from November 3, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
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 November 3, 2018:
1. The Crash That Failed
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. Lee Camp: 'We're in a New Age of McCarthyism'
3. Haters and Partisans Have Always Been With Us. But This Is
4. John Bolton Hails Brazilian Strongman as Welcome Ally
5. Global Internet Freedom Plummets as Governments Use
Crash That Failed
This article is by
Robert Kuttner on The New York Review of Books. It starts as follows
and is in fact the review of a book by Adam Tooze: Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the
The historian G.M.
Trevelyan said that the democratic revolutions of 1848, all of which
were quickly crushed, represented “a turning point at which modern
history failed to turn.” The same can be said of the financial collapse
of 2008. The crash demonstrated the emptiness of the claim that markets
could regulate themselves. It should have led to the disgrace of
neoliberalism—the belief that unregulated markets produce and
distribute goods and services more efficiently than regulated ones.
Instead, the old order reasserted itself, and with calamitous
consequences. Gross economic imbalances of power and wealth persisted.
We are still experiencing the reverberations.
Yes indeed: I completely
agree, and in fact have maintained the crisis index since September 1,
2008 (in Dutch). Indeed at that time, and for more than
follow, the Dutch
government thought or pretended there was hardly any serious trouble at
all, and the prime minister told the Dutch that all they had to do was
¨to cycle a bit faster¨.
It was utter nonsense,
whatever its cause, but then I have maintained
the crisis index for over ten years
now, and to the best of my
knowledge I was and am the only one who did so. (I
admit it is
prove this, but I did daily read 35 sites most of these ten
years, and I
found not a sign of anyone else who did this.)
Here is more:
In the United
States, the bipartisan financial elite escaped largely unscathed.
Barack Obama, whose campaign benefited from the timing of the collapse,
hired the architects of the Clinton-era deregulation who had created
the conditions that led to the crisis. Far from breaking up the big
banks or removing their executives, Obama’s team bailed them out. None
of the leading bankers whose fraudulent products caused the economy to
crash went to jail; criminal prosecution took a back seat to the
stability of the system. Obama’s tepid program provided just enough
stimulus, via a modest public-spending program and cheap unlimited
credit for bankers, for a slow recovery. But the economic security of
most Americans dwindled, and the legitimacy of the system was called
I mostly quite agree, but
I don´t quite accept that ¨the
legitimacy of the system was called into question¨. In fact, I agree there were some who
did doubt the
current economical system, but they were and are - still - in a
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I don´t know and I have
remarks on the above two quoted paragraphs:
The political result was
the same on both sides of the Atlantic—declining prospects for ordinary
people, animus toward elites, and the rise of ultra-nationalism. In the
US, there is at least a left-wing opposition in waiting, with a
coherent explanation for what went wrong and a progressive alternative
to Trumpism. Progressives have been gaining influence in the Democratic
Party, and it’s possible that a neo-Rooseveltian left that supports
financial regulation, public investment, and redistribution will come
to power in 2020.
Not so in Europe. Parties such
as the German Social Democratic Party, the British Labour Party, and
the French Socialists disgraced themselves as co-sponsors of the
neoliberal formula that brought down the economy. The European left
today is weaker than at any time since World War II. There is just one
EU member nation with a left-wing government and a working majority in
the national parliament—Portugal—and it is a tricky three-party
The first paragraph mentions ¨ultra-nationalism¨. I think that is a very vague slogan, and I fear that is used
by people who
are afraid to
use the terms fascism
which in fact also are both vague
terms, but not for the reason ¨ultra-nationalism¨ is (which I rarely
saw used in the last ten years), but because there is an enormous
literature on fascism, and while that is interesting, in part at
it also showed that there are vast
differences in explaining what
¨fascism¨ really stands for - and see my
On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions in case you are interested.
Besides, I think Kuttner is a bit too optimistic about ¨the left¨ in
the USA, but then I am glad if I am mistaken. (Perhaps we will find out
after the results of the next elections are known.)
As to the second paragraph: Kuttner is not a European, and I
one thing, I don´t think that counting leftist governments is a
way of appraising the strength of ¨the left¨, but then again I agree
that the Social Democrats, the Labour Party and the Socialists all have
been enthusiastic ¨co-sponsors of
the neoliberal formula that brought down the economy¨.
But in sum, I don´t know, and the rest of this article is a
enthusiastic review of Tooze´s book, that I have not read and skip.
This is a
Camp: 'We're in a New Age of McCarthyism'
This article is by
Robert Scheer on Truthdig. This is from near its beginning:
“We’re in a new age
of McCarthyism,” Camp tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer. “I
grew up with people telling me, ‘What a dark time in America’s past!
Let’s never go back to such a barbaric way of thinking’ … of guilt by
association and letting our cognitive abilities just go by the
I did not know that ¨Camp
has hosted “Redacted Tonight” on Russia Today¨ and indeed still does, and two of my reasons are that I am
not an American while Camp is also on pay TV, and I refuse to pay for
internet (and am very poor).
For the past four years, Camp
has hosted “Redacted Tonight” on Russia Today—a comedy show that
explores the all-too-familiar ills of American empire: unchecked
militarism, Wall Street greed and, perhaps most importantly, the
propaganda of our political press. During that time, he has developed a
cultlike following among leftists desperately searching for an
alternative to corporate media.
But I do know Camp from articles he wrote, that I liked. Here is Lee
anyway, yeah, we’re in, you know–and I didn’t live through it, but
we’re in a new age of McCarthyism. And you know, I grew up with people
telling me, oh man, what a dark time in America’s past! Let’s never go
back to such a barbaric way of thinking and guilt by association and
being so afraid, and you know, just letting our cognitive abilities
just go by the wayside to just point people and say, you know, you’re
Russian, you sympathize with the Russians because you want peace, or
you stand for something that I don’t necessarily agree with. And we’re
all back, it seems like so much, so many Americans are just back there,
you know, led by corporate media to just push this ridiculous
red-baiting and neo-McCarthyism. And it’s a disgusting time in that
In fact - and see McCarthyism - I think the present situation is considerably
more serious than McCarthyism was, and the main reasons are the
internet, the internet´s propaganda by
and for the stupid
and the surveillance of everyone by the secret services and
rich corporations. (None was there in McCarthy´s time.)
Here is more (and from now on the speaker is Lee Camp):
after school, went to New York to be a standup comic. And you know, I
think like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been doing this for, I’ve been
doing standup comedy for 20 years. It became increasingly political
after the Iraq invasion in 2002; you know, that’s when I kind of had,
continued to have my awakening as to what was really going on in our
world. Started reading people like Chomsky and Hedges and yourself, and
started to really understand the truth behind the corporate media, that
maybe they don’t really want to touch on so much.
Camp did make the right choices,
but I do want to add that he belongs to the intelligent minority, while
the majority in the USA did not make these choices.
Here is Camp on comedy:
And that’s, I
think, the great gift of comedy, is that people will sit and listen to
ideas that they might disagree with, despite finding them a bit
appalling or upsetting or uncomfortable or what have you. Whereas if
you just lecture somebody and they disagree, they’ll often walk out in
the first five minutes. And you know, I think that’s what’s exciting
Yes, I agree. And here is Camp
Carlin, whom I admire ever since I discovered him in 2010 (and
it was impossible to do so earlier with the telephone modem I had from
1996 till 2009):
You know, Carlin
said some very important things, and that’s why his legend continues to
live on, and I think it’ll just continue to grow. And it’s because he
already had that audience, he’d developed a large audience without
saying things that threatened corporate America or the, you know, the
gatekeepers. And then once he was threatening, it was too late; he was,
he had such a massive platform, and was adored by so many people that
it was too late. And some of his stuff in the nineties and early
thousands is really important thought, for a comedian, at least, on the
fact that we’re bombing endlessly, and that we perpetrate war so often,
and those type of things that you don’t hear a lot from your
Yes, and Camp is right that
Carlin started to be radical and outspoken around 1990. In fact here is
something I wrote in 2012 which contains a good list of videos with
George Carlin, which still work: DSM-5
and a real philosopher: George Carlin
And here is a quotation
another bit that I wrote in 2012 on
As I have repeatedly
said, I like the late US comedian
who died in 2008, and - I have no TV since 1970 - whose existence was
not known to me until 2010.
My main reasons to like him is that he is one of the few men
I consider intelligent; one of the few men I
consider courageous; and one of the very few
men who dared to speak the truth as he saw it, and who saw sharply and
Here is a link to
piece of stand-up comedy that seems to be from the last year of his
life, that is entitled on Youtube "You are a slave"
and is a comical rant about a series of very serious and frightening
facts. You find the video under the last link, and you find the text
But there's a reason. There's a
reason. There is a reason for this. There is a reason that education
sucks, and that it will never ever ever be fixed. It is never going to
be any better. Don't look for it. Be happy with what you've got.
Because the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about
the real owners now, the big wealthy businessmen who control things and
make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The
politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of
choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you.
They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and
control the corporations. They have long since bought and paid for the
Senate, the Congress, the State Houses, the city halls, they got the
judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies
so they can control just about all the news and information you get to
hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every
year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they
want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But
I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of
citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well informed,
well educated people capable
of critical thinking. They are not interested in that. That
doesn't help them. That's against their interests. That's right. They
don't want people smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and
figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them
overboard, thirty fucking years ago. They don't want that. You know
what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers. People
who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paper work and
just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier
jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the
end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute
you're going to collect it it. And now they're coming for your social
security money. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it
back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And
you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you, sooner
or later. Cause they own this fucking place. It's a big club and you
ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club. By the way it is the
same club that used to beat you over the head all day long when they
tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head in
their media, telling you what to believe, and what to think, and what
to buy. The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged. And nobody
seems to notice. Nobody seems to care.
Good honest hard working people, white collar, blue collar, it doesn't
matter what color shirt you have on, good honest hard working people continue - these are people
of modest means - continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don't
give a fuck about them. They don't give a fuck about you; they don't give a
fuck about you: they don't care about you. At all. At all. At all. And nobody seems to
notice. Nobody seems to care.
That's what the owners count on: The fact that Americans will probably
remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white an d blue dick that's
being jammed into their assholes every day. Because the owners of this
country know the truth. It's called "The American Dream", cause you
have to be asleep to believe it.
As I said, it is a comical rant,
which I mean that it is best understood on a metaphorical and not a
literal level, but with that qualification most of it makes a lot of
is a ruling élite, that combines the governing elite and the
corporate elite; it does own most of the US and all the big companies;
its executives in the media rule the opinions of ordinary men and women
in the US; there is not much of a real difference between Democrats and
Republicans in policies, for US politicians are bought and owned by the
ruling élite and function as their sock puppets, and it is likely
things will go much worse before they ever get better, mostly because
those in power are corrupt or incompetent, and want it the way things
are going now, with the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer,
while a police state is in the making to repress any protest, and
because the solid majority of the electorate is stupid and can be
deceived all of the time.
Indeed, from my point of view -
see my series Crisis - there are three possible
An economical and social collapse, possibly Real Soon Now, if Greece
and Spain collapse, and then Europe; an authoritarian police-state,
with or without collapse; or competent crisis management back to a
regulated economical system and a relatively free society as was broken
down from Reagan onwards.
As it is, the two first
possibilities are far more likely than the third (...)
Back to the article. Here is the
last bit that I quote from it:
I quoted this because it agrees
with my own experiences: ¨I’ve
always been very angry at being lied to or being misled. I,
manipulation just makes me furious¨ and indeed I discovered this when I
was 10, in 1960. And this is a strongly recommended article.
I’ve–ever since I was little, you know, I wasn’t an activist, but I’ve
always been very angry at being lied to or being misled. I,
manipulation just makes me furious. And so [Laughs] I think that’s part
of what has kept the fire of my anger going, and you know, kept me
angry on this latest standup special, is I just hate to see so many
people manipulated and then exploited through that manipulation.
and Partisans Have Always Been With Us. But This Is Different
This article is by
John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Hate, blame, greed, bigotry
and fear have always been part of our politics. If you doubt
these statements from our second Presidential campaign in 1800,
which pitted Adams against Jefferson for the second time.
Jefferson’s camp accused
President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which
has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and
sensibility of a woman.”
In return, Adams’ men
called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the
son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”
Franklin Roosevelt was called a fascist and a warmonger, and Wall
Street and the big banks even tried to engineer
a coup against him.
So, yes, hate fear
bigotry, greed and blame have always been part of our politics, and
there have always been idiots and haters among us.
Quite so, and
there is in fact more on the place of ¨(...)¨ that I have skipped for
Here is more:
Why this moment in
history is different
There are several things
that make this moment in history different.
First and foremost, unlike
in times past, this president doesn’t try to stand above the fray and
allow the basest of his followers to fan the flames of hate and
divisiveness for him—he leads the hate parade; he ignites the fires of
bigotry and blame; he scapegoats and actively and continuously appeals
to the worst parts of our nature, and to the worst among us. He
doesn’t only seek to use hate, he mobilizes it. His is a campaign
of continuous and conscious attempts to wholesale hate and the “isms”
he uses to create it. Thus, he doesn’t simply harness the hate of the
marginalized and compromised among us, he seeks to expand the circle of
hate to the mainstream.
Yes, I agree. This is
important, but there is more, such as this:
For most of the 20th
Century, the media was kept honest by laws that enabled the FCC to
I more or less agree, but
there is - in my opinion - one important item missing, and that is that
all of the above would have been quite
impossible if the
majority of the American population was not fairly to very stupid
but that was named in the above quote, quite correctly).
- Americans were exposed
to a diversity of viewpoints from a wide variety of owners;
- stations which spread
lies and falsehoods were punished and reigned in;
- news stations presented
But since Reagan and
Clinton eviscerated these controls, information—or rather
misinformation—mono-cultures like Fox “News,” IHeartMedia, and Sinclair
have been allowed to spring up and proliferate. And with Trump, they
have functioned as a state media to serve up hate, lies, and ignorance
Meanwhile, the mainstream
media has been taken over by a few corporate interests and it has
embraced “balance” and false equivalency as their canon, rather than
factual reporting, the pursuit of truth, and the full exploration of
context and nuance, so the lies from rightwing media and politicians
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Social media compounds the
problem of media monocultures by allowing misinformed right-wing mobs
to coalesce around outlandish and counterfactual conspiracy theories.
And finally, there’s no
real opposition party. Rather than standing on values and representing
the people’s interests, Democrats have chosen tactics and empty
rhetoric so they could continue to get their share of corporate and
fat-cat largess to run their campaigns.
But having a President who
sows hate and blame, with what amounts to a state media is what makes
this period in history unique, and uniquely dangerous.
Yes, I agree and this is a
strongly recommended article.
Bolton Hails Brazilian Strongman as Welcome Ally
is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Declaring not just
sympathy but outright admiration for a fascist who has threatened
violence against his leftist political opponents, celebrated the
use of torture, and promised to give the police free
rein to murder at will, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton
on Thursday praised Brazil's newly elected strongman President Jair
Bolsonaro as a "like-minded" partner who shares the Trump
administration's commitment to so-called "free market principles."
Yes indeed - and I also
would conclude from this quotation that John Bolton, like Donald Trump,
is in fact a neofascist
(which I think is correct in both cases, as it
is for Bolsonario). Also, I add that the ¨so-called "free market principles"¨ are all either total delusions or
straight lies (and
besides, Trump is trying to regulate the market with
Here is more:
Bolton went on to
proclaim that with the rise of Bolsonaro, "the Troika of Tyranny in
this hemisphere—Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua—has finally met its
match," coining a phrase that immediately drew
comparisons to former President George W. Bush's infamous "Axis of
Evil" line, which was used repeatedly to justify America's disastrous
invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Vox's Alex Ward described
Bolton's remarks as a "modern-day 'Axis of Evil' speech."
Intensifying fears that the
Trump administration could be considering military action against Latin
American nations it has deemed enemies, Bolton announced that the White
House plans to take "direct action against" Cuba, Venezuela, and
Nicaragua "to defend the rule of law, liberty, and basic human decency
in our region."
I think all of this is quite
correctly reported, while I totally disagree with the neofascist
Bolton. And this is a recommended article.
Internet Freedom Plummets as Governments Use Censorship and Surveillance
is by Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Countries across the globe
are following in the footsteps of the Chinese government, adopting
authoritarian digital practices that pose serious threats to democracy,
according to a new Freedom House report released Thursday.
on the Net 2018 (pdf), more than 70 researchers
comprehensively reviewed internet freedom in 65 countries that
represent 87 percent of the world's internet users. They documented
declines in 26 countries—including the United States under the Trump
administration as well as Egypt, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Kenya, Nigeria,
the Philippines, and Venezuela—and improvements in only 19 nations.
They found that
"disinformation and propaganda disseminated online have poisoned the
public sphere. The unbridled collection of personal data has broken
down traditional notions of privacy. And a cohort of countries is
moving toward digital authoritarianism by embracing the Chinese model
of extensive censorship and automated surveillance systems. As a result
of these trends, global internet freedom declined for the eighth
consecutive year in 2018."
also recommend Freedom
on the Net 2018 (pdf), but that is 8.8 MB. And in fact I have
been warning since 2012 - see here
- that what the internet threatened to be was the foundation of
surveillance and the strong promoter of neofascism,
and six years later
I still think the same, but more so.
Here is more on the
One main reason is that China
expands its own - totalitarian,
- internet regime, where
every Chinese is checked for obedience to the government
and for his or
her opinions, values and ideas, and gets punished for those opinions,
values and ideas that oppose the government, also to other
(where governments tend to embrace it, simply because it does
effective total control).
As Freedom House president
Michael Abramowitz told
AFP, this pattern of countries shifting toward
China's model "poses a threat to the open internet and endangers
prospects for greater democracy worldwide."
for the Washington Post's opinion page on Thursday,
Abramowitz and Freedom House chairman Michael Chertoff expanded on the
dangers of China exporting its digital authoritarianism.
Here is more from this article:
While calling on
Congress to reintroduce and pass the Global
Online Freedom Act, which would increase pressure on countries that
engage in repressive digital practices to change their ways, they
Well... I agree
principles of the last quotation, but I also think that it is too
This report - which is good - should have been made
shortly after 2001.
...the best way for
democracies to stem the rise of digital authoritarianism is to prove
that there is a better model for managing the internet. We will have to
tackle social media manipulation and misuse of data in a manner that
respects human rights, while also preserving an internet that is
global, free, and secure.
Here is more on the collapse of democracy that is caused by the
In addition to calling out
China for fueling a global decline in internet freedom the new report
also details contributions from the United States and the Trump
administration. Bolstering findings
from Reporters Sans Frontières published earlier this year, Freedom
House found that authoritarian governments the world over have co-opted
President Donald Trump's favored phrase "fake news" to justify
crackdowns on dissent and digital rights.
"In the past year, at least
17 countries approved or proposed laws that would restrict online media
in the name of fighting 'fake news' and online manipulation," the
Meanwhile, in the United
States, the government has also taken steps over the past year to
enable surveillance and limit the open internet. The GOP-controlled
the FISA Amendments Act, including Section 702, and the Federal
Communications Commission repealed
net neutrality protections that required internet service providers to
treat all content equally.
And this is followed by a
list of recommendations that is too long to review here. Again, I
mostly agree with the recommendations and the principles, but I
also think - as I said - that it is too late now to implement them. And
this is a strongly recommended article.
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 (!!).