from December 5, 2017
3. Extra: Chris Hedges: "Fascism in the Age of Trump"
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, December 5,
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 (!!!!) 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
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from December 5, 2017
Rep. Keith Ellison: GOP Tax Bill Would Reorder
Society & Create
“Hereditary Aristocracy” for
2. Donald Trump Is
Waging War on Reality, and Reality Is Losing
3. Net Neutrality RIP
4. How Russia-gate Rationalizes Censorship
5. It’s Time To Change More Than Trump
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:
1. Rep. Keith Ellison: GOP Tax Bill
Would Reorder Society & Create
“Hereditary Aristocracy” for Rich
This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the
On Saturday morning,
Senate Republicans passed a nearly 500-page tax bill that will have
dramatic impacts not only the U.S. tax code, but also healthcare,
domestic spending and even oil and gas drilling. The plan would cut
taxes by nearly $1.5 trillion. Major corporations and the richest
Americans, including President Trump and his own family, would reap the
most dramatic benefits. Overall, the bill is expected to add $1.4
trillion to federal budget deficits over the next decade. The bill
passed the Senate 51 to 49, with every Democrat voting against the bill
and all Republicans voting for it except for Senator Bob Corker of
Tennessee. We speak with Minnesota Democratic Congressmember Keith
Ellison. He’s the first Muslim member of Congress. Ellison is also the
deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Incidentally, I usually quote
the introductions on Democracy Now! because they are good introductions
to the interviews that follow, as is this one.
Here is Amy Goodman:
GOODMAN: We begin today’s
program with President Trump’s tax bill. Just before 2 a.m. on Saturday
morning, Republicans passed a nearly 500-page bill with dramatic
impacts on not only the U.S. tax code, but also healthcare, domestic
spending, even oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. The plan would cut
taxes by nearly one-and-a-half trillion dollars. Major corporations and
the richest Americans, including President Trump and his own family,
would reap the most dramatic benefits. The legislation includes
slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent and giving
further tax cuts to wealthy business owners. The Senate version would
also dramatically cut the estate tax, while a House version of the
plan, passed last month, would eliminate the estate tax entirely.
Significantly, the Senate
bill would also repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate,
which experts say would cause the cost of health insurance to
skyrocket, and lead to millions of people losing their health
insurance. A little-known provision would even open one of the world’s
last pristine wildernesses—the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—to oil
and fracked gas drilling. According to a report
in Public Citizen, more than half of all registered lobbyists in
Washington, D.C., worked on the tax bill.
Quite so. And here is Keith
Again quite so. There is considerably
more in this article. It is recommended.
Well, it’s really designed to reorder our representative democracy.
What they will do with these massive tax breaks is they will buy each
other up in more mergers, which will concentrate markets and make it
much more difficult for small businesses and workers. They’ll also pay
each other off and give each other more bonuses, which they will use to
purchase political influence in Washington and state capitals all over
So this is really, I think, more about reordering our society, creating
a hereditary aristocracy in the United States and really taking our
country and leading it down a path where we will one day see a very
tiny group of very, very, very rich elite people in an ocean of
desperate people just trying to hang on and make it every single day
Trump Is Waging War on Reality, and Reality Is Losing
This article is by Andrew
O´Hehir on AlterNet and originally on Salon. This is from near the
(..) [I]f we can
generalize about Trump’s public utterances over the last couple of
years, it might be by observing that almost nothing he says is true.
Some of it is deliberate lies, some of it is fantasy or wishful
thinking, and a lot of it is crackpot racist-uncle ranting, from the
universe where it’s obvious that violent crime is
way up (and caused by black people), Mexicans and Muslims are
inherently dangerous and Hillary Clinton couldn’t possibly have won the
Incidentally, ¨the Voice of the People¨ is Donald Trump (ironically). Here is one of
O´Hehir´s conclusions, that is also in his title:
Maybe what the Voice of the
People was saying was that reality was not acceptable in its current
form — that is, as actually existing reality — and he was here to
replace it with another one. There has been a lot of angry, eloquent
rhetoric about how facts don’t seem to matter to Trump or his
supporters or the Republican elected officials clinging to his
coattails with their eyes closed.
It does no good to
keep on exclaiming that his accomplishments are nonexistent and his
policies nonsensical, as if that were a discovery that might change
anyone’s mind. Those are in fact the pillars of Donald Trump’s
presidency. He is waging a war against reality; to this point, reality
No, I am sorry: Not
quite. This is much like saying ¨Aids or cancer are winning as long
as out theories about it are incorrect¨. They may be winning because they
oppose our own human interests, but in actual fact they are independent
that do not want anything.
Besides, while I agree
much more with O´Hehir than with Trump on what the facts are, I
think both have theories (and so
do I) while independent reality
is simply there and is not a theory.
Then again, O´Hehir does also have a point, which is brought out by the
[Edsall] cites a
famous quotation from Hannah Arendt’s “Origins of Totalitarianism” that seems to describe
our current situation with eerie precision:
Yes, but this presupposes -
correctly I think - that (i) the Nazis were lying quite a lot and could
censor whatever and whomever they pleased while in power, while also
(ii) people who reason as Hannah Arendt said are simply being quite stupid.
One could make people
believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the
next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they
would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had
lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the
statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior
The article ends as follows:
A public that no
longer believes in anything, Hannah Arendt said in 1974, “is deprived not only of its
capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And
with such a people you can then do what you please.” We aren’t quite
there yet, but the damage wrought by Donald Trump’s presidency — and by
the long road that brought us here — runs deep. To paraphrase an
important song of my youth, he’s the future: No future.
Again, not quite (and I
am a philosopher and a psychologist):
First, what is ¨a public¨? I think
this is quite difficult to define - who hears or reads this?
what do they know? how intelligent or informed are they? what about
those who did not hear or read this piece of news? how certain is the
evidence? etc. etc. - and indeed I will not define it here.
What I will point out is that ¨a public¨ normally consists of many
people, all of whom have somewhat different and sometimes quite
opposing ideas about the reality they are part of.
Second, a - conscious - human being who does not believe anything
insane. (It may be a mark of schizophrenia, and I know because
had a schizophrenic girlfriend who said - while she was quite
that she did not believe anything.)
It is insane because it is a contradiction:
You certainly believe in the rules of language and the meanings
of words if you say ¨I don´t believe anything¨. Accordingly, either you
are lying or, if
you are not, if you really believe this, you are not sane
(because you are
contradicting yourself). 
Third and finally, there is no
¨public that no longer
believes in anything¨ of
any considerable size, simply because most persons are not
mad. They may be afraid to say what they think; they may not know what
to think about many questions; they may be severely censored for saying
what they think; they may be lied to by their media etc. but to say
that - literally - they ¨no longer believe in anything¨ will be false
of the very great majority of ¨the public¨ (however stupid or ignorant
considerable parts of ¨the public¨ may be).
This article is by Thom
Hartmann on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
neutrality—the ability of individual citizens to get and share the
information they want with a modicum of privacy and anonymity—the
American Revolution wouldn’t have happened. Maybe that’s why the Trump
administration wants to kill net neutrality now.
Of course ¨network
neutrality" is used metaphorically when speaking about the
American Revolution, but Hartmann is right with his intended real
meaning: ¨the ability of
individual citizens to get and share the information they want with a
modicum of privacy and anonymity¨, and I think he is also right in saying that
the denial of this ability, indeed making the ability totally
disappear, is one of the goals of ¨the Trump administration¨, and indeed of many
more (the big internet corporations, many of the richest people there
are, the Republicans etc. etc.)
Here is more:
Today [the] role [of the
“free and independent press”] is filled in large part by the internet.
Instead of running around in the dead of night nailing flyers to trees,
people now post their political missives to blogs and Twitter feeds,
and those very posts, in overwhelming numbers, led former FCC chairman
Tom Wheeler to put net neutrality into law via Title II of the
Telecommunications Act. Arguably, they also led to lots of political
upheaval over the past few years, ranging from the Bernie Sanders
phenomenon to the election (and impeachment investigations) of Donald
Yes. And this is the
consequence of denying my and your ¨ability of individual citizens to get and share the
information they want with a modicum of privacy and anonymity¨:
differently the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution might have
gone down if the East India Company owned the right to regulate and
censor all pamphlets before or immediately after they were put up. Or
if the EI Company were able to track with great precision who posted a
notice, when and where.
That’s what the
big internet service providers want to do with you and me.
In brief, the
American Revolution would not have happened if the English
censored both the press and most American citizens, but censorship
is - I agree - the end of many ¨big internet service providers¨, because censorship (you will read and see only
what your providers think is fit for you to read and see) makes it
possible to push
through their own ends.
Here is more:
China locks down
the internet to control politics, but here politicians are largely
corporate-owned, so these big ISPs simply paid (er…”donated”) to put
their guy in charge of the FCC. Soon, they’ll be able to block any
protest activity you may be considering, particularly if it’ll hurt
Then there is this:
No, I disagree with both
Not only that, in
order to lock down the internet and wring every single penny that can
be wrung out of your identity and data, your ISP will, in all
probability, radically ramp up their “oversight” (aka spying) of/on you
so they can determine what you might want to buy, who and where you
are, and what you might be able to afford.
This intense profit motive, to
extract the last penny from every one of us, in both fees and by
selling our browsing/posting/email history, has all but wiped out the
possibility of anonymity.
What is said in the first paragraph is true already to the best
knowledge, especially on - the very sick - Facebook (which has more
than 2 billion
users): They bought their members by promising selective advertising
(!!), and they reward themselves with finding out everything about you.
As to the second paragraph: I am a firm opponent of anonymity-on-line,
for the simple reason that it allows - literally! - billions of
people to say whatever they want about virtually anyone,
including threats to murder them, without anyone being
able to personally attack these anonymous persons by saying
(real name, real address) says (for example) that ¨I am
terrorist who ought to be killed¨.  (All you can
say now is "TheBullshitter" - or whatever his or
her alias is - said so,
and I disagree.)
I agree that there also are grounds for anonymity on line, but these
grounds mostly are in fact that one is not living in a real
state of law.
I agree that is so, but I have been targeted by anonymous
fascists and anonymous terrorists, and I do not think they
should be able to say whatever they please without
By the billions of totally anonymous persons - for you and me,
not for the secret services and Facebook - and this makes anonymity quite
different from what it was before the internet.
Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
privacy – the anonymity necessary to be able to participate in politics
– are essential parts of the DNA of the United States. To destroy them
on the internet, now that it has replaced the mail and the town square
for communications of all sorts, will mean that there will be little or
no protest in the future.
with ¨the anonymity
necessary to be able to participate in politics¨: In fact this means: The anonymity that allows
be completely personally irresponsible.
Russia-gate Rationalizes Censorship
This article is by Joe
Luria on Consortiumnews. It has a subtitle:
The Russia-gate hysteria has spread beyond simply a strategy for
neutralizing Donald Trump or even removing him from office into an
excuse for stifling U.S. dissent that challenges the New Cold War,
reports Joe Lauria.
It seems as if Joe
is a fairly important American journalist, although he has no lemma in
Wikipedia. In any case: I mostly agree with him on
¨Russia-gate¨ in the sense that I have not
seen any good evidence
that it is true, and he also probably is right about Huffpost, with
whom he has considerable disagreements (since it was left by Adriana
Huffington, and indeed got a whole lot worse), but I will skip much of
his opinions about himself and about Huffpost.
I agree with the
Yes, that seems mostly
true, as does this:
I am non-partisan as I
oppose both major parties for failing to represent millions of
Americans’ interests. I follow facts where they lead. In this case, the
facts led to an understanding that the Jan. 6 FBI/NSA/CIA
intelligence “assessment” on
alleged Russian election interference, prepared by what then-Director
of National Intelligence James Clapper called “hand-picked” analysts,
was based substantially on unvetted opposition research and
speculation, not serious intelligence work.
The assessment even made the
point that the analysts were not asserting that the alleged Russian
interference was a fact.
pressure on Jan. 6, Scott Shane of The New York Times instinctively
wrote what many readers of the report must have been thinking: “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.’”
Yes indeed. (And why
anyone would trust media that refuse to give good
evidence is mostly
beyond me, that is, apart from stupidity or ignorance.)
This is also true:
Yet, after the Jan.
6 report was published, leading Democrats asserted falsely that the
“assessment” represented the consensus judgment of all 17 U.S.
intelligence agencies – not just the views of “hand-picked” analysts
from three – and much of the U.S. mainstream media began treating the
allegations of Russian “hacking” as flat fact, not as an uncertain
conclusion denied by both the Russian government and WikiLeaks, which
insists that it did not get the two batches of Democratic emails from
There is this on ¨[c]areerist journalists¨:
readily acquiesce in this suppression of news to maintain their jobs,
their status and their lifestyles. Meanwhile, a growing body of
poorly paid freelancers compete for the few remaining decent-paying
gigs for which they must report from the viewpoint of the mainstream
news organizations and their wealthy owners.
To operate in this media
structure, most journalists know to excise out the historical context
of America’s wars of domination. They know to uncritically accept
American officials’ bromides about spreading democracy, while hiding
the real war aims.
I suppose so, for the
most part. There is also this, which is quite important:
It is important to realize
that the First Amendment does not apply to private companies, including
the media. It is not illegal for them to practice censorship.
Yes indeed. The article ends
as follows (after a lot that I skipped):
evidence, I remain a Russia-gate skeptic. I am not defending Russia.
Russia can defend itself. However, amid the growing censorship and this
dangerous new McCarthyism, I am trying to defend America — from itself.
Well... I simply say
that I have not seen any good
more than a year now) that
¨Russia-gate¨ is true.
Time To Change More Than Trump
This article is
by Robert Borosage on Common Dreams. It has a subtitle:
The Republican Party
is cutting away at the very sinews of our economy, the comity of our
politics, and the quality of our most basic public services. Trump may
sound different, but he's just the barker outside their big top. The
grisly deed is being done on the inside.
I agree on the Republican Party,
but I mostly disagree about Trump: He is not ¨just the barker¨: He is the president of the USA, who has enormous
powers because he is - very unfortunately, in my opinion - the
president of the USA.
The article starts as follows:
Every day, the media
feasts on Trump’s lurid antics. Don’t fall for it. He’s a distraction,
the clown show. And while he’s barking outside the big top, the GOP is
inside, cutting away at our economy and the very essentials of our
My comments here are the
same as I started with, so I´ll rephrase them: I agree with the second
paragraph, but what Borosage seems to forget (?!) is that Trump is
the president and has enormous powers, which he also abuses
indeed to help do the things said in the second paragraph.
Now, virtually unified
Republican caucuses in both Houses are on the verge of passing truly
grotesque tax legislation that will give more than 60 percent of its
benefits to the richest 1 percent in the nation, while raising taxes on
nearly all working families.
There is also this:
GOP lawmakers are now ready
to hand global corporations a $500 billion tax bonus for booking
profits held in foreign tax havens. They claim to defend the middle
class, yet are happy to protect the obscene “carried interest” tax
deduction, which gives billionaire hedge fund managers a lower tax rate
than their secretaries.
They’ve declared war on
higher education, eliminating deductions for student loan interest, and
adding taxes on to graduate students for tuition waivers. They’ll
double-tax American families on what they already pay to state and city
governments, while they allow corporations to deduct theirs.
I completely agree with
that. Then there is this:
This is mostly correct,
although far more people know about Trump than know about what
threatens them ¨in statehouses¨.
Trump’s ability to outrage
around the clock distracts us from the real challenges we face. This
isn’t a one-nut deal. Trump isn’t driving a populist revolt.
Right-wing populism is just
the garb Trump donned to get elected. What’s left of his populism is
his incoherent posturing on trade and his insistence on building “The
Wall” along our southern border.
politics of division, too, are nothing new. They’re a Republican Party
staple: Trump is just far more shameless in how he speaks.
The real threat we face in
Washington, and in statehouses, is an increasingly extreme Republican
Party that is ideologically committed and politically disciplined in
its efforts to lay waste to the public sphere.
They’re cutting away at the
very sinews of our economy, the comity of our politics, and the quality
of our most basic public services.
And this is the last bit that I quote:
trumpet their historic opportunity to drive their agenda –
privatization, deregulation, tax cuts, spending cuts, undermining
public education, rolling back public health care, curbing public
retirement security, and bolstering a military to police the world for
This is all quite
correct, and this is a recommended article.
a video of a recent speech by Chris Hedges, that I admit I only saw in
part, so far, because I only found it today (and I much rather
like to read than hear, because I read a whole lot faster than people
So all I say here is that I believe it is quite good, simply because
most things I´ve read or seen by Hedges (quite a lot) was good,
although I probably disagree with the thesis that Trump is a fascist:
He is a neofascist
(in my sense).
 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 (!!).
 How important your lack of sanity is
when you assert the utter contradiction ¨I don´t believe
anything¨ will depend on a lot (that I am not treating here),
but you should realize that (i) this contradiction makes all
rational judgements impossible, by implication, and that (ii) it is rather
unlikely that you have met mad persons who said so and
who believed this quite seriously. I have (and am a
Finally, I should also remark that you may be quite rational if
you say ¨I don´t believe most things with certainty¨, but this
is a quite different sort of judgement than ¨I don believe
anything¨ (that includes denying that anything you see or hear is
worthy of belief).
 I have been called - completely
falsely - ¨a fascist¨ for 12 years in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam
by many tens (possibly hundreds) of members of the student party
ASVA (that had the effective power in the ¨university¨ then) who
were mostly pretending to be communists (around 1980) and were
also members of the Dutch Communist Party (around 1980), and now
are pretending to be neoconservatives. And I have been removed
- completely falsely and quite illegally - as ¨a terrorist¨
from the faculty of philosophy of the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam for publicly criticizing
the utter incompetents that taught philosophy there.
This was all quite unpleasant (I was falsely called a
terrorist, whereas the faculty of philosophy and the Board of Directors
terrorized me by excluding
me - quite illegally - from the right to
take my M.A. in philosophy).
And I could not do anything against it because I did not know those who
screamed ¨fascist¨ or ¨terrorist¨ at me (for the most part) and besides
I was much too ill - with ME/CFS -
to go to court, for which I also had no money.