A. Selections from
October 18, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, October 18,
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 nearly two years (!!!!) I have
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
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from October 18, 2017
Thom Hartmann: The America I Knew Has Almost
2. As Party Gathers, Xi Jinping Displays a Firm Grip
3. George Soros Transfers Billions to Open Society
4. Has Trump Cut a Deal
with the CIA and FBI to
Keep Concealing Key JFK
5. Blueprint for a Progressive US: A Dialogue With
Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin
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:
Hartmann: The America I Knew Has Almost
article is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
alcoholic family that won’t discuss alcoholism (proving Don Quixote’s
warning never to mention rope in the home of a man who’s been hanged),
far too many Americans are unwilling to acknowledge or even discuss the
ongoing collapse of democracy in the United States.
Carter took it head on when he
told me on my radio program that the Citizen’s United decision:
essence of what made America a great country in its political system.
Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the
essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the
president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators
and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of
our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and
expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s
Yes indeed: quite
so. The next bit that I quote is also quite on target (in my
view, which meanwhile is quite informed):
subversion of our political system” grew, in large part, out of Richard
Nixon’s 1972 appointment of Lewis Powell to the Supreme Court.
Powell, in 1971, had authored the infamous Powell
Memo to the US Chamber of Commerce, strongly suggesting that
corporate leaders needed to get politically involved and, essentially,
take over everything from academia to our court system to our political
In 1976, in the
case, Powell began the final destruction of American democracy by
declaring that when rich people or corporations own politicians, all
that money that got transferred to the politicians wasn’t bribery but,
instead, was Constitutionally-protected First Amendment-defined “Free
Speech.” The Court radically expanded that in 2010 with Citizens
hell money = speech completely escapes me, but
the - corrupted?
anti-democratic? mostly stupid? - majority of the judges of the Supreme
Court insisted that money = speech, which means that the richest
billionaires have the most votes, by far the most "free
speech", and the most power
through their owning the most money = the most free speech
(that is: according to Citizens United decision).
This is the final
bit that I quote from this article:
As a result,
there’s really very little democracy left in our democracy. Our
votes are handled in secret by private, unaccountable for-profit
corporations. Our laws are written, more often than not, by
corporate lawyers/lobbyists or representatives of billionaire-level
wealth. And our media is owned by the same class of
investors/stockholders, so it’s a stretch to expect them to do much
critical reporting on the situation.
Precisely. There is
more in this fine article that is strongly recommended.
Party Gathers, Xi Jinping Displays a Firm Grip on Power
This article is by Chris Buckley on The New
York Times. This is from near the beginning:
On Wednesday, Mr. Xi opened another Communist Party
congress, this time as the nation’s most powerful leader in decades,
all but certain to receive a second five-year term. And after spending
his first term tightening control on society, he is expected to
enshrine his authoritarian vision for revitalizing the party — and
perhaps position himself as indispensable to its survival.
“Currently, conditions domestically and abroad are
undergoing deep and complicated changes,” Mr. Xi told some 2,300 party
delegates and other dignitaries assembled in the Great Hall. “Our
country is in an important period of strategic opportunity in its
development,” he said in a calm, steady voice. “The outlook is
extremely bright; the challenges are also extremely grim.”
With his two most recent predecessors as
Chinese leader, Mr. Hu and 91-year-old Jiang Zemin, in attendance, Mr.
Xi told his audience that under him Chinese socialism was entering a
This is quite important, were it only
because about 1 in 7
of all living persons lives in China. And China is still "socialist" or
"communist", although both terms in fact stand for a kind
of more or
less dictatorial state capitalism
(as was also the case in the Soviet
Union), where the dictators are the leading members of the
Chinese Communist Party, that has virtually all powers in China
the Chinese Revolution of 1949.
Here is an outline of Xi Jinping's program:
“Party leaders always feel peril close at hand, especially
Xi, and that has not gone away,” said Deng Yuwen, a former editor with
a Communist Party journal who now writes current affairs commentaries.
“For him, this hard-line, centralized style of rule is the solution and
must be consolidated.”
While Mao promoted class struggle and Deng Xiaoping embraced
pragmatic capitalism, Mr. Xi’s vision of the party’s rule centers on
restoring China to greatness — what he calls the “China Dream” — and it
draws on both the fervent dedication of Mao’s era and the glories of
China’s traditional culture that Mao tried to destroy.
To me, this
sounds much like a continuation of state capitalism
controlled by a
more or less dictatorial Communist Party.
Here is more on
Xi Jinping's personality:
“Under Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party is headed in
the direction of strongman rule,” said David M. Lampton,
the director of China studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced
International Studies and a longtime analyst of Chinese leaders. “The
19th Party Congress is more likely to look like a coronation than an
institutionalized transition to a leader’s second term.”
more on the same subject:
What Mr. Xi wants to build now, Professor Pei added, is “a
disciplinary state.” He continued: “It disciplines everybody. It
disciplines the party, it disciplines Chinese society. And to enforce
discipline, you have to have a very powerful security state.”
a lot more in this article, that is recommended.
Soros Transfers Billions to Open Society
This article is by
David Gelles on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
George Soros, the billionaire hedge fund manager and a major
Democratic donor, has given $18 billion to his Open Society
Foundations, one of the largest transfers of wealth ever made by a
private donor to a single foundation.
The gift, made quietly over the past several years but
disclosed only on Tuesday, has transformed Open Society into the
second-biggest philanthropic organization in the United States, behind
the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It will also place Mr. Soros, a
lightning rod for conservative critics, squarely in the middle of the
social and political debates convulsing the country.
some more on George
“Given America’s place in the world right now, I think he’s
making an enormous statement,” said Eileen Heisman, chief executive of
the National Philanthropic Trust, a nonprofit that works with
foundations. “He has a very clear point of view and he’s not trying to
Patrick Gaspard, the vice president of the Open Society
Foundations, who will take over as president at the end of the year,
said the election of President Trump had given the organization’s work
a new sense of urgency.
Yes, I agree.
Here is a bit more on Soros's philantrophy:
Mr. Soros’s philanthropy is rooted in his past.
He lived in Nazi-occupied Hungary as a boy. With Budapest
under Communist rule in 1947, he left for London and then the United
States, where he found success on Wall Street.
There is more
in the article, that is recommended.
Trump Cut a Deal with the CIA and FBI to Keep Concealing Key JFK
This article is by
Jefferson Morley on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
An unknown number of U.S
government records related to the assassination of President John F.
Kennedy 54 years ago may remain secret after the legal deadline of
October 26, the National
Archives said Monday.
"While we continue to
plan for an online release by the deadline, it is unclear what will be
part of the release,” the Archive’s communications
staff said in a statement to AlterNet. “Things are in flux.”
The Archive’s statement
is the first official acknowledgement that President Trump is
considering—or has approved—formal requests from the Central
Intelligence Agency and other federal agencies to keep long-secret JFK
files out of public view.
I suppose I
belong to "the youngest" persons who do really recall Kennedy's
1963 (when I was 13). And one major reason why this is still
rather important is precisely the secrecry that surrounds his murder
and no: I have read several books about the murder, and one
agree with is that official story was a lie, although I do not
know - of course - the true
And in fact
I guess the
remaining secret documents - "[a]n unknown number - will remain
for the next 25 years (or more), simply because these documents may
prove that the official story of the American government was
This is from the ending of
If Trump and White House
counsel Donald McGahn have agreed to requests from the CIA and other
federal agencies to keep some JFK records secret, they will have to
The JFK Records Act
requires the government to publish “an unclassified written description
of the reason for such postponement” in the Federal Register, the daily newspaper of the
the amounts of
secrecy that the secret services enjoy, it will probably be quite easy
for the current American government to compose a set of lies.
But we shall see, and
this is a recommended article.
for a Progressive US: A Dialogue With Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin
This article is by C.J. Polychroniou on Truthout.
It starts as follows:
This is the
first part of a wide-ranging interview with world-renowned public
intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin. The next installment will
appear on October 24.
In the Trump era, what would
an authentically populist, progressive political agenda look like? What
would a progressive US look like with regard to jobs, the environment,
finance capital and the standard of living? What would it look like in
terms of education and health care, justice and equality? In an
exclusive interview with C.J. Polychroniou for
Truthout, world-renowned public intellectuals Noam Chomsky and
Robert Pollin tackle these issues. Noam Chomsky is professor emeritus
of linguistics at MIT and laureate professor in the department of
linguistics at the University of Arizona. Robert Pollin is
distinguished professor of economics and co-director of the Political
Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at
Amherst. Their views lay the foundation for a visionary -- yet
eminently realistic -- progressive social and economic order for the
I like C.J.
earlier interviews with Noam Chomsky, and this is no exception. I will
leave most of this interview to your interests, but I will quote two
bits of it.
is from the first
answer of Chomsky, and is about the totalitarian
atmosphere  that currently pervades considerable
parts of the USA:
There is indeed a wave of social resistance, more significant than in
the recent past -- though I'd hesitate about calling it
"unprecedented." Nevertheless, we cannot overlook the fact that in the
domain of policy formation and implementation, the right is ascendant,
in fact some of its harshest and most destructive elements [are rising].
Nor should we overlook a
crucial fact that has been evident for some time: The figure in charge,
though often ridiculed, has succeeded brilliantly in his goal of
occupying media and public attention while mobilizing a very loyal
popular base -- and one with sinister features, sometimes smacking of
totalitarianism, including adoration of The Leader. That goes beyond
the core of loyal Trump supporters.... [A majority of Republicans] favor shutting down or at
least fining the press if it presents "biased" or "false news" -- terms
that mean information rejected by The Leader (..)
- and that is totalitarian
in my view (but not - it seems - in the eyes of
the anonymous editors of the Wikipedia, who only admit something may
totalitarian if it is a dictatorial state already - which to me
Orwell and to Chomsky) is utter nonsense). 
I quote one more thing
from this fine interview, because it outlines Bill Clinton's massive
Of course, the big
Wall Street players always hated being regulated and fought
persistently, first to evade the regulations and then to dismantle
them. They were largely successful through the 1980s and 1990s. But the
full, official demise of the 1930s regulatory system came only in 1999,
under the Democratic President Bill Clinton. (...) It then took less
than eight years for hyper-speculation on Wall Street to once again
bring global capitalism to its knees. The only thing that saved
capitalism in 2008-09 from a repeat of the 1930s Great Depression was
the unprecedented government interventions to prop up the system, and
the equally massive bail out of Wall Street.
Quite so. There is a lot more
in this interview, that is strongly recommended.
 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.
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 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).
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 (!!).
 I quote the note I wrote yesterday on
the same subject:
I found - rather to my consternation -
(a concept that I know quite well since 1967) has been redefined
to mean this (on Wikipedia):
is a political system in which the state
No, I am
sorry: That definition is - intentionally? - partial. For one
thing, it totally misses all psychology and all groupthinking,
for most (though not all) of groupthinking is also
totalitarian, albeit not in the sense in which the Wikipedia defines it.
recognizes no limits to its
authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private
life wherever feasible. A distinctive feature of totalitarian
governments is an "elaborate ideology, a set of ideas that gives
meaning and direction to the whole society".
I will soon write a Nederlog on the diverse meanings of