from May 28, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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 28, 2018:
1. How to Replace Neoliberalism With a Caring Economy
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. Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump and the 'Me First' Doctrine
Korean President Moons Bolton
4. Facebook and Free Speech
5. Making Sense of America's Empire of Chaos
to Replace Neoliberalism With a Caring Economy
article is by Eleanor Bader on AlterNet and originally on Truthout. It
starts as follows:
In her timely book No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and
Winning the World We Need, Naomi Klein calls on us to resist
President Trump and the turn to reactionary-right politics in the US.
She also reminds us that, even if we succeed, we will still be left
with the conditions that gave rise to Trumpism in the first place.
We've got to do more than resist Trump. She calls us to change the
neoliberal paradigm that has guided (or rather, misguided) public and
private life for the last four decades in the United States and much of
the rest of the world. This is no small challenge, but without a new
way forward, life will become increasingly unlivable.
I should start this review
by saying that I don´t much like Naomi Klein,
although I agree that she is a leftist, and her ideas and values are better
than those of the right. It also is a bit difficult to explain my
disagreements, mostly because they are based on my Dutch
experiences: Klein reminds me far too much of the Dutch ¨Social
So I shall not try to explain my personal disagreements. But I
will explain two of my disagreements with the above quoted bit:
First, Klein ¨calls us to
change the neoliberal paradigm¨: I am sorry, but who are ¨us¨? Economists,
sociologists, philosophers? Apparently not, but it remains extremely
And secondly: what is ¨the neoliberal paradigm¨? I know a fair amount about
and sociology and a lot about philosophy, but I have no idea
about what ¨the neoliberal paradigm¨ is supposed to be, and indeed also not how just
anybody (¨us¨) is supposed to change it.
Both of my disagreements may be due to the writers of this
article. I don´t know, but my guess is that they do derive from Klein´s
Then there is this, which is, in a way, an explanation of
As I have discussed
previously, neoliberalism is a renewal of the 19th century
liberalism of laissez faire, free market, unbridled capitalism of the
robber baron era. The 20th century social liberalism we are more
familiar with is the opposite of that. Born of the crisis of the Great
Depression of the 1930s, it accepts the need for an active state to
protect ordinary people from the depredations of the market while also
regulating and guiding the economy to make capitalism work. That social
liberalism, or "social democracy" as it is also called, was the
dominant public ideology in the US up through the 1970s.
If this is ¨neoliberalism¨
- ¨a renewal of the 19th
century liberalism of laissez faire¨ - I don´t see why it is
important, simply because few people think the 19th century is
an interesting example to follow in the 21st century (¨unbridled capitalism of the robber baron era¨).
And what both the writers of this article and Klein seem to miss is
that ¨neoliberalism¨ is a verbal label for an ideology
and that all ideologies are simplifications of larger
ideas, which they tend to falsify to make them seem plausible to the
I think Klein and the writers of this article are confusing the
and the real facts
behind them (which are considerably more complicated and harder to
It is true that I have been distinguishing for quite a number of years
between capitalism-with- a-human-face and capitalism-with-an-inhuman-face,
but this was - so I think, as an academically educated person - explicit
terminology that did not pretend to be an
analysis of the real facts underlying these distinctions.
But (to repeat): I think Klein
and the writers of this article are confusing the ideology
and the real facts behind them (which are considerably more
complicated and harder to explain).
In fact the same is true about ¨social
liberalism, or "social democracy" as it is also called¨: This is again on the level of crude
ideology (not: the facts), and also manages to throw together
the left and the right (apart from the extreme right): ¨liberalism¨ is not
¨democracy¨ and neither is ¨social liberalism¨ the
same as ¨social democracy¨. (And what does Klein think her parents
were protesting against in the ¨social democratic¨ Sixties, in
Here is more of the same:
But then, with the
presidency of Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher's
leadership in the United Kingdom, a new ideology began to eclipse
"social democracy." Rather than seeing the state as the instrument for
democratic self-government, this ideology saw government as the source
of our problems. In this view, government should just "get out of the
way" and let the market direct society.
That is: For Klein it
seems everything is an ideology. And again: I think Klein and the writers of this article
are confusing the ideology and the real facts behind
them (which are considerably more complicated and harder to explain).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
The dirty little
secret that advocates of neoliberalism try to hide from us is that
government is still needed to structure markets so they will work for
capitalism. For example, unions must be curtailed since organized
workers bargaining collectively distort a free market in labor.
Individual workers are to be free to sell their labor as they choose.
Powerless as individuals, the "right to work" in reality amounts to a
right to work for less. At the same time, investors can organize
collectively into corporations and operate freely in the market. In
neoliberalism, grossly unequal power relation between individuals and
corporations is ignored or even perpetuated. This means that
neoliberalism favors the interests of corporate capitalism over working
people, and that neoliberalism is a project for unbridled capitalism.
It is the default position of capital when unrestrained by popular
Again, this is all mere
talk, where we get such ¨explanations¨ as this: ¨This means that neoliberalism favors the
interests of corporate capitalism over working people, and that
neoliberalism is a project for unbridled capitalism.¨
Well... yes, but if that is the truth, why are so
many ¨working people¨ in favor of ¨neoliberalism¨?
Anyway... I take it this article is a fair explanation of Klein, but as
I said: I don´t like Klein much, and this article may give a partial
explanation: She does not seem to distinguish between ideologies and
the facts these ideologies tend to hide or lie about. O, and the title
of this article
- How to Replace Neoliberalism With a Caring
Economy - does not get explained at all.
Chomsky on Donald Trump and the 'Me First' Doctrine
article is by C.J. Polychroniou on AlterNet and originally on Truthout.
This is from near its beginning:
Yes indeed: I agree. (And
referring back to the previous article: Chomsky does
distinguish between ideologies and
the real facts
they tend to hide or
C. J. Polychroniou: Noam,
Donald Trump rose to power with "America First" as the key slogan of
his election campaign. However, looking at what his administration has
done so far on both the domestic and international front, it is hard to
see how his policies are contributing to the well-being and security of
the United States. With that in mind, can you decode for us what
Trump's "America First" policy may be about with regard to
Noam Chomsky: It
is only natural to expect that policies will be designed for the
benefit of the designers and their actual -- not pretended --
constituency, and that the well-being and security of the society will
be incidental. And that is what we commonly discover.
There is nothing essentially
new about "America First," and "America" does not mean America, but
rather the designers and their actual constituency.In Trumpian lingo,
"America First" means "me first" and damn the consequences for the
country or the world.
Here is more by Chomsky:
Turning to international
affairs, in Trumpian lingo, "America First" means "me first" and
damn the consequences for the country or the world. The "me first"
doctrine has an immediate corollary: it's necessary to keep the base in
line with fake promises and fiery rhetoric, while not alienating the
actual constituency. It also follows that it's important to do the
opposite of whatever was done by Obama. Trump is often called
"unpredictable," but his actions are highly predictable on these simple
Yes, I think this is
probably true as well. Here is Chomsky on Israel:
Few are aware of the extent
of Israeli brutality. Just to take one pertinent example, few are aware
that just as the recent nonviolent demonstrations were beginning,
leading to the Gaza massacre when Israel responded with military force,
Hamas leadership approached Israel with a call for a long-term cease-fire ("hudna").
Israel, of course, rejected it, as it invariably does, rarely even
giving reasons, though after the murderous Operation Protective Edge in
2014, an Israeli defense official explained that Israel does not
respond "because there was no reason to conduct a dialogue with a
bruised and beaten movement." In short: We have
overwhelming military force, you are defenseless, we can smash your
society to bits any time we like, so why on earth should we call for an
end to violence, abandoning our virtual monopoly?
I think this may
be true as well, although I also
observe that (i) the disdain of the strong for the weak is probably as
old as mankind, and (ii) ¨an Israeli defense official¨ is not much of a
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Yes, I think this is
probably correct. There is a lot more in this article, that is
As to whether Europe today
might move in an independent direction, I'm skeptical. Despite Trump's
moves to diminish and isolate America, and to alienate allies, and
despite the exit of America's major advocate (Britain) from the
European Union, I suspect that Europe will be unwilling to pose a
serious challenge to Washington. Europe faces too many internal
problems, and despite Trump, the US still remains unmatched as a global
power, with means of violence and coercion that it is not reluctant to
use, as the world knows all too well.
Korean President Moons Bolton
article is by Ray McGovern on Common Dreams. This starts as follows:
Thanks no doubt to his
bellicose national security adviser John Bolton, President Donald Trump
has now lost control of the movement toward peace between the two
Koreas. Trump has put himself in a corner; he must now either
reject — or, better, fire — Bolton, or face the prospect of wide war in
the Far East, including the Chinese, with whom a mutual defense treaty
with North Korea is still on the books.
I do not know
Bolton (but I agree, as a psychologist, with the thesis that he is
madman) but I agree with McGovern that the Chinese still have ¨a mutual defense treaty with North Korea¨ and may reply with their own atomic
weapons if the USA blows up both Koreas with atomic weapons. And this
is indeed an important fact in the background.
Here is some on the present
relations between North and South Korea:
The visuals of the
surprise meeting late yesterday (local time) between the top leaders of
South Korea and North Korea pretty much tell the story. South
Korea’s President Moon Jae-in drove into the North Korean side of the
demilitarized zone (DMZ), and Seoul quickly released a one-minute video of what,
by all appearances, was an extremely warm encounter with Kim Jung-un.
Well... I think both
Korean leaders were moved by the threat that Trump may blow up both
countries (if one goes, so does the other) with atomic weapons, simply
because he threatened to do so. And I also think that both Korean
leaders were correct in that assumption.
Finally, there is this bit:
One cannot rule out
the possibility that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has some cojones beneath
his girth. He has a personal, as well as a diplomatic stake in whether
or not Bolton succeeds in wrecking the summit. (Trump, after all,
deputized Pompeo, while he was still CIA director, to set it up.)
It’s also possible some non-crazy advisers are warning Trump about
Bolton’s next “March of Folly.” Other advisers may be appealing to
Trump’s legendary vanity by dangling the prospect that he may blow his
only shot at a Nobel Peace Prize.
I don´t know, but I agree
Ray McGovern knows much more about the personalities in
politics than I do. Anyway... this is a recommended article.
and Free Speech
article is by Faiza Patel and Rachel Levinson-Altman on Common Dreams
and originally on Just Security. This has a subtitle which I reproduce:
adopt a policy of extreme transparency.
And I reproduced this subtitle
because it amounts to hopeless wishful
thinking: Facebook will never do so, if only because
this will limit the - literally - billions a year Zuckerberg
makes (which is what Facebook is really about: Zuckerberg´s
In fact, I think the present article may have been written with
Facebook´s help, in Facebook´s interests, but of course I don´t know.
But let´s see. The article starts as follows:
No, this is bullshit.
In the weeks since Mark
Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress, Facebook has made two important
policy announcements. The company released a document explaining what
posts and accounts it removes on the basis of its internal rules, known
standards,” and it engaged
outside consultants to review the social media platform’s
impact on various communities. The company also released its first transparency
report on the enforcement of its community standards.
These are all welcome
developments, but they lay bare a fundamental question raised by
Zuckerberg himself: What obligations does the public want companies to
fulfill when deciding which speech deserves a place on the Internet and
First of all, the appraisal of Facebook´s news that these were ¨important policy announcements¨ is Zuckerberg´s own appraisal. Mine
these announcements were two typical deceptions
of the spy and thief of billions upon billions of
Second, these are not ¨welcome
And third, Zuckerberg´s ¨fundamental question¨ is utter baloney,
bullshit and a stinking deception. The question should be: WHY
Zuckerberg and Facebook have any right on
mails? He steals them: he is the greatest private thief
ever existed. And he is a sick spy on two billion
victims (whom he calls ¨dumb fucks¨ because they trust him).
Fourthly, Facebook and Zuckerberg have NO
right WHATSOEVER to decide
(bolding added) ¨which speech
deserves a place on the Internet¨:
That is utter sickness and complete bullshit.
Then there is about Facebook´s policies:
In the meantime,
progressive voices have demanded
that Facebook address concerns about hate speech and harassment on the
platform, as well as the censorship of “Black, Arab, Muslim, and other
marginalized voices.” Anecdotal data
suggests that posts by people of color, as well as Muslims, are
disproportionately targeted for content takedowns, while white
nationalist movements are largely left alone. Facebook has removed
accuse white people of complicity in racism or
report racial slurs, while leaving up scores of posts and accounts
promoting white supremacy and violence against marginalized groups.
Again utter bullshit. It
is NOT Facebook that should ¨address concerns about hate speech and
harassment on the
platform¨: That is like
inviting a pimp to distinguish which whores are honest enough. Some
objective, financially and politically totally independent, legal
institution should do so. NOT
Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
should ensure that it is living up to its stated presumption
in favor of allowing speech. The platform should ensure removals are
carried out in narrow, targeted ways, and any process for removing
posts and accounts should take at least equal account of the value of a
robust exchange of ideas, including unpopular ideas.
Utter bullshit. Facebook
should be broken up, and Zuckerberg should be prosecuted for
the private mails from two billion people he regards as ¨dumb fucks¨
because they trust him.
And this is a sick and sickening article.
Sense of America's Empire of Chaos
article is by Mark Karlin on TomDispatch and originally on Truth-out.
It starts as follows (abd is an interview with the maker of
TomDispatch, Tom Engelhardt):
Mark Karlin: How
much money has gone to the U.S. war on terror and what has been the
impact of this expenditure?
Tom Engelhardt: The
best figure I’ve seen on this comes from the Watson Institute’s Costs
of War Project at Brown University and it’s a staggering $5.6
trillion, including certain future costs to care for this country’s
war vets. President Trump himself, with his usual sense of accuracy,
has inflated that number even more, regularly speaking of $7
trillion being lost somewhere in our never-ending wars in the
Greater Middle East. One of these days, he’s going to turn out to be
I say. I have read
fairly widely differing estimates of the costs of the ¨War on Terror¨.
The present estimate is fairly conservative (compared to other
estimates, though not compared to the trillions that are involved
Then again, I take it -
but do not know - these are the costs to the USA of its
wars in the
Middle East and Afghanistan, since 2001.
Here is more:
What makes the
U.S. pretension to empire different from previous empires?
I don´t know whether this
is an answer to the question, but Engelhardt is correct, in my opinion,
in stressing the major importance of the USA´s defeat of the
Union (although that fell mostly through its own weaknesses)
and the major importance of ¨climate change¨ or the environment.
I think that two things have
made us different, imperially speaking. The first was that post-1991
sense of ourselves as the ultimate winner of a vast imperial contest, a
kind of arms race of many that had gone on since European ships armed
with cannon had first broken into the world in perhaps the fifteenth
century and began to conquer much of it. In that post-Soviet moment of
triumphalism, of what seemed to the top dogs in Washington like the
ultimate win, a forever victory, there was indeed a sense that there
had never been and never would be a power like us.
Finally, of course, there’s
climate change -- that is, for the first time in the history of
empires, the very well-being of the planet itself is at stake. The game
has, so to speak, changed, even if relatively few here have noticed.
And this is the last bit that I quote from this article, which raises
another important point:
Yes, I think Engelhardt is
right about the draft, and indeed that has opened the
way for ¨permanent wars¨, for ¨generational struggle¨ and for
that are all three extremely sick and uncivilized ideas but
possible through the end of the draft, which meant the end
of being sent out to fight and die in insane wars at the other side
the globe, whether you wanted or not.
What role did the end
of the draft play in enabling an unrestrained U.S. empire of war?
It may have been the
crucial moment in the whole process. It was, of course, the decision of
then-president Richard Nixon in January
1973, in response to a country swept by a powerful antiwar movement
and a military in near rebellion as the Vietnam War began to wind down.
The draft was ended, the all-volunteer military begun, and the American
people were largely separated from the wars being fought in their name.
They were, as I said above, demobilized. Though at the time, the U.S.
military high command was doubtful about the move, it proved highly
successful in freeing them to fight the endless wars of the
twenty-first century, now being referred to by some in the Pentagon
(according to the Washington Post) not as “permanent wars” or
even, as General David Petraeus put it, a “generational
struggle,” but as “infinite
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 (!!).