from December 11, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Monday, December 11,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) 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 two 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
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from December 11, 2017
Magical Thinking Is Keeping a Lid on Political
2. Trump Appears Delusional—But Then So Is the Republican
3. Saving Private Enterprise: Director Jacob Kornbluth on His
Robert Reich Film
4. Republicans Really, Really Hate the Press
5. Google hiring 10,000 reviewers to censor YouTube content
items 1 - 5 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:
Thinking Is Keeping a Lid on Political Protests
This article is by Paul Street on Truthdig. It starts as
tax cut Washington politicians are working on this holiday season ought
to be a call to arms for the United States’ populace. The nation’s
economy is already so savagely unequal that the top 10th of its upper 1
as much wealth as its bottom 90 percent. Its corporations are
raking in record profits. Half of its citizens have no
savings. Half its population
lives in or near poverty. Twenty-one percent of its children
are growing up at less than the federal government’s notoriously
inadequate poverty level, and 41 million Americans—12.3 percent of the
Yes indeed: I agree with
the facts stated here and indeed I also seem to share the same question
with Paul Street: Why are so few
against this great unfairness? If only because most Americans
are plundered by the very few very rich?
Then again, I do not think that the answer is "magical
thinking" (however defined): I think there are several answers but the
two main ones are that a considerable majority of the Americans are
I am sorry, but that is the factual truth. And the
problems with that
answer seem to be these:
First, the majority of Americans probably disagrees. Second,
the majority of Americans feels offended. And third, the
majority of Americans can anonymously
scold anyone they please and
call them virtually anything: There are almost no sanctions
whatsoever, and anonymity is mostly unbreakable for people without
corporate riches or great political powers.
Also, I am willing to agree that my answers are those of a very
intelligent M.A. in psychology - which again makes my answers less
credible to those who did not study
I am sorry for that, but facts are facts, also if the majority is moved
thinking guided by ignorance and egoism, and
covered by the
careful individual anonymity of almost anyone.
Back to the article. Here is more by Paul Street:
It is against the backdrop
of this shocking disparity and related want that one should try to
comprehend the regressive and malignant sociopathology of a Republican
tax “reform” that:
● Drastically slashes the
corporate tax rate without closing loopholes and deductions that allow
the nation’s already cash-flush corporations to register their profits
● Does nothing to switch
corporations’ focus from maximizing short-term returns to investing in
the creation of more jobs and higher wages.
● Encourages corporations
to invest in automation without offering any assistance to displaced
● All but eliminates the
estate tax for the nation’s richest families.
● Adds $1.5 trillion to the
nation’s debt over the next decade, setting the stage for major slashes
to the nation’s three biggest social insurance programs—Social
Security, Medicaid and Medicare (they will be cut back in the name of
“scaling back” so-called entitlement programs to “reduce the deficit”).
Yes indeed - and this
is just the beginning of a considerably longer list of points,
can check out by going to the original.
And at this point I
have a question: How do you think voting, writing on the
internet, doing politics, being a responsible citizen would work out if
the average IQ was over 130?
In actual fact, only 2%
make that mark or are higher. All I suggest here - and I easily pass
that test, as did my parents - are two points: First, I don't
really know, were it only because 98% does not pass that test.
Second, I do believe the differences would be quite large.
(Also apart from the fact that I don't think IQs are good
measures of real intelligence.
All they are is the best test we have,
although it is not very good.)
Here is more by Paul
The GOP tax “reform”
rewards the already rich and punishes the poor at a time, The
Atlantic notes, “when post-tax corporate profits have hovered at a
record-level high for the last seven years, and the 1 percent’s share
of total income is higher than at any time in the second half of the
20th century.” The just-passed Senate bill, likely to be “reconciled”
with the right-wing House version and signed by Donald Trump before
Christmas, grants what New
York magazine calls “a huge windfall for the wealthiest Americans.”
Quite so. And here is part of
the facts that makes the passing of that bill totally undemocratic,
and an excellent example of authoritarianism:
Adding authoritarian insult
to plutocratic injury, the Senate tax bill was rammed through the upper
chamber with brutal speed and barely a speck of public input. As John
Cassidy notes in The New Yorker, “the process … [has] … been a
travesty of the legislative process. … [T]here have been no public
hearings, and the measure is being rushed through in a few weeks, with
virtually no transparency.”
That is: It is passed
by both the House and the Senate for basically two reasons: It is not
or hardly read by most who voted on it (for or against), and
that the great majority of those voting on it, both Democrats and
Republicans, walk on the leash of those who pay them the most
(i.e. not the voters but the bankers).
Here is Paul Street's
So why don’t we see
millions of Americans in the streets protesting the brazenly oligarchic
tax heist being perpetrated in the name of “fairness,” “simplicity” and
even “democracy”? I can’t answer that question in full here.
I also can't answer it in
full, but I am rather certain that my partial answer that it has a
great lot to do with the stupidity and
of the majority of
the American adults (voters or no voters).
Next, I skip a lot and arrive
at this bit:
There are some people who
think the Democratic Party can be reformed from within by changing the
personnel. I say good luck to that. (....)
Unfortunately, to put it in one phrase, the Democrats are unable to
defend the United States of America from the most vicious, ignorant,
corporate-indentured, militaristic, anti-union, anti-consumer,
anti-environment, anti-posterity [Republican Party] in history.
I agree, and the reason is
that from Bill Clinton onwards being a Democratic president and being a
Democrat has moved from representing the voters to representing
extremely rich buyers once one has been voted in: In the present
democracy (at the hightest points of government) = corruption.
corruption also pays well.
The article ends as follows:
Welcome to the de facto
banana republic that is, as Noam Chomsky said, America’s “really
existing capitalist democracy—RECD, pronounced as ‘wrecked.’ ”
I agree with Chomsky - but I
also believe that the chances on a revolution are nil in the
circumstances. (After a major economic collapse it may be different.)
And this is a recommended
Appears Delusional—But Then So Is the Republican Party
This article is by Conor Lynch on AlterNet and originally on
Salon. It starts as follows:
tenuous relationship with the truth has always been somewhat of a
mystery, and it has often been difficult to tell whether the president
is truly delusional or simply the biggest con man on the planet.
Well... yes and no.
Since he announced his
presidential candidacy more than two years ago, Trump has peddled
conspiracy theories and falsehoods to the public like a false prophet
selling hope, displaying an almost pathological disregard for the
truth. As a result, many critics have assumed that he is a liar
who deliberately and knowingly deceives the public. Others have
contemplated whether he truly believes some of the nonsense that
come out of his mouth, thus challenging the notion that he is
The main reasons for me to say no is that (i) I am a
psychologist (with more experiences of dealing with mad persons
than most psychologists have ), that (ii) it has
been glaringly evident to me that the very probable best psychological
diagnosis of Trump is that he
is a megalomaniac aka malignant
narcissist, which is an obvious personality disorder, that
also is very
hard to cure; and that (iii) I have been saying now that Trump is an
obviously mad person for nearly two years now, but (iv)
on and on and on and on discussing Trump's failures, idiocies, lies and
grandiosities without ever having read anything by
psychologists, or so it seems.
And indeed I do not mean that I do not seem to be read: I mean
that the evidence of the psychologists and psychiatrists has been
quite clear, and also quite comprehensible to average
intellects without any real knowledge of psychology or psychiatry -
but it hardly seems to be read or understood by the very
many journalists who do offer their own guesses about what
ails Trump (such as e.g. "kleptocracy").
For me that is meanwhile quite frightening. I do not
ordinary people know little of psychology or psychiatry, for indeed
they do not have to, and they also normally can function quite well
while knowing hardly anything of these subjects. 
But if even the journalists who are supposed to find the facts
the facts that are in the news systematically and for two years
miss reading anything by specialists who may risk their careers to
speak the truth about Trump (for American psychiatrists are forbidden
to diagnose anyone without his or her personal consent, also
if it is a man whom they think is obviously not there in several
important respects and who can blow up 7 billion persons by
arms: forbidden by the APA. )
Here is more from this article:
Last week, however,
the New York Times and the Washington Post
published separate articles that suggest the president
actually believes in his own BS most of the time, and that he has come
to live in his own warped version of reality (call it “Trumptopia”).
The coinciding reports, published on the same day, both portray
the president as an increasingly deranged man who decides what is
true and what is false (i.e., “fake news”), regardless of the evidence.
Well, yes indeed .... but
this was obvious - self-evident - for any psychologist
and any psychiatrist who reads the (observational!) definition
that leads to the diagnosis that one has a narcissistic
personality disorder if one satisfies 5 or more from 9 criterions,
while it is an obvious (observational!) truth that Trump
satisfies all 9 criterions.
And this was said already two years ago by several qualified
psychologists and psychiatrists. But about two years later,
namely "[l]ast week" two newspapers published articles "that suggest the president actually believes
in his own BS most of the time".
I haven't read them (I have more to do), but I suspect that,
once again, the journalists
who wrote them either do not know any psychology or psychiatry,
not believe any, or at least do not refer to any article
psychologists or psychiatrists.
Post article is no less disturbing, and
the reporters note that even “when presented with irrefutable
evidence, Trump finds a way to question unflattering facts.”
Whether it’s his defeat in the popular vote, Robert Mueller's probe
into possible Russian campaign collusion or Obama’s birth certificate,
Trump doesn’t let concrete facts get in the way of his alternative
And once again: All
of this - and considerably more - was said by psychologists and
psychiatrists, long ago as well. But it seems not
the journalists of the Washington Post.
Precisely the same holds for this bit (and note the pretty
sick "almost certainly", given the fact that at least
by Trump have been listed and discussed - and the
"seem to confirm", which is bullshit for
the same reason):
These reports seem
to confirm that Trump is often a true believer in the conspiracy
theories and falsehoods that he spreads. This is not to say that the
president isn’t a liar, which he almost
certainly is, but that he has been a bullshit artist for so long that
he has come to believe in much of his own bullshit.
And this is from the end:
become exceptionally tolerant of bullshit, but Trump’s bullshit has
come to be a problem. It is so brazen and transparent that it
has revealed how little the party actually cares about the truth
— just as Trump’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric
revealed the deep-seated racism within the Republican electorate.
I agree with the very
beginning (and see below) but more or less the
same is true of the Democrats, who likewise work for
the bankers who pay them.
Private Enterprise: Director Jacob Kornbluth on His New Robert Reich
article is by Alex Demyanenko on AlterNet and originally on Capital and
I am looking at this interview because Kornbluth (the interviewee) is a
collaborator of Robert
Reich, who is an intelligent man (which
is something I do not think of many), who also knows a lot
about economy, and who can express himself quite clearly (which again is something
I do not think of many), but with whom I also have several
deep disagreements, notably about capitalism (which Reich is for and I
am against) and also about truthful reporting, for Reich propagates
lies and prejudices about Europe, in
which I lived all my 67 years, and which is a lot worse than he
from near the beginning:
(...) So basically, of those in the top 10 percent [economically], you
see Republicans and Democrats disagree on just about everything — but
the economy is essentially working for them. I don’t think Americans
like to see themselves as a country where class is that much at the
forefront, in the way they do in Europe, but when you see the economic
division spilling over into these other areas like politics, and it’s
really changing the way politics function on a meaningful level, I
don’t think you can ignore it anymore.
I agree with Kornbluth that
for the top 10% of the incomes the American capitalist system works in
the sense that they get good money and probably are living fairly well,
and certainly a lot better than most of the other 90%.
Then again, I also believe
I disagree with him about class, for reasons that are set out
in the last link, but I am not certain (and Kornbluth is much
younger than I am and did not have an academic education).
Here is the question I
am concerned with:
Your film and
Reich’s book are called Saving Capitalism. Some have said
Marx was wrong about communism but he was right about capitalism, that
eventually it would devour itself and spin out of control because of
greed, and that is what we are seeing now. So why should we save it?
a really important question. I mean, you’re talking to the son of very
left-leaning parents. One thing that Reich has taught me, is to forget
the “ism” for a moment and just look at rules of an economic system.
Stop thinking that capitalism is going to save or hurt us, and stop
thinking socialism is going to save us or hurt us and start thinking
that we have one economic political system and let’s think about all
the rules that go into it and examine them one by one, and ask, Who do
those rules benefit and who do they hurt?
You see that the rules of
our economic system are written by the people with the power to write
them, and then over the last 40 or 50 years all of those rules have
gone more towards the wealthy and the powerful and away from regular
people. Well, it wasn’t always like that in America.
First this: I think
that my own background is very probably considerably
more "left-leaning" than Kornbluth's:
Both of my parents were
- real - communists for 45 or more years; my father's father was a
communist; my mother's parents were anarchists, and my father, mother and grandfather also
were in the - real - resistance in WW II, which cost my
grandfather's life and cost my father more than 3 years and 9 months of
being locked up in four Nazi
concentration camps. (And except for my brother, I do not
know of anyone with such a leftist background.)
Next, what is
capitalism? Kornbluth doesn't say, and I am also not aware that Reich
ever clearly defined capitalism. From what Kornbluth says in the last
paragraph, I infer that he - at least, for I don't know about Reich -
seems to believe it is mostly a political and a legal system
(in which the few rich write most of the rules that keep the many
non-rich not rich, and that maintain the inequalities in money and
power) rather than an economic one.
I don't say no, and
here is my own definition of capitalism,
but I also insist that the system he - more or less - defines is not
primarily economical but legal, indeed because he says "the rules of our economic system are written
by the people with the power to write them", which stresses power and the law
much more than the economy that results from this.
Again I don't say no,
but it also remains rather vague, as indeed does the decision that
capitalism is worth saving. (I'd say not, given that I
am for freedom and equality, but again I don't really know what Reich
and Kornbluth do think.)
Here is the last bit
that I quote:
A recent poll said
that more millennials believe in socialism than capitalism. And more
believed in fascism than capitalism, too. What does that say? Are
millennials just fed up, or maybe more idealistic, or are they just
a bunch of ways to read something like that. One way to say it is
[that] a lot of people feel like the game is rigged, which is true, and
they are sick of it. They don’t feel like their voices are heard. But
there is a very important question which is, What is capitalism,
specifically? If it’s simply the free exchange of private property,
then every country in the world today is some version of a capitalist
country, or on some sort of a capitalism/socialism spectrum. You sort
of can decide what you want to call it.
This is also quite
vague, so all I say is that I definitely think that "the millenials"
(at most around 20 now, I'd say) are considerably more naive
than I am (who is 67, academically qualified, and has been a very
big reader since over 50 years).
But in the end I am
mostly dissatisfied with this interview, indeed because I still
know why Reich wants to save capitalism, as I also still don't
what Reich does understand by the term "capitalism".
4. Republicans Really,
Really Hate the Press
article is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. It starts with a graph that I
do not reproduce but summarize as follows:
65 and 75% of Democrats (since 2005) "trust the press", while
30 and 15% of Republicans (since 2005) "trust the press"
some more there, but one difficulty I have with this Gallup
Poll is that I have been reading "the press" since 60 years or so, and
have found, quite consistently also, and by reading great amounts
of "the press" (and certainly since 2013), that there definitely are
two kinds of "the press", namely the fairly
well-known and widely spread
mainstream media, that these days mostly spread propaganda,
less well-known but still rather well-read non-mainstream media,
are considerably more reliable than the mainstream, and that
financially speaking quite different.
But I see
nothing of that quite obvious distinction in
"the press": it totally disappears. Then again, let us for the moment
accept the conclusion that one major difference between Democrats and
Republicans is trust in "the press", for Democrats have between
2 and 5
times as much trust as Republicans.
there is this:
Perhaps, although I personally
would not that "the press" (?!) (bolding added) "is aggressively covering Donald
Trump’s gaffes" etc., but this
may be a matter of interpretation.
nothing much happened in 2016, and then trust skyrocketed in 2017. It’s
now at its highest point in two decades. What this seems to suggest is
two things. First, the horrible overcoverage of Hillary Clinton’s
emails in 2016 never became an issue among ordinary voters. It’s a big
deal to us political junkies, but not to anyone else. Second, the fact
that the press is aggressively covering Donald Trump’s gaffes and the
Trump-Russia connection—and that Trump is attacking them back—has made
Democrats far more trusting of the press.
This is the bit that made me select the present article for review:
routinely ignorant of basic constitutional rights, and surveys
frequently show lots of them favoring restrictions on press freedom,
religious freedom, gun ownership, fair trials, and so forth. Still,
nearly half of Trump voters think the government should “be able to
stop a news media outlet from publishing a story that government
officials say is biased or inaccurate.” This is not a national security
thing, it’s a flat-out belief that Trump should be able to block the
press from saying anything he doesn’t approve of. We don’t have trend
data on this, but I have to believe that it’s quite a bit higher than
in the past.
This goes pretty far beyond the usual American constitutional ignorance.
Yes indeed and I
completely agree: A considerable number of American voters now think
that "Trump should be able
to block the press from saying anything he doesn’t approve of". That is, they are effectively in
favor of dictatorship, complete rightist authoritarianism,
and the denial of all freedoms of expression to anyone they
I sat this is out and out totalitarian
- and I also should warn you that Wikipedia (that seems to be
collapsing to the rich) has redefined totalitarianism so that
apply to persons, to voters, to political movements, or indeed to anything
a political system in which the state recognizes no limits to its authority
and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life
which makes a total lie
of almost everyone (very many)
that I have read on
totalitarianism in the last fifty years, from Orwell onwards: These
must all be liars or be deluded, that is, according
to the lies
furthered by anonymous Wikipedia.
Here is my definition of totalitarian, and I say it is certainly
than the creepy lies spread by Wikipedia: Orwell must be completely
mistaken if the anonymous liars or idiots who wrote that
baloney are correct.
hiring 10,000 reviewers to censor YouTube content
This article is by Zaida Green on the Off-Guardian, and
originally on WSWS. It starts as follows:
Google is escalating
its campaign of internet censorship, announcing that it will expand its
workforce of human censors to over 10,000, the internet giant announced
on December 4. The censors’ primary focus will be videos and other
content on YouTube, its video-sharing platform, but will work across
Google to censor content and train its automated systems, which remove
videos at a rate four times faster than its human employees.
I agree with this although
I do not know whether Google calls its own extensive censorship
"censorship": I suspect they have some euphemism for it, but I don't
know, while I do agree they are censoring.
Well... (i) I am a real liberal, and
real liberals are against any and all censorship (for adults:
for children there may be some differences); (ii) I am strongly
against any censorship done by private individuals or
corporations, which is what Google is doing: censorship,
if it happens at all, must be done by the government, for clear reasons
and based on public criterions; while (iii) I am extremely
against any censorship that is done by the neofascists
(and if the persons working there are not - I do not know - the
company is, and you can compare my definition with the
facts you know or assume).
Besides, anybody who censors my rights
to know things sets himself or herself up as my master, who has
a better morality and/or a better intellect than
I have. In the case of Google I say: Utter and total bullshit.
Back to the article:
The hiring drive by
Google is yet another advance in the campaign against any expression of
political opposition. Other social media giants have implemented
measures against “fake news”; Facebook has altered its algorithms to
reduce the visibility of certain news stories, and Twitter has banned
the Russian-funded media outlets RT and Sputnik from advertising on the
platform. While railing against “extremist content,” “child
exploitation” and “hoaxes” in the interest of “public safety,” the
ultimate goal of this campaign is the suppression of left-wing,
Yes indeed: I agree that "the suppression of left-wing, anti-war
sentiment" is the real
end of all this private - in my opinion: very
illegal - censoring
of things these censors, for unknown
reasons, deny you to know,
because they assume that you and me
are to be treated as if we are
small children that deserve
censorship by anonymous
assholes using unknown criterions to prevent me from even
seeing what these anonymous assholes don't want me to know. It's
This article ends as follows (after considerably more):
Yes, I agree. And this is a
Google is not alone in its
expansion of automated censorship. Last week, Facebook announced its
newly implemented system to scan users’ posts and contact police and
other first-responders, ostensibly to prevent suicide.
Last month, Google admitted
to “demoting” content from RT and Sputnik news in its search engine and
news service, confirming allegations by the World Socialist Web
Site that the company engages in mass political censorship in the
name of fighting “fake news.”
have now been
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 2 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 (!!).
 Namely, because I've
lived for several years with a serious schizophrenic nobody else (who
was qualified) wanted to help. This did teach me a lot, and it cured
her in the sense that she sharted without a possibility of studying in
the university, without a house, hallucinating a lot, plus a lot more I
shall not enter into here, while she ended up as a doctor of
psychology, mostly thanks to my help.
 Incidentally, while I can - quite well
- apply the observational criterions that lead to psychiatric
diagnoses, I do not like psychiatry-since
-1980 at all: All the DSMs are fraudulent, not so much because of the
diagnoses, but especially because psychiatrists had between 40 and 50
ways of coming to the decision that so-and-so was mad, since 1980 these
diagnoses have exponentially grown, and now you can be mad in around
450 ways. Also, I fundamentallu disagree with "the medical model" of
psychiatry, that is current, and agree somewhat with "the trauma
model", that was used before 1980.
Finally, while according to DSM-psychiatry around 78% of the British
are insane (in one out of 450 ways), I think that is utter nonsense.
Most ordinary men are not mad and do not need any psychiatry or
If you want to read my - quite informed, well-written but not
easy - criticism of current psychiatry,
follow the last link.
 Incidentally: The APA - the American
Psychiatric Association - is a private organization of which only
psychiatrists can be members, and that writes i.a. the DSMs - the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - completely in
secret (which I think is a shame).