from December 5, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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 three 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 December 5, 2018:
1. What It Means That Hillary Clinton
Might Run for President in 2020
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. Trump Takes on General Motors (And Guess Who Wins?)
3. The Guardian’s Vilification of Julian
4. “Since Our Leaders Are Behaving Like Children, We Will Have
5. Yes, it’s time to reform the Supreme Court — but not for
It Means That Hillary Clinton Might Run for President in 2020
This article is by
Norman Solomon on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Twenty-five years ago —
when I wrote a book titled “False Hope: The Politics of Illusion in the
Clinton Era” — I didn’t expect that the Democratic Party would still be
mired in Clintonism two and a half decades later. But such approaches
to politics continue
to haunt the party and the country.
The last two Democratic
presidencies largely involved talking progressive while serving Wall
Street and the military-industrial complex. The obvious differences in
personalities and behavior of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama diverted
attention from their underlying political similarities. In office, both
men rarely fought for progressive principles — and routinely undermined
Yes, this is more or
less correct. I do not know why Solomon believed twenty-five
years ago that the Clintons would have disappeared by now (and I could
have argue either way myself, twenty- five years ago) and I also do not
intend to find out, but he is quite correct about Obama.
Indeed, here is some
more about Obama:
Obama, for instance, bailed
out big banks while letting underwater homeowners sink, oversaw the
launching of more
missiles and bombs than his predecessor George W. Bush, ramped
up a war on whistleblowers, turned mass surveillance and the shredding
of the Fourth Amendment into bipartisan precedent, and boosted
corporate privatization of public education.
It wasn’t only a
congressional majority that Democrats quickly lost and never regained
under President Obama. By the time he left the White House (immediately
flying on a billionaire’s jet to his private island and
then within months starting to collect giant
speaking fees from Wall Street), nearly 1,000 seats in state
legislatures had been lost to Democrats during the Obama years.
I think the above is
basically correct. And then there is this:
I have believed from the
end of 2016 onwards that it was likely that Hillary Clinton
would try to run again in 2020. I also think that would be very unfortunate, but this seems
to be (also) what Pelosi seems to want.
A real possibility is now
emerging that Hillary Clinton will run for the 2020 Democratic
presidential nomination. On Sunday, the New York Times printed
a Maureen Dowd column that
reported: “Some in Clintonworld say Hillary fully intends to be the
nominee. … And Bill has given monologues to old friends about how
Hillary knows how she’d have to run in 2020, that she couldn’t have a
big staff and would just speak her mind and not focus-group everything.
(That already sounds focus-grouped.)”
Dowd provided a helpful recap:
“After the White House, the money-grubbing raged on, with the Clintons
making over 700 speeches in a 15-year period, blithely unconcerned with
any appearance of avarice or of shady special interests and foreign
countries buying influence. They stockpiled a whopping
As to the ¨$240 million¨ the Clintons collected essentially by giving
speeches that were extremely
overpriced because they were really rewards
from the Wall Street banks and some others for serving their interests:
I agree, although I do not know the ¨$240 million¨ are correct, though they
very well may be.
In fact, the latest more or less evidenced information I have
about the Clintons´ ¨earnings¨ is from some years ago, and was not
million¨ but a bit more than half of that. In either case, it is
obvious that both of the Clintons are and were grossly corrupt and
have been paid many millions by the corporations they helped.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I mostly agree and
this is a recommended article.
The only way to overcome
such corporatism is for social
movements to fight more resolutely and effectively for
progressive change, including in the Democratic Party. If you don’t
think that’s a path to real breakthroughs, consider Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, winners
of Democratic primaries this year who’ll be sworn in as members of
Congress next month. (Compare those successes to two decades of Green
Party candidates running for Congress and never coming close.)
Whether or not Hillary
Clinton runs for president again, Clintonism is a political blight with
huge staying power. It can be overcome only if and when people at the
grassroots effectively insist on moving the Democratic Party in a
genuinely progressive direction.
2. Trump Takes on General
Motors (And Guess Who Wins?)
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump’s “America
first” economic nationalism is finally crashing into the reality of
America’s shareholder-first global capitalism.
Last week, General Motors
announced it would cut about 14,000 jobs, most of them in the
politically vital swing states of Michigan and Ohio.
This doesn’t quite square
with the giant $1.5 trillion tax cut Trump and the Republicans in
Congress enacted last December, whose official rationale was to help
big corporations make more investments in America and thereby create
more jobs. Trump told Ohio residents “don’t sell your homes,” because
lost automaking jobs “are all coming back.”
GM got a nice windfall from
the tax cut. The company has already saved more than $150 million this
year. But some of those Ohio residents probably should have sold their
Yes, I think this is
correct (although I never believed Trump about his gift to the
rich, and never agreed with it either).
Here is more:
In reality, GM gets very
few direct subsidies. Prior to the tax cut, the biggest gift GM got
from the government was a bailout in 2009 of more than $50 billion.
But neither last year’s tax
cut nor the 2009 bailout required GM to create or preserve jobs in
America. Both government handouts simply assumed that, as former GM CEO
Charles Erwin “Engine” Wilson put it when he was nominated as secretary
of defense by Dwight Eisenhower in 1953, “What’s good for General
Motors is good for the country.”
Well... what Wilson
said in 1953, apart from the fact that it was then
was before the many deregulations
since 1980, which allowed GM to move its industries to countries were
labor is much cheaper than in the USA.
Besides, there is this:
Moreover, in the 1950s a
third of America’s workforce was unionized, and GM was as accountable
to the United Auto Workers as it was to GM’s shareholders. That’s why,
in the 1950s, GM’s typical worker received $35 an hour (in today’s
Today, GM’s typical
American worker earns a fraction of that. The bargaining clout of the
United Auto Workers has been weakened not only by automation but also
by the ease with which GM can get cheaper labor abroad.
Yes indeed. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this article:
The difference between
China and America is that big Chinese companies are either state-owned
or dependent on capital from government-run financial institutions.
This means they exist to advance China’s national interests, including
more and better jobs for the Chinese people.
American corporations exist
to advance the interests of their shareholders, who aren’t prepared to
sacrifice profits for more and better jobs for Americans.
If Trump were serious about
his aims, he’d try to reduce the chokehold of Wall Street investors on
American corporations while strengthening the hand of American labor
Don’t hold your breath
I agree and this is a
Guardian’s Vilification of Julian Assange
is by Jonathan
Cook on Consortium News. It starts as follows:
It is welcome that
finally there has been a little pushback, including from leading
journalists, to The Guardian’s long-running vilification of Julian
Assange, the founder of Wikileaks.
First some personal
background on The Guardian and on Luke Harding:
Reporter Luke Harding’s latest
article, claiming that Donald Trump’s disgraced former campaign manager
Paul Manafort secretly visited Assange in Ecuador’s embassy in London
on three occasions, is so full of holes that even hardened opponents of
Assange in the corporate media are struggling to stand by it.
Faced with the backlash, The
Guardian quickly – and very quietly – rowed back its initial certainty
that its story was based on verified facts. Instead, it amended the
text, without acknowledging it had done so, to attribute the claims to
unnamed, and uncheckable, “sources”.
The propaganda function of the
piece is patent. It is intended to provide evidence for long-standing
allegations that Assange conspired with Trump, and Trump’s supposed
backers in the Kremlin, to damage Hillary Clinton during the 2016
I dislike The Guardian at least since it made itself uncopyable
several years ago, and also think that since Viner is its chief editor,
its policies are best described as Blatcherist. I
still read it daily (parts of it) but this is in good part habitual.
As to Luke Harding: I gave up on him as an honest journalist
around the same time as I gave up on The Guardian. He is also one of
the journalists I refuse to read, simply because he is
dishonest, and in fact that decision is also about four years old.
And about the above quotation: I basically agree - with the
qualification that I have not read Harding for 4 years now, and
also that I did not know that The Guardian edited Harding´s
But I agree with the last paragraph. Here is more:
To underscore the
intended effect of the Guardian’s new claims, Harding even throws in a
casual and unsubstantiated reference to “Russians” joining Manafort in
supposedly meeting Assange.
Yes indeed - and I know
that because I did report on Harding and The Guardian before:
Manafort has denied the
Guardian’s claims, while Assange has threatened to sue The Guardian for
Here is more:
The emotional impact
of The Guardian is to suggest that Assange is responsible for four
years or more of Trump rule. But more significantly, it bolsters the
otherwise risible claim that Assange is not a publisher – and thereby
entitled to the protections of a free press, as enjoyed by The Guardian
or The New York Times – but the head of an organization engaged in
espionage for a foreign power.
Yes, I think that is
correct. Here is more:
The intention is to deeply
discredit Assange, and by extension the Wikileaks organization, in the
eyes of right-thinking liberals. That, in turn, will make it much
easier to silence Assange and the vital cause he represents: the use of
new media to hold to account the old, corporate media and political
elites through the imposition of far greater transparency.
[O]ne would have
expected The Guardian’s editors to have insisted on the most stringent
checks imaginable before going to press with Harding’s story. At a very
minimum, they should have sought out a response from Assange and
Manafort before publication. Neither precaution was taken.
Yes, this seems also true
(but I never worked for The Guardian). In any case, if I could
find out that Harding is not honest by 2014, I think Viner must
know the same.
I worked for The Guardian for
a number of years, and know well the layers of checks that any highly
sensitive story has to go through before publication. In that lengthy
process, a variety of commissioning editors, lawyers, backbench editors
and the editor herself, Kath Viner, would normally insist on cuts to
anything that could not be rigorously defended and corroborated.
And yet this piece seems to
have been casually waved through, given a green light even though its
profound shortcomings were evident to a range of well-placed analysts
and journalists from the outset.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Guardian has made clear who its true heroes are. Certainly not Corbyn
or Assange, who threaten to disrupt the entrenched neoliberal order
that is hurtling us towards climate breakdown and economic collapse.
Yes indeed and this is a
Its pages, however, are
readily available to the latest effort to prop up the status quo from
Tony Blair, the man who led Britain, on false pretenses, into the
largest crime against humanity in living memory – the attack on Iraq.
Our Leaders Are Behaving Like Children, We Will Have to Take
is by Andy Rowell on Common Dreams and originally on Oil Change
International. It starts as follows:
Earlier today, the
naturalist Sir David Attenborough addressed the UN climate conference
in Poland, saying: “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of
global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate
“If we don’t take action,
the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the
natural world is on the horizon,” he added. The world famous TV
presenter continued: “The world’s people have spoken. Their message
is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to
And nowhere have those
voices been louder in the last few days than from the young from Canada
to Australia and Sweden.
Last Friday, thousands of
children missed school as part of the ‘Strike 4 Climate Action,'
which organised marches in every city in Australia. The
idea started with two fourteen year olds, Milou Albrect and Harriet
O’Shea Carre, from the state of Victoria.
I say, which I do
because I have read - some weeks ago - at least one article
that criticized Attenborough for being not radical enough. In any case,
I agree with him as quoted.
As to the children:
I agree they have a point, namely that they probably will have to face
many of the very serious difficulties that arise from at least 50 years
of ruining the environment while doing very little against it, but I
also think that (i) they could have waited a little until they were 18
or 20 and that (ii) the main reason they are written about
by the press now is in fact that they are children.
Here is the other bit
that I quote from this article:
and Canadian students have been inspired and encouraged by Swedish
student Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old who has launched a similar
climate protest movement in her country. Her speech will not get as
many headlines as Attenborough’s, but it is equally as powerful. She
said to the UN leader António Guterres at the UN conference in Katowice:
“Some people say that I
should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study to
become a climate scientist so that I can ‘solve the climate crisis’.
But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the
facts and solutions.”
added: “Why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no
more, when no one is doing anything to save that future? And what is
the point of learning facts when the most important facts clearly means
nothing to our society?”
Thunberg continued: “Today
we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no
politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the
ground. So we can’t save the world by playing by the rules. Because the
rules have to be changed.”
She concluded by saying
that “since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to
take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”
I am sorry, but that - “since our leaders are behaving like
children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have
taken long ago” - is not a valid argument,
for it depends on the utterly false premiss that one is either a leader
or a child.
One is not, and while
I agree that the vast majority of the adults that I
have seen in the last 50 years were neither intelligent, nor informed,
nor in fact interested in the environment, I do not think that
this will be different for the vast
majority of the present children (who also know even less of science
than most adults).
it’s time to reform the Supreme Court — but not for the wrong reasons
is by Eric J. Seagall on Salon. This starts as follows:
In the wake of the national nightmare known
as the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, we have seen an avalanche
of proposals by Supreme Court watchers, pundits and experts with the
express purposes of weakening the court and trying to turn down the
political temperature of future confirmation battles. Most of these
court-altering suggestions have come, not surprisingly, from the left.
After all, as many have observed, the nation’s highest court is likely
to be a conservative bulwark for the next 20 to 40 years. These
proposals include ending life tenure, reforming recusal practices, requiring a supermajority vote to overturn laws and
even stripping the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over
various controversial areas of constitutional law.
Yes indeed. I have been (and am) for
ending life tenure, and possibly also for the other measures, but I am not
an American. (I did read The Federalist
Papers and know some American law, but - I think - not enough.)
Here is more by Seagall:
But weakening the court because of its
current political makeup is looking for answers in all the wrong
places. This country needs to restructure the U.S. Supreme Court not
because it is too conservative, too liberal or even too moderate. We
need to change the court because it wields far too much power and
influence regardless of which political side benefits from its
decisions. In 2012, I made many of the suggestions listed above in the
final chapter of my book “Supreme Myths: Why the
Supreme Court is not a Court and its Justices are not Judges.”
I mostly agree, although I do not
know whether I agree that the Supreme Court is not a court (etc.). Here
is the last bit that I quote from this article:
We need a bipartisan effort to restructure
the Supreme Court of the United States to weaken it for all time. Term
limits would help, but are not nearly enough. Structural reform to make
it harder for the court to overturn laws is essential, whether it takes
the form of a supermajority voting requirement or
jurisdiction-stripping, meaning limiting the court’s influence in areas
where text and history cannot resolve hard constitutional questions.
proposed these limitations years before the court turned sharply to the
right but it is even more important today, not because of that turn but
because an overly ideological court, in either direction, not only
distorts our politics for the worse but allows unelected, life-tenured
judges to dictate policy (..)
I agree, especially with the second
paragraph, and this is a 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 (!!).