from January 3, 2019
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 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 January 3, 2019:
1. Five Weeks After The Guardian’s Viral
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. Federal Employees’ Union Sues Trump
3. Bolsonaro's Opponents Warn of Regressive Policies &
4. Cornel West: We're Staring Down Global Neofascist Rule
5. Thom Hartmann: The GOP Is Reviving One of Its Favorite Scams
Weeks After The Guardian’s Viral Blockbuster
This article is by
Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
Five weeks ago, The
published one of the most extraordinary and
significant bombshells in the now
two-plus-year-old Trump-Russia saga. “Donald Trump’s former
campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks
with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London,
and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign,” claimed
reporter and best-selling
“Collusion” author Luke Harding, Dan Collyns, and a very
sketchy third person whose name was bizarrely scrubbed from
The Guardian’s byline for its online version but appeared in the print
version: Fernando Villavicencio, described by the Washington
this mysterious discrepancy, as “an Ecuadoran journalist and
That the Guardian story
be seen as an earth-shattering revelation — one that would bring
massive amounts of traffic, attention, glory, and revenue to the paper
— was obvious. And that’s precisely how it was treated, as it instantly
ricocheted around the media ecosystem with predictable viral speed:
“The ultimate Whoa If True. It’s … [the] ballgame if true,” pronounced
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes who, unlike many media figures reacting to the
story, sounded some skepticism: “The sourcing on this is a bit
thin, or at least obscured.”
Yes, indeed. Then
again, I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008,
and meanwhile published over 2200 articles on it since then
can all read from here).
I have no idea
whatsoever how many have read most of these articles (because neither
of my two providers provides any statistics, other than statistics that
were oldfashioned by 1996), but I wrote them all, and this also
that meanwhile I have fairly strong opinions pro and contra several
One of these
journalists is The Guardian's Luke Harding
(and indeed one of these
papers is The Guardian since Viner became editor). I think Harding is a
massive fraud trying to get as rich himself as he can be, and I base my
opinions on articles in the media that I have read since 2013.
You need not believe me
(you never have to), but here are some questions by Glenn Greenwald
about some of the supposed - false - "facts" Harding lately asserted:
Yes indeed, again. There
is more in this article, but I think the above is sufficient. And no,
Luke Harding is one of the journalists I stopped reading because
he is a liar. In
fact, there are a few more, but not many. And this is
a recommended article.
In lieu of addressing the
increasingly embarrassing scandal, The Guardian’s top editors and
reporters on this story have practically gone into hiding, ignoring all
requests for comment and referring journalists to a corporate PR
official who provides a statement that is as vague and bureaucratic as
it is non-responsive. It’s easier to get a substantive comment
from the National Security Agency than from The Guardian on this story.
- How could it be that
Manafort, of all people, snuck into one of the most monitored,
surveilled, videoed, and photographed buildings on the planet on three
separate occasions without any of that ostensibly “smoking gun” visual
evidence having emerged, including in The Guardian’s own story?
- Why would The Guardian
publish a story of this magnitude without first requiring that its
Ecuadoran intelligence sources provide them with such photographic or
video evidence to publish it or at least review prior to publication?
- How could it be that
Manafort’s name never appeared in any of the embassy entrance logs even
though, as The Guardian itself admitted, “visitors normally register
with embassy security guards and show their passports”?
- What was the bizarre,
sensationalistic reference to “Russians” that The Guardian included in
its article but never bothered to explain (“separate internal document
written by Ecuador’s Senain intelligence agency and seen by The
Guardian lists ‘Paul Manaford [sic]’ as one of several well-known
guests. It also mentions ‘Russians'”).
Five weeks later, all of
these questions remain unanswered. That’s because The Guardian — which
likes to pride itself on flamboyantly demanding transparency and
accountability from everyone else — has refused to provide any of its
Employees’ Union Sues Trump Administration
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the
title. It starts with the following introduction:
The government shutdown
continues as President Trump prepares to meet with congressional
leaders just one day before Democrats take control of the House.
President Trump has insisted on including $5 billion for border wall
funding before he’ll agree to sign any spending measure. Eight hundred
thousand government workers’ lives have been thrown into disarray by
the shutdown, with 380,000 workers on furlough and 420,000 who have
worked without pay since December 22. We speak with a federal workers’
union that is suing the Trump administration over the shutdown. The
American Federation of Government Employees, or AFGE,
says it is illegal for federal workers to work without pay. We speak
with Heidi Burakiewicz, lead attorney in the lawsuit, and David Borer,
general counsel for AFGE.
Yes indeed. There is
more below, but I want to start with a general question I have, which
is as follows: I wrote several times about the above in the crisis series, and I have said each
and every time (since I live in Holland) that according to me in
Holland "it is illegal for
federal workers to work without pay".
turns out to be the same in the
USA, and here is my question: Why did no one
I read - lots - about Trump or the wall recently make the same point? And since I asked that
question, here is another: Why has no
American journalist that I read (plenty) said that what Trump
and his government did to the children of poor immigrants was kidnapping?!
(While this is literally true!)
I am only asking
these questions here, but they are quite realistic.
Here is more
from this article:
Eight hundred thousand
government workers’ lives have been thrown into disarray by the
shutdown, with 380,000 on furlough and 420,000 who have worked without
pay since the House and Senate failed to pass an end-of-year spending
bill on December 22nd.
This is President Trump
speaking to Fox News on New Year’s Day.
HEGSETH: So, how far are
you willing to go, Mr. President? When do you anticipate talks with
Chuck and Nancy, as you say, sir?
Well, I assume when they get back. I’m in Washington. I’m ready,
willing and able. I’m in the White House. I’m ready to go. They can
come over right now. They could have come over anytime. I spent
Christmas in the White House. I spent New Year’s Eve now in the White
House. And, you know, I’m here. I’m ready to go. It’s very important. A
lot of people are looking to get their paycheck. And so I’m ready to go
anytime they want. No, we are not giving up. We have to have border
security. And the wall is a big part of border security—the biggest
GONZÁLEZ: This comes as Trump has issued an executive order
freezing federal workers’ pay, eliminating a 2.1 percent pay raise that
was set to kick in in January.
Quite so - and incidentally,
if you look at Trump's prose, he is repeating no less than six times
that he is ready, in various forms.
Here is some more from this
Quite so, which is to say
that Trump is pretending that 400,000 federal employees need to pay
rent and need not to eat any food until Trump's conflict has ended,
since he forces them all to work without any pay. There is considerably
more in this article, which is recommended.
GOODMAN: Well, we turn now
to look at a federal workers’ union that’s suing the Trump
administration over the shutdown. The American Federation of Government
Employees, or AFGE, says it’s illegal for
federal workers to be forced to work without pay.
In Washington, D.C., we’re
joined by two guests. David Borer is general counsel at the American
Federation of Government Employees.
BORER: (..) That’s right.
We represent 42,000 TSA workers. And, yes,
they are being forced to work without pay. They’ve been designated as
essential employees. And there is no pay for them or other—the
furloughed employees because of the lapse in appropriations when the
spending authority ran out before the holidays. So, yes, they’re being
forced to work without pay, 400,000 federal employees coming to work
every day in essential services like TSA,
like the Bureau of Prisons, like food inspectors and so forth, and yet
no promise even that they will ever be paid for this.
Opponents Warn of Regressive Policies & Threat of Dictatorship
is by Amy Goodman and Juan
González on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts with the
Far-right former Army
Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as president of Brazil on New Year’s Day.
His election marks the most radical political shift in the country
since military rule ended more than 30 years ago. We speak with
Fernando Haddad, former Brazilian presidential candidate on the
Workers’ Party ticket who lost in a runoff to Jair Bolsonaro. Haddad is
the former mayor of Săo Paulo and served as education minister under
former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Yes, and since this is
a good, clear and long interview I will review some more of this
article than I usually do. This is from the start of the interview:
GONZÁLEZ: Bolsonaro was sworn in as Brazil’s [38th] president,
marking the most radical political shift in the country since military
rule ended more than 30 years ago. Many fear Brazil’s young democracy
is now at risk. Bolsonaro has announced Brazil will withdraw from
hosting this year’s United Nations climate change conference. This
comes as environmentalists fear he will speed catastrophic climate
change by opening up vast swaths of the Amazon to agribusiness giants.
Brazil’s new foreign minister, Ernesto Araújo, has described climate
change as a plot by cultural Marxists aiming to help China.
GOODMAN: So far, Bolsonaro
has named five former military officials to serve in his Cabinet. For
years, Bolsonaro has praised Brazil’s former military dictatorship,
which ended 33 years ago. He has also spoken in favor of torture and
threatened to destroy, imprison or banish his political opponents.
Human rights groups are also alarmed over Bolsonaro’s past comments
about women and the LGBT community. He once
told a female lawmaker she was too ugly to rape. He also said he would
rather hear his son died in a car crash than learn that his son is gay.
Yes indeed: Bolsonaro said all
this (and lots more that is equally bad),
and I could read all of
this in Holland, but even so the Brazilians seem to have fairly
Bolsonaro, which I find rather comparable to Hitler's fair election
1933. I have also concluded that the only way that I
can explain this
neofascist's presidency is by assuming that over half of the Brazilian
are both stupid
(You may disagree, but this is what I
Here is more from the article:
Bolsonaro recently picked
Sérgio Moro to serve as justice minister. Moro is the judge who
convicted the former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in a
controversial corruption case that prevented Lula from running for
president in last year’s election. This helped pave the way for
GOODMAN: Lula remains in
prison, serving a 12-year sentence.
Well, Democracy Now!
recently spoke with Fernando
Haddad, who ran against Bolsonaro
with the Workers’ Party once Lula was barred from running. Bolsonaro
beat him 55 to 45 percent. Haddad is Brazil’s former minister of
education, the former mayor of Săo Paulo, one of the largest cities in
Yes, and here is some
background on Fernando
Haddad (but since it is from Wikipedia, I cannot guarantee its
Here is more from the article:
Bolsonaro is a tropical Trump. They have a very common agenda, a very
regressive agenda, when it comes to civil rights, social rights and
But from the economic
standpoint, there is a major difference between the two of them.
Bolsonaro is adopting a regressive policy as regards rights, but a
neoliberal policy when it comes to economic policy. Paulo Guedes, who
you mentioned, who is going to be his minister of the economy, was
trained at the University of Chicago. And he maintains the belief, his
belief, in that sort of thinking, which was actually defeated by
history, of total liberalization.
You talked about the
massive state assets, particularly oil companies that are managed by
the state today. Well, next year there’s likely to be a savage
privatization of those assets and an unbound struggle against workers’
rights and social rights in Brazil, and gutting the public budget that
protects the poorest of the poor and workers in relation to their
So, from an economic
standpoint, there is a difference that should be noted. Brazil is once
again adopting a neoliberal agenda, a very strong neoliberal agenda,
beyond what happened in the 1990s.
I think this is mostly true
(although I probably disbelieve in the honesty of Paulo
Here is more:
To be consistent
with this discourse of lifting up the military dictatorship in Brazil,
the dictatorship that extended from 1964 to 1985, Bolsonaro, his whole
life, has been uplifting not only the dictatorship itself, but also the
methods that the dictatorship used to stay in power, including torture.
AMY GOODMAN: Bolsonaro
has threatened to destroy, imprison or banish political opponents.
Certainly, you would be chief among them. You ran against him for
president. And the man he was running against before, Lula, is in
prison. Are you concerned?
[translated] I am more concerned about the consequences of Bolsonaro’s
discourse on regular citizens than its impact on myself, because what
is happening in Brazil is that regular folk—journalists, university
professors, LGBT—members of the LGBT community—are all feeling insecure
in Brazil. And my concern—well, I have sufficient means to protect
I have two points on the
above quotation: First - once again - how could 55% of the
voters vote for a neofascist who is for dictatorship and torture?!
second, while I more or less admire Haddad, I think of Hitler if I
think of Bolsonaro, and I fear Haddad and Lula may soon be dead ("from
unknon causes", undoubtedly, if this happens).
Here is more:
HADDAD: [translated] The
media in Brazil is very conservative. First of all, it’s in the hands
of just a few families. It’s practically a cartel, the media. And it
operates ideologically as though it were a monopoly. Now, even though
it’s four or five families that dominate the circulation of information
in Brazil, from an ideological standpoint, they are very much aligned
with the same purpose. In the 1964 coup d’état, the media was
consistent with it. In the 2016 coup that resulted in the impeachment,
the media all acted with a single voice. It’s as though they were all
Fox News. Nothing really different from Fox News in Brazil.
So we don’t really have a
plurality of opinions being voiced as in the United States, so it’s
even tougher than here.
I say! This does
explain some things about Bolsonaro's winning of the Brazilian
presidency, although it still escapes me why 55% of the
Brazilian voters voted for someone who is for dictatorship and for
torture (unless they are more stupid and ignorant than I feared).
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
GOODMAN: Bolsonaro calls
media in Brazil fake news, just like President Trump calls the media
here in this country. What impact do you think Facebook had on the
election? Facebook owns WhatsApp, the popular message site that was
widely used to distribute false news leading up to the election.
WhatsApp in Brazil played a crucial role, a decisive role, in the
elections. We have a two-round election in Brazil because we have many
political parties. And so, there are two rounds for the presidential
election. Until one week before the first round, all of the polls said
that I would be winning in the projections for the second round. The
polls said not only would I go to the second round, but that I would
likely win in the second round. Now, that ended in just a week, with a
massive triggering of false messages that did not use Twitter or
Facebook but did use WhatsApp. And it was very difficult in the second
round to turn back or to undo the damage done in the last week of the
first-round election, leading up to the first-round election. And we
don’t know what was behind all of this, the resources behind this, who
are those who financed these actions.
And this explains a bit more,
although it still escapes me why so many Brazilians would believe the
messages of WhatsApp. Anyway... there is a lot more in this
which is strongly recommended.
West: We're Staring Down Global Neofascist Rule
is by Sharmini Peries of The Real Network on Truthdig. It starts as
is a conversation between Dr. Cornel West and Sharmini Peries of
the Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or
watch the video at the bottom of the post.
So in fact this article is
derived from the video (which I strongly tend to avoid if the text is
also avaible, because I read a lot faster than people speak).
I also have to admit that I do not strongly like Cornel West,
a lot to do with his prose and his academic career,
both of which
remind me strongly of the very many "leftists" who were not
all but simply careerists in the "University" of Amsterdam (where quite
a few pretended to be Marxists from
1971 till 1991, and then all
converted, still in 1991, to neo- conservatives/neoliberals,
because that position from then on would potect their careers
and - excellent - incomes the best).
It is also true that I know less about the USA and its
academics than I
know about Holland. This also includes Cornel West, as I will try to
make clear a little in what follows.
Here is the first bit:
Yes, I agree with
facts, but I also register that both Peries and West sound very much
like many academic "socialists" (many from the "University" of
Amsterdam) who all travelled to very many places, such as Cuba
China, in order to write about them for subsidies for going and
SHARMINI PERIES: Thank
you. Now, Cornel, when I look around the world–I’ve recently been to
Greece. I’ve been in Latin America with you when President Chavez was
here. And the world has changed dramatically in terms of the shift to
the right. And we’ve just recently seen, you know, Bolsonaro coming to
power in Brazil. We have Trump here. We have Duterte in the
Philippines, and the political shift to the right in Europe that’s
taking place. All these changes are taking place right before our eyes,
dramatically different from the last time you and I met-
CORNEL WEST: Absolutely.
I do not know whether this is true about West and Peries, but
it certainly is true of many tens of former Dutch
neoconservatives/neoliberals since 1991) who did so from Holland.
Here is more by West:
This is partially
but I disbelieve that the American neoliberals (I shall say)
lost a lot
in "integrity, honesty,
decency, generosity [or] compassion" since they rule.
CORNEL WEST: Well,
I think at the present moment we’re seeing the imperial meltdown in the
American empire. It takes the form of the relative eclipse of any
integrity, honesty, decency, generosity, compassion among the vast
majority of those who rule. You always have a prophetic slice of those
who rule. And so you have both the wealth inequality on the one hand,
you have the denial of the ecological catastrophe coming–or not the
denial, the sense that somehow you can continually hold it back and
Here is the last bit that I quote from this interview:
Well... I think the
neoliberals (as I decided to call them) (bolding added) "can get away with" almost "anything
with impunity, immunity, no accountability", for they have been explaining the laws and
that way since Reagan, as can be seen - among other things - from
the enormous gifts
Obama made to the Wall Street banks, instead of prosecuting their
leaders, as would have been correct.
There is a growing
callousness and indifference of elites vis a vis poor and working
people. They feel as if they can get away with anything with impunity,
immunity, no accountability. That’s what it means to live in a
right-wing moment. And that right-wing moment is taking the form of an
authoritarian populism; of a chauvinistic, narrow, nationalistic
populism. But it’s headed toward neofascism, and that’s what’s
frightening, it seems to me.
Also, I decided that until I do get at least a passable
definition of the term neofascism
(and the link gives my definition) I will assume that those who
use the term do not really know what they are talking about.
Hartmann: The GOP Is Reviving One of Its Favorite Scams
is by Thom Hartmann on Common Dreams and originally on the Independent
Media Institute. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed: I think this
expectation very probably is quite correct. Here is some more:
Get ready to see it on your
TV. The GOP is about to kick back into Two Santa Clauses mode and
restart the scam they’ve been running since Reagan.
It’ll predictably begin in
the first week or two of January, probably first on “Meet the Press”
and other Sunday shows that feature “serious thinkers” and only rarely
challenge Republicans. It’ll simultaneously roll out on Fox, on
right-wing hate radio, and in the conservative media.
And there are more than a
Way” Democrats eager to go along with it.
At its core, the strategy
is simple and elegant: When Republicans are in power, run up as much
debt as possible, mostly by borrowing and giving that cash to the
Republican donor class through tax cuts and corporate subsidies; when
Democrats have political power, Republicans suddenly become hysterical
about the debt and demand that Dems keep taxes low while cutting social
If successful, not only
will Republicans (and corporate-funded Dems) block any genuinely
progressive spending legislation in 2019 or 2020, but they’ll prevent
any possibility of debt-free college, Medicare for All, or a Green New
Deal in the entire next presidential term, clear through 2024 or beyond.
Yes indeed again, although
I think that what the Republican Party really got was a renewal
of the propaganda-form
of their ideology.
But this is an interesting article
that is recommended, and in which there is a lot more than I quoted.
This new idea of
“trickle-down economics” wasn’t actually new; in the late 19th century
it was called “horse and sparrow economics,” on the theory that if one
fed more oats to the horses, there’d be more undigested grain left over
in the horse poop for the sparrows to eat. (Seriously!) But the “supply
side” marketing was pure 20th-century Madison Avenue.
At the same time, Arthur
Laffer was taking that equation a step further. Not only was
supply-side a rational concept to build a strong economy, Laffer
suggested, but as taxes went down, he drew on his napkin, revenue to
the government would magically go up!
Neither concept made any
sense—and time has proven both to be colossal idiocies—but together
they offered the Republican Party a way out of the wilderness.
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 (!!).