1. Brexit Wins As The UK
Votes To Leave EU In Historic
2. America's Last Hope:
Can Clinton's Reason Defeat
important social changes since 1975
This is a Nederlog of Friday, June 24, 2016.
is a crisis log, but it is a fairly brief one, for I slept far too
little last night.
There are three items: Item 1 is
about the fact that 52% of the British voted for leaving the EU (which
is a major change); item 2
is about a quite long article about Clinton and Trump (that is too
much about specific persons and descriptions of moods, for my tastes);
while item 3 is a reflection by me on eight
important social changes that occurred in Holland, Europe and the West
Wins As The UK Votes To Leave EU In Historic Referendum
first item today is by Nick Robins-Early on The Huffington Post:
This starts as follows:
I say! The above is a fair summary of the
presently known facts. There is considerably more in the article, but I
will leave that to your interests.
The United Kingdom will exit the
European Union after 43 years, as a majority of British voters chose
"leave" over "remain" in the country's EU referendum on Thursday.
Nearly complete tallies
showed a 52 percent to 48 percent split for leaving.
The result plunged Britain into an uncertain future, with both serious
and immediate political and economic ramifications.
The "leave" campaign took a surprising
early lead hours after the polls closed, and edged further ahead as the
counting continued. With "leave" leading, the British pound plummeted
to the lowest in 31 years, the The
Associated Press reported. U.S. financial
markets were expected to open sharply lower.
The U.K. will now enter into a two-year negotiation with the EU on how its
exit will be handled, although it could take even longer. The country
is bracing for market turmoil and a potential large scale depreciation
in the value of the British pound. Focus also turns to Prime Minister
David Cameron, who urged Britons to “remain” and is likely to face
pressure to resign following the "leave" result.
What do I think of this radical change? I think it will leave Great
Britain a considerably poorer country; I think it is quite possible
that David Cameron will go;
and I think more European countries will be more for exiting, although
I don't know
whether that will work.
But none of this is certain, though all are more probably the case than
not (in my estimate) and much remains to be seen.
This is a recommended article.
2. America's Last Hope: Can
Clinton's Reason Defeat Trump's Rage?
The second item is by Holger Stark on Spiegel International:
This is from near the beginning - and I
note that there are 4 pages to this article:
Trump turned 70 years old on that
Tuesday, but there has been no indication that he has become mellower
or wiser with age.
Can you really seek to cynically gain
political profit from the deaths of 49 mostly gay and lesbian human
beings, murdered by the New York-born son of Afghan immigrants? Can you
really utter a self-congratulatory "I told you so" in light of the
worst mass shooting in American history
Trump can. The question is becoming
increasingly pressing as to whether America, a proud, great and
powerful country, will fall into the hands of an egomaniac who wants to
prevent Muslims from entering the land and to deport millions of
illegal immigrants, a man who seeks to limit freedom of opinion and who
has threatened to terminate old friendships across the globe. A whiff
of 1950s McCarthyism is in the air, emitted by a candidate who is
stoking hatred against Muslims and immigrants to a degree never before
seen in a presidential campaign.
Well... mostly so, although I have also
seen several American commentators who said Trump made a major
mistake in his Orlando comments.
There is also this, on the general
I agree with the first paragraph, but the
second seems overstated, if only because Trump's speciality is not so
much his "at times feverish declamations" as his many straight lies and his total lack
of any moral decency.
The results of this presidential
election will have ramifications around the world. It's not just about
the construction of walls and societal peace in a divided country, it
is also about possible trade wars with Asia, the survival of the
trans-Atlantic alliance and America's relationship with the Arab world.
In November, the future of the international community is on the ballot.
In the face of the ferociousness of Trump's
campaign, his challenger Hillary Clinton seems helpless and
debilitated. Thus far, no Trump opponent, including Clinton, has found
a way to effectively combat the at times feverish declamations of this
Also, I should say that most of the four pages the article takes is
about mood and the opinions of some specific persons, none of which I
found interesting in any way.
I will give three more quotes, and most that I quote is factual. The
first is this:
Politics have in fact made the
Clintons rich. Since they left the White House in 2001, Bill and
Hillary have earned more than $150 million from public speaking
engagements. They have become part of the 1 percent.
This is simply true (that the Clintons did
succeed in getting both extremely well- known and quite rich), though I
have read varying estimates of their riches: $80 million, a $100
million, and now here $150 million. I have no idea which one is
correct, but it is certainly true that the Clintons got rich
Then - much further on - there is this on Hillary's "emailgate" (that I
suppose my readers are at least somewhat informed about):
All the allegations that have
chased Clinton for decades -- the ones Trump is now gratefully reciting
on the campaign trail -- are crystallized in this scandal: that Hillary
Clinton thinks she's above the law; that she makes her own rules; that
she evades any form of public supervision; and that she must have
something to hide.
This seems mostly correct. Finally, there is
this on Clinton's campaign:
The strategy of her team of
advisors for the coming months is to present Trump as a candidate who
seeks to exclude the majority of the population, a man who lets loose
with "bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies." She has
described Trump as being a man too unstable and dangerous to be given
access to the country's nuclear codes (...)
This is also factually correct, although I
should add that Holger Stark also writes that
Clinton's biggest strength now is the
widespread fear this man could become president. There are indications
these days that Trump may have gone too far with his message of
exclusion and hatred. The first poll taken after the massacre in
Orlando, published by Bloomberg, showed 49 percent of voters backing
Clinton compared to just 37 percent for Trump.
such facts as these (in which may be included that Clinton presently
has 35 times more money ready for her campaign than Trump) may not
be very important, which
again seems the reason he writes a lot about the opinions of specific
persons (who know Clinton better than others etc.)
I don't think I will recommend this, not so much because it is
bad (it isn't), as because it is mostly an exercise in writing about
moods and specific persons rather than verifiable important facts.
3. Eight important social changes since 1975
The third item is by me and doesn't have a
It is based on two entries in a journal I keep, the first from July 19,
1999 and the second from May 12, 2016.
The one from 1999 starts as follows:
Let me make a simple list of some
considerable social changes of the last 25 years, without
completeness and without a systematic perspective:
In 2016 I added these three items:
1. The position of women
2. Changes in eating habits
6. The "war
on terror" (propaganda term)
Changes in politics and political ideas
Here are brief comments on all major changes (which make 2016 rather a
lot different from 1975):
1. The position of women: Here
I am not talking about feminism, although that was important
too, but about social/political economics: Whether or not women
like it, most have been forced
to take jobs and earn money (whereas my mother, like most women of her
age, did not work after she got married, but did the household and did
most of the raising of her children).
It so happens - I think most work is simple wage slavery
- that I think that was a major setback: Women should not have
accepted that they were made into wage slaves, and instead should have taken much more education.
(But the academic feminists were nearly all for it, and were so from
their soft and well paid academic cushions, and "forgot" that the vast
majority of women don't have their educational advantages, and
must accept lousy jobs to survive.)
2. Changes in eating habits:
These are quite important, because we can't live without food, and in
Holland (where I live) the changes were great and radical: Eating and
cooking changed a lot.
This simply is a fact (and also in Great Britain: I know less about
other countries), but I do not
know much about social changes that were induced by it. One is probably
that people (in Holland and Great Britain at least) are better
fed than they were before 1975, which will have some influence on the
times they live, but apart from the fact that people did get
older on average (which probably has
something to do with changing eating habits, though I do not know by
how much) and the - rather large - economical changes, I do not have
good or precise ideas.
3. Computers/media: In 1999,
when I wrote this, I had a computer since 1987 (with which I was quite
though not very early), that from 1996 had internet connection, but the
really big changes all date from 2000-2010, namely when
"everyone" (mostly) bought a desktop, a laptop or a cellphone, all with
internet connection, and something like 4 billion people world wide got
some computer with internet.
Two other major developments with computers and computing since
2000 are the enormous commercialization of the internet, and the
incredible extent of spying and surveillance,
by dataminers, "social media" and the secret services, it seems from
virtually every country, all of whom mostly rely on the fact that much
of the internet is not encrypted.
For me, both changes are extremely negative, and the second
change may well secure, in the end - that we haven't reached yet - the
complete surveillance of everyone by the secret services,
especially those from one's own country, that will create a new kind of
neofascistic society: Who knows everything there is to know about
anyone, will have the absolute power. (That always was
abused, the last 2500 years.)
4. Drugs: Here I meant
(already in 1999) especially (i) the much increased acceptance
of soft drugs (marijuana and hashish); (ii) the much increased
usage of hard drugs (amphetamines, cocaine, heroine, ecstasy etc.); and
also the much decreased popularity of cigarettes and smoking.
In the 2000s soft drugs got more accepted (you can buy them
as-if they are legal in Holland, although they are not legal in
Holland), while hard drugs (in Holland, especially) went up and
down, though - as far as I know - not by far as much as the consumption
of soft drugs.
It should be recalled that until 1975 drugs (in the sense used here:
recreational drugs) were mostly used by "alternatives", "hippies", etc.
and not much by the rest of society. For soft drugs that has
considerably changed (in Holland and, to a lesser extent, in Europe and
I do not know how socially important drugs are, but my own position
(since 1969, indeed) is that soft drugs are considerably less
dangerous than alcohol, and should be legalized for that reason
alone, while recreational drugs in general, also should also be
legalized, indeed not because I am a proponent of them
(I am not) but because legalization offers by far the
best chances on a decent treatment of addicts.
5. Education: I know a lot
about education (especially but not only in Holland) until 2000, but
since then I know a lot less, mostly because I stopped having contacts
in the University of Amsterdam (that I had regularly visited since
1977), but the major changes in Holland happened before
2000, and can be summarized thus (compared to the standards that held
from 1865-1965): In Holland all education and all educational
standards were about halved between 1965 and 1995.
This is evidently true in standards (until 1965 you needed to
do a mostly written
examination to be allowed to study in a university in 14 to 16
subjects; from 1975 in 6, and the examinations were much
easier); it is true in times
(until 1995 you had six to eight years to finish an academic study,
since then it is four years, with considerably less materials, but
against a much higher cost for students); it is true in qualifications
(very few learn three foreign languages, but most did before 1965; by
2008 even people entering engineering needed to learn algebra at 18,
until 1965 everybody who could enter a university knew far more
mathematics) etc. etc.
In Holland, at least, nearly all these radical simplifications of
education were done in the name of "equality" (and indeed it seems
now that in most - not:
all - "university" subjects anybody with an IQ of 100 or higher can
make a degree - precisely as Tony Blair desired), but because of this,
and because in Holland "everybody knows everyone is of the same value
as everyone else", and because there is very little real
information about universities and schools, the great
simplifications in education are widely denied and hardly
Also, while I know the most about Holland, I do know that somewhat
similar changes happened in England and the rest of Europe, although
the actual changes may be quite different. The general outcome
everywhere was similar: Less education; lesser degrees;
and far higher costs for the students to finish their
For me, this is one of the major losses. If you want to see why, read
my columns on education
(published originally in 1988 and 1989, on paper, but - still - quite
6. The "war on terror" (propaganda
term): I do know that the "war on terror" also was started by
Reagan, but I refer to the developments since 9/11.
My own view of it comes to this: This is a real and major war in the
Middle East, but in the West is mostly done by propaganda
and by the breaking down of the state of law through the
combination of deregulations and
the systematic secret surveillance of everyone through
their internet computers (including cell phones).
I do not know, but it seems more probable to me
than not that 9/11 was a false flag operation (by parts of the
US army), just as it seems to me certain that the "war on
terrror" did not have terrorism as
its prime end, but the collection of everything that the secret
services could find on anyone's computer (that has connection with
internet), which indeed happens and is furthered by loads of propaganda
against "terrorism", while it in fact succeeded in getting secret
dossiers on everyone who has an internet computer.
7. Changes in politics and
political ideas: There have been major
changes in politics and in political ideas. In Holland, I refer
especially to the neoliberalization of the social democrats and the
disappearance of the communists, and indeed of much of the real
left, but there were major changes elsewhere too:
Bill Clinton who propagated (the fraudulent) "The Third Way"
while implementing a deeply conservative economical and social
the end of social security and more); Blair who follows Clinton, and
takes down socialism as an end of the Labour Party, while serving the
rich; the German unification; the European unification (into the EU);
the radical turn to the right of the American Republicans, and of much
of politics (the GOP is now extremely rightist; while the Democrats are
now where the Republicans stood 25 years ago or so); and the radical
turnings to the right in much of Europe.
In general terms these changes can be described as a turn towards the
right combined with the destruction of most of the real left,
that also was coupled to a major increase in propaganda and
the loss of truth
Both of the last two losses relate to radical changes in the
main media (mostly through corporate mergers of media and losses of
and also to the postmodernist
denial that truth
8. The crisis: By this I refer to the
crisis of 2008, that in 2016 still continues for nearly everyone in the
90% (who is not either rich or a highly educated servant of the rich or
of governments). Indeed, here is a graph of the general tendency of the
crisis (this is for the USA):
That is: Since the 1970ies the
few rich have become - consistently, over 45 years - richer and richer,
while the many non-rich have -
consistently, over 45 years - become poorer and poorer - and yes, the
graph is in terms of the 90% non-rich and the 10% rich (and note the
major changes that Reagan introduced).
I think there were many major changes since 1975, and most of these - 6 out of 8 discussed above - resulted in major setbacks of everyone who is not rich and not a rightist.
And I will leave it today at this.