from October 30, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
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
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from October 30, 2018:
1. The Cult of Trump
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. Glenn Greenwald: Brazil Has Elected “Most Extremist Leader
3. World's Capitalists Salivate Over 'New Investment
4. Theresa May's UK Budget Decried as "Insult to Our Young
5. The Stephen Bannon Project: Searching in Europe for Glory
1. The Cult
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Well... yes and no.
Cult leaders arise from
decayed communities and societies in which people have been shorn of
political, social and economic power. The disempowered, infantilized by
a world they cannot control, gravitate to cult leaders who appear
omnipotent and promise a return to a mythical golden age. The cult
leaders vow to crush the forces, embodied in demonized groups and
individuals, that are blamed for their misery. The more outrageous the
cult leaders become, the more they flout law and social conventions,
the more they gain in popularity. Cult leaders are immune to the norms
of established society. This is their appeal. Cult leaders demand a
God-like power. Those who follow them grant them this power in the hope
that the cult leaders will save them.
Donald Trump has transformed
the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult. All cults are
personality cults. They are extensions of the cult leaders. The cult
reflects the leader’s prejudices, worldview, personal style and ideas.
Trump did not create the yearning for a cult leader. Huge segments of
the population, betrayed by the established elites, were conditioned
for a cult leader. They were desperately looking for someone to rescue
them and solve their problems.
First, what is a cult?
According to Wikipedia (quoted from the beginning, without note
The term cult
usually refers to a social
group defined by its religious,
spiritual, or philosophical
beliefs, or its common interest in a particular
personality, object or goal. The term itself is controversial and it has
divergent definitions in both popular culture and academia and it also has been an ongoing source
of contention among scholars across several fields of study. In the sociological
classifications of religious movements, a cult is a social group
with socially deviant or novel
beliefs and practices, although this is often unclear.
Besides, there is the fact
(it seems) that at least in the English speaking world, the term ¨cult¨
normally has negative implications, mostly because those who
say so believe that what they call a cult or cults are in various ways too
Second, in some ways I agree with Hedges that Trump is
- effectively, at least - making himself into a cult leader, and that
there is something like a cult of Trump.
But third, I do not think that saying a group
is a cult or that a group´s leader functions like the leader of a cult
helps a lot to explain the group or the leader, and especially
not if the
common fundament of many, though not all, human social groups,
are that its ordinary members have little influence on the
of their group because ordinary
members are by and large not informed
while many are marked by ignorance or stupidity
about their own group, their own leader and the real ways of the real
world, are wholly undiscussed - as is the case in this article.
Here is more on Trump:
Trump’s refusal to
acknowledge and address the impending crisis of ecocide and the massive
mismanagement of the economy by kleptocrats, his bellicosity, his
threats against Iran and China and the withdrawal from nuclear arms
treaties, along with his demonization of all who oppose him, ensure our
cultural and, if left unchecked, physical extinction.
Yes, I more or less agree
with that quotation.
Here is more on cults and their leaders:
obsequious fawning and total obedience. They prize loyalty above
competence. They wield absolute control. They do not tolerate
criticism. They are deeply insecure, a trait they attempt to cover up
with bombastic grandiosity. They are amoral and emotionally and
physically abusive. They see those around them as objects to be
manipulated for their own empowerment, enjoyment and often sadistic
entertainment. All those outside the cult are branded as forces of
evil, prompting an epic battle whose natural expression is violence.
Again yes and no:
Yes, I more or less agree these characteristics do seem to
apply to Donald Trump, but again I think the concept of a cult is less helpful than the
concept of totalitarianism,
which has similar consequences.
Then again, I must remark that the Wikipedia seems to be recast now by
some anonymous right wingers with a lot of money, who have deleted
the previous more or less good definition of totalitarianism,
which is that this is an ideology or religion that is
pretended to have final answers to many important human
questions and problems and that is pretended to be thereby
justified to persecute persons who do not agree with the ideology or
the religion, and has replaced this by the ideological bullshit
that seems to originate with Brzezinski, according to whom
totalitarianism has nothing to do with ideas, religion, or
absolutism but is (I quote, with bolding added) ¨a political concept that defines a mode
of government, which prohibits opposition parties, restricts
individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an
extremely high degree of control over public and private life.¨
The second definition of
totalitarianism - it is about a mode of government
much rather than a mode of feeling, valueing, and reasoning of persons - at
best is an implication of the first definition which is what Orwell and
most intellectuals understood by it.
Here is more on Orwell (who used the term ¨cult¨ rarely or never in his
understood that cult leaders manipulate followers primarily through
language, not force. This linguistic manipulation is a gradual process.
It is rooted in continual mental chaos and verbal confusion. Lies,
conspiracy theories, outlandish ideas and contradictory statements that
defy reality and fact soon paralyze the opposition. (..) The cult
leader does not take his or her statements seriously and often denies
ever making them, even when they are documented. Lies and truth do not
matter. The language of the cult leader is designed exclusively to
appeal to the emotional needs of those in the cult.
Well... perhaps, but why
are so many moved by ¨continual
mental chaos and verbal confusion. Lies, conspiracy theories,
outlandish ideas and contradictory statements that defy reality and
fact¨ ?! Why do they not
(rationally) conclude that they live in mental chaos and verbal
confusion, and try to get some rational clarity?! Because most are stupid and ignorant.
This from the ending of this
Our only hope is to
organize the overthrow of the corporate state that vomited up Trump.
Our democratic institutions, including the legislative bodies, the
courts and the media, are hostage to corporate power. They are no
longer democratic. (..) We give people an alternative to a Democratic
Party that refuses to confront the corporate forces of oppression and
cannot be rehabilitated. We make possible the restoration of an open
society. If we fail to embrace this militancy, which alone has the
ability to destroy cult leaders, we will continue the march toward
Perhaps, but this is far
from hopeful. Then again, I agree I am pessimistic as
well, and this is a recommended article, mostly because it is by
Hedges, and not because I agree with it.
Greenwald: Brazil Has Elected “Most Extremist Leader in the Democratic
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
Jair Bolsonaro has been elected Brazil’s next president, marking the
most radical political shift in the country since military rule ended
more than 30 years ago. Bolsonaro, a former Army officer, openly
supports torture and dictatorships, has a history of making racist,
misogynistic and homophobic comments, and has threatened to destroy,
imprison or banish his political opponents. He defeated Fernando Haddad
of the leftist Workers’ Party with 55 percent of the vote. His
ascendance to power is leading many to fear the future of democracy in
Brazil is in danger. We speak with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer
Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The
Intercept, in Rio de Janeiro. He says that Bolsonaro is “by far the
most extremist leader now elected anywhere in the democratic world.”
Yes indeed, and see yesterday´s Nederlog on Bolsonaro. Here
(..) Jair Bolsonaro’s election marks the most radical political shift
in Brazil since military rule ended more than 30 years ago. He won 55
percent of the vote, easily defeating Fernando Haddad of the leftist
Bolsonaro campaigned on a
promise to end corruption and crack down on crime, but many fear the
future of democracy in Brazil is in danger. For decades, Bolsonaro has
openly praised the country’s former military dictatorship, once saying
the dictatorship should have killed 30,000 more people. He also has a
history of making racist, misogynistic, homophobic comments, has spoken
in favor of torture, has threatened to destroy, imprison or banish his
political opponents. He has also encouraged the police to kill
suspected drug dealers, once told a female lawmaker she was too ugly to
rape. He also said he would rather hear that his son had died in a car
accident than learn that his son is gay. On Sunday night, Jair
Bolsonaro claimed he would help liberate Brazil.
Quite so. Here is Glenn
Greenwald (who lives in Brazil):
Yes, I think Greenwald is
mostly correct in this, especially in the second quoted paragraph - and
I can distinguish Bolsonario´s ideology from alt-right ideologies by
saying that Bolsonaro seems to be a classical fascist, the
ideologies are more neofascist -
and I stress that my definitions of
these terms are clearer and better than any I
have read by journalists.
GREENWALD: Well, I think
it’s really important to put it into its proper context. For a long
time, the Western media was referring to him as “Brazil’s Trump.”
That’s how he was marketing himself. The reality is much different.
He’s by far the most extremist leader now elected anywhere in the
democratic world. He’s far closer, as we’ve discussed before, to
Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, or even General
Sisi, the dictator of Egypt. A journalist, Vincent Bevins, based for a
long time in Brazil and now in Indonesia, has made the argument that
he’s far more extreme than Duterte.
I think that the key thing
to understand about Bolsonaro is that he really comes not from this
modern “alt-right” movement of the type of Donald Trump or Nigel Farage
or Marine Le Pen, but the Cold War far right that carried out enormous
atrocities in the name of fighting domestic communism, which is what
Bolsonaro believes his primary project to be. He recently vowed to
cleanse the country of left-wing opposition, which he sees as a
Here is the last bit of Greenwald that I quote from this article:
So, if you look at
far-right leaders throughout the West, you don't really see much of a
focus on, say, abortion and LGBT issues. If
anything, sometimes the far right in Europe coopts those issues as a
way of inciting xenophobia against Muslims, saying Muslims are
regressive and want to drag the country back thousands of years in
terms of social issues. Whereas Bolsonaro is kind of this much more
old-school fascist, where a major part of his campaign was depicting
LGBTs as a direct threat to children, saying that the reason LGBTs want
to infiltrate public schools is because they want to convert people’s
children into being gay so that they can have sex with them—an
obviously highly inflammatory claim to make about a marginalized
population in a society that’s already pretty conservative on social
Quite so, and this is a strongly
But the much graver threat is
the fact that he explicitly reveres and wants to replicate the worst
elements of the military dictatorship. When he stood up, very recently,
in 2016 on the floor of the Congress and voted to impeach Dilma
Rousseff, he specifically said he was doing it in honor of the
notorious colonel who tortured not only dissidents in general, but
Dilma specifically. So this is the kind of regime he wants to reinstate.
Capitalists Salivate Over 'New Investment Opportunities'
is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
As Brazilian women,
the LGBTQ community, workers, and people of color reacted with horror
to the election
of fascist Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency on Sunday after a
campaign dripping in bigotry and militarism, Western corporate
interests and the business press could hardly contain their glee over
the victory of the hard-right former paratrooper who has promised to
further pry open Brazilian markets to foreign investment, slash
corporate taxes, and privatize the nation's public services.
Bolsonaro's "homophobic, racist, and misogynist statements," the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) gushed
that his win over Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad "could mean
fresh opportunities for Canadian companies looking to invest in the
resource-rich country" thanks to his strong commitment to "open
"It could be a good time to
be a mining investor in Brazil," declared
Anna Prusa, a former U.S. State Department official who researches
Brazil for the Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based firm.
Yes indeed - and
incidentally, and without saying the CBC or Prusa are neofascists,
I do want to add that it is a characteristic of neofascism that
it is very strongly interested in the profits
and much more so than in many other characteristics, like being
racist, and misogynist".
Here is more:
Yes indeed, and I add that
the University of Chicago also produced the economic helpers of
Pinochet, the dictator of Chili who ousted Salvador Allende (with
the help of the USA).
As The Intercept reported
last week, American business elites were positively giddy at the
prospect of a Bolsonaro victory, which one executive said would be a
"bullish opportunity for us."
Enthused by Bolsonaro's
selection of right-wing University of Chicago-trained financier Paulo
Guedes to craft his economic agenda, investors are "more than happy to
overlook the authoritarian impulses and violent promises," The
Intercept's Lee Fang and Zaid Jilani note.
"Guedes has promised to sell
off state assets, cut the public pension system, revise the tax code,
and deregulate the economy," Fang and Jilani reported
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Bolsonaro's 10-point victory, stocks continued to skyrocket as
investors cheered the rise of an authoritarian who has promised to gut
the public sector and "give
carte blanche for the police to kill."
Yes. And this is a
May's UK Budget Decried as "Insult to Our Young People's Future"
is also by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
While British Prime
Minister Theresa May's Autumn
budget rollout was accompanied by much fanfare and lofty
promises—"the era of austerity is finally coming to an end," proclaimed
U.K. finance minister Philip Hammond—the specifics of the budget
detailed on Monday were met with a mixture of disgust and alarm by the
Labour Party and environmentalists, who argued that the plan is stuffed
measures" and tax cuts for the rich but zero policies to address
the human-caused climate crisis.
Highlighting May's recent
speech declaring that deep cuts to public spending are over, Labour
leader Jeremy Corbyn excoriated May and Hammond for delivering a
"broken promise budget" that vows "quick fixes while austerity grinds
"Far from people's hard
work and sacrifices having paid off... this government has frittered it
away in ideological tax cuts to the richest in our society," Corbyn
said. "The government claims austerity has worked so now they can end
it. That is absolutely the opposite of the truth—austerity needs to end
because it has failed."
I agree with Corbyn
(and May strikes me as a weak and bad prime minister).
Here is more on the
Just ahead of May's big
budget unveil, the Labour Party tweeted out a video that portrays May
and her cabinet as cruel plutocrats and condemns their record of
slashing life-saving programs for vulnerable in order to deliver
massive gifts to the ultra-wealthy.
I agree with the Labour
Party. Here is more:
"Cannot believe how out of
touch this government is," Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the U.K. Green
on Twitter. "Schools don’t just need money for 'little extras'—they are
struggling to pay staff, upkeep buildings, and provide vital support to
children with special needs."
The grassroots left-wing
group Momentum added that, in May's budget, "schools are getting less
money than the pot hole fund."
"We have oversized classes,
lack of basic stationery, and a cap on teachers' pay," the group wrote
on Twitter. "Your budget is an insult to our young people's future."
In fact, I think I
disagree with Lucas, but my reasons have little to do
Britain, and a lot with the fact that I have witnessed the destruction
of higher education in Holland, where since 2008 both preparatory
schools for entering a Dutch university and the universities themselves
have approximately halved their standards.
Thus, modern Dutchmen
are not learning - as they did for 100 years - three
but one or two, and are not examined anymore - as they did
years - in 14 to 16 subjects (mostly written) but in 6 or 7
Then again, the
do not and did not care, or welcomed the simplifications of their
education, it seems because the vast majority does not
to understand things, but seeks knowledge because it provides them some
degree with makes more money for them.
Back to Great Britain
and this article:
(..) Hammond didn't bother
to mention the climate crisis once.
Hammond did, however, announce
that the budget will maintain special tax subsidies for the oil and gas
"Three weeks since the
world's leading climate scientists said governments have just 12 years
to turn the tide on the catastrophic and irreversible consequences of
climate change, the chancellor has delivered a budget that reads as
though he missed the memo," Greenpeace U.K. declared
on Twitter, referencing a recent
United Nations report warning that the world must cut carbon
emissions in half by 2030 to avert global catastrophe.
Yes, though I suppose
that Hammond either does not believe in the climate crisis or else does
not care for anything that might bring down the profits or large
corporations - but this is my guess. And this article is recommended.
Stephen Bannon Project: Searching in Europe for Glory Days Gone By
is by Christoph Scheuermann on Spiegel International. This is from near
[Bannon´s] bedroom is that
of someone who views his life in the context of history, someone who is
obsessed with battles and fights, and who surrounds himself with
violence, death, adrenaline, importance. On his bedside table are books
about Adolf Hitler and World War II, next to the bleached jawbone of an
alligator an acquaintance sent him from Florida. The room is a
re-creation of Abraham Lincoln's bedroom in the White House. "Only much
brighter and twice the size," says Bannon. The shelves next to the bed
are packed with war literature.
"I am fascinated by figures
like Genghis Khan, Napoleon or Lord Nelson," he says. "Now that I'm
involved, I feel in history you can see individuals have a big impact.
The thing that always amazed me about Hitler is how a guy like him, a
bum from Vienna who was so out of the loop, could rise to power in
Genghis Khan, Napoleon,
Hitler. Such are the characters who dominate the Bannonian world.
Indeed, one hardly even needs to leave this bedroom to explain the man.
a good introductory sketch of Bannon, but it does seem rather colored
in my eyes. And what interests me about Bannon are not so much
his interests in Genghis
Khan, Napoleon, and Hitler, as the fact that he does seem to be an
intelligent person, and indeed seems to have been one of the few
intelligent persons that surrounded Donald Trump.
Here is more on Bannon´s
Bannon has two turbulent
years behind him. In August 2016, Trump appointed him campaign manager
before then hiring him as chief White House strategist. Newspapers
described him as a combination of Mephisto, a nihilist and a rogue --
and as someone who waged ugly battles with Trump's favorite daughter,
Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner. In August of last year,
Bannon left the government after Chief of Staff John Kelly grew tired
of Bannon's provocations.
It could have been a new beginning, but Bannon didn't want to accept
his loss of power. He returned to Breitbart News, which he called "my
killing machine," as executive chairman. But that wasn't enough. He
wanted to be in the fray. Earlier this year, Michael Wolff quoted
Bannon in his book "Fire and Fury" as saying that Ivanka is "dumb as a
brick" and that Donald Trump Jr. was "treacherous."
After that, his
conservative financial backers -- hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer
and his daughter Rebekah -- withdrew their support. Ultimately, Bannon
also lost Breitbart. Suddenly, he was alone, without money, without
friends, without power and without his killing machine.
This is more or less correct.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
We sit down at the dining
room table and he picks up a book, a biography of the philosopher
Martin Heidegger. "That's my guy," Bannon says. Heidegger, he says, had
some good ideas on the subject of being, which fascinates him. This is
what conversations with him are like: He jumps from the depths of
politics to the heights of philosophy, from the swamp to Heidegger in
five seconds. What sets us apart from animals or rocks, Bannon asks?
What does it mean to be human? How far should digital progress go?
And regarding Germany? He
admires Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's documentary filmmaker. As a person,
he says, she may have had her flaws, the whole Nazi thing. But, he
says, she was "one of the top five directors of all time."
I am a
was illegally denied the right to take my M.A. in it in the
¨University¨ of Amsterdam) and I strongly dislike Heidegger
was a Nazi during Hitler´s reign) but this does not shed more light on
Bannon´s intellect or his motives. There is a lot more - in fact: two
article - but I did not find it very interesting.
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 (!!).