A. Selections from
November 18, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, November 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 November 18, 2017
We’re With Stupid
2. Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide
3. We're Still Aghast at Donald Trump—but What
Good Has That Done?
4. Corporate Power, E-Commerce, and the World
5. Whether or Not Trump Remains in Office, We Must
Contend With the Forces That
Enabled His Rise
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 Timothy Egan on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
It would be much easier to sleep at night if you could
believe that we’re in such a mess of misinformation simply because
Russian agents disseminated inflammatory posts that reached 126 million
people on Facebook.
The Russians also uploaded a thousand videos to YouTube and
published more than 130,000 messages on Twitter about last year’s
election. As recent congressional hearings showed, the arteries of our
democracy were clogged with toxins from a hostile foreign power.
But the problem is not the Russians — it’s us. We’re getting
played because too many Americans are ill equipped to perform the basic
functions of citizenship. If the point of the Russian campaign, aided
domestically by right-wing media, was to get people to think there is
no such thing as knowable truth, the bad guys have won.
the first two paragraphs are much more like propaganda
than like fact as
long as the numbers reached by others than ¨the Russians¨ (?!)
are not mentioned.
So that is
mostly baloney, but the third paragraph seems quite correct to me, at
least in its two main contentions, viz. that ¨too many Americans are ill equipped to
perform the basic
functions of citizenship¨
and also that ¨there is
no such thing as knowable truth¨.
In fact, I
heard for the first time that ¨there is
no such thing as knowable truth¨ in August 1978,
in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam, at its official and public opening,
when the Dutch historian Brandt said literally (when
¨Everybody knows that truth does NOT
was the rule that ruled the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam between 1978
and 1997, and it was - as Hannah Arendt also pointed out - a
fundamental fascistic rule - except
that this time it was also propounded by many Stalinist
students who were members of the Dutch Communist Party, and by the
sadists and fascists from the ¨Social Democrats¨ who were its Board of
protested and I made a student-party but I lost: At most 5%
(5%!!) of the students and the staff agreed with me that universities
are for science and for truth: everybody else collaborated with
new fashions, and did so especially because it made studying very
life was made much heavier in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam,
because I was scolded a lot as ¨a fascist¨ (¨a dirty fascist¨, ¨a
filthy fascist¨)  and in the end I was even denied
- quite illegally, but that
is the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam - the right to take my M.A. in
philosophy because - I quote - I was ¨a terrorist, a terrorist, a
terrorist¨ (screamed by some 25 students) because I was - a
then and there quite rare - proponent
of truth, science and rationality,
instead of falsity,
science and rationality were quite
rare in the ¨University" of Amsterdam from 1978 till 1997: The vast
majority of the students preferred falsity, politics and moral
degenerary, and not because they could see these clearly, but
of the quite simple palpable reason that this made their getting a
degree very much easier than truth, science and rationality would
have done. 
As we crossed the 300-day mark of Donald Trump’s presidency
on Thursday, fact-checkers
noted that he has made more than 1,600 false or misleading claims. Good
God. At least five times a day, on average, this president says
something that isn’t true.
We have a White House of lies because a huge
percentage of the population can’t tell fact from fiction. But a huge
percentage is also clueless about the basic laws of the land. In a
democracy, we the people are supposed to understand our role in this
Yes indeed: I mostly agree with this, indeed also with
the fact - which differs from the situation I found in the
of Amsterdam, where at least most professors and lecturers knew
well they were lying
so as to keep their soft and
well-paid jobs - that ¨a
percentage of the population can’t tell fact from fiction¨ and indeed ¨is also clueless about the basic laws of the
Then again, if you ask what many Americans are
¨clueless¨ about, you will find these are the most common and
easily known facts:
Nearly one in three Americans cannot name a single
branch of government. When NPR tweeted out sections of the Declaration
of Independence last year, many people were outraged. They mistook
Thomas Jefferson’s fighting words for anti-Trump propaganda.
Fake news is a real thing produced by active disseminators
of falsehoods. Trump uses the term to describe anything he doesn’t
like, a habit now picked up by political liars everywhere.
although I dislike the term ¨fake news¨, and for two reasons: 1. the
proper term is propaganda,
and 2. propaganda is at least 2500 years old.
more on the fundamental facts very many Americans are quite
Suppose we treated citizenship like getting a
driver’s license. People would have to pass a simple test on American
values, history and geography before they were allowed to have a say in
the system. We do that for immigrants, and 97 percent of them pass, according
to one study.
Yet one in three Americans fail the immigrant citizenship
test. This is not an elitist barrier. The test includes questions like,
“What major event happened on 9/11?” and “What ocean is on the West
Coast of the United States?”
people who have no idea what the answers to the last two questions
might be, are prodded to vote, and indeed may vote, while knowing not a
thing that would have made them informed voters.
one reason for the mounting degeneracy of the ordinary people: Their
sources of education have been intentionally
One reason that public schools were established across the
land was to produce an informed citizenry. And up until the 1960s, it
was common for students to take three separate courses in civics and
government before they got out of high school.
times are past, and indeed belong to a past that is nearly fifty years old.
the last bit that I quote from this article:
But those initiatives will mean little if people still
insist on believing what they want to believe, living in digital safe
spaces closed off from anything that intrudes on their worldview.
previous bit that I quoted, this is more false than true:
that most Americans seem stupid and ignorant to me,
but indeed many also have been made
stupid and ignorant on purpose,
by systematically simplifying the
received for something like five decades.
indeed one result of these systematic and intentional stupifications of
the majority of the Americans is Donald Trump´s election as
A Citizen's Guide
article is by Carlos Lozada on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Yes, I agree: I think it
is likely that professor Sunstein saw the present opportunity for
sharing his legal knowledge while making some money. Then again, I
don´t mind if the book he wrote is decent and informative:
Hey, let’s talk about
impeachment. You know, just in case it ever comes up.
Harvard law professor
Cass Sunstein has written a concise, enlightening and argumentative
history and guide to getting rid of presidents, but he insists he is
not thinking of anyone in particular. Or, more accurately, he won’t
tell us if he’s thinking of anyone in particular. “With the goal of
neutrality in mind,” Sunstein writes in his opening chapter, “I am not
going to speak of any current political figure. I am going to focus on
the majesty, and the mystery, of impeachment under the U.S.
I’m not convinced that,
under different political circumstances, we’d be seeing many new how-to
books on the meaning and mechanics of presidential impeachment.
“Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide” as a how-to book is not quite
accurate, in any case. It’s more of a why-to and when-to, and a
what-were-they-thinking- when-they-decided-to kind of book. Sunstein
delves into the writings, speeches and deliberations of America’s
revolutionary generation and concludes that impeachment was at the core
of the founders’ effort to “balance the defining republican commitments
to liberty, equality, and self-rule with the belief in a strong,
energetic national government.”
I am quite willing to
accept this. There is more in the article and this is from near the end:
Or picture, if you
can, a president who “lies, constantly and on important occasions, to
the American people” regarding all manner of issues, in a repeated and
egregious fashion. “We could also imagine,” Sunstein writes, “a truly
bizarre political context, in which a sitting president is destroying
his own party’s prospects, or in which his decisions seem, even to his
own people, to be so damaging and eccentric that he has to be relieved
of his duties.” In all such cases, he concludes, impeachment can and
should be an option.
Yes indeed, although I´d
say that at this stage, and with the present president, it probably
would have been clearer if Sunstein had not written a general
guide to impeachment, but rather a general guide how to impeach Trump.
Then again, that might have been asking too much from an academic legal
Still Aghast at Donald Trump—but What Good Has That Done?
This article is by
Thomas Frank on AlterNet and originally on The Guardian. It starts as
It has been one year
since the US slipped through a hole in the space-time continuum and
chose as its leader the most unpopular presidential candidate of all
time. Every now and then you get a bracing reminder of the crazy that
has been transpiring ever since.
I agree with this bit, but
I chose this to illustrate how The Guardian these days propagandizes.
Here is the first bit to
Pundits pronounce him
dangerous, if not “F*cking Crazy”. They explore the depths of his
stupidity. They apologize for him to Muslims. They compile long lists
of the man’s falsehoods and misrepresentations. They look to the past
and compare him to Hitler, to Mussolini, to Nero and Caligula. They
look to the future and try to imagine the exact nature of the
apocalypse the dunce will surely precipitate.
They are aghast, almost
every one of them, and they compete fiercely with one another to say
just how aghast they are. It is a “parade of the aghast”, as an
acquaintance calls it, with all the skills of the journalist reduced to
a performance of perturbation and disgust.
Well... is Trump
dangerous? Is Trump ¨F*cking
Crazy¨? Is Trump stupid? Does
Trump write and speak ¨long lists of
the man’s falsehoods and misrepresentations¨?
I´d say (I am not quite
sure) that Thomas Frank probably thinks all of the above is exaggerated.
In fact, I think that is what he means by his keynote term ¨aghast¨
(which is not quite clear to me, nor do I see it has much relevance,
but Frank insists on its use, but indeed it is a hyperbole).
Here is some more:
But the parade of the
aghast is also sharply limited. In the race to
depict Trump in the worst possible light, the parade of the aghast
conceives his iniquity to be a thing unique and unprecedented.
Who has Thomas Frank been reading?!
I wrote over 1750 articles since
the crisis of 2008 (that still continues for everyone who
earns less than the 3% at the top of earnings), and what I have
seen was not a ¨race to
depict Trump in the worst possible light¨.
In fact, I have
seen most positions, from very much for Trump, to very much
against Trump, with quite a few positions in between.
But this is not
what Frank likes. For he is ¨aghast¨ of the ¨aghastness¨ of
quite a few who are against Trump. And here are Frank´s ideas:
His tweeting? The
technology is new, but the urge to evade the mainstream media is not.
His outreach to working-class voters? His hatred of the press? He lifts
those straight from his hero Richard Nixon. His combination of populist
style with enrich-the-rich policies have
been following that recipe since the days of Ronald Reagan. His
“wrecking crew” approach to government, which made the cover of Time
magazine last week? I myself made the same observation, under the same
title, about the administration of George W Bush.
The trends Trump
personifies are going to destroy this country one of these days.
They’ve already done a hell of a job on the middle class.
But declaring it all so
ghastly isn’t going to halt these trends or remove the reprobate from
the White House.
On the one hand ¨the US slipped through a hole in the
space-time continuum and
chose as its leader the most unpopular presidential candidate of all
time¨ while also ¨the trends
personifies are going to destroy this country one of these days¨.
On the other hand, Frank objects to the being aghast
(?!) of quite a few journalists who see this, but who can do little
else than writing and voting (unlike Trump).
And in the end, it seems all to reduces to exaggerations from the
left - or so it seems to me - for Trump brought nothing new, but
the leftists are nevertheless ¨aghast¨.
At least, that´s how I see the present article.
Power, E-Commerce, and the World Trade Organization
This article is by Deborah
James on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
In the early 1990s,
transnational corporations (TNCs) in the agriculture, services,
pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing sectors each got agreements as part
of the WTO to lock in rights for those companies to participate in
markets under favorable conditions, while limiting the ability of
governments to regulate and shape their economies. The topics
corresponded to the corporate agenda at the time.
Today, the biggest
corporations are also seeking to lock in rights and handcuff public
interest regulation through trade agreements, including the WTO. But
today, the five biggest corporations are all from one sector:
technology; and are all from one country: the United States. Google,
Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft, with support from other
companies and the governments of Japan, Canada, and the EU, are seeking
to rewrite the rules of the digital economy of the future by obtaining within
the WTO a mandate to negotiate binding rules under the guise of
Yes indeed, and this
is a quite good article. I agree with the above, but I extend
it as follows, and first need to quote my definition of neofascism once
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
terms, Google, Apple,
Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft are neofascistic
that are out to get as much power and as much
private information out of their users as they can get, and to use that
knowledge exclusively to improve their own profits.
Incidentally, I have no
idea what Deborah James thinks about neofascism, but I do think that
the above definition fully applies Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft.
In fact, here is part of my
reason for saying so:
However, the rules they
are seeking go far beyond what most of us think of as “e-commerce.”
Their top agenda is to ensure free ― for them ― access to the world’s
most valuable resource ― the new oil, which is data. They want to be
able to capture the billions of data points that we as
digitally-connected humans produce on a daily basis, transfer the data
wherever they want, and store them on servers in the United States.
This would endanger privacy and data protections around the world,
given the lack of legal protections on data in the US.
That is: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and
Microsoft are trying to find out absolutely everything about absolutely
everyone that could conceivably increase their profits or
their power, and while doing so they are utterly (and quite
intentionally) destroying all ¨privacy and data protections around the world¨,
while also making two classes of
people: The very few who can
find out everything about anyone in their systems; and the very many
are exploited and deceived by the very few.
Here is more on these large
corporations that only work for their
own profits, and are for that
purpose are stealing all private
information from anyone:
Then they can process
data into intelligence, which can be packaged and sold to third parties
for large profits, are akin to monopoly rents. It is also the raw
material for artificial intelligence, which is based on the massive
accumulation of data in order to “train” algorithms to make decisions.
In the economy of the future, whoever owns the data will dominate the
market. These companies are already being widely criticized for their
monopolistic and oligopolistic behaviors, which would be consolidated
under these proposals.
Here is an aside
about the factual illegality these
large corporations pursue:
Another key rule these
corporations are seeking would allow digital services corporations to
operate and profit within a country without having to maintain any type
of physical or legal presence. But if a financial services firm goes
bankrupt, how can depositors seek redress? If a worker (or contractor)
for the company’s rights are violated, or a consumer is defrauded, how
can they get justice?
And this is what these large corporations desire:
The business model of
many of these companies is predicated on three strategies with serious
negative social impacts: deregulation; increasing precarification of
work; and tax optimization, which most would consider akin to evasion
of taxes. All of these downward trends would be accelerated and locked
in were the proposed rules on “e-commerce” to be agreed in the WTO.
That is: By deregulations they want to avoid all
legal controls on their corporations; by precarification they simply
force the workers to work more for less money, which much increases
their profits; and by tax evasion they evade virtually all
financial responsibilities for anything they do.
It is neofascism - all
power to the few richest corporations - except that
hardly anyone says so.
or Not Trump Remains in Office, We Must Contend With the Forces That
Enabled His Rise
This article is by William C. Anderson on Truthout. It
starts as follows:
presidency didn't fall out of thin air, nor was it a coup or a
deviation from "American values." This presidency is a
manifestation of many of this nation's core values,
fully exposed for the entire world to see. If Donald Trump's white
supremacist nationalism were not an American value, he wouldn't be the
president. His supporters are not apparitions. The GOP, Tea Party
and other far-right elements that created him did so using the US
political system which is "democratic." With the support of
US capital's oligarchs and political administrators, Trump secured
the White House.
This is all true, but
since I am a psychologist who does think, it seems now with more than
63,000 other psychologists and psychiatrists (as regards his lack of
sanity) that Trump is not only deplorable, but he is both insane and a neofascist, and it is especially
his insanity that frightens me. (But I am a mere
psychologist, and what is a mere psychologist
compared with at least a 1000 anonymous writers on Facebook or Twitter
with an average IQ of 85?! )
Here is some more:
Trump -- who makes up for what he lacks in critical thinking
with showy arrogance -- is influenced by several
right-wing camps. White nationalists who want a sympathetic
White House have had their dream realized in the form of a president
who not only understands their movement, but encourages it.
Yes indeed, and to support
this, here is Gary Cohn who explains why he (the top of Goldman Sachs)
"Why am I here? I
am here just for this reason," Cohn said.... "Think about the
opportunity that I'm involved in with President Trump and being able to
rewrite the tax code. Something hasn't been done in 31 years.... "
And the revised tax code will
bring Cohn and his extremely rich associates further millions.
Incidentally: How does this differ from corruption?
 I 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 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 (!!).
 In fact, this was not
quite clear to me when these things happened to me in 1980ies, but I do
like to point out why calling me ¨a filthy fascist¨ (which was
quite common since the 1960ies: Those you disagreed
with, if you were a
leftist, were often called ¨fascists¨ for that reason) was a sick lie:
Both of my parents were communists for some 45 years; both
of my parents were in the real anti-fascist resistance in WW
II; both my father and my grandfather were betrayed to the SS
in June 1941, arrested, and convicted to concentration camp
imprisonment as ¨political terrorists¨, which my grandfather did not
survive; while I was all my life a leftist, except that I ceased being
a Marxist when I
Those who called me ¨a filthy fascist¨ were - to the best of my
knowledge, but I do not know most of them - the children of
rich parents who hardly knew anything about Marx or politics
their fanatic beliefs, and who merely practised what most students at
that time practised.
In any case, I was both by background and by education
the least fascistic of everybody who studied in the ¨University¨ of
Amsterdam in the 1980ies.
 This is also why I return it now: I
got no reply whatsoever since 1988 (!!) and I do think that
quite a few who scolded me for ¨filthy fascist¨ in the early 1980ies
(many) were in fact rather fascistic themselves.
 Until 1965, you needed an IQ of at
least 125 to get an M.A.; in 1984 the average IQ of the
students at the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam was 115; since then
it probably has sunk till 105 or so.
 In fact, this is a hypothesis of
think that the total reshufflings of ALL education that has been
happening since the middle 1960ies, not only in Holland but everywhere
in the West, were contrived on purpose to
keep the poor and the non-rich stupid.
I do know this is a large hypothesis, but it does cover
the known facts (that few know, unfortunately) the best.
 I am sorry if you are offended, but
what I am doing here is pointing out how profit - each of the
1000 anonymous writers is personally known to the big
corporations and does have an income, and collectively these
incomes are much larger than that of one psychologist, even if
he or she is a professor - puts aside almost all referrals to
competence, intellect or knowledge.