from April 28, 2018
B. One extra bit
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
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
These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from April 28, 2018
1. 2020 Democratic Contenders Are Making the “Cheap Gesture”
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:
Swearing Off Corporate PAC
2. The Demise of Watchdog Journalism in China
3. Peace Activists Celebrate as Korean Leaders Vow to
Officially End War
4. An Epic
Disaster: Trump's Manic and Disjointed Fox and Friends
Interview Brings New Trouble
For His Legal Team
Why Key JFK Files Held by the CIA Continue to Stay Secret
Democratic Contenders Are Making the “Cheap Gesture” of Swearing Off
Corporate PAC Money
This article is by Zaid Jilani on The Intercept. It
starts as follows:
I say, which I do because
I did not know this. Then again, while this may sound
the real questions are two:
Sen. Kamala Harris,
D-Calif., became the
latest lawmaker to swear off all donations from corporate political
action committees, telling a radio host in mid-April that she made the
move after being asked about it at a town hall by a constituent.
Harris joins five other
senators who have vowed not to take corporate PAC contributions:
Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Elizabeth
Warren, D-Mass.; Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
With the exception of
Cantwell, these senators are regularly floated 2020 presidential
contenders, giving them political incentive to declare themselves
independent of corporate money. Many Americans have grown increasingly
distrustful of big business’s influence in politics since the Supreme
Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
First, how much financial difference makes this giving up of
corporate PAC contribution? And second, indeed in part because I have
been saying the last two days that most of the Democratic Senators
(at least) seem to be more interested in getting personally rich by
means of politics than in helping others: Does this make it
plausible or credible that the Democrats are not corrupt in
Here is a first step towards answering my questions:
corporate PAC money can be one positive step a lawmaker can take
towards reducing the corrupting influence of money on politics. But
it’s far from enough.
In fact here is a list
of the percentages of money each of the six received from PACs
from the article):
The reason is that money from
PACs – corporate or otherwise — comprises a relatively insignificant
portion of these senators’ campaign contributions, raising the question
of whether curtailing donations from corporate PACs will really make a
difference. Critics think it doesn’t, noting that the bigger threat of
influence comes from wealthy donors who don’t funnel their cash through
PACs. But for politicians looking to seize on public discontent with
the influence of money on politics, the decision makes for an effective
from large donors)
10.37% (76.40% from large donors)
6.95% (52.15% from large donors)
1.4% (29.2% from large donors)
0.61% (73.61% from large donors)
1.73% (17.70% from large donors)
I also note that only Warren and Sanders got most of the money
they get from small donors.
In other words, to restate the last line of the last quote: It
rather easy and obvious trick - as soon as you know the
See above) - to gain considerable political influence by giving up
These figures make
clear that the senators are giving up relatively little money by
swearing off donations from corporate PACs — it just isn’t a very big
portion of their overall campaign funding. Which raises the question:
Is it really possible that the system is being corrupted by sums of
money this small?
Of course the answer to
this last question should be: Of course not - the corruption
cases of these Senators) is not due to the small amounts they
the PACs but (if it exists, which I think it does) is mostly due to their
There are only two (Democratic) Senators for whom this may be
In that regard,
Warren and Sanders deserve an honorable mention, as they are the only
senators in this group of six who got the majority of their campaign
funding from small individual contributors since 2013. Nobody else
Additionally and briefly:
None of this undermines my ideas that most Democratic Senators are
fact corrupt (as are the Republicans), indeed except for Warren and
Sanders. And this is a recommended article.
Demise of Watchdog Journalism in China
This article is by Helen Gao on The New York Times. It
starts as follows:
capitalism reached a fever pitch in China in the early 2000s, a boom in
investigative journalism was hailed as the most salient example of
growing citizen power. National politics, which had disappeared from
public conversations after the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, again felt
immediate and personal.
I say, which I do because
I did not know this and because I think it is quite
middle school student at the time, I spent weekend afternoons poring
over Southern Weekly, the standard-bearer of investigative journalism,
devouring exposés of urban crimes and corporate scandals, a reality
that was worlds apart from my cocooned life in a university
newspaper’s journalists, heralding the new era, wrote in a 1999
editorial that investigative journalism should “give power to the
powerless, and motivate the pessimists to march on.”
we don’t hear that pledge, or anything like it, today.
than five years into President Xi Jinping’s rule, the more insidious
implications of his authoritarian revival are coming into focus. One
casualty is investigative journalism. Having suffered a decline as
rapid as their rise, muckraking journalists feel lost.
And these sentiments are
widespread, felt beyond the world of journalism. State oppression has
decimated civil society and negated years of social progress, casting a
pall on the public mood.
Here is some more:
Riding on those
successes, regional newspapers like Southern Weekly, Southern
Metropolis Daily, and Dahe Daily rose to national prominence. Despite
their government affiliations, these papers enjoyed relative freedom
thanks to liberal-minded political leaders who considered investigative
reporters political allies.
I suppose this is both
true and in the past. And in fact here is a reference to a very good
book by a Chinese - very courageous, quite intelligent
- journalist, namely Liu
Binyan's "A Higher Kind Of Loyalty", that
In fact, many of his conclusions - see: "A Higher Kind Of Loyalty" - are not optimistic
(but I think they are correct, at least for the most part):
small percent of the Chinese population - living in the kind of
society they do live in (!!) - is honest, fair, and
while a large percent is dishonest or unfair or uninformed, and besides
may be personally greedy.
There are several "typically Chinese" reasons for this:
Written Chinese is much more difficult to learn
than written Western
languages, which means that, certainly in the 60ies and 70ies, there
was much less knowledge of the real facts (in science,
in art, in
politics, in philosophy, etc.) than would have been the case if many
more Chinese had been able to read Chinese well, and besides China was
poor and backward compared to Europe and the USA, and also was
effectively a Communist dictatorship since 1949.
And I think that besides there also are some general human reasons
Most people are neither very intelligent, nor very interested
in things that fall outside their personal lives, and besides, most
people tend to be conformists,
who conform because this is the best or only reason (for
persons of their talents and/or background) to get the things done they
want done for themselves and their families - and both
tendencies will be much stronger
in a dictatorial society in
which many cannot read, or cannot read well.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I agree, indeed
because this is familiar from Liu Binyan and also because this
additional conformism is mostly due to increased "oppression under Mr. Xi".
out is increasingly the choice of disaffected young journalists. Where
there had been idealism and mettle a decade ago, there is now a breezy
acceptance of the status quo.
the feeling of resignation in response to the oppression under Mr. Xi
is so widespread among young people that it has a label: the Buddhist
youth attitude. It denotes a noncompetitive, laissez-faire existence
based on the idea that little that is out of reach is worth striving
And this is a strongly recommended article (and I agree Xi is not
3. Peace Activists Celebrate as Korean
Leaders Vow to Officially End War
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the
History has been
made on the Korean peninsula today, as South Korean President Moon
Jae-In and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un shook hands at the
Demilitarized Zone between the two countries and pledged to work to
denuclearize the peninsula and to declare the official end to the
Korean War. Today’s historic summit marks the first time a North Korean
leader has ever set foot inside South Korea. During the meeting, North
Korean leader Kim Jong Un said “I came here to put an end to the
history of confrontation.” The North and South Korean leaders pledged
to pursue talks with the United States aimed at negotiating a formal
peace treaty to replace the uneasy 1953 armistice. For more we speak
with Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Colonel and former State Department
diplomat. She is a member of Women Cross DMZ,
a group of international peacemakers who have been calling for an end
to the Korean War.
I say, which I do because
I did not know this. Also, I agree that this is quite
fact (in a radical verbal packaging), it seems as if the leaders of
both Koreas have agreed to significantly bring down the
tensions between both Koreas, because if they do not, then
president Trump may decide to blow both up by American atomic bombs.
Here is the president of South Korea followed by Amy Goodman:
I say, again (for this is
the first time in 65 years). And here is the president
of North Korea:
GOODMAN: Those were the
words of South Korean President Moon Jae-in as he held a historic
summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. After shaking hands at the
demilitarized zone between the two countries, the two leaders pledged
to work to denuclearize the Peninsula and to declare the official end
to the Korean War. Today’s historic summit marks the first time a North
Korean leader has ever set foot inside South Korea. North Korean leader
Kim Jong-un wrote in a guest book “a new history starts now. An age of
peace, from the starting point of history.”
JAE-IN: Kim Jong-un and
I declared together that there will be no more war on the Korean
Peninsula and a new age of peace has begun.
here is Ann Wright:
JONG-UN: We will make
efforts to create good results by communicating closely in order to
make sure our agreement signed today before the entire world will not
end as just a beginning like previous agreements before today.
(...) Did you ever think you would see this day?
Yes, I agree with her: It
is considerably more than I expected.
WRIGHT: Holy smoke, no.
This is just really remarkable. The last 12 hours have just stunned
everyone, of the incredible, incredible work that has been done by the
South Korean government with the North Korean government. And for them
to have been able to come out with a communiqué, an agreement that is
stunning, that has—I mean, I couldn’t have written it any better. All
of the wants that we of the world who want peace for the Korean
Peninsula, who could have written everything down—we couldn’t have
added anything more to what they have come up with. It is really a
beautiful, beautiful agreement, worked very hard by both governments.
And I certainly hope the United States government will agree with all
parts of it and that, indeed, the people of Korea will finally have
peace on their Peninsula.
Epic Disaster: Trump's Manic and Disjointed Fox and Friends Interview
Brings New Trouble For His Legal Team
This article is by Heather Digby Parton on AlterNet and
originally on Salon. This is from near the beginning:
Since Trump doesn't
give normal press conferences and is refusing to give many interviews,
his only outlet in that case was his morning briefing team of Brian
Kilmeade, Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt of "Fox & Friends,"
who happily accepted his call on
Thursday morning. He sounded unusually energized, speaking at
twice his normal speed, and was obviously extremely agitated. The
president doesn't drink coffee or I might have suspected he'd had a
couple of quad espressos before he picked up the phone. Perhaps he
downs a six pack of Diet Cokes upon waking. Whatever the case, he was
as manic and disjointed as we've ever heard him. And that's saying
Yes indeed. And in fact I
selected this article because I am a philosopher and a
terms of excellent diplomas, and the vast majority is not) who has
saying for more than two years now (in Nederlog) that I think
Trump is not sane
(he has a narcissistic
personality disorder) and he
a neofascist (on my definition, literally on each
point), but neither
idea seems popular at present.
Well... that Trump is a neofascist depends on my
and while I think my definition is a good one, the
whole term "neofascism" seems extremely ill-defined, in fact rather
like the term "fascism", which is less unclear, but still has over
20 - sometimes quite different
- definitions, of which 10 to 15 are
also mostly serious (while at most one can apply to the real facts, in
the best way).
So I am not much amazed that my thesis that Trump is a
not popular. But I am somewhat amazed that - while there
now seem to be
some 70,000 psychologists who agree with me - Trump is still
considered (at least) pretty crazy, simply because his words often are,
he is an enormous liar, and 70,000 psychologists agree that he is
fairly typical narcissist.
Would this be an influence of the asocial media, where mostly the
morons feed other morons with wild fantasies rather than firm facts or
Anyway. Here is some more:
I agree with the "more craziness", but it was not merely crazy but also stupid
Michael Cohen as Trump did e.g. because it still is not
explained who paid the $130,000 to Daniels to make her shut up.
There was more craziness,
most of it just vintage incoherent Trump rambling, escalating in tone
and manic energy all the way through. But threading through the entire
conversation was a lot of discussion about the Justice Department, the
FBI, Michael Cohen and Robert Mueller, all of which are obviously very
much on his mind. Some of what the president said immediately got him
into trouble, and the rest may have far-reaching ramifications.
First, Trump said that Cohen
only did "a tiny, tiny little fraction" of his legal work but that
"Michael would represent me and represent me on some things, he
represents me — like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal."
Here is more by Parton in both points:
mistake, however, may have been tossing Michael Cohen to the wolves by
saying, "I have nothing to do with his business." That's a little hard
to believe, since Cohen was an executive vice president of the Trump
Organization for more than a decade. Cohen certainly had to hear it as
his old boss casting him aside. It was also cruel of Trump to destroy
Cohen's claim of attorney-client privilege for his own sake. You can
bet that prosecutors will remind Cohen of Trump's words when they ask
him if he might have some information he'd like to share with them.
Yes, I agree and this is a
Why Key JFK Files Held by the CIA Continue to Stay Secret
article is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet and originally on the
Independent Media Institute. It starts as follows:
Of all the
fascinating and weird things about the JFK assassination story, the
veil of official secrecy that still surrounds the subject a
half-century later is one of the most fascinating and weird.
Yes, I quite agree, though
John F. Kennedy was murdered 55 years ago. I have read some
of the very extensive literature that was written about this in
1970ies (notably Mark
Lane) but not much.
So I am certainly not a specialist, but I do have one
conclusion: The fact that the CIA is still keeping secret
many of the
JFK files they have (after 55 years) strongly suggests that the
CIA knows much more than it has released, and indeed may itself
neen involved (somehow, directly or indirectly) in organizing it.
Here is more from the article:
This is all true, and I do
not know now what Trump has released.
On President Trump’s April
26 deadline for full disclosure of the JFK files, that veil of secrecy
is still in place. According to the Mary Ferrell Foundation’s analysis
of the National Archives database, some 21,890
JFK files remain wholly or partially secret. Approximately 85
percent of the still-secret files are held by the CIA and FBI.
Such secrecy not only stokes
JFK conspiracy theories and the specter of a “deep state.” It also
discourages historians, journalists and students from completing the
historical record of JFK’s murder.
Here is a simple reason why it still is important:
The president of the
United States was gunned down in broad daylight, and no one was ever
brought to justice. No one at the CIA or FBI even lost their job over
this atrocious intelligence failure. Now tell me exactly, how did that
I can make an attempt to
answer the last question: Because many of the files were kept secret by
In fact, it seems the CIA agrees:
My own reply to James
Angelton's (rather crazy) claim is: It is inconceivable that
claim is compatible with democratic government.
The prospects that
scholars, journalists, and interested citizens will ever see all of
these files this week are not bright. The reason is found in the
recently released transcript of what Angleton told Senate
investigators behind closed doors in September 1975.
“It is inconceivable,” he
said behind closed doors, “that a secret intelligence arm of the
Government has to comply with all of the overt orders of the
Here is - so far - the outcome on releasing the Kennedy files:
unanimously in favor of the JFK Records Act, which mandates the release
of all files. The act was signed into law George H.W. Bush, a
Republican, and implemented by Bill Clinton, a Democrat. President
Trump favors full disclosure. Yet the will of the people—it seems a
quaint concept these days—has not been achieved despite the letter and
spirit of the law.
is: The CIA - still - has the power, in spite of laws signed by
Sr, and by Bill Clinton.
Indeed, since October 26,
2017, the CIA has flouted the JFK Records Act.
And this is a recommended article.
B. One extra bit
Persons who read considerably more of Nederlog
than a few daily bits -
Nederlog exists since 2006 (or indeed, but only about Holland, from
2004 till 2006) and is fully present on my site - know that
couple of years ago I regularly reviewed seven or eight articles a day.
I stopped doing so for various reasons some years ago. The most
important one is that I have a serious chronic
disease since 1.i.1979 (and meanwhile am almost 68), but a
secondary important one is that I thought reviewing 5 of the best or
most interesting articles I could find every day on 35 sites was
generally sufficient (while it is also something I do not know anyone
But occasionally I do find special bits, and this is one:
In fact, I did not
(yet) see this, indeed mostly because I much prefer to read
viewing discussions and having to listen, but there is (as yet) no text
for the interview. I selected it nevertheless, and for the following
reason (quoted from the introduction):
I think this very
well may be correct, although I should add that the "Gleichschaltung" (which does not mean
"streamlining" but "making equal") in the USA does not happen by
law (mostly) but by money. It is quite important, and that is the
reason this interview is here.
In a recent episode of "On
Contact," his video series with RT, Truthdig columnist Chris
Hedges speaks with Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media
studies at New York University, about the destruction of the
independent press in the United States.
Hedges calls attention to
the algorithms of Facebook, Google and Twitter, and how they steer
traffic away from anti-war and progressive websites, while Miller
speaks of the frightening historical precedent of the homogenization of
"I think what we have seen
over the decades since the mid-70s, and I'm going to make a provocative
comparison here, is something analogous to what the Nazis called gleichschaltung,
which means streamlining," Miller says. "When they came to power, they
made it their business to make sure that not only all media outlets but
all industries, all sectors of the culture, would be streamlined, which
meant getting rid of anyone who was not fully on board with the Nazi
Miller adds that this is
"unprecedented in American experience." He says, "Even ten years ago I
would have flinched if someone compared our press to the Nazi press."
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 (!!).