from November 15, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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 15, 2018:
1. The Signs of Creeping Fascism Are All Around Us
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. Save the U.S. Postal Service
3. United States Will Bring Assange to US in Chains
4. The Next Crash
5. Will the Wall Street Democrats Part the Blue Wave?
Signs of Creeping Fascism Are All Around Us
This article is by
Paul Street on Truthdig. This is from near its beginning:
I’d just finished
reading Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley’s new book, “How
Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them,” a timely study of
fascist politics past and present.
Stanley examines how modern
authoritarian and nationalist—“fascist,” if you like (Stanley obviously
does)—politicos have used and subverted purportedly democratic
electoral politics to gain power.
Well... I have not
Stanley's new book and very probably never will, simply because
cannot read all or most of the new books that appear, while I have
reading more than 50 years about politics
- and this last is a decent list of important books on politics that I
have read (among very many more).
But there is a
with Stanley and his new book: Once again, I have no idea what
by "fascism", and my reasons are quite simple, for there are at least
21 definitions (or rather: "defininitions", for most are not proper
definitions) of fascism, and they all contradict each other. Here is my
own, that is better than the 21 that I have read: Fascism.
here is my survey of 21 other definitions of the same term: On Fascism and
My guess must
be that Stanley also does not supply a decent definition of
"fascism". As I said, I have not read his book, so this must be a guess
(but it seems likely).
In any case, here is
Street's summary of "10 common themes animating fascist ideology" in
I am sorry, but while there are
a number of more or less known points, I think my definition of
fascism is a lot shorter and clearer, and also more
objective. Here it
is, once again:
He finds 10 common themes
animating fascist ideology and propaganda:
- Invocation of a mythic
national past marked by racial, ethnic, religious and/or cultural
purity—a supposedly glorious history to which the nation needs to
- Propagandistic use of
outwardly virtuous ideals (including anti-corruption, democracy,
liberty and free speech) to advance abhorrent ends that contradict
- An anti-intellectual
assault on education, universities, science, expertise and language,
accompanied by charges of Marxism and “political correctness” against
liberal and leftist enemies and the advance of simplistic nationalist
and authoritarian ideals. This is fertile soil for the deadly denial of
climate change that has occurred and for such absurd claims as the
notion that whites are now more damaged by racism than are black,
Latinx and Native American people in the U.S.
- An insidious attack on
truth and on people’s ability to perceive and agree on truth. Regular
and repeated obvious lying is combined with the advance of conspiracy
theories and the promotion of “news as sports” and demagogic strongmen
- An ugly faith in natural
hierarchies of worth and a rejection of equality as dangerous,
unnatural, Marxist and liberal delusion.
- An aggrieved and
counterfeit sense of victimhood among dominant “us” groups (racial,
ethnic and/or religious) that feel threatened by having to share
citizenship, resources and power with minority groups (“them”). This
ironic victimology feeds an oppressive nationalism devoted to
maintaining “natural” hierarchies and uniting “chosen” but supposedly
oppressed racial, ethnic, religious groups (whites in the U.S.,
Christians in Hungary, Hindus in India, and so on.) against the
supposedly false claims and unjust demands of “them”—those designated
as “naturally” inferior others.
- A stern embrace of law
and order that targets minority others (“them”) as criminal threats to
the safety and security of the majority (“us”).
- Sexual anxiety about the
threat supposedly posed by minority, criminal and alien others to “our”
traditional male roles, status and family values.
- A loathing of cities
seen as racially and sexually corrupt, ethnically impure, sexually
perverse, parasitic criminal zones loaded with a polyglot mass of some
inferior, nation-weakening “them.” By contrast, the rural countryside
is lauded as the noble wellspring of virtue, strength, self-sufficiency
and racial-ethnic purity. The rural
heartland/fatherland/motherland/homeland is the sacred and foundational
“blood and soil” preserve of “us.” It is the noble native soil of the
“volk”—the true ancestral people who embody the spirit of a once-grand
nation that needs to be made great again through the defeat of liberal
and supposedly leftist elites who have been giving the nation’s
resources and power away to naturally inferior others (“them”).
- A sense of the
chosen-people majority (“us”) as hard-working, upright, virtuous and
deserving, combined with the notion of demonized minorities and others
(“them”) as lazy, dissolute, shifty and undeserving.
is a. A social system that is
marked by a government with centralized authority and a dictator, that
suppresses the opposition through propaganda, censorship and terror,
that propounds an ethics founded
on discipline, virility, and collectivism, that has a politics that is
totalitarian, anti-liberal, anti-individualist,
anti-equality, and anti-Marxist, that is also authoritarian,
rightwing and nationalistic, and often racist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy, b. A political philosophy or movement based on or
advocating such a social system.
I do think that this is a lot
clearer than Stanley's list, and it is what I
understand by "fascism".
Also, without a somewhat
decent definition of the same term, this is what I will
understand by it (and will be understanding by it until I get a more
decent definition than my own).
Next, there is a list of 17 points that illustrate "many
which Trump has checked the
boxes on Stanley’s list of core fascist themes". I have skipped all
them, simply because I have not seen any clear
definition of "fascism".
Then there is this:
Not content merely
to describe fascist politics, Stanley seeks to explain its success,
past and present. Fascism’s taproot, he finds, is harsh socioeconomic
Well... I agree with one
thing in the above quotation: "Stark economic inequality creates conditions richly
conducive to fascist demagoguery".
Ever since Plato and
Aristotle wrote on the topic, political theorists have known that
democracy cannot flourish on soil poisoned by inequality. … [T]he
resentments bred by such divisions are tempting targets for demagogues.
… Dramatic inequality poses a mortal danger to the shared reality
required for a healthy liberal democracy … [such] inequality breeds
delusions that mask reality, undermining the possibility of joint
deliberation to sole society’s divisions. …
Under conditions of stark
economic inequality, when the benefits of liberal education, and the
exposure to diverse cultures and norms are available only to the
wealthy few, liberal tolerance can be smoothly represented as elite
privilege. Stark economic inequality creates conditions richly
conducive to fascist demagoguery. It is a fantasy to think that liberal
democratic norms can flourish under such conditions.
But (i) fascism - in any shape, form or definition - was unknown
in antiquity, while (ii) both Plato and Aristotle were strong
opponents of democracy, and (iii) they also lived in cities or
city-states, much rather than in the very much larger
states of the present, while (iv) something like 3 out of 4 people
living in ancient city-states were in fact slaves.
None of these points has been mentioned (but I did not read Stanley's
book). Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
He does not say so (this is
a problem with “How Fascism Works”), but Stanley surely knows
that the neoliberal Democratic Party of the late 20th and early 21st
centuries has partnered
with Republicans in the creation of a New Gilded Age of spectacular
democracy- and tolerance-disabling class disparity. The Democrats
have participated for decades in the richly bipartisan making of
plutocratic policies that have shifted wealth and income so far upward
absurdly rich people (Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos)
now possess as much wealth between them as the poorest half of
Americans, while the top 10th of the upper 1 percent has as
much wealth as the nation’s bottom 90 percent.
In fact, there is a whole
more. I leave it to your interests, and can more or less recommend it, provided
that you know a clear and respectable definition of fascism.
Meanwhile, I have proposed my
own means to oppose plutocracy, and that is to legally forbid it
at least 2500 years that were most plutocratic): Forbid anyone
or earning more than 20 times as much as the poorest in one's society
where I should mention Orwell favored 10
times as much, and American
workers seem to have favored 7 times as much. For more see my Crisis: On Socialism (that is strongly recommended for
interested in socialism).
the U.S. Postal Service
This article is by
Jim Hightower on AlterNet and originally at Creators.com. It starts as
I say, for while I did
know something like the above, this is the first time that I have read
a description as clear as this.
Unable to find a fatal flaw
in our far-flung public mail delivery network, the anti-Postal Service
forces manufactured a fake flaw. In 2006, then-president George W.
Bush, congressional Republican leaders, the powerful "privatizer lobby"
(including FedEx, UPS and Wall Street speculators) and Koch-funded
think tanks and Astroturf front groups colluded to put a one-of-a-kind
paper "debt" on the books of USPS. Congress enacted a postal-service
"enhancement" provision requiring the public postal corporation to pre-fund
the health and pension benefits for all postal-service retirees 75
years in advance! Think about that. This arbitrary, wholly
unprecedented, legislated requirement to pay now for the retirement
benefits of future employees (including those not even born yet) has
piled a false cost of about $5 billion a year on the debit side of the
agency's balance sheet.
By cooking the books with this
false entry, the right wing has been able to wail that our Postal
Service is broke and continuing to bleed money, endangering taxpayers
with a massive bailout.
Here is more:
Chances are that you, too,
have been caught up in their lie, because supposedly responsible,
mainstream news sources (Washington Post, AP, network TV channels, NPR,
etc.) have swallowed it whole and routinely repeat it unedited and in
unison. At the end of each fiscal year, when USPS is compelled by law
to announce yet another multibillion-dollar "loss," mass media outlets
report the dramatic number without explaining the bookkeeping hoax
hidden in it.
This artificial, 75-year
pre-funding decree is an absurd burden that no other corporation or
government agency is forced to carry. Take it away, and voila! The
Postal Service is a moneymaker. Since 2014, it has posted operating
profits totaling $2.7 billion -- a healthy average of $900 million a
I say, again. (Also, I like
the postal services, simply because it is not
inundated with sick
spies who try to know everything about anyone, and normally
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Actually, I don't
the above quotation is very good, but I do like postal
services, and strongly hope they will be preserved in the USA.
this is a
Nothing symbolizes our
fight for the democratic ideal of the Common Good more than our public
post office. This essential, egalitarian, nationwide service literally
is us: It was a unifying center of American life before the
USA itself was formed, and it is the only agency enshrined in the U.S.
Constitution. More profoundly, its 31,000 branches belong to us, not a
handful of rich corporate investors, tangibly linking your mailbox and
mine to all others. Our postal service is daily proof that we
really are "all in this together." To save our public postal service,
go to USMailNotforSale.org.
States Will Bring Assange to US in Chains
is by Ann Garrison on Consortium News. It starts as follows:
increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will
wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.
Yes indeed: All
mentioned in the above quotation are facts, and I agree with
implication that the most likely outcome for Assange is that he
"will wind up in the
clutches of the U.S.
government", who probably
will torture him to find out what he knows.
It’s hardly surprising, given
that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified
information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights
abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented
WikiLeaks put government,
corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel
agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in
It created a trove of primary
source material that serious journalists and researchers will mine for
years to come. Its publications are accessible to readers who prefer
primary sources to mostly mediated news.
Wikileaks so infuriates the
USA’s most violent, corrupt, and criminal institutions that Hillary
Clinton half-jokingly suggested drone-bombing Assange. Other U.S.
politicians called for his execution by other means.
Here is some more, mostly on the so-called "Resistance":
District Congressman Adam Schiff, who became the chair of the House
Intelligence Committee when Democrats reclaimed the House, said he
would speak to Assange “when he is in U.S. custody, not before.”
Well... I don't
precisely how correct Garrison is in reporting about the "Resistance"
but I do agree that - after viewing a few of the videos propounded by
this group of Democrats - I do not take them serious, and have not
so for years.
Schiff is a vociferous and
supremely self-righteous leader of the Democratic Party’s “Resistance,”
which sullies the name of the underground movement formed in France
during World War II to fight Nazi Germany’s occupying forces and the
collaborationist Vichy government.
The “Resistance” tolerates
only one truth and one loyalty: Russia is the enemy, interfering in
Syria, the Ukraine and even U.S. elections. Russia elected Trump with
Wikileaks’ help, it says. Russia dares to position missiles on its own
borders, it says, to respond to NATO’s missiles on the other side. The
U.S. must build more missiles, more drones, more nuclear weapons, and
every other sort of weapon to defend the European world against Russia
and its ally China.
Here is something about Kiriakou:
John Kiriakou, who spent two years in prison for exposing the agency’s
official use of torture, said if Assange walks out of the embassy
without a guarantee of safe passage, he will be extradited to the U.S.
Yes, I agree with
Kiriakou. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
know why the British have that embassy ringed. It’s to snatch him and
to turn him over to the United States. If that happens, the CIA and the
FBI are both going to be on that plane and they’re both going to be at
least attempting to interrogate him all the way back home. They will
bring him back to the United States in chains because that’s what they
Dawson feels the FBI
and CIA will interrogate and torture Assange to try to obtain
information that would allow them to bring Wikileaks down. She has no
doubt he’s been preparing for this eventuality for years. She believes
he will have made sure the organization has adopted security codes and
measures he himself doesn’t know and therefore can’t reveal—even if
Yes, I think this is
correct. This is a strongly
to know about security files for example. They want to know about the
inner processes and workings of Wikileaks. They want access to the
knowledge that’s inside Julian’s brain. And they will torture him. And
they will interrogate him in order to attempt to get that.
trust Julian to be smart enough to have made sure that even he doesn’t
possess a lot of that knowledge. In my personal opinion, Julian has
spent years planning for these various eventualities, but it won’t stop
them from trying.”
Dawson added intelligence
agencies are eager to punish him: “At the end of the day they want to
punish him for outing their corruption and their crimes."
4. The Next Crash
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Sorry to deliver the
news, but it’s time to worry about the next crash.
The combination of stagnant
wages with most economic gains going to the top is once again
endangering the economy.
Most Americans are still
living in the shadow of the Great Recession that started in December
2007 and officially ended in June 2009. More have jobs, to be sure. But
they haven’t seen any rise in their wages, adjusted for inflation.
Many are worse off due to
the escalating costs of housing, healthcare, and education. And the
value of whatever assets they own is less than in 2007. Which suggests
we’re careening toward the same sort of crash we had then, and possibly
as bad as 1929.
Clear away the financial
rubble from those two former crashes and you’d see they both followed
upon widening imbalances between the capacity of most people to buy,
and what they as workers could produce. Each of these imbalances
finally tipped the economy over.
Well... I agree
will be another crisis (but I also think anyone who is
informed about economics expects this) and I also agree with Reich that
when it occurs it probably wlll be a major crisis.
Then again, I do not
know whether I agree with Reich on the cause(s) of crises, and I do
like to add that I am the only one
- to my knowledge - who
has written explicitly about the crisis
(for then it started in Holland) for ten years now. I wrote over 2100
articles about the crisis since
September 1, 2008 (and will continue).
Here is more on the
I think this is all true.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
The same imbalance has been
growing again. The richest 1 percent of Americans now takes home about
20 percent of total income, and owns over 40 percent of the nation’s
These are close to the
peaks of 1928 and 2007.
The underlying problem
isn’t that Americans have been living beyond their means. It’s that
their means haven’t been keeping up with the growing economy. Most
gains have gone to the top.
But the rich only spend a
small fraction of what they earn. The economy depends on the spending
of middle and working class families.
By the first quarter of
this year, household debt was at an all-time high of $13.2 trillion.
Almost 80 percent of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.
It was similar in the years
leading up to the crash of 2007. Between 1983 and 2007, household debt
soared while most economic gains went to the top.
Similarly, between 1913 and
1928, the ratio of personal debt to the total national economy nearly
doubled. After the 1929 crash, the government invented new ways to
boost wages – Social Security, unemployment insurance, overtime pay, a
minimum wage, the requirement that employers bargain with labor unions,
and, finally, a full-employment program called World War II.
After the 2007 crash, the
government bailed out the banks and pumped enough money into the
economy to contain the slide. But apart from the Affordable Care Act,
nothing was done to address the underlying problem of stagnant wages.
And these are major
reasons to suspect or assume that a new crisis will recur in the near
This is a recommended article.
the Wall Street Democrats Part the Blue Wave?
is by Les Leopold on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Some Democratic Party
leaders believe they
have discovered a new winning formula:
Suburbanites, women and minorities, and forget about the white
The Wall Street
Democrats sure hope so. They have little desire to
emphasize working class economic issues, many of which
could threaten their vast riches. After all, aren't
suburbanites supposed to be liberal on social issues and fiscally
As the Democrats move
towards 2020, it is crucial to recall that Wall Street benefited
mightily from the policies put forth by the Clinton and Obama
administrations. Bill Clinton gave us massive financial
deregulation, NAFTA, and welfare cuts. Barack Obama bailed out
Wall Street, but not Main Street, called for austerity to cut
deficits, and then pursued the Trans-Pacific free trade agreement,
which labor abhorred. He did pass the Affordable Care Act,
but it depends heavily on the private insurance industry and
therefore poses no threat to financial interests. Even
Dodd-Frank did little to shackle Wall Street’s financial
Yes indeed: I basically
agree and strongly dislike Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, for
reasons. Then I have a question: How many
of the elected Democrats
(in the House and the Senate, especially) are "Wall Street
Democrats" i.e. have been effectively bought by Wall Street?
In fact, I don't
but my reasonably well-founded guess (after Clinton and Obama) is something
like 9 out 10 (and remember there are also
many lobbyists per
I do not know,
but my strong guess is that it certainly is the majority. Here
something like a foundation for my guesses:
It simply a matter of
modern laissez faire economics. Wall Street wants
little regulation on itself or the global economy as it
rapidly moves capital around the globe. Wall Street also
wants governments to balance their budgets in order
to stall even the slightest whiff of inflation.
This often means pressing
for austerity policies for the masses in the form of
constrained government spending on social programs and public
employment. However, when trouble hits, say goodbye to the
free-market ideology: government handouts to Wall
Street are demanded and received.
This formula, which
academics call neoliberalism, has given us forty years of runaway
inequality, stagnant wages and the worst financial crash since the
Great Depression. Many working class voters first looked to the
Obama administration for hope and help. Later, many of these same
voters turned to Trump.
Yes indeed. There is a lot
more in this article, but I will only answer the question the title of
this article asks, and my answer is yes, they will.
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 (!!).