1. The Mexicanization of
the United States
2. The Rise of Trump Shows the Danger and Sham of
3. The New Truth About
4. Donald Trump’s War on the First Amendment
5. NASA Drops Major Bomb in 'March Toward Ever-Warmer
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, March 15,
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about a fine article by Chris Hedges about the crisis and its causes; item 2 is a fine article by Glenn Greenwald on modern "journalism", that seems to have gone totalitarian; item 3
is a fine article by Robert Reich about "free trade" (that is in my
opinion always a sham, and in Reich's opinion a sham since the 1980ies
or so); item 4 is about what remains of the free press (not much), and how Trump is going to kill it if president, because they dare to criticize His Grandiose Narcissistic Personality; and item 5 is about a recent NASA report that shows the earth is warming at a faster speed than hitherto believed.
Mexicanization of the United States
To end this introduction: While the news in the crisis items is rarely
good, sometimes the writing is quite decent, and this is one of these
first item is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
The neoliberal ideology
that is the engine of corporate capitalism spews its poison around the
globe. Constitutions are rewritten by judicial fiat in a mockery of
democracy. Laws and regulations that impede corporate exploitation are
abolished. Corporations orchestrate legally sanctioned tax boycotts.
Free-trade deals destroy small farmers and businesses along with labor
unions and government agencies designed to protect the public from
contaminated air, water and food and from usurious creditors and
lenders. The press is transformed into an echo chamber for the
corporate elites. Wages stagnate or decline. Unemployment and
underemployment soar. Social services are curtailed or abolished in the
name of austerity. The political system becomes a charade. Dissent is
criminalized. The ecocide by the fossil fuel industry accelerates.
State enterprises and utilities are sold to corporations. The
educational system mutates into vocational training. Culture and the
arts are replaced by sexual commodification, banal entertainment and
graphic depictions of violence. Infrastructures crumble.
I agree with the above paragraph, although I
know that quite a few will not agree, if only because the picture that
is drawn is dark, very dark.
So here are four general remarks on this first paragraph:
First, I agree with the above paragraph because I have made a study of
the many deep declines that I have witnessed: If you press crisis index
you will find well over 1100 articles that I wrote on just that one -
complicated, many layered - topic of the crisis since September 1,
I do not know of anyone who wrote as much and as systematically as I
did about the crisis, even though my site is committed to far more
subjects, and indeed is mostly about philosophy, my disease M.E., logic, computing and the horrible times I had due to discriminations and lack of real rights with ME in Amsterdam, and not about the crisis. 
Second, the above quoted paragraph, which I agree summarizes and simpli- fies
many different tendencies is mostly accurate.
I am quite wiling to agree that to people who know a lot less
about the crisis than Chris Hedges does or than I do will find it
difficult to see the evidence, but the evidence is there, and
it is both good evidence, while it illustrates mostly awful
things and processes. See the crisis index, for you cannot even summarize the evidence in one or a few
normal articles: it is very extensive.
Third, the processes Chris Hedges describes are manifold, complicated,
multi-layered and often difficult to get, but
while all things cannot be reduced to the following two sources, many
(A) Economically and legally, the process is of making
the very few very rich a whole lot richer by making the many poor a
whole lot poorer, and the main tool that the rich use is deregulation,
which effectively means the breaking down of any law that protects
the non-rich from the many onslaughts the rich like to make on the non-rich, and
and in the main media, the process proceeds by major lies about
the benefits of deregulations, and is strongly supported by the fact
that the main media mostly ceased doing real
journalism - for which see item 2.
And fourth, while I am a European, and Europe is not the USA, nor is it
presently as bad as the USA is towards the many poor (of which I am
one, albeit a very highly educated although sick and crippled one ), I see very similar things happening in Europe, that are propelled by just the same forces - deregulation and systematic lies, in brief - as in the USA, and indeed
I can date the loss of the old Europe: This happened in 2002, when
Europe got unified under a few power greedy bureaucrats and
politicians; when the Euro got introduced that doubled most prices ;
and when the European politicians who followed the national politicians
started really and grossly lying about almost everything that served
the financial interests of the very rich or themselves.
Back to the article:
The working poor—sacrificed on
the altar of corporate profit and suffering job losses, bankruptcies,
foreclosures, harassment and arrest—watch helplessly as their dreams
for themselves and their children evaporate. Some are forced into an
underground economy dominated by drugs, crime and human trafficking.
Some turn to opiates to blunt the despair. (Heroin use in the United
States has doubled since 2007.) Suicides mount. (There are more than
40,000 a year in the U.S.) Hunger spreads. (Some 48.1 million
Americans, including 15.3 million children, live in food-insecure
households.) The state, to prevent unrest, militarizes the police
agencies and empowers them to use lethal force against unarmed
civilians. It fills the prisons.
Again I agree, and with similar remarks as I
made on the first paragraph, and again for the next paragraph:
From Mexico to Greece to the
United States, the scenario is the same, varying only in degree.
Neoliberalism and globalization create a vast race to the bottom.
Duplicitous political elites, epitomized by Barack Obama and Bill and
Hillary Clinton, are or will be highly compensated for doling out
trillions in “quantitative
easing” to banks and other financial firms while delivering
credulous voters to the corporate guillotine. Everyone and everything,
including the natural world, is transformed into a commodity to exploit
This also has the merit of stating the three
forces that helped the very few very rich to become a whole lot richer:
The lies of politicians (left, right and center); the extremely
corrupt deregulations; and the making of everything subject to
- the highest possible - profit. (And as to profits: These only help the
few who make profits, and not the many who have to earn wages. And profits are not the highest end of civilization but of exploitation.)
Next, there is this:
The corporate looting is
impervious to regulation or reform. It will continue until there is
nothing left to exploit or is halted by popular revolt. It is creating
frustrated and enraged populations that are being seduced in the United
States, Europe and elsewhere by demagogues and protofascists. “Fascism,
like socialism,” the economist Karl Polanyi wrote, “was rooted in a
market society that refused to function.” Left unchecked, the present
system will usher in a dystopia ruled by criminal power structures,
including Wall Street, and inflict tremendous suffering and poverty on
societies rent apart by global warming as well as internecine and
nihilistic violence. Mexico is not an anomaly. Mexico is the future.
Here I have three remarks. First, the
corporate looting was started and continued by a reform that consisted
in deregulations; and these were welcomed and praised by the very rich
and their politicians, and still are. Second, it should be mentioned
that if considerable parts of the poor populations are attracted to
(proto-)fascism, this happens mainly because they are deceived, and
they can be deceived mostly because they are ignorant, prejudiced,
wishful thinkers and not intelligent. And third, I agree that "Wall
Street" - especially the big banks - are "criminal power structures"
at least since 2008 and onwards: What happened to bail out the banks
was a long series of political crimes, and the banks should not have
been bailed out, they should have failed and gone bust.
Finally, to end this review, though there is considerably more in the
article, there is a quotation from Karl Polanyi (<- Wikipedia) that was written in
1944 or before:
That seems a sensible prediction of the
none-too-distant future, even though it is over 70 years old, and the
reasons have been sketched before in this article.
“To allow the market mechanism to be
sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural
environment, indeed, even of the amount and use of purchasing power,
would result in the demolition of society,” Polanyi warned in “The
“In disposing of a man’s labor power the
system would, incidentally, dispose of the physical, psychological, and
moral entity ‘man’ attached to the tag,” he went on. “Robbed of the
protective covering of cultural institutions, human beings would perish
from the effects of social exposure; they would die as the victims of
acute social dislocation through vice, perversion, crime, and
starvation. Nature would be reduced to its elements, neighborhoods and
landscapes defiled, rivers polluted, military safety jeopardized, the
power to produce food and raw materials destroyed.”
There is considerably more, but it overlaps with Days of Revolt: The
New Mexican Revolution that I reviewed
under the last links.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Rise of Trump Shows the Danger and Sham of Compelled Journalistic
is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
This means that what is called "journalism" these
days - presumably because it does get spread by the media and the paper
press - has turned around a full 180 degrees, to become a
As Donald Trump’s campaign predictably
moves from toxic rhetoric targeting the most marginalized
minorities to threats and use of violence, there is a growing sense
that American institutions have been too lax about resisting it.
Political scientist Brendan Nyhan on Sunday posted a
widely cited Twitter essay voicing this concern, arguing
that “Trump’s rise represents a failure in American parties, media, and
civic institutions — and they’re continuing to fail right now.” He
added, “Someone could capture a major party [nomination] who endorses
violence [and] few seem alarmed.”
Actually, many people are alarmed, but it
is difficult to know that by observing media coverage, where
little journalistic alarm over Trump is expressed. That’s because
the rules of large media outlets — venerating faux objectivity over
truth along with every other civic value — prohibit the sounding
of any alarms. Under this framework of corporate journalism, to
denounce Trump, or even to sound alarms about the dark forces he’s
exploiting and unleashing, would not constitute journalism. To the
contrary, such behavior is regarded as a violation of
And yes, I think it has (for the most part, not totally) and I also think this was a very
though probably more of the owners (nearly always very rich men) and
the editors than that is was a free choice of the journalists (though
most who these days call themselves "journalists" gladly
consented, for it is so much easier not to risk any fight about
any opinion you write about, and never to take any personal position).
As to totalitarianism. Here is Folkenflik, who spoke
for NPR (<-
Wikipedia), that is the American institute National Public Radio, that
services very many American radios:
Just this morning, NPR media
reporter David Folkenflik published
a story describing the concern and even anger of some NPR
executives and journalists over a
column by longtime NPR commentator Cokie Roberts — the Beacon
of Washington Centrism — that criticizes Trump. “NPR has a policy
forbidding its journalists from taking public stances on political
affairs,” he wrote. For any NPR reporter, Roberts’s statements —
warning of the dangers of a Trump presidency — would be a clear
violation of that policy.
That is: The hundreds or thousands of
"journalists" who work for the NPR are forbidden from taking any public
stand on anything that is a political affair, precisely because taking a
public and personal stance would undermine the totalitarian efforts all
of his or her "journalistic" colleagues do, in order to keep relaying the same set
of public totalitarian lies.
I am sorry, but this is what it sounds like exactly: If even
journalists are forbidden to write their personal opinions, you are
living in a totalitarian state, or you are preparing one.
Here is some more, in case you don't believe me or Greenwald:
And in an interview
that Oreskes “directed” Roberts to do this morning with Morning
Edition host David Greene about the matter, the NPR host chided
Roberts for expressing negative views of Trump, telling her:
He wrote "Objectivity" but he meant
"Totalitarian total agreement", and this also explains why he is
against "personal positions": He wants totalitarian robots who all
uniformly sing the praises of the same, and damn the rest, and who
totally agree that this is what "a journalist" is supposed to do:
Objectivity is so fundamental to what
we do. Can you blame people like me for being a little disappointed to
hear you come out and take a personal position on something like this
in a campaign?
to take a personal position; always
to write what the editor and the owner want you to write; and never to
worry about difficult questions of honesty, responsibility, corruption,
lies, falsehoods etc. All of these are resolved by the owner or the
editor, and anyone who doesn't want to voice them can go find another
As Glenn Greenwald concludes:
neutrality-über-alles framework is literally the exact antithesis of
how journalism was practiced, and why it was so valued, when the U.S.
Constitution was enacted and for decades after.
3. The New Truth About Free Trade
third item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
I used to believe in trade
agreements. That was before the wages of most Americans stagnated and a
relative few at the top captured just about all the economic gains.
I mostly agree, and there is a radical
difference between the old-style agreements and the new-style
agreements, but I admit that I never saw much in "trade agreements",
indeed because these were usually propagandized as
The old-style trade agreements of the
1960s and 1970s increased worldwide demand for products made by
American workers, and thereby helped push up American wages.
The new-style agreements increase worldwide demand for products made by
American corporations all over the world, enhancing corporate and
financial profits but keeping American wages down.
examples of "free trade", and "free trade", if anything, is nearly
completely false propagandistic bullshit: There is no "free trade"
without agreed upon legal frameworks, and it is these legal frameworks
that determine the value and importance of what is traded under them.
in my Philosophical
Here is the outline of the - huge - differences between "trade" now,
and "trade" before the 1980ies, when everything started changing, and
since when the few rich gained enormously, and the many poor lost what
the rich gained :
Big American corporations no
longer make many products in the United States for export abroad. Most
of what they sell abroad they make abroad.
The biggest things they “export” are
ideas, designs, franchises, brands, engineering solutions,
instructions, and software, coming from a relatively small group of
managers, designers, and researchers in the U.S.
Also, American corporations make their
products abroad, because the deregulations
allowed them to do so, and the wages abroad are normally
very much lower than the wages of Americans.
So in effect the deregulations
allowed the few American rich to say to the many American poor: Fuck
you! As long as we have to pay you more than Pakistani or Chinese children, go
to hell! We have been deregulated
by our faithful politicians, and we will do everything to keep our
profits as high as we can!
Here is the result as phrased by Robert Reich:
Recent “trade” deals have been
wins for big corporations and Wall Street, along with their executives
and major shareholders, because they get better direct access to
foreign markets and billions of consumers.
They also get better protection for
their intellectual property – patents, trademarks, and copyrights – and
for their overseas factories, equipment, and financial assets.
In other words: The American very rich got
extremely much richer by moving their manufacturing - through deregulations - to the very much poorer third world countries, with a
much less regulated law, and very little payments for
the poorest folks they employ. 
Here are those who gained enormously, and
those who lost:
Proponents say giant deals like the TPP
are good for the growth of the United States economy. But that argument
begs the question of whose growth they’re talking about.
Almost all the growth goes to the richest 1 percent. The rest of us can
buy some products cheaper than before, but most of those gains would
are offset by wage losses.
As I outlined in note 
I got poorer, and besides the quality of the products I can buy
is a lot less than it was until 2002.
And here is how the few rich got as rich as they did: By stealing their
riches from the poor, not directly, but by "legal changes" (aka deregulations, for the most part, but also including the destruction of
welfare in the USA by Bill Clinton):
They’ve refused to raise the minimum
wage (whose inflation-adjusted value is now almost 25 percent lower
than it was in 1968), expand unemployment benefits, invest in job
training, enlarge the Earned Income Tax Credit, improve the nation’s
infrastructure, or expand access to public higher education.
They’ve embraced budget austerity that has slowed job and wage growth.
And they’ve continued to push “trickle-down” economics – keeping tax
rates low for America’s richest, protecting their tax loopholes, and
fighting off any attempt to raise taxes on wealthy inheritances to
their level before 2000.
And that is the way the very few very rich
always protected their riches and their good lives.
And one difference with the 1970ies and before is that most
of the once free press has changed 180 degrees, and now sings the praises of
the rich, in one totalitarian choir - see item 2.
Donald Trump’s War on the First
The fourth item is by Bill Blum on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed - and a grandiose narcissist (who
loves prosecuting anyone who dares to criticize his majestic mega-size
personality (in his experience)) indeed
If you were to ask Donald Trump’s
supporters what they most admire about the GOP front-runner, chances
would cite his so-called authenticity, his willingness to “tell it
like it is” and, perhaps more than anything else, his rejection of that
great bugaboo of the Obama Age: political
Such qualities ought to mean that
whatever else Trump may be—a blowhard, a demagogue, a bigot, a reality
TV huckster, a malignant narcissist, an unparalleled deal maker—he’s an
ardent believer in press protections, free speech and the First
Amendment. Indeed, in a Feb. 27 appearance on the Fox News channel,
Trump seemed—at first—to be saying so, declaring, “I
love free press. I think it’s great.”
But like much of what is taken as a given
in the crazy-town vortex that is the Trump presidential campaign, the
image of the candidate as a champion of free speech is a mirage.
cannot be expected to be honest when his own interests
The very next sentence that Trump
uttered during the Fox interview revealed a diametrically opposite view
of the First Amendment. “We ought to open up the libel laws,” he said,
thus making it easier to sue journalists who write critical things
Trump’s on-air comments came a day after
had addressed the same subject at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas.
Unhappy with certain news reports, he told a throng of cheering
followers, “I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of
people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible. If I become president, oh, do
they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.”
And this is how the First Amendment gets
involved, for that does mention the press explicitly, indeed
following free speech. Here it is:
Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the
people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a
redress of grievances.
What Trump wants is no free speech
that criticizes His Grandiose Personality and no press that can
criticize Him, and therefore he is quite prepared to have another First Amendment, or so it seems.
In case you doubt this here is the Super-human Super-genius (in his own
One of the things I’m going to do if I
win, and I hope we do, and we’re certainly leading, is I’m going to
open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and
horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.
We’re going to open up those libel laws so that when The New York Times
writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when The Washington
Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue
them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because
they’re totally protected.
That will then also be the end of any free speech -
but then free speech can be used to attack the Grandiose Trump, and
that should be absolutely prohibited.
Here is support for the extreme litigiousness of Trump The Grandiose,
who just cannot bear any little dent in His Grandiosity:
Trump is nothing if not litigious. As
the political journalist Olivia Nuzzi of The Daily Beast wrote last
year—in an article titled “Donald
Trump Sued Everyone but His Hairdresser”—Trump has filed cases
against “people, businesses, and entire cities and countries. He’s sued
a newspaper, his ex-wife, a quaint business card store in Georgia and a
Native American tribe. He’s cried breach of contract, government
favoritism, fraud, and libel.”
And when it comes to libel, contrary to
his daily pontifications about being a “winner,” you can count Trump
and his business interests among the biggest courtroom losers.
That is also true. The article ends like
And if He - the Grandiose Narcissist Trump -
does become president, all bets are off, or so it seems.
Derailing Trump’s war on the First
Amendment or at least confining it to isolated courtroom skirmishes
should be easy, but only if we keep one principle foremost in mind:
that he must never, ever—and here words almost fail me—become president
of the United States.
NASA Drops Major Bomb in 'March
Toward Ever-Warmer Planet'
The fifth and last item today is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
NASA this weekend released new
data which shows that February 2016 was not only the hottest in
recorded history, but it soared past all previous records, prompting
scientists to describe the announcement as "an ominous milestone in our
march toward an ever-warmer planet."
The average global surface temperature
for February was 1.35°C warmer than the global average for the month
between 1951-1980—a margin that shattered the previous record of
1.14°C, which was set just one
month earlier— and exceeded preliminary
figures released earlier this month.
I say. I am not very amazed (in fact, I
predicted that the Dutch would triumph- antly conclude something
similar by March 21), but this is a frightening number
(also because 1.35 C is a lot given the low temperatures of February).
Here is some more:
Stefan Rahmstorf, from Germany's Potsdam
Institute of Climate Impact Research and a visiting professorial fellow
at the University of New South Wales, told
the Sydney Morning Herald that the new figures are "quite
stunning ... it's completely unprecedented."
And given the increasing concentration
of carbon in the global atmosphere, which is driving
higher long-term temperature increases as well as other
weather events, the string of monthly
records is a foreboding sign.
I have said already - several times also -
that I do not think that "the climate problems" can be
solved by the present states and the present economies (as most climate
activists still seem to think).
This also does not mean you should do nothing about the climate
and the environment, but it does mean that I think you are mistaken if
you try to do it within the contexts of the present states and
economies: Only if these are radically revised will there be a
decent chance to do anything really useful about the climate.
And I am sorry I am not more optimistic, but I have been following the climate and the environment since 1971, and it still is going from bad to worse.
still is, and since both of the sites I have are copies of each other,
and each is over 500 MB, there is a lot of material on my site
(I use the singular
because the two sites I have are copies). Incidentally, the main
reasons I could write so much about the crisis are that I am ill (and now also pensioned);
that I have a lot of time; and that I have a lot of preparations,
since I know a lot about science, philosophy and politics (and much
more than most journalists: I spent most of 45 years on the
first two subjects).
Even so, and even while I am a fast writer and a fast reader, writing a
crisis blog takes between 4 and 6 hours every day, which gives one
reason why few
are able to do like I am, even if they were willing and paid. (I am not paid.)
 I am sick and I am crippled
(not being abled to walk for more than a small time, not being able to
stand for a long time, having muscle aches most of the time most of the
days for 37 years now), and I use these words because I heartily
despise political correctness that hypocritically insists that people
who are crippled and sick are not crippled and sick but "differently
abled" - and concludes from this utter bullshit that the "differently abled" are just as
good as anybody else and should not have help, not have support, and
should be left to fend for themselves.
Thank you, you stinkingly greedy egoistic hypocritical liars and deceivers,
who call yourselves "politically correct": Your bullshit, your lies,
your immoralities, and your degeneracies have ruined most of my chances
of getting decent help for 37 of my years now: There was systematically
no help for me for 37 years, except for the very minimal help every healthy and able person gets.
Thank you, you politically correct utter moral degenerates!
 It did. I get the same amount
of money in euros (or a little more numerically)
as I got in guilders in the 25 years between 1977 and
2002 - but I can buy less, and e.g. my rents that started at
around 250 guilders in 1993 are now 335 euros, for
precisely the same flat, which is a mere three times as much.
It is similar with everything else I can buy - and I am not
speaking here about the generally much
worse and much cheaper conditions (clothes, for example) that are
available to me. (And yes, I survived from 1977-2016 on an income that
is less than the legal minimum: In part because I was a
student; then got dole (that is 10% less than the social minimum); and
now get a minimal pension that is again 4% less than the social minimum because
I lived 2 years in Norway. So yes, I know what it is like to
live on a minimum budget and I lived on it for 37 years. If you didn't, I can't take your opinions seriously.)
 Here is Sir James Goldsmith - a very
rich speculator - who saw this very clearly in 1994 (but who
unfortunately died in 1997):
“When I was a boy we were taught that
irreversibly we were moving toward progress, that material wealth and
material prosperity would solve all our problems; it would improve our
way of life and our civilisation. And we achieved the creation of
material prosperity in a way which we would never have dreamt of, which
made the economy grow 400%…
But what have we done? We’ve
destabilized our society, we’ve increased umemployment massively, we’ve
totally destabilised our cities, we’ve uprooted our countryside, we’ve
increased crime. Every vital criteria needed for a stable society
has become negative. Therefore something must be wrong. What has become
wrong is that instead of the economy being there to serve us, we are
there, adoring, serving economic indices.”
This is quoted from Raving Bull-Shit, that
also links to the interview that Charlie Rose had with Goldsmith, that
is very well worth watching, were it only because he was a big and major
capitalist who saw clearly what was happening:
And yes, I think it makes a lot of political and economic sense to say that normally the rich gain what the poor are denied. For this is how it has been and is for thousands of years.