from December 17, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, December 17,
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 (!!!!)
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 17, 2017
A Deep Vein of Poverty Runs Through the U.S.
2. How Obama Destroyed Black Wealth
3. I study liars. I’ve never seen one like President Trump.
4. The Uncanny, Frightening Ways That Trump's America Mirrors
5. 'Making America Stupid Again': Outrage Over Forbidden 7
You Can't Say at Trump's CDC
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:
Deep Vein of Poverty Runs Through the U.S.
This article is by Emma Niles on Truthdig. It starts as
I should say first that I think
professor Alston belongs to the hugely priviliged who are paid
a lot of
money by the - rather corrupt - United Nations to investigate a
good economical and legal question - say: ¨How is it possible that
the USA a small minority is extremely rich and the large majority is
non-rich, poorish or very poor?¨.
In the United States, one
of the world’s wealthiest nations, 41 million people are living
in poverty. Professor Philip Alston, the United Nations’
special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, wants to know
In a new feature published
by The Guardian, Alston leads reporter Ed Pilkington through some
of the most impoverished communities in the country: in Los Angeles,
San Francisco, small towns in Alabama and West Virginia. The article
and photo essay expose “the dark side of the American Dream.”
That is, I have ambiguous feelings about professor Alston (for
he rememembers me of the very many utterly corrupt
¨leftish¨ professors I have known in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam) but
- on the other hand - I agree his leading question is a good
Here is some by Ed Pilkington:
that at the start of the fact-finding tour in Los Angeles, Republicans
in Congress were voting for tax cuts that “will exacerbate wealth
inequality that is already the most extreme in any
industrialized nation.” He also notes that of the 41 million people
living in poverty in the U.S., “nine million have zero cash income—they
do not receive a cent in sustenance.”
Incidentally, ¨41 million¨
Americans living in poverty is considerably more than 10% of
whole American population
Here is some of what Alston wrote:
The proposed tax
reform package stakes out America’s bid to become the most unequal
society in the world, and will greatly increase the already high levels
of wealth and income inequality between the richest 1% and the poorest
50% of Americans. The dramatic cuts in welfare, foreshadowed by
the President and Speaker Ryan, and already beginning to be implemented
by the administration, will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a
safety net that is already full of holes.
And that is quite good,
other things because it shows how extra-ordinarily many moral and
legal norms are being broken with total impunity
by the rich and the very
rich in the USA, and only to increase the riches they
Successive administrations, including the present one, have
determinedly rejected the idea that economic and social rights are
full-fledged human rights, despite their clear recognition not only in
key treaties that the US has ratified (such as the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination), and in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the US has long insisted
other countries must respect. But denial does not eliminate
responsibility, nor does it negate obligations. International
human rights law recognizes a right to education, a right to
healthcare, a right to social protection for those in need, and a right
to an adequate standard of living. In practice, the United States
is alone among developed countries in insisting that while human rights
are of fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard
against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable
growing up in a context
of total deprivation.
There is considerably more but I quote only this bit from the ending of
“There is no magic
recipe for eliminating extreme poverty, and each level of government
must make its own good faith decisions,” Alston writes. “But at the end
of the day, particularly in a rich country like the USA, the
persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in
power. With political will, it could readily be eliminated.”
Actually, I disagree in
principle - so to speak - with Alston about ¨magic recipes¨, for I
think it is quite likely that simply restricting everyone
to earn more
- in present monetary terms - than the least earn legally, by
factor of 20 to 1 (i) may very well abolish all poverty rapidly,
while (ii) not hurting more than 3 in a 100 at all. 
Then again, while I think this is quite realistic, I agree in principle
that it is very probable that these changes require in fact a
revolution, and that event is at present quite unlikely.
And in any case, this is a recommended artitcle.
Obama Destroyed Black Wealth
This article is by Matt Bruenig and Ryan Cooper on Jacobin
Magazin. It starts as follows:
The Obama presidency was a disaster for
middle-class wealth in the United States. Between 2007 and 2016, the
average wealth of the bottom 99 percent dropped by $4,500. Over the
same period, the average wealth of the top 1 percent rose by $4.9
This drop hit the housing
wealth of African Americans particularly hard. Outside of home equity,
black wealth recovered its 2007 level by 2016. But average black home
equity was still $16,700 lower.
Much of this decline, we
will argue, can be laid at the feet of President Obama. His housing
policies led directly to millions of families losing their homes.
What’s more, Obama had the power — money, legislative tools, and legal
leverage — to sharply ameliorate the foreclosure crisis.
He chose not to use it.
Yes, I think I quite
agree. Then again, I also quite agree, in fact since the end of 2009,
that Obama was a fraud
like Bill Clinton was:
Both were very much
more interested in furthering their own incomes
are now reported to have made between $100 million and $150 million
from the bankers and their autobiographies, or so it seems) than in
doing what they had promised to do to their voters, to whom
lied, though indeed not by as much as Donald Trump.
Here is one of the many
frauds committed on American hown owners:
An epic crime spree after
the crisis offered another opportunity to assist beleaguered homeowners.
During the bubble years,
originators and banks had routinely mangled
the paperwork while issuing loans and packaging them into
securities. When they went to foreclose, they often found they did not
have the correct documentation. But rather than acknowledging their
indiscretions, financial institutions paid large teams of entry-level
employees to commit document fraud on an industrial scale — forging
signatures, falsely notarizing documents, or falsely attesting to
“personal knowledge” of large mortgage files, hundreds of times per
day. This was the so-called “robosigning”
And that was just one
of many. Here is the sum-up what Obama achieved for the American
over backwards for the banks failed to stop the wave of foreclosures
sweeping the nation. All told, some 9.3
million homeowners lost their homes. It was the greatest destruction of
middle-class wealth since the Great Depression at least.
I guess that was
between 10 and 15% of all owned homes, but this is a guess of mine. And
this is a recommended article.
study liars. I’ve never seen one like President Trump.
article is by Bella DePaulo on The Washington Post. It starts as
I spent the first two
decades of my career as a social scientist studying liars and their
lies. I thought I had developed a sense of what to expect from them.
Then along came President Trump. His lies are both more frequent
and more malicious than ordinary people’s.
I say. And I do so
because this example of ¨academic science¨ was totally impossible
between 1865 and 1965 (in Holland, when real science was respected):
You did not study a single subject as much, and also you could not
get professorates in single subjects.
All of that has changed
a lot, all at the costs of real science, but then this itself
is not a
fault of professor DePaulo, who has the merit of using a decent
definition of a lie,
that also avoids propagandistic
The inclusion of misleading
statements and flip-flops is consistent with the definition of lying my
colleagues and I gave to our participants: “A lie occurs any
time you intentionally try to mislead someone.” In the case of
Trump’s claims, though, it is possible to ascertain only whether they
were false or misleading, and not what the president’s intentions were.
Well... yes and no. I
think the definition of ¨lie¨ is decent, though not as good as
my own (see here),
in spite of the fact that I did not spend ¨two decades of my
career¨ on studying lying, but I disagree in part - see below - with
being not able to make out ¨what the president’s intentions were¨.
That is, if we presume
that Donald Trump is mentally more or less sane.
case e.g. his lies about the sizes of his audience at his presidential
nomination and those of Obama at his first presidential nomination are quite
conscious and quite intentional major lies.
Then again, I think -
since nearly 2 years, and as a psychologist - that Trump is not mentally sane, and this considerably
complicates the motives for his lying, and also how much he knows about
I leave it at this and
turn to the following bit:
The college students
research told an average of two lies a day, and the community
members told one. A more recent study of
the lies 1,000 U. S. adults told in the previous 24 hours found that
people told an average of 1.65 lies per day; the authors noted that 60
percent of the participants said they told no lies at all, while the
top 5 percent of liars told nearly half of all the falsehoods in the
first 298 days in office, however, he made 1,628 false or
misleading claims or flip-flops, by The Post’s tally. That’s about six
per day, far higher than the average rate in our studies. And of
course, reporters have access to only a subset of Trump’s false
statements — the ones he makes publicly — so
unless he never stretches the truth in private, his actual
rate of lying is almost certainly higher.
That rate has
been accelerating. Starting in early October, The Post’s tracking
showed that Trump told a remarkable nine lies a day, outpacing even the
biggest liars in our research.
Well... I am a
psychologist, and I should say that (i) this whole study of lying
rather suspicious to me, if only because one never gets at the
intentions and motives of people, and also because I think they lie
considerably less than I think, while also (ii) the two kinds of lies -
lies told by unknown private persons, mostly to their own
friends of colleagues, compare to lies told by a well-known
person, all to the public and not to their own family, friends or
are simply rather incomparable.
But DePaulo compares them. I
think the numbers she gives are rather reliable, but as I said,
the contexts of these two kinds of lies differ rather a
Then again, the last
quoted paragraph was predicted by the psychologists and
psychiatrists who diagnosed Trump as a grandiose narcissist c.q. a
megalomaniac, but I only mention it here, because I don´t even know
whether ¨the social scientist¨ DePaulo is in fact a
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
Trump told 6.6 times as
many self-serving lies as kind ones. That’s a much higher ratio than we
found for our study participants, who told about double the number
of self-centered lies compared with kind ones.
The most stunning way Trump’s
lies differed from our participants’, though, was in their cruelty. An
astonishing 50 percent of Trump’s lies were hurtful or disparaging.
Well... yes, but then
again I have now mentioned that (1) the contexts of the lies of
Trump (to the public,
in political contexts, and not to personally known people) and the lies that DePaulo studied (in
the 90ies, among all of 140 ordinary persons, who mostly must have lied
to people they knew well), are quite different, and the fact
there are now many psychologists and psychiatrists who insist
that Trump´s lies are not so much due to his personal
dishonesty as to his personal madness, but neither of these
important facts are as much as mentioned by DePaulo.
In brief, while I agree
that Trump is a great liar, I don´t think this research is much
at least the major differences in context and the fact that many
psychologists and psychiatrists have said Trump is mad should
mentioned and treated.
Uncanny, Frightening Ways That Trump's America Mirrors Hitler's Germany
article is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet. This is from near the
Ahem. I do not say
that Mayer´s investigations were without point, and indeed this is the
first time I heard from them, but I do insist that both the democratic
elections of Adolf Hitler and the major
difficulties of the
Germans in the 1920ies should have - and also did
- as one of its consequences that Nazism is ¨what most Germans wanted¨ (although in 1933 not in a majority) and that they
it (in so far as they were not socialists or communists, at least) in
World War II, Mayer, an American journalist and college instructor,
went to Germany and befriended a small group of 10 “ordinary Germans”
who had lived and worked through the war, and interviewed them in
question was, “How does something like Nazi Germany happen?”
What he learned
was every bit as shocking as President Obama drawing the same
parallels. He wrote, presciently, “Now I see a little better how Nazism
overcame Germany - not by attack from without or by subversion from
within, but with a whoop and a holler. It was what most Germans wanted
- or, under pressure of combined reality and illusion, came to want.
They wanted it; they got it; and they liked it.
“I came home a little bit
afraid for my country, afraid of what it might want, and get, and like,
under combined pressure of reality and illusion. I felt – and feel –
that it was not German Man that I met, but Man. He happened to be in
Germany under certain conditions. He might be here under certain
Also, I am willing to agree with Mayer - and with Christopher Browning,
against Goldhagen - that Nazism was not so much German
phenomenon, as a human phenomenon: Men may turn to the left and
the extreme left as well as turn to the right and the extreme right
(and most who do, do not very well understand their own
Here is one of the things Mayer found, about the German Nazis and their
One, a college
professor, told him:
In fact, I do not
believe this college professor, simply because there were major
changes right from the beginning of Hitler´s rule. Two such
major changes were the public burnings of books
(which had not happened for a long time in Europe) and the
up in concentration camps of the communist and the socialist opponents
of the Nazis, also simply because they were opponents.
here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to
being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in
secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the
government had to act on information which the people could not
understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand
it, it could not be released because of national security....
“This separation of government
from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so
insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a
temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic
allegiance or with real social purposes.
There were more major changes in public behaviors, and
therefore I simply can´t believe this college professor. That
is, I am
willing to believe he was frightened and therefore silent, but I am not
willing to believe that the changes went ¨insensibly¨ or were ¨not even intentional¨.
Here is some more, that also is a bit more credible:
spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too
modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the
Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a
Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked the
Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a
Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the
Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing.
And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did
something – but then it was too late.” …
“You see, one
doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true.
Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little
worse. You wait for the next and the next.
was a somewhat interesting man, indeed in good part because he
explained after WW II why he had not protested until it
became too late (and indeed in part also because
he started as a sympathizer of Hitler).
believe him (though I disagree with the gradualness he insists so much
upon: it was less gradual than he says it is, I think, and it
to do with the fact that initially Niemoller was not involved
personally, as a non-communist, non-socialist and non-Jew).
Here is more
“The world you
live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were in at
all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the
houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts,
the cinema, the holidays.
“But the spirit,
which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of
identifying it with the forms, is changed.
“Now you live in
a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even
know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is
transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without
responsibility even to God.”
don´t quite know how correct this is. I was´t born yet then,
but I do
recall seeing films by Leni Riefenstahl,
for example, whose films - which are also rather evident
- show extremely many quite obedient and
quite happy followers of Hitler, e.g. in 1936 and 1937 (before the
start of WW II).
Next, here is
more on one of Trump´s favorite lies (as well):
Nazi leaders and
propagandists of the 1930s used the phrase Lügenpresse
(“lying press”) at every opportunity to describe the media of their
day; today Trump and his supporters are both undermining our faith in
our press, and preparing us for a crackdown on press outlets like this
And once net
neutrality is done away with, they merely have to work with their
friends in the multibillion-dollar ISP corporations who, like with the 2006
AT&T scandal and others, are more
than happy to help “intelligence” agencies and the administration
Even Mike Godwin, the inventor of Godwin’s Law (basically, that
“whoever first mentions Hitler automatically loses the argument”), is
in the Washington Post that, “If you’re thoughtful about it and
show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or
Nazis when you talk about Trump.”
although I should add that I am sorry, but I still can´t take
Mike Godwin quite serious: He seems not (even) to be a Jew,
and got his fame by originating what is now called ¨Godwin´s Law" which
is not ¨basically¨ what is stated above but is this:
As an online
discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving
Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
He simply was
the first to say so, on the just budding internet.
And this is from
the ending, which in fact seems better than the foregoing
rather doubtful discussion of and by early German Nazis:
propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels famously said, “If you tell a lie
big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to
believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State
can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military
consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the
State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the
mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the
greatest enemy of the State.”
Big lies are in
full form now in America, from seemingly trivial things like crowd
sizes to country- and world-changing lies about taxes and Iran.
At the same time,
we’re facing the classic fascist technique of discrediting the press
and suppressing voices of dissent with draconian threats of jail time
or surveillance for simply participating in protests or even visiting
a protest website.
was brought on us by a small group of authoritarian/ libertarian
billionaires and their minions, with the help of a compliant Supreme
Court that has declared, without
the authority of the Constitution, that corporations are
persons and that money used to buy politicians and legislation is First
Amendment-protected “free speech.”
Yes indeed: I
agree to the above, and this is, after all, a recommended article.
America Stupid Again': Outrage Over Forbidden 7 Words You Can't Say at
This article is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Carlin famously invented the seven words you
cannot say on television, but it appears that it took Donald Trump
becoming president to learn what seven words scientists and advisors at
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are no longer allowed to
say or write in their official capacities.
In fact, these forbidden
words are ¨shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits¨
- and I mention them in part because also the
non-mainstream media still refer to them in terms like these
¨c..t¨ - that
is, if they are mentioned at all in writing (which in fact
sick to me).
Government watchdogs, women's
health advocates, lawmakers, and scientists are up in arms on Saturday
after it was reported that President Donald Trump's CDC has created and
distributed a list of seven "forbidden" words, including:
"transgender," "science-based," "diversity," and "fetus."
Then again, the article seems quite correct in noting that Trump´s neofascists
have now created a list of - once again - ¨seven "forbidden" words¨, which are this time
not forbidden because they name sexual activities and parts in
and not in Latin, but because these terms are scientific
are now excluded in CDC use, or so it seems.
Here is Ted Lieu (from the Democrats):
Administration is MAKING AMERICA STUPID AGAIN. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention banned from using "science-based" and
"evidence-based" terms. Are we now going to use Voodoo & leeches to
Finally, here is Kaylie
Hanson Long, writing for NARAL Pro-Choice America:
— Ted Lieu
scientists and researchers from using medically accurate terminology in
order to push an extreme, ideological agenda is more 'dystopia' than
'United States of America,'" Long said in a statement. "This latest
move from the Trump administration amounts to yet another backdoor
tactic to curtail Americans' basic rights and freedoms, including the
right to access abortion, and will put lives in real danger."
Yes indeed, I agree. And this is
a recommended article.
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 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
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 (!!).
 All of this is with considerably
more details discussed here.
 All of
this was explained many times before, and one of the first