1. In the Hillary Clinton
Era, Democrats Welcome
Lobbying Money Back Into the
2. An Interview With the Green Party’s Jill Stein
3. Over $100,000: That's How Much Big Finance Rips You
4. The Content of Donald Trump’s Character
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, July 30, 2016.
is a crisis log. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item
1 is about
how the Democratic politicians, quite like the Republican politicians,
sold out completely to the rich, it seems because the vast majority of
elected politicians are both major liars and eager to be corrupted;
item 2 is a - to me - very
disappointing interview with Jill Stein, who
managed not to answer any question (and I explain myself and I advice not
to vote for her at all, conse- quentially: better not
to vote at all than to vote for Jill Stein, since this will
to Trump); item 3 is about American economics and
the purported fact
that the average American household lost over $100,000 to banks and
financiers (and while I am sympathetic I am a bit skeptical); and item
4 is about Trump's character, which will not teach you anything new
(if you read Nederlog regularly),
but which does seem fair to me.
1. In the
Hillary Clinton Era, Democrats Welcome Lobbying Money Back Into the
first item today is by Zaid Jilani and Alex Emmons on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
By quietly dropping a ban on direct
donations from registered federal lobbyists and political action
committees, the Democratic National Committee in February reopened
the floodgates for corruption that Barack Obama had put in place in
Secret donors with major public-policy
agendas were welcomed back in from the cold and showered with access
and appreciation at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.
Major donors were
offered “Family and Friends” packages, including suites at the
Ritz-Carlton, backstage passes, and even seats in the Clinton family
box. Corporate lobbyists like Heather Podesta celebrated the change,
“My money is now good.”
What was going on inside the convention
hall was also reflected outside, at costly events sponsored by the
fuel industry, technology
companies, and railway
companies, to name a few.
I say. Here are two general points I want
to make about this fact (which I do regard as a fact):
You may doubt both points, but I simply say: "Follow
- given a chance to get richer themselves, only a small minority will
investigate the processes they vote for that get them richer, and a
considerably smaller minority will say "no" to the many possibilities
to enrich themselves.
- First, this means that the Democratic
Party has gone the same way as the Republican Party as regards
corruption and the rich: The rich are welcomed with open arms, that
are wider open the more they pay, and they are now completely
free to corrupt - i.e. to buy with their money - any Democratic
- Second, this corruption has not
been initiated by the rich: It has been initiated by the Democratic
politicians because they love corruption, simply because this
makes them a whole lot richer.
I think the above first quotation (reread it in case you doubt
me) can only be explained rationally as I just did, which explanation
is indeed based on one general presumption: Almost any politician
will grab at chances that increase his or her own financial worth - which
seems quite valid, for it is also true of most Americans. And
politicians are better placed and get bigger chances to
get richer by pleasing the rich than anybody else.
Here are two reactions. The first seems quite correct to me:
Craig Holman, an elections
financing expert at Public Citizen, said that the end of the lobbyist
contribution ban as well as Congress’s 2014 termination
of all remaining public financing of the party conventions has
served to undermine democracy. “The implications of these changes
are that we have opened up access to the parties and the conventions to
just the very, very wealthy,” he said.
Yes. Democracy is dead in the USA, and it has
been killed quite intentionally by majorities of the
politicians of both parties, who saw that by deregulating all legal
restraints on spending and on the rich, they guaranteed that as
long as they have power they may get enormous amounts of money
from the rich when they help the rich to get richer.
And note that since all legal restraints on spending and on the
rich have been broken down, the politicians profit much like the
bankmanagers profited in 2008-2010, and they do so because they
themselves have created the conditions in which they themselves
and could profit as much as they can.
Here is the second reaction, of the Democratic lawmakers:
But an overwhelming majority of
Democratic lawmakers we spoke to at the convention didn’t seem troubled
by the rule change at all.
I'd say: Of course they
are not troubled at all - in fact, the large majority will
embrace the possibilities they themselves created to become
as rich as they can while being a politician, and then accept a
job at a big bank that pays even better.
That is modern politics in the USA: Totally
corrupt; totally undemocratic; and fully in the services of precisely one
very small group, the very rich, who have the money to corrupt almost
everyone, while all the laws that kept them from doing so have
been systematically deregulated
in the last 35 years by the very politicians who ought
to have maintained these laws.
And note this is the case for both parties, indeed with the
exceptions of a very few.
2. An Interview With the Green Party’s Jill Stein
The second item is by Alice Speri
on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
As the Democratic convention in
Philadelphia progressed, and hopes of a revolution on the floor quickly
faded for the thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters, support for
another figure began to emerge on the streets: Green Party
candidate Jill Stein. By the end of the week, Vote Jill signs where
everywhere in the city, her name often scribbled directly over old
Sanders posters and T-shirts. Bernie’s revolution had taken an
unexpected turn, and as more protesters and delegates called for a
“Demexit,” talk of a third-party option suddenly gained ground at a
major party convention. On Thursday, as Clinton prepared to accept
her party’s nomination, The Intercept spoke with Stein at an
improvised South Philly campaign headquarters.
I suppose this is mostly factually correct.
It also isn't very precise, simply because no one really knows how many
of Sanders' supporters now are willing to vote for Clinton in order to
stop the horrific and insane Donald Trump  and
how many refuse to do
so, but with these qualifications I accept this is mostly factually
correct, in so far as people know the facts.
Next, here are a number of questions + replies by Jill Stein, which
convinced me that she is not at all a candidate I could
vote for, simply because either she is not honest at all or
else because she is quite stupid or else because she is blinded by her ideology - and I am sorry, but that is
what I think. And I will explain myself. 
Consider for yourself:
Come November, is there a
No, the two-party system is the worst
case scenario. In my view the worst horror of all is a political system
that tells us we have to choose between two lethal options, and that’s
what we have to fight and we shouldn’t be manipulated into thinking
it’s one or the other of these villains out there, one or the other
Sorry, but this is plain bullshit,
much like replying to the question "which is the better game: chess or
checkers?" with "That is not the question at all, the question is what
you think about killing lions".
It is a totally irrealistic reply that simply refuses
to admit even the basic fact that one is forced in November to
choose from two evils.
One of the main criticisms of your
campaign is that the “moral choice” is a privilege that those who have
the most to lose out of a Trump presidency can’t afford. Poor people,
people of color, immigrants, people who need a higher minimum wage,
health care access, immigration reform.
I think that’s really subject to debate.
Because who is it that ushered in the agenda of globalization, of
rigged trade agreements, of Wall Street deregulation? This was the
Clintons. This is the core of Clintonism. That’s what’s creating the
Sorry, but this is again plain bullshit:
She answers a question about the difficulties of the many poor by
pretending that the answer is that the Clintons caused rightwing
extremism - which is like answering the question how the poor are
supposed to feed themselves by an answer about royal privileges.
If you were to actually win an
election wouldn’t the extreme right panic and radicalize even more?
I don’t think so at all. I don’t think
the resistance is there because we are progressive, the resistance is
there because neoliberalism is not progressive. Neoliberalism has
caused an incredible crisis of austerity, a crisis of jobs, of labor
rights, health care, student debt, and the rest of it. I think this is
what’s driving the crisis.
Sorry, but this is again plain
bullshit: She is asked about what would happen in - the extra-ordinarily
implausible - case she would win the elections, but again does not
answer that question at all, and instead pretends that saying
"neoliberalism is not progressive" is an answer, which is like
answering a question what the right would do by pretending that
the answer is that the right is not the left.
This is the last bit of utter bullshit by Jill Stein that I will quote. She answers the question
about Sanders' motives - who clearly is very afraid
Trump will win because he believes (with Ariana Huffington) that "Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and
is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther" - not by discussing Sanders' motives but by the
completely uninformative baloney that she thinks "his paradigm is obsolete". I say...
and why not "because he is not a Catholic"?
Let’s go back to Bernie Sanders for
a moment. Why do you think he has chosen to throw his support
behind Clinton, and is now trying to get his supporters to do the same?
I think his paradigm is obsolete.
I have by now made up my mind about Jill Stein (and previous items
about her are here, here and here)
and I think her presentation of herself is bad, while her
answers are nearly always bullshit (also earlier by the way: see
Here are two conclusions, and indeed the first was formulated on February 22 last:
Also, while I did not like Jill Stein at all , this interview is recommended.
- She will not win the
presidency and a vote for her does lessen
the chances that the lesser evil of two evil candidates for the
presidency will win the
- So my advice is that if you can't
vote for Hillary Clinton (who is bad but who is not mad
nor insane), not to vote at all, because a vote for
Jill Stein is a vote against Clinton and therefore a vote for
3. Over $100,000: That's
How Much Big Finance Rips You Off
The third item is by Lynn Stuart Parramore on AlterNet and originally
on New Economic Thinking:
This has a subtitle:
New research shows that the average
U.S. household loses over $100,000 to destructive activities of bankers
I say. I admit that is quite a
lot, so let's see. This starts as follows:
America’s financial system is broken for
all but a few at the top; that much is plain. The rest sense that we
are stuck on the minus end of some great financial formula, but given
the complexity and size of Big Finance, it’s hard to pin down exactly
why it happens and how it all adds up.
I agree with this. Next, there is this:
Enter economist Gerald Epstein of the
University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has dived in and crunched the
numbers, and the results are eye-popping. Epstein and his colleague
Juan Antonio Montecino look at exactly how families, taxpayers and
businesses get ripped off by dubious financial activities and tally up
the costs in a new paper for the Roosevelt Institute, “Overcharged:
The High Cost of Finance.” (The Institute for New Economic Thinking
has also supported several
papers by Epstein.)
Epstein and Montecino report the grand
total of the loss to Americans: "We estimate that the financial system
will impose an excess cost of as much as $22.7 trillion between 1990
and 2023, making finance in its current form a net drag on the American
Hm. There are some seven years to
go until 2023, so this seems to me a bit of an overstatement.
Then there is this:
This bloated, inefficient
financial system tends to lower economic growth—Epstein reckons that
between 1990 and 2005, the cost to the overall economy was between 2½
to 4 trillion dollars. Americans have also paid because of the banking
shenanigans which helped set off the 2008 financial crisis—they may
have lost their jobs or seen their wages reduced or their homes
foreclosed. Many never regain their financial footing.
“If you add up all of these costs,” says
Epstein, “which we do in this report, you get a figure somewhere
between 13 trillion and 23 trillion dollars. That comes out to between
$40,000 and $70,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. from
roughly 1990 to 2005.”
I say. But this means that a family of 4 -
each and every American family of 4 - lost around
$200,000 in 15 years. That means on average loosing a bit over $13,000
a year, which means loosing a bit over $1000 a month. I admit that I
think that is a whole lot, and while I think nearly all of the
American non-rich did loose considerable amounts of
money, I am not convinced of this estimate - but I admit that
(i) I am not an economist, and (ii) I have not read
their paper (and will not). 
Here is the last bit I'll quote from this article:
I agree with all of that, but I am not
convinced of their numbers, although I do agree that almost every
American who does not belong to the rich has lost
considerable amounts of money.
Can the excess costs of finance be
reduced? Can the financial sector once again play a more productive
role in society?
Epstein and Montecino say yes. “To accomplish this,” they write, “we
need three complementary approaches: improved financial regulation,
building on what Dodd-Frank has already accomplished; a restructuring
of the financial system to better serve the needs of our communities,
small businesses, households, and public entities; and public financial
alternatives, such as cooperative banks and specialized banks, to level
the playing field.
4. The Content of Donald Trump’s
The fourth item
today is by Marjorie Cohn on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
Yes, that is correct to the best of my
knowledge, as it is also correct that Donald Trump's best people are all
members of his direct family, notably his parents and his children.
In his acceptance speech for the
Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump declared, “My Dad,
Fred Trump, was the smartest and hardest working man I ever knew. . . .
It’s because of him that I learned, from my youngest age, to respect
the dignity of work and the dignity of working people.”
Donald apparently forgot what his father
taught him. The GOP nominee refuses to pay the people who work for him.
“Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A
carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of
bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to
coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically,
several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others,”
wrote Steve Reilly in USA Today.
Here is some more:
And Trump denounced Gonzalo Curiel, a
well-respected federal judge of Mexican heritage who is presiding over
a lawsuit in San Diego filed by people claiming they were scammed by
Trump University. After Curiel unsealed documents, Trump declared that
Curiel had “an absolute conflict” that should disqualify him from the
case. Trump’s reason: “He is a Mexican,” adding, “I’m building a wall.
It’s an inherent conflict of interest.”
Trump’s overriding theme, “Make America
Great Again,” is a euphemism for “Make America White Again.” Indeed,
Trump was a founder of the birther movement, whose aim was to discredit
Barack Obama by claiming he was born in Kenya, thus stoking racist
attacks throughout his presidency. That movement evolved into the Trump
for president campaign, which is steeped in racial hatred.
This comprises some of my reasons
to insist that in my - psychologist's - opinion, Trump is not
There is also this:
Trump is sexist as well as racist. His
comments about women reveal his misogyny. He has referred to women as
“dog,” “fat pig,” “slob,” “degenerate” and “disgusting animal.” And
Trump disgustingly said of Megan Kelly, “You could see there was blood
coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
The GOP nominee has no more respect for
the disabled than he does for women, workers and people of color,
publicly mocking a reporter with a disability.
This comprises some more of my
reasons to insist that in my - psychologist's - opinion, Trump is not
But you can make up your own mind, and this is a recommended article.
think Donald Trump has horrific political and economic ideas, and I
think he is not sane. You may disagree, but you probably are not a
psychologist. In fact, I have seen certified insane persons
(in Holland) who did not have his money, and who indeed were not
sane, but who were definitely saner than Trump, judged by what
 I do explain
myself in this article, and that is probably also the last I have
written about Jill Stein simply beause she does not answer
almost any question like a rational person
I do not know the reason, though I can make a guess: Stupidity
(of a kind) is possible, but is not very likely because she is at least
intelligent; dishonesty is possible, and no doubt involved somewhere,
but also cannot be a complete explanation; so in the end I assume the most
likely answer is that she has been blinded by her ideology (which
also happens to many politicians).
But in any case, for me Jill Stein is out. Her answers are simply too irrational and too
unreasonable to take her seriously. (I would take her more
seriously if she had a chance of winning the election, but she doesn't.)
 And I am genuinely
sorry for that, but I do have my standards, and she just doesn't make
it. Indeed, here is a comparison: I know Chris Hedges supports
her (with whom I disagree about this), but I would have been considerably
more sympathetic to the Green Party if Hedges were its leader. I still
would disagree, but he is a far better writer, is considerably more
rational, and also seems a lot more honest to me and a lot more
 That I am not
an economist (of which I know a fair amount) is meant in two
ways: it is somewhat of an excuse, but then again I also do not think
economy is a real science. (If it were far more
economists would have foreseen and predicted the 2008 crisis, for
example. In fact, hardly anyone did.)
And that is also a good part of the reason why I don't read their
paper: There is so much I could read that I generally skip papers from
"sciences" I do not consider are real sciences (including psychology,
sociology, pedagogy, philosophy and economics) until they have been
properly replicated two times.
(This happens very rarely, which again is a sign these are not real