I have pointed out above this is - more or less - ordinary
US policy (namely to try to interfere in states that the US thinks
is developing in ways the US strongly dislikes).
Pompeo said: “It could be
that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected. It’s
possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to
begin to push back. We will do our level best,” he said to fervent
applause from attendees.
“It’s too risky and too important
and too hard once it’s already happened,” he said.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
It is no secret that the D.C. establishment
considers other nations to be its personal property and has no qualms
about openly working to topple the governments of nations like
Venezuela and Iran, but people aren’t accustomed to hearing this sort
of language directed at white, English-speaking liberal democracies.
Yes, I mostly
agree 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 (!!).