from December 23, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, December 23,
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 23, 2017
Stoked! Journalist Alexei Wood & First J20
“Not Guilty” as 188 Still Face
2. Reflections on Trump and Corporate Totalitarianism
3. Why Loss of Net Neutrality Hurts Democracy
4. 'Corporations Are Literally
Going Wild,' Says Trump as He Signs
Tax Bill Most Americans Hate
5. PBS Commanding Heights: interview with Tony Benn from
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:
Journalist Alexei Wood & First J20 Defendants Found “Not Guilty” as
188 Still Face Trial
This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts
with the following introduction:
In a blow to the
Trump administration’s efforts to silence dissent, the first trial of
people arrested at Inauguration Day “Disrupt J20” protests ended
Thursday with all of the defendants found not guilty of all charges.
Six people faced multiple felonies and 50 years in prison for just
being in the area where anti-fascist and anti-capitalist protesters
were marching. During the protest, police blockaded more than 200
people into a corner in a process known as “kettling” and carried out
mass arrests of everyone nearby, including medics, legal observers and
some journalists. This first case was closely watched as a bellwether
for free speech, because one of the six people on trial was Alexei
Wood, an independent photojournalist from San Antonio, Texas, whose
work focuses on resistance movements. He came to document protests
during the inauguration on January 20 and live-streamed the street
detentions by police and even his own arrest. Alexei Wood joins us from
Washington, D.C., and we speak with Jude Ortiz, a member of the
organizing crew of Defend J20 and the Mass Defense Committee chair for
the National Lawyers Guild.
What I got - seriously - upset about are especially the utterly
insane punishments peaceful protesters against Trump risk
(bolding added): "50
years in prison for just
being in the area where anti-fascist and anti-capitalist protesters
Unfortunately, I think Alexei Wood did not give a really good
(...)Well, Alexei Wood, let’s begin with you. This is the first time
you are speaking out during this trial. It just ended. What is your
response? What was it like to hear the 42 not-guilties yesterday?
WOOD: I was in utter
tears. I just couldn’t handle myself emotionally. I was just so happy
for everybody, that everybody got full acquittals on every single one
of these ridiculous charges.
GOODMAN: And how do you
feel, your own vindication?
WOOD: I mean, I can—I can
woohoo now, but it’s kind of a—it would be a shtick at this point. I
feel utterly stoked, you know? I feel calm. I feel grounded. I feel
just as innocent now as I did when they were arresting me. And there’s
188 more defendants to go, so let’s get ’em.
Here is the other bit I
quote from this article:
Well... I think he should
have said that everybody in the USA has, formally at least, and with a
few restrictions, the full right to say what they think. And you can't
prosecute people for saying what they think (unless it is a serious
threat of someone). That is, in a real democracy.
GOODMAN: What did you feel
when Judge Leibovitz said that your own personal cheering, captured on
the live stream, was not an incitement to riot, you were just
expressing your own feelings?
WOOD: Whoo! Yeah! For
sure! That was a—that was a close one. I mean, this is narrative
warfare, you know? The government and prosecution has their narrative.
You know, resistance movement have their narratives. You know, there’s
a lot, a lot of things going on here.
on Trump and Corporate Totalitarianism
article is by Paul Street on Truthdig. This is from near the beginning.
It comes after a description by Paul Street by the people he "meets" in
I was reminded of Ray
Bradbury’s dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451.” In Bradbury’s dreaded
future, a totalitarian police state abolished books, established
widespread electronic surveillance, and delivered propaganda and
childish entertainment culture to atomized and spectacular police-state
images and sounds through glowing flat telescreens and “thimble” and
“seashell radios” attached to people’s ears. The novel portrayed people
speaking to distant “friends” through a “digital wall”—the same
terminology that Facebook would use years later for the digital hub
that enables friends to post and see messages.
In brief, the people do
not look any more like individuals (with
private and personal opinions
and histories) but much more like human attachments to their
all-important cell-phones or laptops, that can - also - find
out, in secret,
everything they want, think, feel, or pay, because these findings are
most convenient for both the secret police and the big corporations
trying to sell things.
Here is more on Trump's
lies and the lies of autocratic governments:
The network put up old
clips of Trump insisting that the tax “reform” would hurt the wealthy,
himself included, but help everyone else. Expert CNN commentators
smiled as they acknowledged that this was an absurd, baldfaced lie.
Nothing new there: Trump’s
deception is standard operating procedure for him. “Boss Tweet” is like
something from George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” in which the
totalitarian state told its subjects that 2+2=5, Love is Hate, War is
Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Freedom. It’s called
turning reality upside down.
Yes indeed, although
the USA is not as far - yet (?) - as was Orwell's totalitarian
Here is some about the
falsifications of language, of ideas and of science that the Trump
government is committing at present:
The last thing I learned
from CNN at the Greyhound station was that Trump had forbidden the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use the following words
and phrases: “evidence-based,” “science-based,” “vulnerable,”
“entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” and “fetus.” In Orwell’s
novel, words the Big Brother state didn’t like were banned,
abolished—sent “down the memory hole.” We know, of course, that Trump’s
ecocidal Environmental Protection Agency was given the same Orwellian
order regarding “climate change”—a very basic term describing the
leading threat to continued human existence, the biggest issue of
our or any time.
And here is
more on Trump's screwing back net neutrality, his tax plan, that steals
from the many non-rich to give to the few rich, and the reactions of
The president’s approval
rating may have stood at an epically low 32 percent. His Federal
Communications Commission may have just brazenly defied
public opinion and served the internet’s corporate robber barons
(Verizon, AT&T and Comcast) by rolling back net neutrality. His tax
“reform” may have been highly unpopular. But the holiday masses
cavorting in the Loop and along the Magnificent Mile had better things
to do than rage powerlessly against the leading local symbol of the
nation’s ugly oligarchy and the Orwellian cabal currently occupying the
I mostly agree with
that. Then there is this on fascism and totalitarianism
those who are misled - on purpose - by the Wikipedia):
But what good, really, is a
“silent progressive majority” in the face of an
autocracy of concentrated wealth and power? And while real and
classic fascism is not a real threat in the United States (at least not
yet), the country has developed its own lethal and dangerous system of
authoritarian and even totalitarian rule—a system distinct from both
the red authoritarianism of the Soviet Union and the brown
authoritarianism of Nazi Germany. The American model is what the late
Princeton political scientist Sheldon Wolin
called “corporate managed democracy,” “democracy incorporated” and
According to the
intentionally false statement on Wikipedia, one can only
speak of totalitarianism when speaking of either Hitler's Germany or
Stalin's Soviet Union, or so it seems, for the anonymous idiots who
wrote that "definition" insist that anybody who says anything
different, including George Orwell, must be a liar. For
according to the liars of Wikipedia, this is what "totalitarianism"
is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority
and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life
I'd say the above
definition - where only "political systems" with a "state" can
be called "totalitarian" - is the fascist definition.
definition is my own and others':
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.
That is: Human individuals can
be totalitarian, as can be political
publications, political plans, and political proposals, and many
of ideologies and religions. (But NOT according to the
Anyway... back to the article:
Again and again, people are
told that going into a two-(capitalist-)party ballot box for two
minutes once every two or four years is a great and glorious exercise
in popular self-rule. In reality, as the leading mainstream political
scientists Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens have recently
shown, American “public” policy consistently reflects the wishes of
those with money, not the wishes of the millions of ordinary citizens “who
turn out every two years to choose among the preapproved, money-vetted
candidates for federal office” (emphasis added). The myth of
democracy through elections lives on, however, turning the citizenry
into a “corporate-managed electorate.”
Mostly yes, although I
would add or say instead that "[t]he myth of
democracy through elections"
was mostly killed by the slow transformation of most American citizens
into consumers, which was mostly done by something like 100
years of propaganda
and lies by the
liars of profession, the "public relations corporations". (For
more, see "The
Century of the Self" and Bernays.)
Here is something I
mostly agree with, although I realize quite a few of the
A nominal Democrat was
elected president along with Democratic majorities in both houses of
Congress in 2008. What followed under
Obama (as under his Democratic presidential predecessors Jimmy
Carter and Bill Clinton) was the standard “elite” neoliberal
manipulation of campaign populism and identity politics in service to
the reigning big-money bankrollers and their global empire. Wall
Street’s control of Washington and the related imperial agenda of the
“Pentagon System” were advanced more effectively by the nation’s first
black president than they could have been by stiff and wealthy
white-male Republicans like John McCain or Mitt Romney.
Here is the end of the
We need a “change of
structure,” not merely a “change of spirit” or a change of party
identity and personnel at the nominal top of the corporate totalitarian
I agree, although this
is not precise at all. Then again, there probably will be more
Street, and this also is a recommended article, in which there is
Loss of Net Neutrality Hurts Democracy
article is by Dennis J. Bernstein on Consortiumnews. It has a subtitle:
The principle of every
person having equal access to the Internet represented a strong pillar
of modern democracy — and its removal represents another victory for
profit-dominated plutocracy, as Dennis J Bernstein explains.
both agree and disagree, although I agree more.
first and major disagreement is that I believe the internet was never
designed as "a
of modern democracy", for I think the internet
was in fact designed,
though perhaps not by some of its developers, but definitely by their
overseers and providers, as the perfect means
for governments and
secret services to spy on absolutely everything absolutely everybody
more, see here: Either
Brzezinski was a superhuman genius capable of
foreseeing in 1967 what he got around 1997 , or
else he was not a
superhuman genius, but simply implemented a long standing plan of
American defense industry, that also financed the design of the
the second and minor disagreement is that I probably do not
with Bernstein about the meaning of the term "democracy",
while also, in terms of the meaning I do assign to the term,
by the people", there is very little democracy left in the USA,
indeed it is more like a "profit-dominated plutocracy" than a "people-dominated democracy".
article starts as follows:
Despite its importance to a
functioning democracy in the Twenty-first Century, many people’s eyes
still glaze over at the uttering of the term Net Neutrality. However,
whenever there is a clear explanation available, people — Republicans
and Democrats alike — overwhelmingly support the concept and understand
that, once again, it will be big business and corporations that will
benefit greatly from the purging of the concept of Net Neutrality, and
poor and working-class people and their families who will suffer from
the recent decision to end it.
For an in-depth primer on
the subject, I spoke with Professor Victor Pickard about the
implications of the recent actions taken by the Republican-led Federal
Communication Commision. Pickard is associate professor at the
Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and
author of the book America’s Battle for Media Democracy.
My eyes do not
over at the uttering of
the term Net Neutrality", and I also think it is a bit misleading to
act as if many other people's eyes do: There is nothing difficult about
the concept (which - once again - is not explained: net
means that (i) the speeds with which all websites are connected are the
same, and also (ii) these speeds - or the connections - do not
on the contents i.e. whether the governments are flattered or
Here is more:
Dennis Bernstein: (...)
People’s eyes still tend to glaze over when you raise the topic of net
Victor Pickard: In a way,
it is an unfortunate term. We can thank Timothy Woo for coining
it, but I think we’re stuck with it at this point. Essentially,
it means an open Internet. Net neutrality is the safeguard that
prevents Internet service providers such as Verizon and Comcast from
interfering with your online content. It prevents them from
slowing down or blocking content or offering what is known as “paid
prioritization.” This is where they set up slow and fast lanes
and a kind of payola system where they try to shake down content
creators and force them to “pay to play” in order to load and stream
more quickly. This changes the underlying logic of the
Internet, which was meant to be an open medium with all voices created
But this is more or
less correct. Here is another bit of Pickard:
Pickard: Yes, the Internet
has always had significant democratic potential. At least in
theory, it can level power hierarchies. It can be used to give
the voiceless more access to the public sphere. Of course, it
never quite panned out this way. There have always been barriers
to entry and there is still a major digital divide in this country.
Nonetheless, the channels through which we access the Internet
were meant to be kept equal and open, and without net neutrality that
is no longer going to be the case.
As soon as you remove the
basic safeguards, Internet service providers not only have the ability,
they have a perverse incentive to make more money by charging us more
for access to various types of content or charging content creators
more to access the Internet. Of course, large corporations like
Amazon and Netflix can afford to pay up. Those who will be hurt
will be the activists and journalists, the people without the resources
to pay to play.
And this is also
correct, although I would add thay the "significant democratic potential" of the internet was mostly merely
potential (and in fact much of it went into viewing pornography or
writing anonymous comments to the productions of other people).
But this is a
Are Literally Going Wild,' Says Trump as He Signs Tax Bill Most
article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
The vast majority of
the GOP's $1.5 trillion tax plan, but while signing the bill into
law on Friday, President Donald Trump highlighted one segment of
society that loves it and can't wait until it takes effect: massive
"Corporations are literally
going wild over this, I think even beyond my expectations," Trump said,
just moments after touting the legislation as "a
bill for the middle class."
That big business is exuberant over the passage
of the Republican tax plan is hardly surprising, given that the
bill slashes the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, in
addition to many
Yes indeed. And of
course, the tax bill was against the middle class:
For months, Trump and the
Republican Party have attempted to portray their bill as primarily
tailored toward low-income and middle class Americans—despite countless
nonpartisan analyses showing that it overwhelmingly favors the rich.
Trump also repeatedly insisted that the bill will cost him "a fortune"
and that his accountants are angry with him for backing it.
This was a lie in
general: it cuts the taxes of the rich, and also quite specifically, it
was a lie by Trump about Trump:
Numerous analyses in recent
days have also found that another favorite Trump talking point—that the
bill will cost him "a fortune"—is totally false.
In fact, the opposite
appears to be the case. A study
(pdf) published Friday by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) found that
the president "will undoubtedly be among the very wealthy who will
benefit enormously from his tax plan."
"Trump's exact tax savings
are difficult to estimate since he has refused to release his tax
returns unlike every other president over the last 40 years—but it is
likely to be at least $11 million a year and perhaps as much as $22
million," ATF concluded.
Let's halve the
difference, and say he makes a fortune of $15 million each
year for Trump alone
(and incidentally, so - also - seems his son-in-law Kushmer), for that
seems to be the truth.
And this is a
Commanding Heights: interview with Tony Benn from 2000
This article is by X on the Off-Guardian. It starts with the
This interview with
radical Left British politician Tony
Benn was conducted in October 2000 as part of the PBS Commanding Heights project. The
original can be seen here. Other interviews conducted
for the project at the same time with various world figures can be
found here. They provide an interesting
time capsule of current events and geopolitics at the turn of the
millennium,. It’s well worth taking the time to read.
I never liked Tony Benn when he
was alive, but I admit he had some interesting ideas, and that this
interview from 2000, that was found by the Off-Guardian, does give some
interesting ideas or values that I agree with.
Here is the first bit I select:
Yes indeed. And this
started happening in the USA, it seems mostly due to the agitation of Lewis
F. Powell Jr, but it got great prominence, great power, and soon
also great success by the elections of Thatcher in Great Britain and
Reagan in the USA.
According to one analysis, the economic history of the
last 20 years is a story about governments retreating from the
marketplace and allowing free markets to reign. Do you buy that?
No. What’s happened is big corporations have seized governments and
taken them over, making the state much stronger in the interest of
corporate finance. That’s what has happened. The state in Great Britain
is much more powerful than it was when Mrs. Thatcher came to power. She
destroyed trade unions, she destroyed local government, she limited
free speech, and she recruited a lot of riot police. So the idea that
market forces have weakened the state is nonsense. It’s been
strengthened. The people who control market forces have taken over the
Here is some more:
I agree, but Benn -
remember the interview is from 2000 - was mistaken that
"people are beginning to
see that as well". Or at
least, not many did, indeed in
part because the Blatcherist
Tony Blair was destroying the Left in
Great Britain then, and many still believed him in 2000.
How would you describe the global free-market economy as
we know it today?
Well, it’s not really new, is it? (...) It is a reversion toward
Victorian economies and politics, and I think people are beginning to
see that as well. It’s a reversion in the sense that the welfare state
is being turned back into Lady Bountiful and charity.
And there is this about Roosevelt's New Deal and the postwar Labo(u)r
(...) People said, well, if you can have full employment to kill
people, why in God’s name couldn’t you have full employment and good
schools, good hospitals, good houses? And the answer was that you can’t
do it if you allow profit to take precedent over people. And that was
the basis of the New Deal in America and of the postwar Labor
government in Great Britain and so on.
Yes indeed - and neither
Roosevelt nor John Maynard
Keynes, who designed much of the Western
economical system between 1946 and 1980, were anti-capitalists in any
sense. In fact, Roosevelt took pride in being the savior of capitalism,
while Keynes was mostly a classical liberal.
Here is Tony Benn on what Mrs. Thatcher did as compared with
nationalization and socialism (of some kind):
(...) What Mrs. Thatcher did was to take the huge power of the state
and transfer it from looking after people to looking after big
corporations. And now people are being driven back to where they were
before the Industrial Revolution when they were serfs in the presence
of the great barons of the private corporations, most of which were
international in character.
Here is more on Mrs.
Nationalization is the state
control of essential services. Socialism is all about democracy. It
gives people an opportunity to buy, collectively by their vote, what
they can’t afford personally — the good schools, good hospitals, good
transport, good fire brigade, new museums, art galleries. And the great
achievements of municipal enterprise, of which America has many
examples, are a product of people voting for the services they want.
Whereas otherwise only the rich can afford them.
Yes, I think I agree.
A number of people would say, for better or worse, that
Mrs. Thatcher was the most historically significant peacetime prime
minister of this century, apart from Attlee.
She destroyed our manufacturing industry. She brought unemployment to
the highest rate we’d had since the prewar years. She began to
dismantle the welfare state. She deprived the health service of the
resources that it needed. She deprived education, schools, and so on,
and she did enormous damage to the fabric of society. In the end, her
own party threw her out.
And here is the last bit that I quote from this interview. It is about
Tony Blair's Blatcherism:
There’s a Labor government running this country again,
and yet they’ve reversed none of Mrs. Thatcher’s reforms. Doesn’t that
suggest that they buy her argument?
It’s not a Labor government — it’s a New Labor government following a
policy called the Third Way, symbolized by the Dome, a big structure
containing nothing, and they’re now in serious danger of losing the
support of people who put them there. But the British establishment
supported New Labor in 1997 because they thought it was going to follow
Mrs. Thatcher’s policy, and we’ll see how it works out. But it isn’t
the Labor Party that’s in office; it’s New Labor, a new political party
of which I happen not to be a member. It’s probably the smallest party
ever in the history of Britain, but they happen all to be in the
Cabinet, so they’re quite powerful.
But they’ve not reversed Thatcher’s policies.
No, no, I agree with you. I think they’ve carried on privatization and
Yes indeed. There is
considerably more in this interview (from 2000), but it is a
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 (!!).
 I am serious about Brzezinski's being a
superhuman genius: No one is capable of predicting the effects of
technology 30 years in the future from insight or knowledge, except
perhaps superhuman geniuses I never heard of. But Brzezinski could. Therefore
- since he clearly is not a superhuman genius - he was
planning it already in 1967. For more see here.