from April 18, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
This is a
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 April 18, 2018
1. The Cult of Violence Always Kills the Left
The 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:
2. Trump’s Legal Worries Grow as Judge Rejects Effort
for President to
Review Docs Seized in FBI Raid
3. Comey’s PR Tour Has Almost No News Value — But It’s
4. Species Threatened as Climate Crisis
Pushes Mother Nature 'Out of
5. Taking Aim at Corporate Impunity, Sanders' Bill Would Send
Execs Behind Opioid Crisis to
Cult of Violence Always Kills the Left
This article is by Chris
Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows (and see April 16 for another article by Chris
Underground, a clandestine revolutionary organization that advocated
violence, was seen by my father and other clergy members who were
involved in Vietnam anti-war protests as one of the most
self-destructive forces on the left. These members of the clergy, many
of whom, including my father, were World War II veterans, had often
became ministers because of their experiences in the war. They
understood the poison of violence.
Yes, I think Hedges is
(mostly) right - and in fact I thought quite similarly
to what Hedges is saying now back in the late 1960ies and
the early 1970ies. And I do not
owe this (I think) to
myself, but to the fact that both my
father and my grandfather were in the resistance against the Nazis in
WW II, as communists also, and they were arrested in August of 1941.
Both were convicted, by collaborating Dutch judges, as ¨political
terrorists¨, to concentration camp punishments, which my father´s
father did not survive.
The young radicals of the
Vietnam era, including Mark Rudd—who in
1968 as a leader of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) led the
occupation of five buildings at Columbia University and later helped
form the Weather Underground—did not turn to those on the religious
left whose personal experiences with violence might have saved SDS, the
Weather Underground and the student anti-war movement from
self-immolation. Blinded by hubris and infected with moral purity, the
members of the Weather Underground saw themselves as the only real
revolutionaries. And they embarked, as have those in today’s black
bloc and antifa,
on a campaign that was counterproductive to the social justice goals
they said they advocated.
So I quite agree with Hedges on the Weather
Underground and on antifa.
And my ¨(mostly)¨ above was motivated by my not knowing enough
of black bloc to judge them.
Here is some more on Mark Rudd:
Rudd, 50 years
later, plays the role once played by the priests Phil and Daniel
Berrigan and Rabbi Abraham Heschel. His book “Underground: My Life With
SDS and the Weathermen” is a brutally honest deconstruction of the
dangerous myths that captivated him as a young man. I suspect that many
of those in the black bloc and antifa will no more listen to his wisdom
than did the young radicals five decades ago who dismissed the warnings
from those on the religious left for whom violence was not an
I have not read
any of Rudd´s book, but I do know some about the - 2009 -
of Rudd´s fellow Weathermen of the early 1970ies: None of them
Here is some on a distinction that (I think) should have been presented
in other terms:
“The anarchist Andy Cornell makes
a distinction between activism and organizing,” he said. “Activism is
about self-expression. It often is a substitute for strategy. Strategic
organizing is about results. These acts of self-expression, which is
what antifa does and what we did in the Weather Underground, are
exactly what the cops want.”
That is: I would
have put the distinction in terms or organizing vs. self-expression,
simply because this is more correct, and because ¨activism¨ itself is a
somewhat overloaded term.
Then there is this on red diaper babies:
“The means of
transmission were red diaper babies,’ he said, referring to the sons
and daughters of members of the United States Communist Party. “The red
diaper babies at Columbia SDS kept saying, ‘Build the base. Build the
base. Build the base.’ It became a mantra for years. It was all we
could think about. This meant education, confrontation and talking,
talking, talking. It meant building relationships and alliances. It
meant don’t get too far out in front.
Well, I definitely
was ¨a red
diaper baby¨, for both of my parents were - real,
intelligent, but not well-educated - communists for 45 years each; my
father´s father was a communist and was murdered by the Nazis because
of it; and both of my mother´s parents were anarchists most of their
lives: There are not many, in fact, who were more of a
diaper baby than myself.
But my development was quite different from all
other red diaper babies I knew in Holland: Being very intelligent I did
read Marx and Engels and quite a
few other leftist thinkers from 1965 till 1970, and by the end of 1970
I decided I did not believe in
dialectical materialism, nor in Marx´s economics. (See the last link for a
very brief version of my criticisms.)
And my own reaction then (in the beginning of 1971) was to
withdraw from political actions and politics, to turn instead
to science, and to redefine myself as a kind of philosophical
anarchist, though that last things was not very important
simply because I was much more interested in real science
and real philosophy than in ideologies,
which was a distinction I made in the same time (and the vast majority
of those interested in politics were mostly interested in ideologies,
and not in more serious matters).
In fact, I do not know of anyone else with my
kind of - very
leftist, very radical - family background who thought as I did, and in
fact most of my former political friends gave me up as friend within a
year or two.
Here is some about leftist thinkers that were popular in the late
The SDS radicals
came under the spell of revolutionary theories propagated by those
supporting armed liberation movements in the developing world. They
wanted to transplant Frantz
Fanon’s call for revolutionary violence, Lin Biao’s
idea of “people’s war” and Ernesto “Che” Guevara foco, or
insurrectionary center, to the struggle in the United States. The
radicals would go underground and carry out acts of violence that would
ignite a national war of liberation.
I did read Frantz Fanon in
later 1960ies, but strongly disagreed; I never thought much of
Lin Biao and avoided Maoists who seemed fanatics to me;
and I was
briefly captured by Guevara´s mythology when I was 17, but not anymore
since 1970 (at the latest).
Here is more about Mark Rudd:
“I was 18,” Rudd
said. “I saw heroic SNCC people advocating for black power. The
liberals betrayed them. Which side would you be on? Black power
rejected the nonviolence of Martin Luther King. It rejected
integration. Malcolm X used the slogan ‘By any means necessary.’ This
was seized upon to justify revolutionary violence. It was the same
fantasy of revolution. Black power was no more embraced by the black
masses than the violence and rhetoric of the Weather Underground were
embraced by the white masses. (...)
I think this is mostly
correct (and I never liked Huey Newton).
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
Black power made no sense to
most black people. It was suicidal. Huey P. Newton’s autobiography,
“Revolutionary Suicide,” captured it. What kind of a strategy is that?
The black power movement was a cultural uprising. But it was not
strategic. We fell for this bullshit.”
“Antifa claims to be
anarchist,” he said. “But is not the same anarchism as, say, the Wobblies.
Antifa’s version of anarchism is you can’t tell me what to do. It’s
self-expression. I fell into the trap of self-expression.
Self-expression is narcissistic. It’s saying my feelings are so
important that I can do anything I want. It’s saying once other people
see how important my feelings are they will join me. It never works.
My parents were real anti-fascists (and my communist father
was even knighted very briefly before he died, because he had
designed, together with others, an exhibition about fascism, nazism,
and resistance), but I don´t take ¨antifa¨ seriously at all:
abbreviation of ¨fascist¨ to ¨fa¨ is quite ridiculous in my eyes.
I think Hedges is right about them, and in fact what he says about them
strongly reminds me of one of the two main mistakes
made in 1967: They were all much hung up on personal freedom,
and besides, many of them went into hard drugs, and I
considered both, also in the 1960ies, serious mistakes.
And this is again a strongly recommended article.
Legal Worries Grow as Judge Rejects Effort for President to Review Docs
Seized in FBI Raid
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the
In a potentially
major setback for President Trump, a federal judge has rejected efforts
from the president to be given first access to documents seized by the FBI last week during raids on the properties of
Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, who is being investigated for
possible bank and wire fraud. Monday’s court hearing pitted the
president against his own Justice Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney
Thomas McKay urged the judge to reject the president’s request. McKay
said, “Just because he has a powerful client doesn’t mean he should get
special treatment.” The FBI seized 10 boxes
of documents and as many as a dozen electronic devices from Cohen.
According to press accounts, the Trump administration now views the
probe into Cohen as a more serious threat to the president than special
counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Meanwhile, on Monday, Cohen’s
attorneys were forced to reveal Fox News host Sean Hannity was also one
of Cohen’s other legal clients. Just last week, Hannity slammed the FBI for raiding Cohen’s office and home, but he
never disclosed his ties to Cohen. We speak to Marcy Wheeler,
independent journalist who covers national security and civil
liberties. She runs the website EmptyWheel.net.
I say, simply because I
did not know quite a few of the things summarized above. Here
some more by Amy Goodman:
(...) Monday’s courtroom hearing was filled with surprises. Michael
Cohen’s attorneys were forced to reveal Fox News host Sean Hannity was
also one of Cohen’s three legal clients, the other one being the
president. Just last week, Hannity slammed the FBI
for raiding Cohen’s office and home, but he never disclosed his ties to
Cohen. On Monday, Hannity acknowledged having brief legal discussions
with Cohen, but said Cohen had never represented him in any matter.
Michael Cohen’s third legal client is Republican donor Elliott Broidy,
who recently resigned as deputy finance chair of the Republican
National Committee over revelations he paid $1.6 million to a former Playboy
model to keep quiet about their affair, which resulted in her having an
abortion. Meanwhile, in another surprise on Monday, adult film star
Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, attended Cohen’s
hearing. Cohen paid her $130,000 to keep quiet after her affair with
Donald Trump. These developments all come as former FBI
Director James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty, hits
bookstores today, less than a year after he was fired by Donald Trump.
All of the above is
correct to the best of my knowledge. And here is Marcy Wheeler:
I do not know whether
Wheeler and the The New Yorker are right, but I hope they are
is a recommended article.
GOODMAN: Well, Marcy
Wheeler, I want to thank you for being with us. There are some, like in
The New Yorker, who were talking about this being
the end game. Do you agree?
WHEELER: I think that
Trump—I mean, on Friday, when the White House sent out a picture of the
White House deliberating before the Syria strikes Friday night, they
sent out a picture from Thursday. And I find that significant, because
it suggests to me there was no picture to be taken Friday. We know
Friday Trump was panicked, on the phone with Michael Cohen. And there’s
more and more indication that Trump is not there for the job, for even
what minimal presidential stuff that he is supposed to be doing. He’s
instead spending more and more time trying to try and find some way out
of these investigations. And to that extent, yeah, I absolutely agree
that he stopped being president and started being somebody trying to
beat a criminal rap.
PR Tour Has Almost No News Value — But It’s Driving Trump Nuts
This article is by Matthew Sheffield on
AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as follows:
Well... I agree that Comey
has said ¨very little that
has not been heard before¨,
but I think it is quite important that the dismissed head of
makes these complaints, for even if they are not new, it is new
man of Comey´s (former) stature repeats them.
It’s notable in some sense
that one of America’s former top law enforcement officials is willing
to compare the sitting president to a mafia boss, something Comey also
did during his interview broadcast Sunday night by ABC.
After failing to mount any
real defense against Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury,” Donald Trump
and his allies are trying to push back hard against the release of
James Comey’s memoir “A Higher Loyalty.” They really ought not to
bother, since the fired FBI director’s book offers very little that has
not been heard before.
Here is some more on Comey:
(...) Comey is far
from an original wit. He described Trump as "orange," and remarking on
the size of the president's hands, the length of his ties and his the
obvious willingness to lie about anything. Only the latter accusation
actually matters, of course, but it is so evident that hearing yet
another person say it is meaningless. Trump is a lout with no respect
for the rule of law, which is why the man he unjustly fired should be
above such pettiness.
I don´t agree.
Comey does not have to be ¨an original wit¨. Second, with a
who indeed has ¨the
obvious willingness to lie about anything¨, and who used the (small) size of somebody else´s
hands as an indication to the (small) size of that man´s penis, I think
everything matters. Third, Comey is not just ¨another person¨ who makes these criticisms: He is the former head
the FBI, and knows Trump personally (a bit). And fourth, I also see
reason why Comey - whom I do not regard highly myself - ¨should be above such pettiness¨. And indeed: What pettiness?
Here is the last bit that I quote, this time about Comey and Trump:
remarkably unperturbed about his past actions, which is strange
considering how dangerous he claims to believe that Trump is to the
I think this is true (but
this is not enough to make me recommend this article).
While Comey’s book and his
publicity tour thus far have offered relatively little value on their
own terms, they are likely to produce news in another way. Trump is
notoriously thin-skinned, and seeing Comey’s name and image splashed
all over the cable news channels he so obsessively watches obviously
angers him. From a public relations standpoint, the best thing Trump
could do would be to ignore “A Higher Loyalty,” but to do that would be
completely out of character.
Threatened as Climate Crisis Pushes Mother Nature 'Out of Synch'
article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
The warming of the Earth
over the past several decades is throwing Mother Nature's food
chain out of whack and leaving many species struggling to survive,
according to new research published in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.
offers the latest evidence that the climate crisis that human activity
has contributed to has had far-reaching effects throughout the planet.
A paper by ecologists at
the University of Ottawa examined 88 species on four continents, and
more than 50 relationships between predator and pr[e]y as well as
herbivores and the plants they eat, and found that food chain events
are taking place earlier in the year than they have in the past,
because of the warming climate.
I say, which I do
because I was alerted to ¨the environment¨ (let´s say) in 1970
Ehrlich, and especially in 1971/1972 by ¨The Limits
to Growth¨. And
especially the latter caused considerable worries in me
cycles - and the present outcome (almost 50 years later, I admit)
shows that I was rightly worried then.
Here is some more:
The scientists looked at
research going back to 1951, which showed that in previous decades,
birds would migrate, animals would mate and give birth, and plants
would bloom later in the year, allowing the animals to find the food
they needed at specific times.
These events have been
occurring about four days earlier per decade since the 1980s, according
to the National Observer. On average, the timing is now off
by a full 21 days for the 88 species the researchers examined.
And note that what is
mistaken here (and will kill many young animals for lack of food) is the
mismatch between giving birth to young and having many
prey (insects mostly, in the case of birds).
Indeed here is more:
"It leads to a mismatch,"
Kharouba said. "These events are out of synch."
The "mismatch" could begin
contributing to the endangerment of species that are unable to find
food they've relied on, the researchers said.
Quite so. I think this
quite worrying, but - alas, alas - I also think that (in
spite of quite
a few who were interested in ¨the environment¨ the last fifty years)
most of the findings of biologists and ecologists still get far
little attention and almost no follow-up.
And this is a recommended
Aim at Corporate Impunity, Sanders' Bill Would Send Big Pharma Execs
Behind Opioid Crisis to Jail
article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
I say! And I do so because
this is completely new to me, and
it also seems (i) a good
plan, and (ii) the only way of attacking the solidly
criminal Big Pharma executives: Legally, and with
strong prison sentences and serious financial consequences.
While President Donald
to place blame for the enduring opioid addiction crisis on immigrants,
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced Tuesday that he would introduce
legislation to take aim at those who drug policy experts agree are
truly behind the epidemic that kills tens of thousands of Americans per
year—pharmaceutical companies and executives.
"At a time when local,
state and federal governments are spending many billions of dollars a
year dealing with the impact of the opioid epidemic, we must hold the
pharmaceutical companies and executives that created the crisis
accountable," said Sanders in a
bill (pdf) would threaten Big Pharma executives with at least 10
years in prison should their companies be found guilty of contributing
to the opioid crisis through manipulative marketing practices.
Executives would also face fines equal to their total compensation
packages, while companies would be fined $7.8 billion—one-tenth of the
annual cost of the public health epidemic, according
to government estimates.
Of course, I grant that many of Sanders´ ideas, plans and proposals do
not work out because he is often in the minority in the
Senate, but in
the present case there may be a chance he succeeds, and the
that every year more Americans die from the drugs they get from Big
Pharma than Americans died in Vietnam.
Here is some on the background:
Quite so. And yes,
I think Sanders is right and e.g. Purdue Pharma are simply big
of very strongly addictive hard drugs, that Purdue Pharma now
claimed for over 20 years (!!!) are not
or hardly addictive, while they
are strongly addictive.
Under the legislation,
companies would be required to clearly state that opioids are addictive
in any marketing materials for the drugs, which include popular brands
including OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet.
The roots of the opioid
crisis are traced back to the 1990s, when Purdue Pharma, the maker of
OxyContin, began marketing the drug as safe for long-term use for
chronic pain, denying that prescription opioids—which are chemically
similar to heroin—had highly addictive properties.
After opioid painkiller
prescriptions skyrocketed as a result, the rate of overdose began to
rise as well, with opioid overdoses killing at least 63,000 Americans
And here is the last bit that I quote from this fine articlle:
Besides, having read considerably more about this, I insist that quite
a few doctors also lied themselves blue in the face, and namely
a bit of the profits on Oxycontin etc. were shifted back to
But Sanders noted that no
company has truly been held liable for the epidemic, which Purdue alone
has make tens of billions of dollars off of in recent years:
In 2007, Purdue
Pharma...pled guilty and agreed to pay more than $600 million in fines
for misleading the public about the risks of the drug. But the company
still made $22 billion off of the drug in the past decade.
"We know that
pharmaceutical companies lied about the addictive impacts of opioids
they manufactured," said Sanders. "They knew how dangerous these
products were but refused to tell doctors and patients. Yet, while some
of these companies have made billions each year in profits, not one of
them has been held fully accountable for its role in an epidemic that
is killing tens of thousands of Americans every year."
And Sanders is also right about how Big Pharma dealt with the
and gains: They were (and are) quite willing to return (as above) about
1/40th of their annual profits in fines, as long as the profits
continue and no Big Pharma executive has faced a judge.
This is a strongly 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 (!!).