A. Selections from August 17, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
This is a
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 probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health.
explained, the crisis files will have a different
format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items
I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one
selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit
of a taste of the item linked.
So the new format is as follows:
Link to an item with its orginal title,
One selection (usually) from that item
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
August 17, 2017
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:
This article is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet. It starts as
Why is it
that the president and the vast majority of Republican elected
officials are refusing to refer to the white Christian neo-nazis who
committed mayhem and murder and, yes, terrorism, as exactly what they
are? Why the false equivalence suggesting that antifascists and peace
protesters are the same as Nazis and Klan members?
This is a
fairly obvious pair of questions. Here is Hartmann's own answer, that
seems correct in my eyes:
The answer is
really simple: If you can’t win on issues, you go for what used to be
called “wedge issues.”
Party has basically one goal and one reason for existence right now: to
protect and promote the interests of the rich and powerful, be they
billionaires or the big corporations that spawn them.
Republican will run a TV ad saying, “If elected, I promise to destroy
the social safety net and give the money to the billionaires; I promise
to increase the levels of pollution and cancer-causing chemicals in our
food, air, and water; I promise to block renewable energy and increase
your utility bills; I promise to cut the taxes of the fat-cats and
record-profitable corporations, while throwing you a bone of a few
more in the article, that is recommended .
Donald Trump a Nazi Sympathizer?
article is by Heather Digby Parton on AlterNet and originally on Salon.
It starts as follows:
While Americans have been
polarized over many issues in over the last 70 years or so, if there
was one thing we could truly say was a consensus position among
people of all political stripes it was that Nazis were
bad and that decent people shunned them.
Our president made it
clear on Tuesday, once and for all, that he doesn’t agree with that.
Over the weekend
President Trump had issued a very weak condemnation of the horrific
events in Charlottesville, insisting that “many sides” were responsible
for the violence. Forty-eight hours later, after tremendous public
criticism, he came forward with an obviously insincere rote
denunciation of white supremacy, Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. But he
couldn’t leave it at that.
It’s clearly impossible
for Trump even to pretend to condemn far right white supremacists with
whom he obviously feels sympathy. So on Tuesday he turned
around and held a press conference in which he once again condemned
counter-protesters and insisted that all the “good people” who were
simply protesting the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee had been
I don't think you can infer that Trump is a Nazi sympathizer from the
events in Charlottesville, while I think since a long time
2016) that Trump is a neofascist.
Nuclear War Seriously
article is by Denis J. Bernstein on Consortiumnews. It starts as
follows (and consists mostly of an interview with John Pilger (<-
winning filmmaker John Pilger’s latest film, The Coming War on China,
deals directly with the new projection of U.S. power into Asia, as well
as the toll U.S. aggression has already taken on the people of the
started his career as a war correspondent in Vietnam and has been a
strong critic of U.S. aggression in Asia ever since as he twice won
Britain’s Journalist of the Year Award. I spoke to Pilger on August 8
about the dangers from the current face-off between the U.S. and North
This is all
correct. Here is Pilger:
John Pilger: (..)
The prospect of nuclear war is still a great abstraction. It is beyond
most people’s imagination. But our imagination had better catch up
pretty soon, when we see outrageous provocation such as this from the
US Congress. These sanctions include the end of the Intermediate Range
Nuclear Weapons Treaty signed by Reagan and Gorbachev, which marked the
end of the Cold War. Bush II knocked out most of the treaties with
Russia. This was a very important one and there you find it, buried in
the sanctions. It is gone.
Yes, I agree.
Then again - knowing rather a lot about WW II, that I did not
through - I think it is a fair statement that the majority of the
people who are now alive (at least in Europe and the USA) do not seem
to have adequate ideas of what a world war without atomic
weapons is like.
ends as follows:
DB: What makes me really
nervous is that Obama oversaw the largest weapons build-up ever and
they are always looking for a war to test these weapons out.
JP: Yes, and Obama was
awarded the Nobel Prize in part because he said that he was committed
to getting rid of nuclear weapons. In fact, the Obama administration
has committed the United States to spending about a trillion dollars
over the next ten years developing nuclear weapons.
DB: Any final comments,
JP: To progressives, I
would just say, politics isn’t a game. It isn’t just about oneself, it
is about all of us. Whatever issues you think are important, to
yourself or your group in isolation, in the end we have to think beyond
that. We have to think in a communal way. These sanctions that Congress
has pushed through without any opposition in the streets! All those
people were out protesting Trump’s inauguration. Where were they when
Congress was pushing through this lethal legislation?
I agree with Pilger that Obama was basically a fraud (a
trillion dollars invested in nuclear war, while being
given the Nobel
Prize for Peace), and I also agree with his estimate of the leftist,
liberal, and progressive protesters.
In brief, I am not optimistic (and neither is
Pilger) and this is a recommended article.
D'État: The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum
article is by Randall Amster on Common Dreams. This starts as follows:
Well, I am a
psychologist to whom it is obvious that Donald Trump
all nine characteristics for being diagnosed as a megalomaniac (what
people who believe in the bullshit
psychiatry of the APA call
"narcissists": I don't for I prefer English, but the
are more or less correct). Then again, there are few psychologists, it
In case it wasn’t already
evident, by now it seems clear that we’re living in a moment when the
lunatics have taken over the asylum. If you’re still not convinced,
consider that the specter of plunging the world into the “fire and
fury” of nuclear war wasn’t even the worst thing that happened in the
last week or so. Instead, while political tensions and environmental
conditions threaten to boil over everywhere, we have a president who
can’t even muster a lucid response to the most obvious forms of abject
hatred. As Senator Warren succinctly wrote following yet another
perverse presidential performance, “This
Many have speculated why
this President cannot straightforwardly condemn the evil in our midst,
with perhaps the most frequent word associated with his overall
demeanor being “unhinged.”
Then there is this:
To view this
through a lens of immanent fascism is becoming a mainstream position in
the discourse here, and the global community has been processing it on
these terms for a longer while now. Still, despite personal and
political baggage that would have sunk any other national figure in
recent memory, we’re continually subjected to indecorous displays,
asinine rants, nonsensical tweets, and aberrant behavior.
First, I don't
think Trump is a fascist,
though I agree he is a neofascist,
and there is a large overlap between the characteristics that I used to
define either. And second, the reason that people are "continually subjected to indecorous displays,
asinine rants" etc. is not
that Trump is a neofascist
but that he is a madman,
who for that reason ought to be removed asap.
Finally, there is this:
Fascism is a form
of collective insanity that devolves upon brutality and hatred to
maintain its power. We have seen it too many times in this world;
indeed, the mantra of “never again” was supposed to reflect not only a
remembrance of history but a warning about the clear and present
dangers to the future if these patterns go unchecked. In a country with
deeply rooted unresolved issues of oppression and exploitation, a
kernel of fascism has always existed alongside overtures to democracy
not really: Fascism is not "a form of collective insanity". If you want a decent
definition of fascism (there are many, and none of the 21
definitions I considered - On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions - define it as collective insanity) look
I agree it is the denial of democracy and of tolerance, but then
democracy and tolerance are quite late arrivals in government.
in Their Hair: The Summer of Love, 50 Years Later
article is by Andrew Ferguson on The Weekly Standard and needs a little
do remember The Sixties
well, and three important reasons for that are that I was born in 1950
and lived in Amsterdam (Holland), and also that I had very
unconventional and quite radical parents.
I had expected to read more about "The Summer of Love"
in 2017, after
having read a reasonable amount from 2007, than I did find in fact.
There are several reasons for that, but I think the main reason is my
age: Those who are to report in 2017 events that took place 50
ago need to be at least 67 (or so) to remember them, and such
tend also to be pensioned now (as I am).
any case, I found decidedly less in 2017 than there was to find
in 2007 (and in fact I expect the same next year, when it is the 50th
anniversary of "France 1968").
is this article by Ferguson that does return to 1967, but unfortunately it is not
someone who lived through this year, while it also is rather
is from near the beginning:
to an end half a century ago, the Summer of Love is one of those events
San Francisco has never quite got over, like the gold rush and those
two earthquakes. The summer of 1967 is considered by people who like to
consider such things to be the high-water mark of the hippies, the
climax of the counterculture, the Camelot moment when all that was
lovely and innocent about the sixties blossomed fleetingly from the
potential to the actual.
- more or less - true, but it is already somewhat condescending: "considered by people who like to consider
such things", and this is
the tone of the whole article.
there is this:
to museumgoers is clear: Just because the Summer of Love took place 50
long years ago, well before most of you were born — before 60 percent
of the country was born — nobody should get the idea that it’s
something irrelevant, some dim event from antiquity like the Wars of
the Roses or the Annexation of Guam. The street signs trace a genealogy
from then to now. Without the hippies’ belief in free love, there’d be
no gay marriage. The Whole Earth Catalog was the
foreshadowing of the Internet. No civil rights movement in the 1960s
would mean no #blacklivesmatter today. Many of the things that thrill a
millennial heart sprouted in the Summer of Love. With no hippies, we’d
have no hipsters. Think of it.
these are exaggerations (free love, gay marriage; Whole Earth,
Internet; civil rights, blacklivesmatter), but Ferguon presents them as
if they were what people thought in the 1960ies, which is baloney:
one in the 1960ies could predict the 2010s.
part, the historian William Schnabel, in his Summer of Love and
Haight, says the January Be-In was not the beginning but the peak
of the hippie era, and by the time summer rolled around it was more or
less kaput. This would mean that the Summer of Love was over before it
began. (Maybe the hippies really did discover an alternative reality.)
Schnabel may be more or less correct and in any case, having learned a
considerable amount about the San
Francisco Diggers (<- Wikipedia) recently - see here and here  - I do
agree that 1967 was the radical year in San Francisco (but the
last bracketed sentence
is again condescending).
there is this:
SOL began, whenever it ended, the basic storyline is always the same: a
dream of Utopia, an Eden of innocence, and then the Fall. The dream was
the recurring dream of antinomianism — the belief that all traditional
arrangements of morality, family, commerce, and religion can be
discarded and arrangements of one’s own devising put in their place.
“Western civilization is up for grabs,” said one hippie leader, and “a
new mode of being” was being born. McNally, the historian, says the
movement took aim at what was assumed to be the heart of American
culture. The hippies, he writes, “challenged the nuclear family,
materialism, violence, the Vietnam war, and the bulk of the ideas
they’d been raised on.”
I more or less
agree on what Ferguson calls "the
basic storyline", but like to
remark that this - rough and very schematic - storyline is the
same for any radical movement through the ages.
Next, while it
is more or less correct that the counterculture
(<- Wikipedia) “challenged
the nuclear family, materialism, violence, the Vietnam war, and the
bulk of the ideas they’d been raised on”, it seems a - facile -
mistake to identify the counterculture and the hippies
(<-Wikipedia): The ideas
and values of the counterculture comprised rather a lot more than the
"Peace and Love" ideals - "Sex and Drugs and Rock'n Roll" - that
characterized the majority ot those called hippies (as indeed was quite
clear by 1967).
There is this
on Peter Coyote
political activist, he has become a face for the 50th anniversary,
turning up on radio, appearing in documentaries by the BBC and PBS, and
sitting in on chin-wags in various venues. But he’s had enough. He
turned down a request to be interviewed for this article. “I’m all
‘Summered’ out,” he said.
I did not see
anything by Coyote on the fiftieth anniversary of the
Summer of Love,
but then I live in Holland and not in the USA.
There is this
Harrison (<-Wikipedia), which seems more or less correct:
“I went there expecting
it to be a brilliant place,” Harrison said years later, “with groovy
gypsy people making works of art and paintings and carvings in little
workshops. But it was full of horrible spotty drop-out kids on drugs. .
“I could only describe it
as being like the Bowery: a lot of bums and drop-outs, many of them
very young kids who’d dropped acid and come from all over America to
this Mecca of LSD. It certainly showed me what was really happening in
the drug culture. It wasn’t what I’d thought — spiritual awakenings and
being artistic — it was like alcoholism, like any addiction.”
Finally, here are -
what seem to be - the values of Ferguson (who I cannot
possibly imagine as having lived through the Sixties as a teenager
or a twen):
In all the celebrations
of the Summer of Love, you will look in vain for a hint of remorse or
self-blame. Not an “oops,” not a “yikes, I think we went a little
overboard that time,” not a “boy, I’d like a do-over on 1967.” baby
boomers, especially the ex-hippie division, are averse to
second-guessing themselves. Nowhere in the literature have I found a
hint of one explanation that is far more obvious and plausible than the
Which is this: The seeds
of the destruction of the Haight experiment could be found in its own
antinomianism, in its original inspiration. Maybe the wholesale
rejection of time-honored and time-tested values — monogamy,
moderation, good manners, self-denial, self-control, the sanctity of
private property, personal accountability to higher authorities, both
material and spiritual — leads to squalor and misery. Maybe the project
they’re celebrating in San Francisco this summer was doomed from the
I am sorry, but the
first paragraph is simply false: If Ferguson had read more of
Peter Coyote (see for example here) or had
forgotten less, he would
know this as well as I do.
second paragraph amounts to this: Be normal, be conformist, be
accountable "to higher authorities", "both
material and spiritual", and you are a right little bourgeois
, and if not you are a miserably wrong hippie.
I have now been saying since the 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.
They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
The only 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.
remind you (again) that when I say
"an article is recommended" I mean that I recommend you to read it all
(which you can do by clicking its title).
 I did read quite a lot about the Diggers since
April 2017, and I will write at least one more article about them, but
I have to admit I somewhat turned away from them after learning that
they were heavily into hard drugs.
I think that was a major mistake, and one that I - and most
of my radical friends from the 1960s - avoided, simply because
it was clear then, around 1967, as it is clear now: You
probably will get hooked on hard drugs if you use them, and this may
destroy your life or your health.