from February 5, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
2018. Incidentally, there also is a new
crisis index today, that starts in the beginning of 2018.
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) 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 more than 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
I shall continue.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from February 5, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. Constitutional Crisis in Slow Motion
2. Joe Kennedy III, Just Another False Progressive Idol Like
3. Trump’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy
4. Taxation by Another Name: Our Devotion to Privatization
Will Cost Us
5. How and Why We Should All Be Like the Late Journalistic
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:
Crisis in Slow Motion
This article is by Charles M. Blow on The New York Times. It starts as
will destroy this entire country — its institutions and its safeguards,
the rule of law and the customs of civility, the concept of truth and
the inviolable nature of valor — to protect his own skin.
We are not
dealing with a normal person here, let alone a normal president.
This is a
damaged man, a man who has always lived in his own reality and played
by his own rules. When the truth didn’t suit him, he simply, with a
devilish ease, invented an alternate reality. There were no hard and
fast absolutes in his realm of rubber. Everything was malleable, and he
had an abundance of gall and a deficit of integrity to push everything
until it bent.
think that is quite true. In fact, being a psychologist I decided nearly
two years ago - agreeing with other psychologists - that Trump is not sane, which also
was confirmed half a year later by several professors of
psychiatry and one of cognitive psychology.
meanwhile there seem to be over 70,000 psychologists and
psychiatrists who agree, although there are - of course -
psychiatrists who insist that rather than declaring a man like
Trump insane, they declare "the American people" - all 330 million,
presumably - "psychotics": See Allen
Frances, who not only seems to
think that Trump is sane (without knowing him), but also that he
can diagnose 330 million Americans he doesn't know either. For more on
him, see here.
His attempts to
smear the truthseekers with lies are failing. Sure, some die-hards —
millions of them actually — will continue to believe, but the truth is
a funny thing: It will not forever be hidden. Everything eventually
finds its way to the light.
But take no
solace in that, folks. The closer Mueller gets to the full truth, the
more Trump’s panic will grow. He will feel more and more like a
cornered animal, and it is very likely that he will resort to his
final, unthinkable options.
is a definite possibility.
People say that
would create a constitutional crisis, but I say we are already trapped
in a slow-motion constitutional crisis, or constitutional train wreck.
agree Trump may fire Mueller, and I also agree with Blow that the USA
is, since Trump became president, "in a slow-motion constitutional crisis", though I definitely do not agree - in the
context of American politics, where extremely many things happen in
secret, or at least behind screens that are not often torn down
- that "the truth is a
funny thing: It will not forever be hidden."
the truth only starts appearing after fifty to a hundred years
happens regularly e.g. because fifty years seems to be a fairly normal
period after which personal notes and secretive files may be released -
at best it appears very stunted, since it has
been kept away from most
for fifty years.
here is the last bit I quote from this article:
never put the country above himself. And his Republican assistants in
the legislature have so bought into Trumpism that they now know that
they will share his fate.
folks: This ride will get much rougher before it finally comes to an
with this and this is a recommended article.
Kennedy III, Just Another False Progressive Idol Like JFK
This article is by Paul Street on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I say. It so happens that
I am eight years older than Paul Street, and I am also Dutch, and I
recently found out why I do not remember the first time Kennedy
shot: It happened in Holland at a time I had gone to bed.
My first political memory
is the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK). I was 5 years
old, home from kindergarten on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963. I was in
the living room in a small apartment in the liberal, racially
integrated neighborhood of Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago. The
television was on because my mother had been watching soap operas on
After Walter Cronkite
announced that Kennedy had been proclaimed dead,
I relayed the news to my mother, who was ironing sheets in an adjacent
hallway. She burst into tears. My recollection of Kennedy’s death is
forever linked to an image of my mother quietly sobbing in a haze of
white steam. At my age, I of course had no idea why anyone would weep
over Jack Kennedy’s death.
Later it came into focus. My
parents were postwar liberal Democrats. Kennedy was something of a hero
in my household.
And in fact this is a fairly long article that exposes the following:
fact, I think this is quite well done in the article - which is
recommended - but I will leave all of that to your interests, apart
from the following bit:
Sadly, however, my young
parents and their generation of smart young liberal Democrats granted
JFK far more love and respect than he deserved.
Five and a half decades
later, so do liberal Democrats who pine for a new Jack Kennedy in the
But JFK spent the lion’s share
of his presidency on the wrong side of each of what Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr.—another assassinated 1960s icon with whom Kennedy is often
absurdly conflated—called “the triple evils that are interrelated”:
racism, economic injustice (capitalism) and militarism.
And in fact I included this
bit mostly because I want to draw your attention to Vasili Arkhipov
The most nauseating claim
made by members of the liberal Jack Kennedy cult holds that JFK
heroically saved humanity from nuclear annihilation during the Cuban
missile crisis of October 1962. I have already shown in previous
Truthdig columns (see my essay “The
Cuban Missile Crisis vs. the Korean Missile Crisis” from August
2017) that the truth is precisely the opposite. “In effect,” the
British journalist Joseph
Richardson noted five years ago in an article properly titled
“JFK’s Lunatic Priorities During the Cuban Missile Crisis,” “Kennedy’s
government was prepared to risk a nuclear conflagration to safeguard US
prestige. [Kennedy’s] Secretary of State Dean Rusk jubilantly exclaimed
after the first Soviet ships opted not to run the American blockade
that ‘we’re eye ball to eye ball and I think the other fellow just
Had the Soviets not blinked,
it is likely Rusk would not have been around to give his reaction.” But
for Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev’s determination to let humanity
survive and the heroic intervention of a Soviet submarine commander
named Vasili Arkhipov beneath the Western Atlantic in the early evening
of Oct. 27, 1962, it seems likely that Kennedy’s reckless naval
blockade and nuclear machismo would have set off World War III.
The last link is to the
Wikipedia file on him, which says - among other things - that
Arkhipov's refusal to consent to a Russian nuclear strike "saved the
I think the article on Arkhipov is quite interesting, and I hope
there are American military men who are as rational and reasonable as
he seems to have
Here is the ending of this article:
We don’t need
another hyper-opulent, outwardly liberal pseudo-progressive,
Harvard-minted Kennedy to pretend to lead us out of the darkness of
authoritarian capitalism, racism, militarism, empire, patriarchy and
ecocide. We could, however, use another Dr. King and another great
social justice and peace moment like the one King and his cohorts
formed and led beneath and beyond the U.S. election cycle in the 1950s
Yes indeed - but
unfortunately men like Dr. King are very rare indeed. But this
is a recommended article.
This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
As regular readers
probably noticed, I have been reviewing many of the articles by
Reich. My main reasons to do so is not because I agree with him
quite often do, but sometimes don't) but because I regard him as an
honest and intelligent man.
If Robert Mueller finds
colluded with Russia to fix the 2016 election, or even if Trump fires
before he makes such a finding, Trump’s supporters will protect Trump
Trump’s base will stand by
because they believe Trump is on their side, but because they define
as being on his side.
Trump has intentionally
America into two warring camps: pro-Trump and anti-Trump. And he has
the pro-Trumps that his enemy is their enemy.
Most Americans are not
or liberals, Republicans or Democrats. But they have become impassioned
Trump supporters or Trump haters.
Polls say 37 percent of
approve of him, and most disapprove.
This time is no different but - basically because I live in Holland and
not in the USA - I do not know to what extent Reich is correct
in saying that most Americans "have become impassioned Trump supporters or Trump haters".
In fact, I hope Reich is correct, especially because Trump is not sane and
should be removed as president as soon as possible, and
be replaced by someone who is sane (even if Republican).
Here is some more by Reich:
The Republican Party used
for fiscal responsibility, state’s rights, free trade, and a hard line
aggression. Now it just stands for Trump.
majority in the GOP. As long as Trump can keep them riled up, and
as long as Republicans remain in control of at least one chamber of
I think this is correct. And
this is from Reich's ending:
In fact, I don't know. There are
It’s the divide-and-conquer
of a tyrant.
social trust that citizens regard the views of those they disagree with
worthy of equal consideration to their own. That way, they’ll accept
outcomes they dislike.
strategy is to
destroy that trust.
The first is that, although I am rather sure that Trump would like
to be a tyrant, I am not sure whether his divide-and-conquer strategy
(which I agree he has) is due to his plans or is due to his madness. But
Reich may be right.
And the second is that I think it is false to describe most
democrats as believing that "the
views of those they disagree with" are "as
worthy of equal consideration to their own":
I think that is both factually false in most cases - and for
good psychological reasons: after all, they decided (correctly or not)
that the views they subscribe to are more rational or more reasonable
than the views they rejected - and it also is too idealistic.
But anyway... this is a recommended article.
by Another Name: Our Devotion to Privatization Will Cost Us
This article is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Trump used the State of the
Union address last week to ballyhoo his infrastructure initiative, and
folks jumped all over it, and rightly so.
What the critics are
missing is that all the problems they identify with the infrastructure
plan, are just specific examples of what’s wrong with the
small-government/market-friendly policies embraced by both major
Ever since St. Ronnie
Reagan declared that government was the problem not the solution,
Republicans have been gutting government like it was a fresh-caught
fish. But the DLC Democrats – now the neoliberal elitists – essentially
embraced the same general philosophy, even if they didn’t carry it to
the same lunatic extremes as Republicans. Remember, it was
Clinton who declared the end of the era of big government, deregulated
Wall Street and the big banks, cut welfare, forged corporate-friendly
trade agreements, and turned the media over to the likes of Fox and
Clear channel by neutering the FCC.
The justification for all
this was that business could and would perform functions more cheaply
and more efficiently than government, and that unshackling it from
regulations was the engine of economic growth.
I think it is both
correct to say that the fundamental problems that the present USA
started in 1980, with Reagan, and that an important reason for that was
his insisting (quite falsely) that government was the problem not the solution,
certainly think it is quite correct to blame Bill Clinton - "who declared the end of the era of big
government, deregulated Wall Street and the big banks, cut welfare,
forged corporate-friendly trade agreements, and turned the media over
to the likes of Fox and Clear channel by neutering the FCC" - for that, and indeed also for turning
Democrats to supporters of the big banks and the rich, which indeed
made them appear like lighter versions of the Republicans.
Besides, while the thesis "that business could and would perform
functions more cheaply and more efficiently than government" is propaganda -
it should say something like "some businesses could and would perform some
functions more cheaply and more efficiently than some parts of
the government" - it
also totally avoids mentioning that in a democracy
the government is controlled by the people,
whereas private businesses are never
controlled by the government, but by private and generally
mostly secret private interests.
Here is more on the
differences between privatizing and not privatizing:
It turns out that
privatizing public functions, over time, almost always costs more on
net. In a study examining the costs of privatizing government
functions, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) found that it
cost more to contract out functions in thirty-three out of the
thirty-five job classifications they examined than it would to keep
them in government. On net, POGO
found that contracting
out services to the private sector cost twice as much as doing the
function in-house with government workers.
In short, you can pay
relatively less taxes to have a function done or managed by
government—an entity that is answerable to you at every election; or
more to have it overseen and performed by a private entity who is
likely to do a poorer job, one that isn’t answerable to you. You’re
paying “taxes” either way. Government taxes are simply more
transparent, less costly, and more accountable than the “taxes” you pay
to private entities.
Finally, the private sector
will determine which projects get funded, and which don’t. That means
the most profitable venture is likely to be the one to get done, not
the most needed. It also skews public policy from ventures which
don’t offer a clear opportunity for profit, or investments that are
inherently less profitable—things like storm drains, flood control
projects, or bridges on less travelled roads.
I think this is
all mostly correct, but I also grant this is just one
investigation (though indeed there are more similar ones).
Here is more:
Yes, I think this again is
mostly correct - but mark where it lands people who agree with this
analysis: Not with the present government; not with
Republicans; and not with the Democrats either ("neither party is willing to stand up to the
Oligarchs and Plutocrats").
In the end, Trump’s
infrastructure plan is simply another in the long line of policies
designed to benefit the private sector, and keep the public sector
sufficiently small and ineffective that it can be controlled and
contained by plutocrats.
Now, there’s a link between
why we have an idiot in the White House, and the fact that both parties
have given up on government and embraced the private sector.
People understand at a very basic level that we need an effective
government, and that many roles are performed best by government.
They know that corporations and the rich have taken over government and
used that power to feather their own nests.
They also know that neither
party is willing to stand up to the Oligarchs and Plutocrats that
control government today.
And while I agree this analysis is probably correct, it also
it may be rather impopular (at present, at least).
There is also this on the Democrats:
I think this is also
probably correct, but again it means that people who agree with
this analysis have little left to vote for.
But the Democrat’s embrace
of the Oligarchy is a little less transparent. For example, in
2016 Hillary Clinton claimed to take climate science seriously—which
would mean leaving 80% of the fossil fuels we’ve already found in the
ground to have a ghost of a chance at avoiding catastrophe—but she
backed industry fracking initiatives, backed the XL pipeline, and
advocated oil exploration for new fossil fuels on federal lands.
This kind of duplicity is
emblematic of neoliberal Democrats, and it’s this kind of chicanery
made enough voters choose to stay home or simply not to vote for the
Democratic candidate that Trump was able to win with about 27 per cent
of the rabid, angry and deluded.
And that is why the 27 percent of the voters who are passionately
ignorant could put an ignoramus in the White House.
Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
If Democrats want to
win, they will have to embrace a new New Deal. One rooted in
progressive values and a willingness to divorce themselves from the
Oligarchy and embrace the power of the government to do good.
Well... the present
Democrats - with Clinton and Pelosi in the lead - simply seem to be
sold to the banks (that also made the Clintons quite rich).
And my own
thesis is that as long as Clinton, Pelosi and Perez are in power, the
Democrats are sold to the banks, and will do little to try to save
the Americans from the Republicans as long as saving them does not
make them personally rich as well (with a few exceptions).
But this article is
interesting and recommended.
and Why We Should All Be Like the Late Journalistic Giant Robert Parry
This article is by Jon Schwarz on The
Intercept. It starts as follows:
In fact, I
know a fair amount of Consortium News and by Robert Parry, simply
because I had decided by 2012/2013 - when my
Crisis series started to
get really serious, after my
Christmas sermon: Hypotheses about CF+SS
and its getting confirmed a whole lot by Edward Snowden in 2013 (see: Crisis: On
Edward Snowden) - that he was a good and sensible journalist, and that he
also had few peers.
Robert Parry, the editor
of Consortium News,
died unexpectedly on January 27 at age 68.
His work inspired
generations of journalists, but it’s possible you’ve rarely encountered
his writing, or have simply never heard of him. So here are three
amazing things about him:
First, Parry was one of the
greatest American investigative reporters of the past 50 years, at the
level of Seymour Hersh. While he was best known for breaking the
Nicaraguan side of the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan
administration, that was but one gumball in the giant gumball machine
of political malfeasance Parry uncovered during his career. (He won the
prestigious George Polk award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his
work on Iran-Contra.) If you don’t read his books and website, you’ll
always have a distorted view of recent U.S. history.
Second, precisely because
he was so good, he was forced to the margins of the U.S. media, so far
out that he had to start Consortium News in 1995 and depend on reader
donations. His fate is especially educational because he was so
non-ideological. Unlike, say, I.F. Stone, he wasn’t a socialist or
radical. He just had basic, boy scout-like principles, such as “reality
is important” and “the government shouldn’t lie all the time about
everything.” Yet this was enough to make it impossible for him to work
for his former employers such as the Associated Press and Newsweek,
which he said tried to suppress his most explosive investigations
holding the powerful to account.
Third, despite the
impression his journalism sometimes gave off, he didn’t have
superpowers. As he would modestly say, any committed, curious
human being could do what he did. (What he wouldn’t mention is that
becoming as good as he was requires working extremely hard every
day for your entire life.)
And I checked his site daily since 2012, and reviewed many articles. I
think the present article is quite good, and I also had my own bit
about Robert Parry earlier. This is a recommended article.