November 14, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday November 14,
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 November 14, 2017
RT America Torched in Witch Hunt ’17
2. McCarthyism Inc.: Hyping the Russian Threat to
Undermine Free Speech
3. Let's Just Admit
It: Capitalism Doesn't Work
4. Mocking Trump Doesn’t Prove Russia’s Guilt
5. Over 15,000 Scientists Just Issued a 'Second
Notice' to Humanity. Can We
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:
America Torched in Witch Hunt ’17
This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
In one of the most
horrendous blows to press freedom since the anti-communist witch hunts
of the 1950s, the U.S. Department of Justice has
forced the news broadcaster RT
America to file under the Foreign
Agents Registration Act (FARA).
The assault on RT
America, on which I host the show “On Contact,” has
nothing to do with the dissemination of Russian propaganda. It is
driven by RT America’s decision to provide a platform to critics of
American capitalism and imperialism, critics who lambast a system of
government that can no longer be called democratic. And it is
accompanied by the installation of algorithms by Google, Facebook and
Twitter that divert readers away from left-wing, progressive and
anti-war websites, including Truthdig. The World Socialist Web Site has
seen its search traffic from Google fall by 74 percent since April.
Google, in a further blow, this month removed RT from its list of
“preferred” channels on YouTube. Twitter has blocked all advertising by
I think Hedges is quite
right, and indeed I add my own qualifications of Google,
Facebook, and Twitter:
These are neofascistic
corporations, led by neofascists out to increase their own
incomes by billions at the costs of everyone else.
In fact, since
all thinking about both fascism and neofascism is very confused and
also rather confusing, here is - once again - my definition
Neofascism is a. A social system that is
marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where
the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that
propounds an ethics which has profit
its main norm, and that has a
politics that is rightwing,
anti-liberal, anti-equality, and
and that has a corporative
organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are
stronger than a national government or state, b. A political philosophy or
movement based on or advocating such a social system.
And it is these
corporations that have taken over and destroyed the internet, and are
trying to take over democracy and replace it by their own propagandistic
pieces of exploitation and of spying on anyone. (At
least, that is what I think.)
Back to Hedges:
Put the censorship
campaigns together and the message is clear: Left-wing critics, already
marginalized by the state, must be silenced.
It would seem, given how
we are locked out of the corporate media and public broadcasting, that
the assault is overkill. But the ideology that sustains the corporate
state, the “free market” and neoliberalism
has lost all credibility. The corporate state has no counterargument to
its critics. The nakedness of corporate greed, exploitation and
repression is transparent across the political spectrum. The
ideological fortress erected by corporate power and sustained by its
courtiers in the press and academia has collapsed. All it has left is a
Actually, I think the
above is too optimistic,
for it seems as if large segments of the people who are
addressed by ¨the media¨ still believe most of the lies and
propaganda that have deceived them, and that did so for quite a few
Then there is this:
Only a handful of
journalists, including Truthdig
Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, grasp and decry the very real danger
The charge that RT and
these left-wing sites disseminate “foreign propaganda” is the
beginning, not the end, of a broad campaign against press freedom. Once
this precedent of state censorship is normalized, far more tepid and
compliant media outlets will be targeted. Max Blumenthal wrote two good
pieces on AlterNet about the puppet masters behind the censorship
campaign. [Click here
In fact, the move
against RT with which this article opens is a strong move to totalitarianism
in the USA , and I think Hedges is quite
correct this is the beginning rather than the end of more and
in the USA .
Here is some
The report charged:
RT’s reports often
characterize the United States as a “surveillance state” and allege
widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and
RT has also focused on
criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall
Street greed, and the US national debt. Some of RT’s hosts have
compared the United States to Imperial Rome and have predicted that
government corruption and “corporate greed” will lead to US financial
The “Alice in Wonderland”
quality of the report would be laughable if it was not so ominous. The
United States, in fact, is a surveillance state. Civil liberties have
been eviscerated. Police brutality is endemic. Our drone wars have made
us state terrorists. The economic structure serves the wealthiest
corporations and oligarchs. Wall Street is run by a criminal class. Our
debt is unsustainable, especially once the dollar is no longer the
currency, and like all decaying empires we are headed for collapse.
The DNI report clarifies what the ruling elites fear—not fake news but
the truth. And the truth is that the elites have destroyed the country
and are traitors to democracy.
Actually, it probably is worse,
which can be seen by discounting Hedges´ reasons (although I think they
are mostly quite correct):
Even if Hedges it totally
mistaken (which he is not), and the report that is quoted is completely
correct (which it is not), all that can be deduced from the report is
that criticism of the USA is forbidden
by the new neofascist totalitarians from Google, Facebook and Twitter.
And this is from the ending:
All the elites have left
is to paint their critics as “agents of a foreign power.”
The United States increasingly resembles a totalitarian state. Our
anemic democracy is on life support. A reasoned debate about social
inequality or the crimes and misjudgments of empire is becoming
agree, except for the first sentence: The next step of the
elites of the USA may be to lock up journalists like Chris
on the charge that they are ¨traitors to the USA¨.
And this is a strongly
Inc.: Hyping the Russian Threat to Undermine Free Speech
This article is by
Max Blumenthal on Truthdig. This is from near the beginning:
In perhaps the most
chilling moment of the hearings, and the most overlooked, Clint Watts,
a former U.S. Army officer who had branded himself an expert on Russian
meddling, appeared before
a nearly empty Senate chamber.
Watts suggested a government-imposed campaign of media
censorship: “Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing
on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus
stories are silenced: silence the guns and the barrage will end.”
That is to say: According
to Mr Watts - who (I am sorry) has the facial looks of how a traitor
was depicted in
American films of the 1940ies - the best thing that the American
government may do is simply to forbid all the
news that the government doesn´t quite agree with.
I doubt he has ever read
Amendment, but then again the First Amendment has been totally
falsified by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, when
money was declared to be the equal of votes (and so the few rich have
the most votes because they have the most money).
Here is another bit from
The censorious overtone
of Watts’ testimony was unmistakable. He demanded that government news
inquisitors drive dissident media off the internet and warned that
Americans would spear one another with bayonets if they failed to act.
And not one member of Congress rose to object. In fact, many echoed his
call for media suppression in the House and Senate hearings, with
Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep.
Jackie Speier agreeing the most vehemently.
Yes indeed - and the most
sickening bit of this last quote is this bit: ¨And not one member of Congress rose
This is a recommended
Just Admit It: Capitalism Doesn't Work
This article is by
John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It has a nice subtitle:
"In the Soviet Union,
capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism
triumphed over democracy."—Fran Lebowitz
Indeed, I don´t just think
the above quote is nice: I also think it is true, both
for the Soviet Union  and for the USA.
The article starts as
In almost every way you
examine it, capitalism – at least the relatively unconstrained,
free-market variety practiced here in the US and supported by both
parties -- has been an abysmal failure. Let’s take a close look some of
its worst failings. But first, it must be admitted that when it
comes to exploiting people and the planet for the purpose of generating
apparent wealth for the few, it has been a
I think this is
mostly quite correct, although I like to say that the West also owes
the economically relatively quiet times between 1946 and circa 1974 to John Maynard
Keynes, who was both pro capitalism and anti rich
Also, whether Keynes´
plans would have worked is not certain, but it seems that these plans
were effectively destroyed by the propaganda for
the rich that emanated from Lewis
F. Powell Jr. in 1972.
But this was an
aside. Here is more from the article:
I think this quote is not
quite compatible with Keynes´ ideas, but then again Keynes was
outed by propaganda and greed from the rich, who simply wanted (and
want) as much as they can get from the poor (while Keynes, who wasn´t
against rich men, believed that the poor should have a decent life).
logical end-point of a competitive system is an oligarchic monopoly
report by UBS reveals that the global march of economic
inequality is accelerating. The report found that the
billionaire’s share of wealth grew by nearly 20 percent last year,
reaching a level of disparity not seen since 1905, the gilded age.
Here is more, and this is quite relevant:
The magic elixir
of competition doesn’t work—for the simple reason that there isn’t much
competition anymore. Having convinced folks that regulation is bad, the
Oligarchy is in the midst of a frenzy of mergers that is giving a few
large conglomerates control of many of the major market sectors.
Indeed - which
incidentally also should be an argument that all ¨free market¨
arguments one reads are propaganda: There
is no free market anymore, except for the rich, who are now so
deregulated that they
can do what they please with their industries (which they export to
the much cheaper third world, to get much higher profits for
Here is an obvious consequence:
of market power translates into lower wages, fewer jobs, and higher
prices – exactly the opposite of what the neoclassical economic theory
embraced by capitalists tells us will happen when we remove regulatory
constraints – and exactly the opposite of what the Republicans’
trickle-down myth says will happen. Or what the neoliberal Democrats
tell us, for that matter.
I completely agree
and add that (i) the vast majority of both the Republicans and the
Democrats have been bought by the rich, and (ii) the vast majority of both the
Republicans and the Democrats lie.
Then there is this:
long recognized that not all benefits and costs are mediated in the
marketplace, and they refer to these as “externalities.” Typically, an
externality is imposed on a third party that is not part of a
transaction, such as people suffering asthma from pollution. The
way we have dealt with these in the past is to use regulations, taxes,
subsidies and property rights to try to internalize externalities –
that is, to impose a price on them.
the above quotation may well be correct, but I do not
know this. What I do know is that I reject most of
economics because most of economics is based on quite irrealistic
assumptions, and indeed the assumption about ¨externalities¨ may be
one of them.
[W]hat has become obvious in
the last few decades is that so-called externalities actually exceed
the size of the global economy. That is, the value of things
which we don’t price or exchange in the market but which impose costs
on society is much larger than those that we do. For example, a team led by Robert
Costanza found that the annual value of just seventeen “ecosystem
services” exceeds $142.7 trillion dollars in
2014 dollars. To
put that in perspective, the global world product—the total value of
all goods and services measured in the market—was only a little over
$78 trillion that year. Thus, our entire economic system routinely
ignores values that are nearly twice those we measure.
This article ends as follows:
So there you have
it. We embrace capitalism, a system which leads inevitably to
oligopolies, monopolies and obscene income disparities; a system which
confuses currency with wealth, encouraging unsustainable consumption of
natural capital, the source of real wealth; a system which considers
the life-sustaining value of natural systems as “external” to our
To make matters worse, our
capitalist belief system relies on an infinitely growing economy in a
finite world – a
folly of monstrous proportions. And now, with Trump, Ryan and
the rest of the wrecking crew, we are doubling down on the uber-free
market system that is, literally, killing us, and the Democrats, as
usual, mumble lame protestations, and suggest half-measures, too afraid
to take on the Myth
of the Magic Markets, or to cross their campaign financiers.
agree, and indeed I am an opponent of
capitalism. And this is a strongly recommended article.
Trump Doesn’t Prove Russia’s Guilt
article is by Ray McGovern on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
bloody debacle in Iraq should have taught Americans anything, it is
that endorsements by lots of important people who think something is
true don’t amount to evidence that it actually is true. If endorsements
were the same as evidence, U.S. troops would have found tons of WMD in
Iraq, rather than come up empty.
when it comes to whether or not Russia “hacked” Democratic emails last
year and slipped them to WikiLeaks, just because a bunch of people with
fancy titles think the Russians are guilty doesn’t compensate for the
lack of evidence so far evinced to support this core charge.
precisely. And here is more:
Which gets us back to the
Jan. 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” and its
stunning lack of evidence in support of its Russian guilty verdict.
The ICA even admitted as much, that it wasn’t asserting Russian guilt
as fact but rather as opinion:
“Judgments are not
intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.
Assessments are based on collected information, which is often
incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and
Even The New York Times,
which has led the media groupthink on Russian guilt, initially
published the surprised reaction from correspondent Scott Shane who wrote:
“What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most
eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that
the Russian government engineered the election attack. … Instead, the
message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’”
And this is again quite
right. In fact, speaking for myself, I see no reason to trust anyone
with any news that is without real evidence ,
but the people who claim trust as if it is self-evident
should get it, also are about the least likely that rational men can
trust: The spying agencies for the American government.
Here is one bit of quite
But the debate was shut
down earlier this year by the oft-repeated claim that all 17 U.S.
intelligence agencies concurred in the assessment and how could anyone
question what all 17 intelligence agencies concluded!
However, that canard was
finally knocked down by President Obama’s own Director of National
Intelligence James Clapper who acknowledged in sworn congressional
testimony that the ICA was the product of “handpicked” analysts from
only three agencies – the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency.
And these ¨“handpicked” analysts¨ did not produce evidence, but
This article ends as
There are plenty of
reasons to want Trump out of the White House, but there also should be
respect for facts and due process. So far, the powers-that-be in
Washington – in politics, the media and other dominant institutions,
what some call the Deep State – have shown little regard for fairness
in the Russia-gate “scandal.”
The goal seems to be to
remove the President or at least emasculate him on a bum rap, giving
him the bum’s rush, so to speak, while also further demonizing Russia
and exacerbating an already dangerous New Cold War.
The truth should still
count for something. No one’s character should be assassinated, as
Bill Binney’s is being now, for running afoul of the conventional
wisdom that Trump – like bête noire Putin – never tells the truth, and
that to believe either is, well, “unconscionable,” as The Washington
5. Over 15,000 Scientists Just Issued a
'Second Notice' to Humanity. Can We Listen Now?
This article is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams. It starts as
Over 15,000 scientists
hailing from more than 180 countries just issued a dire warning
"Time is running out" to
stop business as usual, as threats from rising greenhouse gases to
biodiversity loss are pushing the biosphere to the brink.
The new warning was
published Monday in the international journal BioScience,
and marks an update to the "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity"
issued by nearly 1,700 leading scientists 25 years ago.
The 1992 plea, which said
Earth was on track to be "irretrievably mutilated" baring "fundamental
change," however, was largely unheeded.
Yes indeed. As to the
1992 plea, that also bears comparison with the 1972 plea of ¨The Limits to
Growth¨, here is - once again - what has been happening to save
the environment since 1972:
Since this is
virtually a straight line (and the world population has tripled since I was born in 1950) the
fair deduction is that what was done to save the environment
destroyed balanced everything that was done to save profits
the few rich: Otherwise, it does not seem to have made a
In fact, here is more
on how much was destroyed since 1992:
Taking a numerical look
at how some of the threats have grown since 1992, the scientists note
that there's been a 26.1 percent loss in fresh water available per
capita; a 75.3 percent increase in the number of "dead zones"; a
62.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions per year; and 35.5 percent rise
in the human population.
"By failing to adequately
limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in
growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect
habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and
constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent
steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere," they write.
Quite so, I´d say:
Indeed (bolding added) ¨humanity
is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our
This is from the ending of
"Soon it will be too late
to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running
The goal of the paper,
said Ripple, is to "ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global
environment and climate."
I think Ripple is
right, but I also think that the debate - once again - will either not
come at all or make hardly any real positive difference.
That is, my own
prediction is that the climate will keep worsening until the
capitalist economy explodes. (I am really sorry, but this is
have now been saying since
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.
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 once again give my own
definition of totalitarianism
(a concept I know for over 50 years):
Totalitarian: Ideology or religion that is
pretended to have final answers to many important human questions and
problems and that is pretended to be thereby justified to persecute
persons who do not agree with the ideology or the religion.
more in the original. I contrast
that with the utterly sick ¨definition¨ in the Wikipedia:
This is the usual
form that every human ideology assumes
- religious, political and otherwise, with science as the
almost only partial exception.
is a political system in which the state
I think that
definition is an intentional fraud that
makes it completely impossible to
understand writers like Orwell, and
I give up on Wikipedia: I don´t like to be frauded.
recognizes no limits to its
authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private
life wherever feasible.
 With reference to the previous note: If
Wikipedia were correct, you could not even say or distinguish
anything like totalitarianism in the USA (as long as the Constitution
has not been changed into an explicitly fascistic and totalitarian one).
 As I have said quite a few times in
Nederlog - that is now some 390 MB - my parents were all their adult
lives communists, and indeed honest and very courageous ones
the real resistance against Nazism between 1940 and 1945).
I ceased being a communist age 20 (but kept agreeing with the
my parents), and the first difference with my parents date back to
1964, when I was allowed to take a holiday to the GDR, which struck me
as not socialist at all (in the sense both I and my parents gave to
that term) and in fact as rather fascistic.
Also incidentally: My parents did not disagree when they had
 Yes indeed! In fact, it seems as if a
fair understanding of evidence, of statistics, and of scientific
methodology are a sine qua non for one´s rational
judgements of most things, but it seems also as if this is quite
difficult to achieve for most persons.
It so happens that I have - excellent - academic degrees in philosophy
and psychology, and that I did get my own understandings of
evidence, of statistics and of scientific methodology by myself,
between age 20 and age 27 (for I only started studying at 27), but now
that I am forty years older than 27, it seems to me this is given to a
For if it were not, there would be more with such a fair understanding,
but there are not, indeed also not among journalists.