from December 25, 2017.
This is a Nederlog of Monday, December 25,
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
Today is Monday, December 25, 2017, which means that it is Christmas
Personally, I don't do Christmas, and not because I much dislike it (I
don't) but mainly because of the twin facts that I have been an atheist all my
life and because I have no family in Holland. (Incidentally, being an
atheist from birth also means that I have no strong feelings against
any particular religion.)
And in fact, this Christmas is rather like that of 2016, when I did
look at the 35 sites I look at every morning, but could not find anything
I wanted to review. There are two interesting files there, or
so I think, and here are two links to them, namely here and here, which are - strongly -
recommended, also because I think the past year has shown quite a few
that I was right, a year ago.
Then again, I did find one file today, and that is by someone
who has emerged as the best current American journalist I know,
Hedges. I will review it, although Chris Hedges (also) is a
Christian minister, while I am completely faithless and see
what I'll make of it. Indeed, it is called "What Christmas Means".
Otherwise, today there will be a repeat
of my 2015 version of my 2012 analysis "Crisis: Robert Reich,
Socialism, 11 hypotheses about the
causes of the crisis" with two additions, that will
come later today, in a separate file, and tomorrow there will
be a repeat of Crisis:
It's the deregulation, stupid! (first published on January 13, 2013) and a repeat of Crisis: On Ideologies that I originally published on
December 27, 2014.
I do (re-)publish them these two days because I think they are good,
and indeed better than anything I have read by journalists.
Selections from December 25, 2017
What Christmas Means
As I said in the beginning of Section 2,
I could not find five selections from the 35 sites that I look at
every morning. The reason is that it is Christmas today (and yesterday
it was Sunday).
So today I am limited to writing a review from the one site I found
that is both new and that I want to review, not because of its
theme, but because of its writer.
Here is the review. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
1. What Christmas Means
This is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
In the early 1980s I was in
a refugee camp for Guatemalans who had fled the war into Honduras. It
was a cold, dreary winter afternoon. The peasant farmers and their
families, living in filth and mud, were decorating their tents with
strips of colored paper. That night, they said, they would celebrate
the flight of Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus to Egypt to escape the
slaughter of the children of Bethlehem ordered by Herod. The
celebration is known as the Day of the Holy Innocents.
“Why is this such an
important day?” I asked.
“It was on this day that
Christ became a refugee,” a farmer answered.
I knew Matthew’s biblical
passage about the flight to Egypt by heart. I had heard my father,
a Presbyterian minister, read it in services every Christmas in the
farm town in upstate New York where I grew up. But it took an
illiterate farmer, who had fled in fear with his wife and children from
the murderous rampages of the Guatemalan army and the death squads, who
no doubt counted friends, even relatives, among the dead, a man who had
lost everything he owned, to explain it to me.
Among the reasons I like
Chris Hedges are that he writes well, he is quite
intelligent, and he also is quite brave (neither of
which holds as well for most other journalists - and I am not
sorry, for I do think there are considerable intellectual and
ethical differences between different persons). More specifically that
I like his values and his sincerity, and I agree with many but
not all of his ideas.
It is especially his
sincerity I appreciate, simply because I know that is quite rare:
I know that my father had it, but he was a
communist for 45 years, who spent more than 3 years and 9 months in
German concentration camps as a "political terrorist"; I believe that his father (my grandfather) had it,
because he was likewise a communist, who was murdered in a
concentration camp, where he also was forced to stay as a "political terrorist".
In fact I am the only
Dutchman, together with my brother, who doesn't live in Holland, who
has as thorough an anti-fascist background as I have -
at least, to the best of my fairly extensive knowledge - for I do not
know of any Dutch person whose father and grandfather
were arrested in June of 1941 for resisting the Nazis (and whose
mother likewise was in the communist resistance, though she had the
great luck of never having been arrested).
I also believe that I have this sincerity, because I have been
opposing the destruction of the Dutch universities since 1977 and the
introduction of illegal drugs dealers in my house, who
were put there as the personal friends of Mayor Van Thijn in
1987, since when Van Thijn has introduced the
illegal business of turning over more than 600 billion dollars in soft
and hard drugs over the last 30 years from inside Holland,
as if that enormous furthering of illegal drugsdealing was the
first and most important duty of a Dutch mayor and a Dutch politician.
Then again, illegal
drugsdealing in and around Holland has made extremely much money and it
does seem as if nearly anyone who is seriously
concerned with politics
in Holland, and who succeeded in playing a somewhat important
role, seems to have been far more
interested in making money for themselves
than in keeping their word to their voters or in behaving morally.
Here is more by Chris Hedges:
The story of
Christmas—like the story of the crucifixion, in which Jesus is
abandoned by his disciples, attacked by the mob, condemned to death by
the state, placed on death row and executed—is not written for the
oppressors. It is written for the oppressed.
In fact, I do not
think so: I think Hedges might be correct if he speaks of the
first fifty or a hundred years of what became the Christian faith (I
don't know), but I think both that Christiantity does
address everybody and it also is quite mistaken, as indeed I
think all religions
Here is more:
Jesus was not a
Roman citizen. He lived under Roman occupation. The Romans were white.
Jesus was a person of color. And the Romans, who peddled their own
version of white supremacy, nailed people of color to crosses almost as
often as we finish them off with lethal injections, gun them down in
the streets or lock them up in cages. The Romans killed Jesus as an
insurrectionist, a revolutionary. They feared the radicalism of the
Christian Gospel. And they were right to fear it. The Roman state saw
Jesus the way the American state saw Malcolm X and Martin Luther King
Jr. Then, like now, prophets were killed.
Well... I believe in truth, and I have no
knowledge that Jesus ever lived or was a person of color. And while I
agree that I am not very well informed about Jesus, I think
also think that what I am saying is simply true (on the best of the
Then again, I mostly agree with Hedges about the Romans, and I should
add that the Romans were - in terms of my values - quite
primitive for hundreds of years, for they had circuses for
hundreds of years in which all manner of horrors were committed on
prisoners and slaves for the enjoyment of the common people.
Then there is this, that seems more or less correct to me:
The radicalism of
the Christian Gospel would be muted, distorted and denied by the
institutional church once it came to power in the third century. It
would be perverted by court theologians, church leaders and, in the
20th century, fascists. It would be mangled by the heretics in the
Christian right to sanctify the worst aspects of American imperialism
and capitalism. The Bible unequivocally condemns the powerful. It is
not a self-help manual to become rich. It does not bless America or any
other nation. It was written for the powerless, for those the theologian
James Cone calls the crucified of the earth. It was written to give
a voice to, and affirm the dignity of, those being crushed by malignant
power and empire.
I also might have
qualified the above quotation, but I do agree that Hedges wrote a
relatively short article, in which he simply cannot qualify as
he pleases, while indeed there is a lot to tell about 2000
years of Christianity of many different and opposing kinds.
Then there is this, which seems not consistent to me:
Christmas is not
about the virgin birth. It is not about angels. It is not even about a
historical Jesus. There is no evidence that Jesus existed. To debate
these topics is to engage in a theological Trivial Pursuit. The
Christmas story is about learning how to be human, about kneeling
before a newborn infant who is helpless, vulnerable, despised and poor.
It is about inverting the world’s values. It is about understanding
that the religious life—and this life can be lived with or without a
religious creed—calls on us to protect and nurture the least among us,
those demonized and rejected.
It is inconsistent for two main
First, while I completely agree that "[t]here is no evidence
that Jesus existed" it was claimed a bit earlier by Hedges that "Jesus (...) lived under Roman occupation". I agree the last is the widely
accepted story, but since I agree that "[t]here is no evidence that Jesus existed", it cannot
be true other than hypothetically,
by supposition (and without any decent evidence).
Second, of course Christmas
is also about the virgin birth. It is also about
angels. It is also about a historical Jesus. I do not agree
with any of this, and neither does Hedges, or so it seems, but then very
many Christians (especially Catholics) will insist
that their religion is - also - about these things, for without these
things it would not be Christianity but some other kind of religion.
I could say a lot more, but will
not, and this is the end of the article:
America is in
terminal decline. It is enveloped by radical evil. Its corporate
systems of power and empire exploit and kill with impunity. Its
perverted values champion cruelty, mendacity and greed. It bows before
the idols of money and power. It is severed from the human. It, like
Herod and the Roman Empire, damns the infant Jesus. There is nothing
easy about faith. It demands we smash the idols that enslave us. It
demands we die to the world. It demands self-sacrifice. It demands
resistance. It calls us to see ourselves in the wretched of the earth.
It separates us from all that is familiar. It knows that once we feel
the suffering of others, we will act.
Well... I agree
with the first seven statements (except that I would put "real" before
As to the rest: I more or less agree - but I also insist that, for
example, my communist father and my communist grandfather did
sacrifice themselves, did go into the real resistance;
and did "feel the
suffering of others", and I also insist that they were, as such, in a
quite small minority in Holland, while both were wholly
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 (!!).