from December 29, 2017.
This is a Nederlog of Friday, December 29,
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 29, 2017
This Is What Pseudo-Democracy Looks Like
2. What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Russian Hacking
3. Donald Trump Is Forging an America as Greedy, Deceitful and
Cruel as Its President
4. New Year’s Update for Trump Voters
5. How Cheney and His Allies Created the North Korea Nuclear
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:
Is What Pseudo-Democracy Looks Like
This article is by Norman Solomon on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Well... yes and no. Yes, I
agree mostly with this "analysis". And no, I think there is a
considerably better explanation than just "the government of the few",
which is what "oligarchy" means.
democracy. That explains the gist of why the United States became more
undemocratic in 2017.
With vast income inequality
and corporate power, this country’s oligarchy keeps consolidating
itself—largely hidden in plain sight—normalized and embossed on the
wallpaper of mass-media echo chambers.
That explanation is my own,
as I defined it, namely as follows:
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 as
its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist,
anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist,
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.
As you may see, this does
cover Solomon's "oligarchy", but is far more specific, and that
point for point coincides with both the ideology and the
And I do not say Solomon is mistaken; I do say he could have
more specific. Here is more on Solomon's line:
“In the American republic,
the fact of oligarchy is the most dreaded knowledge of all, and our
news keeps that knowledge from us,” historian Walter Karp wrote. “By
their subjugation of the press, the political powers in America have
conferred on themselves the greatest of political blessings—Gyges’ ring of
invisibility.” Those words appeared in 1989.
Nearly 30 years later, the
power of billionaires, huge banks and Wall Street over U.S. politics is
far more dominant, while a propaganda
fog diverts attention from their antidemocratic leverage. An array
of news media (including big “public” outlets like NPR) and corporate
politicians, unwilling to acknowledge let alone challenge the reality
of an oligarchy in the United States, love to point accusatory fingers
Yes indeed - but note
that e.g. the "subjugation
of the press" (that is, the
mainstream media) is not covered by mere "oligarchy", while it
is explicit in my definition of neofascism.
Here is some evidence
for Solomon's line:
Days before the end of
2017, I googled the phrase “American oligarchs” and found that it
appeared scarcely one-tenth as often as “Russian oligarchs.” Yet the
gravest injuries and threats to democracy in the USA are overwhelmingly
coming from massively capitalized individuals and corporations at the
top of the U.S. power structure.
I agree with this,
simply because (i) Google is American and (ii) there are more oligarchs
in the USA than in Russia. Then again, it is only a bit of
evidence, and I said I agree with Solomon's analysis, except that I
think he could have been more specific.
Here is the last bit
from this article that I quote:
We need an ongoing and
escalating grass-roots challenge to the national leadership of the
Democratic Party, which remains aligned with Wall Street and the
warfare state. The tasks ahead involve strengthening progressive
populist movements to gain power inside and outside of electoral arenas.
Well... yes and no. I
agree the Democratic Party needs to be challenged, but my main reason
is that as is (in fact since Bill Clinton) that at least its top is sold to
the banks, which means that the top should go and be replaced by a
considerably more radical one, that is not sold to the banks.
But I agree this will be difficult, and this article is
We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Russian Hacking
article is by Jackson Lears on Truthdig and originally on the London
Review of Books. It starts as follows:
American politics have
rarely presented a more disheartening spectacle. The repellent and
dangerous antics of Donald Trump are troubling enough, but so is the
Democratic Party leadership’s failure to take in the significance of
the 2016 election campaign. Bernie Sanders’s challenge to Hillary
Clinton, combined with Trump’s triumph, revealed the breadth of popular
anger at politics as usual—the blend of neoliberal domestic policy and
interventionist foreign policy that constitutes consensus in
Washington. Neoliberals celebrate market utility as the sole criterion
of worth; interventionists exalt military adventure abroad as a means
of fighting evil in order to secure global progress. Both agendas have
proved calamitous for most Americans.
Yes, I completely
agree. Here is more, still from the beginning:
A story that had circulated
during the campaign without much effect resurfaced: it involved the
charge that Russian operatives had hacked into the servers of the
Democratic National Committee, revealing embarrassing emails that
damaged Clinton’s chances. With stunning speed, a new centrist-liberal
orthodoxy came into being, enveloping the major media and the
bipartisan Washington establishment. This secular religion has
attracted hordes of converts in the first year of the Trump presidency.
In its capacity to exclude dissent, it is like no other formation of
mass opinion in my adult life, though it recalls a few dim childhood
memories of anti-communist hysteria during the early 1950s.
Again I agree
completely - and I am one of those who have said since 2015
that they do
not believe "the evidence", and namely because it is not
but mostly only unfounded accusations.
Here is more (still
from the beginning):
Yes indeed - and please
not that the phrase "[d]oubters
are perceived as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin" is what I call totalitarian,
utterly impossible by the false, one-sided and deceitful definition of
the term on
The centerpiece of the
faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin
orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to
interfere in the election on behalf of Trump. The story became gospel
with breathtaking suddenness and completeness. Doubters are perceived
as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin, the evil twins and
co-conspirators behind this attack on American democracy.
Responsibility for the absence of debate lies in large part with the
major media outlets. Their uncritical embrace and endless repetition of
the Russian hack story have made it seem a fait accompli in the public
Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine article:
Like any orthodoxy
worth its salt, the religion of the Russian hack depends not on
evidence but on ex cathedra pronouncements on the part of authoritative
institutions and their overlords. Its scriptural foundation is a
confused and largely fact-free “assessment” produced last January by a
small number of “hand-picked” analysts (...)
Yes indeed. And this is still
from the beginning, that is followed by a lot more, all quite good and
Trump Is Forging an America as Greedy, Deceitful and Cruel as Its
article is by Jacob Sugarman on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
I am not a journalist but I am a philosopher and
a psychologist, and in the end I disagree with the above sum-up
possible interpretations of Trump because I think - for a long
also - that it is rather obvious (for a psychologist and a philosopher)
that Trump is both a
malignant narcissist (and Sugarman and I agree on
that) and a neofascist,
for reasons given in section 1.
Eleven months into his
presidency, Donald Trump remains something of an enigma for a large
subsection of the political press. Is he a white nationalist, as his
affiliation with Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon and his refusal to condemn
the marchers in Charlottesville might suggest? Could he be a Western
chauvinist, who believes Islam poses an existential threat to
America's survival? Or is he just a plutocrat with a potty mouth and a
golden toilet, a nominally more vulgar version of Sen. Mitch McConnell
(R-KY) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)? What if he's all three at once?
The recent passage of
so-called tax reform, which could kick as many as 13
million people off their health insurance and extinguish the last
embers of America's middle class, raises yet another possibility:
he's none of these things. While the president is indisputably a bigot,
a misogynist and a predatory capitalist, one component of the GOP tax
bill offers compelling evidence that his sole ideology is his own
malignant narcissism, what David Roth at the Baffler calls the "blank
sucking nullity of vanity and appetite."
Besides, I disagree with this listing of hardly credible
and very partial journalistic "explanations" for Trump ("white
nationalist", "Western chauvinist", "just a plutocrat", "what if he is
all three?"): This is just obscure.
Here is some more:
Trump has made no
secret of his contempt for America's first black president, but the
legacy he has worked hardest to dismantle might not be Barack Obama's
but that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As Heather Cox Richardson argues
in the Guardian, the Trump administration has launched an all-out
assault on the New Deal, not just the welfare state it helped establish
but the very idea that government can be used as a mechanism to improve
people's material conditions. Ultimately, Trump's presidency represents
the culmination of a right-wing movement that has been underway for
nearly half a century.
I think this is
correct, but I can be more specific, and also the dating is a
bit of a
problem: First, I think the Republican blowback can be dated rather
precisely: It began in 1971 - which is slightly over 45 years ago
Powell's memorandum. And second, I think Sugarman was correct
this targeted Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, which was
started in 1933 in response to the Wall Street crisis of 1929. So this
can be dated back nearly 85 years.
Here is more on what Trump did in his first year of government:
administration has rolled back dozens
of protections for American workers (including an Obama-era rule
servers to their tip money), but its crowning achievement is the
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In addition to repealing the individual mandate
of the Affordable Care Act, which helps ensure the ACA remains solvent
by requiring healthy Americans to obtain insurance, the GOP bill
entrenches income inequality for at least a generation through the
repeal of the estate tax. It creates permanent tax cuts for
multinational corporations while those for lower-income earners expire
after several years, and the nonpartisan Joint
Committee on Taxation predicts it will add $1 trillion to the
national deficit. That might be easy enough to dismiss if the GOP
weren't planning on using a manufactured budget crisis as a pretext to
slash essential government programs like Medicare and Social Security,
which was signed into law in 1965 as part of Lyndon B. Johnson's Great
Yes indeed. There is more in the
article, that is recommended.
Update for Trump Voters
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Almost one year in, it’s
time for another update for Trump voters on his election promises:
what I will do now is collect twenty (!) of the promises that Trump
made to his voters, but I will suppress all the accompanying texts
(which tend to be short):
1. He told you he’d cut
your taxes, and that the super-rich like him
would pay more.
2. He promised to close “special interest loopholes
that have been
so good for Wall Street investors (...)
3. He told you he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it
4. He told you he’d invest $1 trillion in our nation’
5. He said he’d clean the Washington swamp.
6. He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White
House into shape.
7. He told you he’d “bring down drug prices” by
making deals with
8. He promised “a complete ban on foreign lobbyists
for American elections.”
9. He told you “I’m not going to cut Social Security
like every other
Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare
10. He promised “six weeks of paid maternity leave to
with a newborn child whose employer
does not provide the
11. He said that on Day One he’d label China a
12. He said he wouldn’t bomb Syria.
13. He said he’d build a “wall” across the southern
14. He promised that the many women who accused him
misconduct “will be sued after the
election is over.”
15. He said he would not be a president who took
16. He said he’d force companies to keep jobs in
America, and that
there would be “consequences” for
companies that shipped
17. He promised to revive the struggling coal
industry and “bring
back thousands” of lost mining
18. He promised to protect steel workers.
19. He said he’d make America safer.
20. He said he’d release his taxes.
should be added that in nearly all of these cases, the Trumpian promise
is continued by "You bought it" (addressed by Reich to Trump's voters)
followed by - correct - variants of "Trump failed (and he lied and deceived)".
is a strongly recommended article.
Cheney and His Allies Created the North Korea Nuclear Missile Crisis
This article is by Gareth Porter on Truthout. It starts as
In fact, there is considerably more in the article, that is
recommended, and that shows that it is less North Korea that
the present great nuclear risk, but the USA, indeed because it seems
that this policy served "the interests of the powerful contractors behind it".
The Trump administration
has been telling people for months that the crisis with North Korea is
the result of North Korea's relentless pursuit of a nuclear threat
to the US homeland and past North Korean cheating on diplomatic
agreements. However, North Korea reached agreements with both the
Clinton and George W. Bush administrations that could have averted that
threat, had they been completed.
Instead, a group of Bush
administration officials led by then-Vice President Dick Cheney
sabotaged both agreements, and Pyongyang went on to make rapid strides
on both nuclear and missile development, leading ultimately to the
successful late November 2017 North Korean intercontinental ballistic
missile (ICBM) test.
The record shows, moreover,
that Cheney and his allies derailed diplomatic efforts to curb North
Korean nuclear and missile development, not because they opposed "arms
control" (after all, the agreements that were negotiated would have
limited only North Korean arms), but because those agreements would
have been a political obstacle to fielding the group's main interest:
funding and fielding a national missile defense system as quickly as
possible. The story of Cheney's maneuvering to kill two agreements
shows how a real US national security interest was sacrificed to a
massive military boondoggle that served only the interests of the
powerful contractors behind it.
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 (!!).