from November 6, 2018
B. Extra On The
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 November 6, 2018:
1. Scum vs. Scum
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: Republican Party Is the “Most Dangerous
in Human History”
3. U.K. Scientists Risk Prison to Urge Climate Action
4. The Complete Collapse of Congress as a Democratic
5. The Evidence Pours In: Poverty Getting Much Worse in America
1. Scum vs. Scum
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. This is from near its beginning:
Scum versus scum.
That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million
Americans don’t bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or
Bob Two, why bother? One-fourth
of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in this
week’s elections have backgrounds in the CIA, the military, the
National Security Council or the State Department. Nearly all
candidates on the ballots in House races are corporate-sponsored, with
a few lonely exceptions such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida
Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America who are running
I agree that "Scum vs
Scum" seems a quite decent description
of the present American elections, and the main reason is (in my
opinion) the fact that "[n]early
candidates on the ballots in House races are corporate-sponsored".
But I do not quite agree with the appeal to the 100 million
Americans (in the last presidential election of 2016), and I do not
because I do not know their motives, and in fact suspect (but cannot
prove) that many are stupid and ignorant (which
seem to be two terms -
especially stupidity - that are not
the be used in the American press
when describing Americans).
Besides, there is a difference between the Republicans and the
Democrats, although I quite agree with Hedges that nearly all are paid
by major and rich corporations, and that the choice is effectively
Here is more on financial corruption and the Democrats:
“In interviews with two
dozen Wall Street executives, fund-raisers, donors and those who raise
money from them, Democrats described an extraordinary level of
investment and excitement from the finance sector … ,” The New York
Times reported about current campaign contributions to the Democrats
from the corporate oligarchs.
Our system of legalized
bribery is an equal-opportunity employer.
Of course, we are all
supposed to vote Democratic to halt the tide of Trump fascism. But
should the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, hate
speech and violence as a tool for intimidation and control will
increase, with much of it directed, as we saw with the pipe bombs
intended to decapitate the Democratic Party leadership, toward
prominent Democratic politicians and critics of Donald Trump. Should
the white man’s party of the president retain control of the House and
the Senate, violence will still be the favored instrument of political
control as the last of democratic protections are stripped from us.
Either way we are in for it.
I do not think
last paragraph is a good argument not to vote. Also, I agree
Hedges that Trump is a
neofascist (though Hedges says fascist, but I
doubt he has a good definition in mind), while the Democrats are bad
but less so.
Anyway... here is more:
Trump is a clownish and
embarrassing tool of the kleptocrats. His faux populism is a sham. Only
the rich like his tax cuts, his refusal to raise the minimum wage and
his effort to destroy Obamacare. All he has left is hate. And he will
use it. Which is not to say that, if only to throw up some obstacle to
Trump, you shouldn’t vote for the Democratic scum, tools of the war
industry and the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, Wall Street and
the fossil fuel industry, as opposed to the Republican scum. But
Democratic control of the House will do very little to halt our descent
into corporate tyranny, especially with another economic crisis brewing
on Wall Street. The rot inside the American political system is deep
Well... all I
is that the Democrats are less evil than the Republicans, and
given circumstances it is therefore better to vote for the least
And while I agree that there undoubtedly will be "another economic
crisis" I have no idea when it will arrive, and I think no one
rationally based idea on this.
Here is more:
(1912-1997) in “Friendly Fascism: The New Face of American Power”
warned us that fascism always has two looks. One is paternal,
benevolent, entertaining and kind. The other is embodied in the
executioner’s sadistic leer. Janus-like, fascism seeks to present
itself to a captive public as a force for good and moral renewal. It
promises protection against enemies real and invented. But denounce its
ideology, challenge its power, demand freedom from fascism’s iron grip,
and you are mercilessly crushed. Gross knew that if the United States’
form of fascism, expressed through corporate tyranny, was able to
effectively mask its true intentions behind its “friendly” face we
would be stripped of power, shorn of our most cherished rights and
impoverished. He has been proved correct.
I did not know
about Bertram Gross and he seems to have
been a rational and reasonable man. In fact, there is considerably
on him, including quotations, in this article. I do not quote him
because this review is quite long already.
Here is more:
state has mastered propaganda better than the corporate state. Our
press has replaced journalism with trivia, feel-good stories, jingoism
and celebrity gossip. The banal and the absurd, delivered by cheery
corporate courtiers, saturate the airwaves. Our emotions are skillfully
manipulated around manufactured personalities and manufactured events.
We are, at the same time, offered elaborate diversionary spectacles
including sporting events, reality television and absurdist political
Probably so, but I think
that one may - so far, at least - escape most of the consequences of
viewing the mainstream (aka corporate) media. In fact, I do,
price may be too high for many: I have no TV since 1970 (because I hate
and rarely learned anything from TV); I don't use a tablet
at all (for I don't want to be contained in advertising); and in fact I
only use Firefox and normal e-mail and DuckDuckGo for
I feel quite good about this set-up, but it may be difficult for
others. Here is more:
You cannot use the
word “liberty” when your government, as ours does, watches you 24 hours
a day and stores all of your personal information in government
computers in perpetuity. You cannot use the word “liberty” when you are
the most photographed and monitored population in human history. You
cannot use the word “liberty” when it is impossible to vote against the
interests of Goldman Sachs or General Dynamics. You cannot use the word
“liberty” when the state empowers militarized police to use
indiscriminate lethal force against unarmed citizens in the streets of
American cities. You cannot use the word “liberty” when 2.3 million
citizens, mostly poor people of color, are held in the largest prison
system on earth. This is the relationship between a master and a slave.
is some on Sheldon Wolin:
Wolin, refining Gross’ thesis, would later characterize this
corporate tyranny or friendly fascism as “inverted totalitarianism.” It
was, as Gross and Wolin pointed out, characterized by anonymity. It
purported to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution and the
iconography and symbols of American patriotism but internally had
seized all of the levers of power to render the citizen impotent.
In fact, the link is to a
series of interviews that
Hedges had with Wolin in 2014. I think these interviews are quite
interesting and wrote reviews of all of them, which you can find here. Both are strongly
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Republican and Democrat, belong to the same club. We are not in it.
Take a look at the flight roster of the billionaire Jeffrey
Epstein, who was accused of prostituting dozens of underage girls
and ended up spending 13 months in prison on a single count. He flew
political insiders from both parties and the business world to his
secluded Caribbean island, known as “Orgy Island,” on his jet, which
the press nicknamed “the Lolita
Express.” Some of the names on his flight roster, which usually
included unidentified women, were Bill Clinton, who took dozens of
Dershowitz, former Treasury Secretary and former Harvard President
Larry Summers, the Candide-like
Pinker, whose fairy dust ensures we are getting better and better,
and Britain’s Prince Andrew.
I admit that I quoted this
last bit especially because of Steven Pinker, whom I dislike
ever since hearing a personal lecture by him in Amsterdam in - I
believe - 1996, simply because it was mainly baloney (about the human
mind): He also went
(like Bill Clinton, Dershowitz and Summers) with "the Lolita
Express" to "Orgy Island". I say. And this is a strongly recommended article.
Chomsky: Republican Party Is the “Most Dangerous Organization in Human
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
In the run-up to the
U.S. midterm elections, we speak with world-renowned linguist,
dissident and author Noam Chomsky. “What are the domestic policies of
the Trump administration?” Chomsky says. “Very straightforward: lavish
gifts on the rich, powerful corporate sector and try to undermine and
destroy anything that might be of benefit to the general population.”
agree with Chomsky. Also, this interview is one of three
on Democracy Now! Here is more:
So, is it the most gravest moment in my life? Yes. But also in all of
human history. And things like the election will have an impact on this.
I suppose Chomsky's reason
is that there are two ways today in which all of human civilization and
probably all of human beings may be destroyed, namely an
collapse and a nuclear war.
Here is more:
I completely agree - and
like to add I said so already
in 2012, when I wrote - and see my Crisis: Hypotheses about CF+SS (which is strongly
CHOMSKY: What are the
domestic policies of the Trump administration? They’re very
straightforward: lavish gifts on the rich, powerful corporate sector
and try to undermine and destroy anything that might be of benefit to
the general population. That’s quite explicitly what’s happening before
So, take the legislative
achievement that the Republican Party is most proud of: their tax
bill—as economist Joseph Stiglitz described it, the donor relief plan
of 2017. It’s an enormous gift to wealth, corporate power, including
real estate interests, incidentally. Enormous gift, frankly. And it has
the secondary advantage—as the Republican leadership was quick to point
out, it has the advantage of creating a huge deficit, which can be used
as a pretext for getting rid of social spending. U.S. social spending
is already very meager by world standards. We’re down at the bottom of
the OECD, the 30 rich countries, along with
Greece and Turkey, in social benefits spendings. But there’s something
there, so let’s get rid of it. Let’s undermine Medicaid, which goes to
the undeserving poor; let’s undermine Social Security, which working
people just rely on for survival—all because we have to lavish gifts on
the super-rich and ensure that the corporations have profits bulging
out of their ears.
Here is more from the
- What or whoever cannot
be exploited for some corporate profit deserves not to be at all.
- Truth is what the
state organs state.
- Good is what the state
- Whoever does not
collaborate with state officials and state policies is - effectively -
- Whoever is a terrorist
deserves to die.
- Anything is permitted
against any terrorist (suspect).
Yes, and I agree with
And as I said, there is another interview
with Chomsky preceding this one, and also one following it, all on
Democracy Now! All are strongly recommended.
GOODMAN: And on that
issue, you have been extremely critical of Democrats. But with this
whole discussion of whether the House will turn Democrat, and possibly
the Senate, do you think it matters?
CHOMSKY: I think it
matters. Yes, we have every reason to be critical of the Democrats.
These policies of the last generation, the neoliberal policies that
have led to these conditions we’ve been talking about, the so-called
New Democrats, the Clinton Democrats, have been right at the forefront.
Say, deregulation of financial institutions, one of Clinton’s great
achievements, which led directly to the financial crisis, along
with—one of the factors that led to it—his attack on the welfare
program. Lots that we can blame them for.
Scientists Risk Prison to Urge Climate Action
is by Alex Kirby on Truthdig and originally on the Climate News
Network. It starts as follows:
A growing number of British
academics, writers and activists say they are ready to go to prison in
support of their demands for action on the environment.
Scientists are not normally
renowned for their political activism, and the UK is hardly a hotbed of
determined and risky protest against its rulers. But, if this group of
nearly 100 British scientists and their backers is right, all that may
be on the brink of changing.
Today sees the launch
which describes itself as an international movement using mass civil
disobedience to force governments to enter World War II-level
mobilization mode, in response to climate breakdown and ecological
I do so because I am a psychologist and a philosopher, in
university-terms, and because I have very many experiences with
academical scientists - that is, scientists who were employed by a
Dutch university - and my own main lesson from that (mostly, I admit,
in the 1980ies, but it went on until 2011) were that if you are a
academic you hardly say or write anything whatsoever that could
possibly disoblige your employers, and nothing whatsoever that could
put you in jail.
So I admit I am a bit surprised by this English academic
The group is launching a
Declaration of Rebellion against the UK government “for criminal
inaction in the face of climate change catastrophe and ecological
collapse” at the Houses of Parliament in central London.
“Now is the time because we
are out of time. There is nothing left to lose.”
The group’s demands include
the declaration by the UK government of a state of emergency, action to
create a zero carbon economy by 2025, and the establishment of a
national assembly of “ordinary people” to decide what the zero carbon
future will look like.
ExtinctionRebellion as part of the mosaic of responses to the extremely
precarious situation we now find ourselves in”
From today it promises
“repeated acts of disruptive, non-violent civil disobedience” if the
government does not respond seriously to its demands, and says “there
will be mass arrests.”
I say, again - and I
have to admit that while I respect these academics and
also expect that they will fail (and I am sorry, but that is my
Here is more:
Based on the science, it
says, humans have ten
years at the most to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to zero or the
human race and most other species will be at high risk of extinction
“Children alive today in
the UK will face unimaginable horrors as a result of floods, wildfires,
extreme weather, crop failures and the inevitable breakdown of society
when the pressures are so great. We are unprepared for the danger our
I think the last two
quoted paragraphs may well be correct (and I agree that "[w]e are" - still, in large majority, to the
best of my considerable knowlede - "unprepared for the danger our
Here is the last bit
from this article:
On 30 October the Worldwide
Fund for Nature reported that humanity has wiped
out 60% of animal populations since 1970, something it says
threatens the survival of civilization. ExtinctionRebellion says the
loss of species shows that “the planet is in ecological crisis,
and we are in the midst of the sixth
mass extinction event this planet has experienced.”
Its members say they are
willing to make personal sacrifices, to be arrested and to go to
prison. They hope to inspire similar actions around the world and
believe this global effort must begin in the UK, today, where the
industrial revolution began.
Well... I hope
succeed, but my guess is that they will not. I hope my
mistaken, but I also have been following the environment for 50
without seeing hardly any effective measure to improve it. And this
a recommended article.
4. The Complete Collapse of Congress as a
This article is by Derek
Willis from ProPublica and Paul Kane from The Washington Post. It
starts as follows:
For more than 200 years,
Congress operated largely as the country’s founders envisioned —
forging compromises on the biggest issues of the day while asserting
its authority to declare war, spend taxpayer money and keep the
presidency in check.
Today, on the eve of a
closely fought election that will determine who runs Capitol Hill, that
model is effectively dead.
It has been replaced by a
weakened legislative branch in which debate is strictly curtailed,
party leaders dictate the agenda, most elected representatives rarely
get a say and government shutdowns are a regular threat due to chronic
failures to agree on budgets, according to a new analysis of
congressional data and documents by The Washington Post and ProPublica.
This seems mostly
correct (with some reservations about the first paragraph). Here is
The study found that the
transformation has occurred relatively fast — sparked by the
hyperpolarized climate that has enveloped politics since the 2008
election of President Barack Obama and the subsequent dawn of the tea
party movement on the right. During that time, as the political center
has largely evaporated, party leaders have adhered to the demands of
their bases, while rules and traditions that long encouraged
deliberative dealmaking have given way to partisan gridlock, the
While few of these changes
made headlines, taken together they have fundamentally altered the way
Congress operates — and morphed this equally powerful branch of
government into one that functions more as a junior partner to the
executive, or doesn’t function at all when it comes to the country’s
I think these two
paragraphs are quite correct - and I add that my crisis series,
started on September 1, 2008, is the only series about the crisis that I know that was maintained
the last 10 years, indeed - I checked it today - for presently
close to 400 MB of text (in html).
Here is more from the
Tuesday’s elections could
bring big changes to the Capitol, particularly if Democrats win control
of the House and launch aggressive investigations of the Trump
administration, but there is little evidence that the leaders of either
party are prepared to rebuild the old system.
Again I quite
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I agree again. There is a lot
more in the article, which is strongly recommended.
“More and more legislative
authority is delegated to the executive branch every year. Both parties
do it. The legislature is impotent. The legislature is weak,” Sasse, in
just his fourth year in office, said.
Executive branch agencies now
make law, not Congress, he said.
Evidence Pours In: Poverty Getting Much Worse in America
is by Paul Buchheit on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
A White House report recently
proclaimed that the "War on Poverty is largely over and a success."
United Nations Ambassador Nikki
Haley said it was "ridiculous for the United Nations to
examine poverty in America."
I think all of this is
quite correct. Here is more:
must talk like this, of course, because admitting the debilitating
state of poverty in America might provoke feelings of guilt for 35
years of oppressive economic policies. Wealthier people need to take an
honest look at the facts. They need to face reality as it sadly exists
in America today.
1 in 7 Americans is
Part of the World's Poorest 10%
According to the Credit
Global Wealth Databook, 34 million American adults are among the
WORLD'S POOREST 10%. How is that possible? In a word, debt. In more
excruciating words: stifling, misery-inducing, deadly amounts of debt
for the poorest Americans. And it goes beyond dollars to the "deaths
of despair" caused by the stresses of inferior health care
coverage, stagnating incomes, and out-of-control inequality.
Half of Us
are In or Near Poverty
I think this is also
correct, but I want to add that a major reason why I am against the feminism that
arose in the late 1960ies is that they are at least partially
responsible that both the father and mother have to work full-time to
be able to raise a family (that they will not see much of, because they
are too busy working).
$1 in expenses twenty years
ago is now $1.25.
$1 in earnings twenty years ago is now still $1.
More and more Americans are
facing financial difficulty. Estimates of adults living from paycheck
to paycheck range from half to 60 percent to 78
percent. Any sign of a recession would
be devastating for most of us.
It's estimated that
a typical U.S. household needs about $60,000 annually to meet all
expenses. That's only manageable if two adults are working full-time
for $15 per hour.
Here is more:
today's 'gig' jobs don't
pay a living wage, and most have no
retirement or health benefits, no job security, no government
regulations backing them, and usually a longer work day, with many
people putting in 10- to 12-hour days for $13
per hour or less. According to a New York Times report,
"41.7 million laborers — nearly a third of the American work force —
earn less than $12 an hour, and almost none of their employers offer
I say - and I think this
is correct as well. (Also, while I very probably earned less
than any other Dutchman who did not go to prison in the last 50
years, I do have a pension and health benefits since 2015,
when I got to be 65. Then again, it seems that those who are several
decades younger than I am will not have a pension, unless they
Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine article:
The extreme levels
of American poverty and inequality are ripping
apart once-interdependent communities with mental health
and homelessness problems,
and with a surge in drug
and alcohol and suicide "deaths of despair."
I think this also is
correct, and this is a strongly recommended article.
Part of the definition of
poverty is "the state of being inferior in quality." As one of the most
unequal nations in the entire world, America is also, in many
ways, one of the most poverty-stricken.
B. Extra On The U.S. Elections
This article is by
the staff of Democracy Now!
I shall quote only one bit, and
this item is here because of the U.S. elections today:
On Tuesday, November 6, as
polls close around the country, Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Juan
González and Nermeen Shaikh will be joined by The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill to
host a rolling roundtable discussion with guests across the country.
In addition to real-time
election returns, we will focus on some of the nation’s most contested
races and ballot initiatives. A record number of women and people of
color are running for every level of elected office. We’ll also be
examining the issues and movements at the heart of these midterm
elections and the state of U.S. democracy two years into the Trump
And though I very
will not view this, it is recommended for people who live in the USA.
(Check the details by checking the above dotted link.)
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 (!!).