from May 25, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Friday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
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 May 25, 2018:
1. Legalized Torture, Propaganda, and Endless War in the Time
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. Amazon Battles Seattle—And Loses
3. The Legacy of the Anti-Psychiatry Movement
4. Here are 10 Things I Learned About the World from Ayn
5. European Earthquake as Populist Government Forms in Italy
Torture, Propaganda, and Endless War in the Time of Trump
article is by Jeremy Scahill on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Erik Prince has been one of Donald Trump’s shadow advisers. Now, will
he be investigated for perjury? This week on Intercepted: Jeremy breaks
down the Trump Tower meeting Prince set up with a representative of the
Saudi and Emirati royals and an Israeli who runs propaganda and media
manipulation operations. Journalist Allan Nairn analyzes Trump’s rise
to power, the agenda of the extremist Republican Party, and dissects
the latest on the Trump/Russia investigation. Author and retired
psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Kaye discusses the U.S. Army Field Manual and
its Appendix M. This document is the current U.S. policy on the
treatment of foreign detainees. Kaye explains why some of its currently
“approved” tactics are torture. Syrian journalist Marwan Hisham and
artist Molly Crabapple discuss their new book, “Brothers of the Gun: A
Memoir of the Syrian War.” Plus the bizarre and frightening story
of how the CIA created a shellfish toxin dart gun.
This is a survey of what
Jeremy Scahill published this week in his weekly article on The
Intercept. In fact, there is far too much material to quote in
Nederlog and to discuss seriously. I will concentrate on two bits that
are quoted in a much longer bit in the Intercept with Allan Nairn.
Here is the first bit (and I expanded ¨AN¨ to ¨Allan Nairn¨ but
otherwise changed nothing):
Trump dragged a rightist revolution into power. It’s the Paul Ryan
agenda which could never have gotten elected in its own right because
it’s anathema to most Americans. But Trump, with his genius for
unleashing the beast in white America, touching these deep chords of
racism, succeeded in turning a crucial number of previous white Obama
voters into Trump voters, and this is a Republican Party that is one of
the most radical mainstream political parties in all of American
history, perhaps with the exception of the pro-secessionist Democrats
at the time of the Civil War. And they’ve been in there, they’ve been
implementing a rightist revolution, doing the massive transfer of
wealth in part via the tax bill, but also an important part by
systematically, agency by agency, trying to gut the constraints on
large corporations and the oligarchs, regarding the environment, their
treatment of labor, their ability to discriminate, their ability to
commit fraud without fear of being sued by the public, increasing the
rights of rich individuals to intervene in politics, decreasing the
rights of collectives of working people to intervene in politics, like
the Gorsuch-led Supreme Court decision. And, now, as the Republican
Party has evolved to the most radical extreme, they happen to have
control of both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. And they’ve
been going around rigging the system so that a diminishing minority can
hold power and continue to govern, just as Trump was elected with a
minority of the votes, they’re trying to set it up through a long list
of tactics, including purging of voter rolls, voter suppression shortly
before Election Day, gerrymandering, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera,
smaller and smaller numbers of people can win elections and retain
I think this is a more or less
serious and correct description of Trump and his government.
There is much more in the interview, and one of the things that does
get discussed but that I did not quote is Nairn´s opinion that impeaching
Trump with the Republicans in majority in both the Senate and the House
is quite impossible. I agree with Nairn.
Here is the other bit that I quote from a lot more:
Well... I have been
2016 that I never saw any decent evidence on a
collusion of Trump and the Russians, and I still haven´t seen
after one and a half year of bullshit (that
mostly seems to stem from
Hilary Clinton) I have completely given up on it.
Look, Trump is a guy who’s guilty of almost everything. Yet, here, the
Democrats have pinned the political future of the world on nailing him
for the one thing of which he may in fact be innocent: Russia
collusion. And my God, what a bitter disgusting irony if the whole
edifice of opposition to Trump comes crashing down if that speculative
bet that that can be proven fails to pay off.
Then again, Nairn is quite right that if Mueller cannot deliver
decent evidence that the Russians did succeed in manipulating
elections, this will be a very bitter irony.
There is a lot more by Nairn, and also a lot more on the other subjects
Scahill treats this week, and it is all strongly recommended.
Battles Seattle—And Loses
article is by Sonali Kolhatkar on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Sen. Bernie Sanders
excoriated Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in a damning
video tweet this week that zeroed in on Bezos’ personal wealth and
his company’s unfair economic advantages. It wasn’t the first time
Sanders had targeted Amazon—three weeks earlier the nation’s most
highlighted how Amazon paid zero federal taxes in 2017.
The company is sensitive to
such accusations and tweeted
back defensively, “We’ve created over 130K new full-time jobs in
the last year alone. Good jobs w/highly competitive pay & full
benefits.” What Amazon didn’t mention is that a significant percentage
of its employees rely
on food stamps, in a trend reminiscent of Walmart. It also failed
to mention that it fought tooth and nail against a modest tax bill to
fund housing for the poor in Seattle, Wash., the city where it is
I hate Amazon. I despise
Jeff Bezos. Also, I can´t write what I want about either,
because what I say may be judged offensive by these equivalents of
sadofascists. But yes, the richest degenerate there presently is - who
is even richer than his equivalent Suckerbug from Fuckbook - made
billions in part from sick greed directed against the poorest people
there are in the USA.
But there is some opposition
Sawant, who burst onto the
national political scene with her bold socialist agenda, won her seat
on Seattle’s City Council by calling for three
major reforms, summed up by the slogans, “$15 an Hour,” “Tax the
Rich,” and “Rent Control.” Four years ago, Sawant fulfilled
the first of her campaign promises by leading the fight to win an
increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. In an
interview on “Rising Up With Sonali,” she shared with me how her
second reform was achieved against massive opposition. “It was a
bitterly fought-for victory,” she said of the “Amazon tax” as it became
known, “because we went up against the Democratic Party establishment,
the absolutely ferocious opposition of the Chamber of Commerce, of big
businesses like Starbucks and especially of Amazon.”
I say, for I did not
know this. Then again, I think that was the least important of the
three aims Sawant set herself, and it also applies merely to Seattle.
Here is more on the
sadofascistic Amazon and its sick, degenerate and super-greedy owner:
I said I consider Amazon and
Bezos sick thieves of billions. Here is more on these major
homelessness crisis, Amazon’s opposition to the head tax was ruthless.
The corporation threatened to shut down construction sites and cut
jobs. It echoed the familiar conservative refrain that tax increases
and higher wages would slow growth and ruin the economy. “It’s a
threatening message not just to Seattle but to every city in the
world,” Sawant said of Amazon’s hardball tactics. “The message Jeff
Bezos is sending is that, ‘if working people in any city have the
temerity to go against me and the billionaire class, then we will
threaten you with taking away jobs.’ That is an attempted strike of
demonstrated to other cities is that it is possible to take on a
commercial giant, and, using the democratic process, squeeze taxes out
of it that benefit our cities and ordinary people. After all, Amazon
takes advantage of our publicly funded infrastructure to operate its
business. Despite Donald Trump’s grumblings
about Amazon, the president and his party passed a tax reform bill
last year that gifted Amazon a whopping $789
million in tax breaks—money that should have been part of our
federal treasury. All it would take is for ordinary Americans to push
their local city councils to replicate Seattle’s efforts in city after
city where Amazon plans to expand.
Yes indeed. This is a
Legacy of the Anti-Psychiatry Movement
article is by Julian Vigo on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Last week marked 40 years
since Franco Basaglia’s revolutionary work in Trieste, Italy, led to
the groundbreaking Legge
180 (Law 180, also known as “Basaglia Law”), which ended the
practice of involuntary confinement in asylums throughout Italy. The
anti-psychiatry movement was part of a larger intellectual and
professional movement promoted through the efforts of Basaglia, Michel
Foucault in France, R. D. Laing in Great Britain, Thomas Szasz in the
United States and Erving Goffman in Canada. These thinkers critiqued
the legal powers conferred on psychiatrists to detain and treat
individuals with mental health disorders, which contributed to the
medicalization of madness.
They also championed the
notion that personal subjectivity is independent from any hegemonic
mandate of normalcy imposed by organized psychiatric medicine. This
movement even suggested that mental illness might not exist at all
outside of the language to frame the other. Basaglia’s work in the
asylum in Trieste became a model
for radical psychiatrists internationally who had been laboring in their own countries to end the
forced institutionalization of patients and attempting to forge a new
model of mental health care.
I say, which I do
mainly because I had not heard from Basaglia, not in 50 years.
again, I am a psychologist who is meanwhile 68, and I recall
Goffman, Thomas Szasz, R.D. Laing and Michel Foucault quite well,
indeed also from nearly 50 years ago this year.
I also read all four then (between 1969 and 1972), and I should
by saying that they differ quite a lot, both in terms of ideas
terms of politics. And the next thing I should say is that these four
stand - for me - in the order I quoted them in the previous
think I should say at this point are that, firstly, I did completely
miss Basaglia and his works, which also means that - having
psychology in the 1970ies and 1980ies - that I did not see anything
like his work being ¨a
model for radical psychiatrists internationally¨ (which suggests to me it is either false or
exaggerated) and, secondly, that while it is true that ¨forced
institutionalization of patients¨ was quite bad, what replaced it
probably worse, for the asylums have been mostly closed, while the
patients have been left to themselves to cope with their own problems.
And the last thing I
should say before moving on is that I totally
reject the idea
that ¨mental illness might
not exist at all outside of the language to frame the other¨.
In fact, I think ordinary
psychiatry is a massive fraud
(and I explained that in 2012
in DSM-5: Question 1 of
most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis", which is strongly recommended), and
indeed also in 2012 explained quite well what I think about
Szasz (see here: DSM-5: Thomas Szasz's
ideas about psychiatry).
while ¨mental illness¨ is not a good term, I think some people
can and do get quite mad and do need help. But I will not expand
Then there is
As a result of Law 180,
Basaglia’s work became the basis for radical psychiatric
reform around Europe and beyond—even extending to New Zealand and
Australia—with hundreds of institutions closing over the next decade.
With each closing, the abuses of power within these hospitals became
better known—as did the reasons for confining individuals to them.
Well... I am a
psychologist; I am a European; I studied psychology in the
1980s and go a brilliant M.A. but I do not know anything
whatsoever about ¨Basaglia´s work¨ from the late Sixties onwards,
which again suggests to me that Vigo is exaggerating.
¨Basaglia´s work¨ and the ¨radical
reform around Europe¨
are completely unknown to me (?!), I also observe that the
closings of ¨hundreds of
institutions¨, which the
above quote attributes to Basaglia, in my
opinion seems to have been the results of cutting down costs on
psychiatry, rather than being the result of inspiring new psychiatry.
Then there is this
about Dr. Thomas
That seems more or less correct
(and for considerably more on Szasz and his ideas consult my DSM-5: Thomas Szasz's ideas about
psychiatry) - but
note that Szasz had a very low opinion of R.D. Laing (and while
I do not know his opinions on Foucault, I would be amazed if
he ever liked him).
The theoretical roots of
the anti-psychiatry movement in the United States date to the late
1950s. Szasz, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, first criticized the
legitimacy of “mental illness” as a legal term in an article he wrote
in 1958 for the Columbia
Law Review. At the time “Psychiatry, Ethics, and the Criminal Law”
was published, only five states in the U.S. barred involuntary
commitment of people with “mental illness.”
Drawing parallels between the
practice of committing patients to mental hospitals and the prison
system, Szasz maintained that psychiatrists were given the power to
command a sentence of “insanity” and to indefinitely intern patients
who are suffering, all the while treating them like criminals. Szasz
kicked off the anti-psychiatry movement in North America (...)
This is from the ending of this article:
Starting in 2009, as
a result of the Great Recession, states cut $4.35 billion in public
mental-health spending over the next three years. This was the largest
reduction in funding since deinstitutionalization began. Today, there
are approximately 37,679
psychiatric beds in the United States, which is about 12 beds for
every 100,000 people, a lower ratio than in 1850. With increasing
numbers of mental-health patients in American
jails, there is a serious problem in how deinstitutionalization has
been abandoned and replaced by the private
model—or left unexamined.
I say, for I did not
this, and I agree this is a considerable problem. And while this is a
recommended article, I do warn you that Vigo does not seem to
have studied psychology and is an American talking about Europe for the
most part, whereas I am a European who also is a psychologist -
and I have heard nothing about
Basaglia, ever, in the
last nearly 50 years.
are 10 Things I Learned About the World from Ayn Rand's Insane 'Atlas
article is by Adam Lee on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Over the past
been reading and reviewing Ayn Rand's massive paean to capitalism, Atlas
Shrugged. If you're not familiar with the novel, it depicts a
world where corporate CEOs and one-percenters are the selfless heroes
upon which our society depends, and basically everyone else —
journalists, legislators, government employees, the poor — are the
villains trying to drag the rich down out of spite, when we should be
kissing their rings in gratitude that they allow us to exist.
Well... I did read
Rand back in the early 1970ies. I did so then because I had met
Americans then who all recommended Ayn Rand, while I had not heard
anything about her, including her name.
And I think I mostly agree with Adam Lee, although I do not
of Rand, except that I though she was a horrrible fool who could
even write proper English. Here is more by Adam Lee, who read Rand
Atlas Shrugged is
a work of fiction, but as far as many prominent conservatives are
concerned, it's sacred scripture. Alan Greenspan was a member of Rand's
inner circle, and opposed regulation of financial markets because he
believed her dictum that the greed of businessmen was always the
public's best protection. Paul Ryan said that he required his campaign
staffers to read the book, while Glenn Beck has announced grandiose
plans to build his own real-life "Galt's Gulch," the hidden refuge
where the book's capitalist heroes go to watch civilization collapse
Yes indeed: I quite
and I add that of the between 5000 and 10,000 books about philosophy
that I read in the last 50 years, that also covered great
the worst books ¨about philosophy¨ (and ¨economics and morality¨) were those of Ayn Rand.
Reading Atlas Shrugged is
like entering into a strange mirror universe where everything we
thought we knew about economics and morality is turned upside down.
I've already learned some valuable lessons from it.
Here are ten things that Adam Lee learned from reading Rand -
please remember that what I quote are section headings, and each
section contains a good bit of explanatory text:
1. All evil
people are unattractive; all good and trustworthy people are
I have read Rand
too long ago to remember if most of the above points are in Atlas
Shrugged, but I think Lewis is article is well done and
recommended. O, and as for myself: I am academically both
philosopher and a psychologist, and if you are not, you should shut up
with praise of Rand.
The mark of a great businessman is that he sneers at the idea of public
3. Bad guys get their
way through democracy; good guys get their way
4. The government has
never invented anything or done any good for
5. Violent jealousy
and degradation are signs of true love.
6. All natural
resources are limitless.
Pollution and advertisements are beautiful; pristine wilderness is ugly
Crime doesn't exist, even in areas of extreme poverty.
The only thing that matters in life is how good you are at making
10. Smoking is good
Earthquake as Populist Government Forms in Italy
article is by Andrew Spannaus on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
revolt of voters across the Western world has reached a high point in
reviewing this article mostly because it is about Italy. And - to the
best of my knowledge - the above is correct.
The Five Star
Movement and the League, two so-called “populist” political parties in
Italy, are preparing to form a government after Wednesday’s appointment
of a new prime minister following an election result that could
directly challenge the foundations of the European Union.
anti-system movements around Europe, the Italian parties are calling in
particular for abandoning the neoliberal economic policies and
speculative finance, which are hollowing out the middle class.
comes two and a half months after the elections held on March 4, in
which Italian voters sent an unequivocal message to the current
political institutions, not simply of protest, but of a desire to
actually give power to those willing to implement deep changes.
The two parties
were not allies during the election, but they ultimately recognized
that their anti-establishment positions, and in particular their
opposition to the austerity-based policies of the E.U., made them
obvious candidates to join together in an attempt to shake up Italy and
Europe as a whole.
Here is some of what these two parties agreed on:
and the League quickly came to agreement on general issues such as
deficit spending for welfare reform (to significantly expand social
benefits, not cut them as in recent years) and simplification of the
tax code. The contract also includes the key points of separating
commercial banks from investment banks (the Glass-Steagall principle)
and using public institutions for targeted investment.
I think these
agreements all are good. Here is the last bit that I quote from this
article, which is its ending:
the populist wave that has spread across the Western world in the past
two years, European leaders in pursuit of their own interests have
generally seemed to ignore the need to recognize the errors of the
pro-finance, post-industrial model of recent decades, clinging to the
hope that their neoliberal system will ultimately survive despite
discontent from a significant portion of the population. The Italian
elections have changed the calculus. Regardless of how effective the
new government is, European institutions need to recognize that certain
problems cannot be ignored. The only way for the elites to survive – to
the extent they still can – will be to finally accept that their errors
can longer be defended.
and this is a 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 (!!).