from April 26, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from April 26, 2018
1. Is GOP Losing Its Grip on the Senate?
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. The Trouble With Nondisclosure Agreements
3. A Plutocratic Coup
4. Why Trump Is Winning and the Press Is
5. Diagnosing the West with Sadistic Personality Disorder
GOP Losing Its Grip on the Senate?
article is by Bill Barrow and Thomas Beaumont on Truthdig and
originally on The Associated Press. It starts as follows:
Republicans have known for
months that their House majority is in genuine peril. But after another
bruising showing in a special election, some in the party are
reconsidering the once inconceivable notion of losing the Senate.
It’s a sobering
possibility, particularly given Republican’ confidence not long ago
that they probably would increase their Senate edge after the November
vote. Far more Democratic senators are facing re-election in states
favorable to Republicans than the other way around. That’s why the GOP
held out hope of expanding its ranks and easing the path for President
Donald Trump’s agenda.
This is somewhat
interesting. Here is more:
Yet a Republican
congressional victory Tuesday in the Phoenix suburbs has set off new
Republican Debbie Lesko won
the special House election by 6 percentage points, though Trump
captured the district by 21 percentage points in 2016. GOP turnout
dropped off, and unlike Republicans’ shocking losses in a
Pittsburgh-area House race and an Alabama Senate contest, there was no
weak GOP nominee to blame in Arizona.
The only explanation was
the most worrisome for the GOP: Trump’s presidency is activating
Democrats and demoralizing some Republicans and if that trend
continues, trouble is ahead.
I think this may be
correct. Here is some more:
Still, there are signs that
seizing the Senate is no longer a pipe dream.
Democratic incumbents are
outpacing Republicans in fundraising. Of the 10 Democratic senators
running in Trump-won states, nine are among the top 20 campaign
fundraisers across all Senate candidates this election cycle. None of
their potential Republican opponents has made that cut.
Well... I do hope that
the Republicans loose the Senate and the House, but this is a rather
Trouble With Nondisclosure Agreements
article is by Paul Morantz on Truthdig. This is from close to its
To start with, I am Dutch
and not American, and while I do know some about
nondisclosure agreements, indeed also before I knew about Stormy
Daniels, I do not know much about them.
These days, a tsunami of
lawsuits resulting from deals made with a host of demons has clogged
our courts and prompted many judges to push for settlement agreements
just to keep the system afloat. The public interest is best served,
they reason, by getting civil disputes resolved without the enormous
time and expense of lengthy trials.
But saving time and money
doesn’t always serve the cause of justice. In this rush to judgment,
the courts end up rewarding defendants—often corporations accused of
everything from product safety violations to environmental
disasters—while punishing many plaintiffs who have suffered extensive
damages from those crimes, because these settlements are often
structured in ways that enable the wrongdoer to keep doing wrong.
The problem isn’t the negotiated settlements. It’s the onerous caveats
attached to them known as nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), or more
commonly, gag orders. These orders prevent those who accept money in a
settlement from disclosing anything negative about the defendants.
But they also seem to me fundamentally wrong, in that it seems
as if for some payments
one can simply say to the judge: Sorry, your law does not apply
to my case, for I got paid a sufficiently bug amount of money
(or: I paid a sufficiently big amount) to make me (or them) shut up.
That is: Ut seems as if sufficiently big amounts of money can lock
up the whole process of the law by undercutting the evidence by simply
Here is some more:
If this sounds
familiar to you, that means you’re up on the latest Donald J. Trump
scandals. To wit: Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, allegedly had an
affair with Trump in 2006. When she started shopping the story around
to magazines prior to the 2016 election, Trump’s personal lawyer,
Michael Cohen, paid her $130,000 to clam up about it. Daniels now wants
to break the nondisclosure agreement, which includes hefty fines for
violations. Trump denies the affair and any knowledge of the payment.
He insists he didn’t reimburse his lawyer.
That is all true (and why Cohen
paid Daniels $130,000 is a complete riddle, at least at this
And to be clear, I’m not
advocating the elimination of gag orders. In some cases, they are
appropriate and necessary. Legitimate trade secrets must be protected,
and embarrassing information can be sealed if there are no public
concerns. I even favor sealing divorce settlements, absent any showing
of good cause why the information should be made public. Most divorces
are private matters. Even heated disputes rarely involve things the
public needs to know, and their disclosure could have a negative impact
on the couple’s children.
But in many cases,
nondisclosure agreements inhibit the public’s First Amendment right to
speak out on matters of public concern and the right of civil litigants
to gain access to information from prior settlements that are directly
related to their cases.
But if no one can reveal details of the settlement publicly, how can
such beneficial social goals be accomplished? The ability to conceal
these details from the public and potential future litigants has
prompted many corporations, cults and self-help groups to seek out
possible aggrieved parties—sometimes even if they haven’t yet filed a
lawsuit—and offer them princely sums of money in exchange for their
signatures on nondisclosure agreements. If the potential litigants had
come to the offender and demanded payment for their silence, it would
be considered blackmail. But ironically, the courts have blessed
wrongdoers that seek out and pay potential plaintiffs in order to
prevent them from ever revealing details of a settlement, speaking to
the media or otherwise aiding potential litigants. It also keeps
critical documents and other evidence away from the prying eyes of
This seems all true or
reasonable, and indeed I specifically agree with the thesis
that there is something quite sick and offensive in the fact that if - say
- Stormy Daniels had asked
Michael Cohen for money she would have blackmailed him,
whereas if - say - Michael Cohen offered her money not to
speak, Cohen was perfectly in the clear.
I made my examples personal,
but what I said holds in general: If rich men can assure that they will
not be judged for their crimes, offenses or immoral deeds because their
lawyers can buy the silence of those they offended, then the law is
Then again, I agree that I do
not know much about non-disclosure agreements, but the
following from the ending does seem quite correct to me:
This is a recommended article.
You can’t buy silence or
suppress documents when doing so would harm the public interest.
This article is by Jim Hightower on Common
Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed, and Hightower
tells the story of what happened in 1933. Here is more:
In 1933, the Great
Depression was in full force, spreading mass unemployment, waves of
bankruptcies and abject poverty. The people's boiling political anger
was scaring the aloof denizens of Wall Street, as more and more people
joined in open rebellion against all things the plutocrats considered
sacrosanct: unfettered capitalism.
The year before, Franklin
D. Roosevelt had scored a landslide presidential victory over Wall
Street's man, then-President Herbert Hoover, by promising a New Deal
for millions of Americans impoverished by the Depression. To the
bankers' horror, the new president's government policies and programs
to help people get back on their feet included new taxes on wealth.
Such Wall Street
multimillionaires as Grayson M-P. Murphy (banker and Anaconda Copper
Mining Co. head) and Robert Sterling Clark (heir to the Singer sewing
machine fortune) were enraged by FDR's moves. "Class war," they wailed,
claiming that their "liberty" to grab as much wealth as possible was
being shackled. Calling Roosevelt a traitor to his class, these men
implemented a plan to oust him by enlisting a private military force
made up of thousands of destitute World War I vets who were protesting
the failure to receive promised federal bonus payments.
MacGuire told Butler
that the Wall Street cohort plus a new group called American Liberty
League (made up of the right-wing bosses of such corporate giants as
DuPont, Colgate, General Foods and General Motors) were prepared to
fund the cause to the tune of $300 million (about $5.6 billion in
today's money), and that Remington Arms would supply the weapons. The
conspirators thought that FDR would go down without a fight and would
welcome the coup. Once in place, the financiers and militarists would
install a "secretary of general affairs" to run the country. And one of
their choices was Smedley Butler.
Precisely, and Smedley Butler
was a quite interesting and courageous man. Here is also more
about this story: Business
Plot which in fact lists three
somewhat similar reactions as Butler had, namely (apart
from Butler) by Van Zandt
and also by William Dodd, who was Roosevelt´s ambassador to Germany.
Here is some of what Dodd wrote to Roosevelt in 1936 (quoted from Business Plot):
A clique of U.S.
industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our
democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in
Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in
Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to
the Nazi regime. ... A prominent executive of one of the largest
corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take
definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt
continued his progressive policies. Certain American industrialists had
a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both
Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of
power, and they are helping to keep it there. Propagandists for fascist
groups try to dismiss the fascist scare. We should be aware of the
symptoms. When industrialists ignore laws designed for social and
economic progress they will seek recourse to a fascist state when the
institutions of our government compel them to comply with the
Then again, Dodd was soon
dismissed by Roosevelt. Back to the article:
Yes. There is considerably
more to this story than Hightower tells, but this is a recommended
But he was the wrong
general. Butler was a patriot and a lifelong soldier for democracy, and
he was astounded and repulsed by the hubris and treachery of these
aristocrats from Wall Street. Butler enlisted investigative reporter
Paul Comly French to help gather proof of the bankers' intent. With
evidence in hand, Butler got the House Special Committee on Un-American
Activities to conduct an investigation, which convinced members of the
committee that Butler's story was "alarmingly true." The committee then
opened public hearings with Butler giving detailed testimony.
Trump Is Winning and the Press Is Losing
article is by Jay Rosen on The New York Review of Books. It starts as
There is alive in the land
an organized campaign to discredit the American press. This campaign is
succeeding. Its roots are long. For decades, the Republican coalition
has tried to hang together by hating on elites who claim to know
things, like: “What is art?” Or: “What should college students be
taught?” Or: “What counts as news?”
The media wing of this history extends back to Barry
Goldwater’s campaign in 1964. It passes through Spiro Agnew’s speeches for Richard
Nixon in 1969, and winds forward to our own time through William
Rusher’s 1988 book, The Coming Battle for the Media, the
growth of conservative talk radio in the 1990s, and the spectacular
success of the Fox News Channel, which found a lucrative business model
in resentment news, culture war, and the battle cry of liberal bias.
Yes, I think this is
mostly correct. Here is some about Trump:
Donald Trump is both the
apotheosis of this history and its accelerant. He has advanced the proposition
dramatically, from undue influence—Agnew’s claim—to something closer to
treason, in which journalists have become “enemies of the people.”
Instead of criticizing “the Media” for unfair treatment, as Agnew did,
Trump whips up hatred of it. Some of his most demagogic moments have
been attacks on the press, often by singling out reporters and camera
crews for abuse during rallies with an atmosphere of menace.
I think this is all
true. Here is again a bit more:
It starts at the top, with
the president’s almost daily attacks on “fake news,” and his
description of leading institutions—The New York Times, The
Washington Post, CNN, NBC—as failing and corrupt. Contempt thus
has two places to settle.
At the bottom of the
pyramid is an army of online trolls and alt-right activists who shout
down stories critical of the president and project hatred at the
journalists who report them. Between the president at the top and the
base at the bottom are the mediating institutions: Breitbart, Drudge
Report, The Daily Caller, Rush Limbaugh, and,
especially, Fox News.
Yes and no: I
agree with what is being said here, but I also insist that ¨the bottom
of the pyramid¨ is not ¨an army of online trolls and alt-right
although these clearly exist:
The real bottom is the combination of the stupidity or
or the wishful
thinking that marks very many Americans, simply because without
any of these three things the whole ¨army of online trolls and alt-right activists¨ would have no success.
this was all from the beginning of the article, and there is a lot
more. This is a recommended article.
the West with Sadistic Personality Disorder (SPD)
article is by Andre
Vltchek on The Off-Guardian. It starts as follows:
Western culture is
clearly obsessed with rules, guilt, submissiveness and punishment.
By now it is clear that the
West is the least free society on Earth. In North America and Europe,
almost everyone is under constant scrutiny: people are spied on,
observed, their personal information is being continually extracted,
and the surveillance cameras are used indiscriminately.
Life is synchronized and
managed. There are hardly any surprises.
One can sleep with whomever
he or she wishes (as long as it is done within the ‘allowed protocol’).
Homosexuality and bisexuality are allowed. But that is about all; that
is how far ‘freedom’ usually stretches.
Rebellion is not only
discouraged, it is fought against, brutally. For the tiniest
misdemeanors or errors, people end up behind bars. As a result, the
U.S. has more prisoners per capita than any other country on Earth,
except the Seychelles.
And as a further result,
almost all conversations, but especially public discourses, are now
being controlled by so-called ‘political correctness’ and its variants.
To start with, while it
very probably is true that in ¨Western culture¨ ¨almost
everyone is under (..) scrutiny¨ the same goes for ¨non-Western
culture¨ - and I put quotation marks around the last term simply
because I do not know what Vltchek means by ¨Western culture¨.
I also think the above
description is a bit too strong and somewhat misleading, from my own
(leftist) perspective, but I let that be.
Mr. Vltchek seems to be
some 12 years younger than I am. He is billed as ¨a philosopher¨, but I
did not see any academic degrees. He is not
billed as a psychologist. I have - excellent - academic degrees in both
subjects, and what I am concerned with in this review is the following:
Let’s look at the
definition of sadism, or professionally, Sadistic Personality Disorder
(SPD), which both the United States and Europe could easily be
This is an excerpt of a
common definition of the SPD, which appears in Medigoo.com and on many
other on-line sites:
…The sadistic personality
disorder is characterized by a pattern of gratuitous cruelty,
aggression, and demeaning behaviors which indicate the existence of
deep-seated contempt for other people and an utter lack of empathy.
Some sadists are “utilitarian”: they leverage their explosive violence
to establish a position of unchallenged dominance within a
It is familiar, isn’t it?
The Empire’s behavior towards Indochina, China, Indonesia, Africa,
Latin America, Russia, the Middle East and other parts of the world.
I am sorry, but this is nonsense for
quite a few reasons. I will not list them all, but here are my main
(1) ¨The United States¨ and ¨Europe¨ (and ¨Indochina, China¨ etc.) are not
persons nor do they
have personalities. The term ¨SPD¨ simply does
not apply to these entities.
(2) It is true that the the sadistic personality disorder was
considered but not included in the DSM
III (of 1980), but it was neither
considered nor included in the DSM-IV nor in the DSM-5.
(3) The whole concept on which any DSM is based, namely that in
the end any DSM is a
private affair of the APA is completely
non-scientific; the DSMs are fundamentally
mistaken and misleading; and to insist
on not only classifying acts and persons as sadists
(in some sense), but also to insist this
definition must - somehow - be part of - some - DSM
is a (rather serious) mistake.
Here are some brief
In the first place, countries
are not persons
nor do they have personalities.
Therefore the whole idea of describing them as if they
were persons is a serious and fundamental category
And while I do not
disagree with some sort of thesis that quite a few of the
military men, the policemen, the spies, the government officials etc. may
(in some sense), all of these
are real persons with real personalities (however
sick), while countries and groups simply are not.
In the second place, in case
you are interested in ¨sadistic
personality disorder¨ (as defined in 1980, i.e. nearly forty years
ago), the last link is indeed to a definition on the medigoo.com.
Again, this applies only
to real physical persons, and besides (what Vltchek doesn´t
mention) the definition (in terms of numbered points) is at least
supposed to be in observational terms only, while in fact the
DSM III has no or very little discusion of sadism from a
And in the third place I
think Mr. Vltchek is either confused or ignorant about what any of the
DSMs is - and ¨DSM¨ = ¨Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders¨ really is. I have neither the time nor the taste to
review the DSMs here once again, but I did so in 2012, and that was a
good and quite long essay that I can strongly recommend to anyone
with a serious interest in psychology or psychiatry: DSM-5: Question 1 of
most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis".
NB: This essay is over 371 Kb long and contains rather a lot of
philosophy of science.
And my own -
psychologist´s and philosopher´s - criticism of the DSMs is (in the
end) that I completely reject the - secret, private,
non-scientific - procedures that are used to set up its definitions; I completely
reject the whole idea of a - private, non-scientific - DSM (there
were some 50 definitions of ¨mental disorders¨ in the DSM-II;
in the DSM-IV and DSM 5 there are some 450 definitions of
precisely the same ¨mental
disorders¨); I completely reject the virtual death of theory in
psychiatry; and in fact the only thing I accept from it are the
observational definitions they contain of various ¨mental
disorders¨, and not because they
are necessarily good (they often are not), but because (i) they are
observations, and (ii) there is nothing better at the present
So I totally reject
Mr. Vltchek´s ideas. Here is the last bit of this article:
One of the most frightening
things about mental illnesses is that the patient usually does not
realize that he or she is suffering from them.
It is about the time for
the rest of the world to treat the West as a mental patient, not as the
‘leader of the free and democratic world’.
We have to think, to
gather, to develop a strategy of how to deal with this unfortunate, in
fact, terrible situation!
If we refuse to understand
and to act, we may all end up in the most dangerous situation: as
complacent servants of the perverse whims of a frustrated, extremely
aggressive and truly dangerous SPD patient.
Well... ¨the West¨ is
neither a person nor does it have a personality and this is itself more
than sufficient reason to reject the whole idea of ¨the West as a mental patient¨: it simply is nonsense.
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 (!!).