from January 8, 2019
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 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 8, 2019:
1. The Election Circus Begins
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. Why Do Democrats Fixate on the
Identity of the Messenger?
3. Borderline Insanity
4. Pelosi’s Actions on Climate Fall Woefully & Inexcusably
Short of What
5. It’s Time to Bring Back the Corporate Death Penalty
Election Circus Begins
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
It is January 2019. This
signals the start of the 2020 election circus.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the first big-name Democrat on stage. But we
will soon be deluged with candidates, bizarre antics and endless
commentary by fatuous TV and radio pundits. The hyperventilating, the
constant polling, the updates on who has the largest campaign war
chest, the hypothetical matches between this hopeful and that hopeful,
the mocking tweets by Donald Trump, will, as we saw in the 2016
election campaign, have as much relevance to our lives and political
future as the speculation on cable sports channels about next year’s
football season. This farce takes the place of genuine political life.
It costs a lot of money to
mount this spectacle. Our corporate masters,
like the oligarchic rulers of ancient Rome who poured money into the
arena as they stripped the empire and its citizens of their assets, are
happy to oblige. The campaign sustains the fiction of a democracy and
gives legitimacy to the corporate state.
I mostly agree with this
analysis, but I do have two somewhat critical remarks:
First, from my own
point of view, and indeed since more than 50 years, most
politics and most politicians are not really serious:
the politicians are - for the most part - out to gain popularity,
while the politics are - again for the most part - simplified to
suit the intellects of even the most stupid voters, and are also
meant to help the politicians (rather than the voters).
But second, while indeed I do
not have much faith in politicians nor in the ideas and
values of the vast majority of them, I do think that in some
situations the outcomes of voting may make a difference in policies,
and I also think this is - still - the case in the USA.
Here is more from the article:
It is a political version
the reality television show “Survivor.” Who will be the first knocked
out? Who will make it into the semifinals and the finals? Who is the
most devious and cunning? Who will come out on top? We get to vote for
the contestants that appeal to us most, or at least vote against those
we hate the most.
To take power in 2021 in lieu of any real policy changes, the
Democratic Party is banking on the deep animus toward President Trump.
It has no intention of instituting genuine populist programs,
rebuilding unions, funding universal health care, providing free
college tuition or curbing the criminal activities of the corporations
and the big banks. The war machine will continue to wage endless war
and consume half
of all discretionary spending. The vaunted new populist members of
Congress will be no more than window dressing, trotted out, like
Sanders, to trick voters into thinking the Democratic Party is capable
Well... yes and no: Yes, I
agree that most politicians I know about cannot be taken serious.
Then again, I also think that almost any American will
make a better - less bad, less greedy, less lying - president than
Trump (who is, in my opinion as a psychologist, insane).
So I do not quite
believe in the second paragraph, mostly because I think one can
still vote in the USA for or against politicians and policies.
Here is more from the article:
Working men and women
especially despise the slick-talking politicians—including the Clintons
and Barack Obama—and the “experts” and well-groomed pundits on their
screens who sold them the con that deindustrialization,
deregulation, austerity, bailing out the banks, nearly two decades of
constant war, the exporting of jobs overseas, tax cuts for the rich and
the impoverishment of the working class were forms of progress.
The corporate media ignores issues and policies, since there is little
genuine disagreement among the candidates, and presents the race as a
beauty contest. The fundamental question the press asks is not what do
the candidates stand for but whom do the voters like.
Again yes and no:
First, I think that many of the ¨working men and women¨ who
voted in 2016 were in fact mostly deceived. But
second, I do mostly agree with the second paragraph, and indeed that is
part of the deception, and is based on the fact that most American
voters are mostly ignorant
(If you disagree, click the last link and let me know how many of the
books I mention there you have read.)
Here is more:
They are no different from
the array of self-help gurus who ignore systemic injustice and social
decay to peddle schemes for personal success. The formula is universal.
It is the triumph of artifice, what Benjamin DeMott
called “junk politics.”
Those who do not play this
game, like Ralph Nader, or who like Sanders play it
begrudgingly—Sanders refused corporate money, has called for reforming
“the bloated and wasteful $716 billion annual Pentagon budget” and
addresses issues of class—are ridiculed and marginalized by a
monochromatic corporate media that banishes qualification, ambiguity,
nuance and genuine dialogue.
Yes, I agree for
the most part - but at the same time insist that at least some
politicians, like Nader and Sanders, do have ideas, values,
plans and proposals most other politicians indeed do not have.
Here is more:
The goal is
Politicians who are good entertainers do well. The poor entertainers do
badly. The networks seek to attract viewers and increase profits, not
disseminate information about political issues. Voters have little or
no say in who decides to run, who gets funded, how campaigns are
managed, what television ads say, which candidates get covered by the
press or who gets invited to presidential debates. They are spectators,
pawns used to legitimize political farce.
I basically agree, but
with the qualification I made above: at least some politicians, like
Nader and Sanders, do have ideas, values, plans and proposals
other politicians indeed do not have.
Here is more:
The corporations that own
media and the two major political parties have a vested interest in
making sure there is never serious public discussion about
issues ranging from our disastrous for-profit health care system and
endless wars to the virtual tax boycott that large corporations have
legalized. The corporate system is presented as sacrosanct and the
ruling ideology of neoliberalism
as natural law. The corporations are funding the show. They get what
they pay for.
Yes and no, again: I
mostly agree, but then again I think that in 2016 there was a real
choice, that would have been more real if Hillary Clinton had not
succeeded in manoeuvring Sanders into a minority position.
And I would say that in
2016 Sanders >> Clinton and Clinton >> Trump (and
¨>>¨ = ¨much better than¨), while also the differences between
the votes the Republicans scored and the votes the Democrats scored was
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I mostly agree, but my
terms are different: I think ¨tens of millions¨
of Americans vote with very little intelligence
and great ignorance
(and the law, and economics, and more) and I think - as a
psychologist - that Trump is
insane (and neither Clinton nor Sanders are). And this is a strongly
Trump is the epitome of
human mutation produced by an illiterate, dumbed-down age of electronic
images. He, like tens of millions of other Americans, believes anything
he sees on television. He does not read. He is consumed by vanity and
the cult of the self. He is a conspiracy theorist. He blames America’s
complex social and economic ills on scapegoats such as Mexican
immigrants and Muslims, and of course the Democratic Party. The
Democratic Party, in turn, blames Trump’s election on Russia and former
FBI Director James
Comey. It is the theater of the absurd.
2. Why Do
Democrats Fixate on the Identity of the Messenger?
This article is by
Briahna Gray on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
The thing is, although
made of the browning of America, the country is still 70 percent white,
and electoral strategies that are wholly dismissive of that population
set themselves at an unnecessary disadvantage. America’s “browning” is
largely attributed to the fact that Hispanics constitute the largest
growing ethnic group in the country. But a
majority of Hispanics identify as white, and one third continue to
support Donald Trump despite his nativist, anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Possibly so - and
indeed, being Dutch and much less bothered by racism (which does exist
in Holland) I would consider all Hispanics as "white".
Anyway. Here is some
I do not quite understand
the first paragraph for the simple reason that (it seems to me) voting
itself is a right that matters, although I should
add: in a more or less decent democracy.
Americans need a reason to
go to the polls — something that makes them feel like their vote
matters. Something more than being anti-Trump. Something ideological.
And yet since 2016, the effort
to understand the ideological inertia that motivated Trump’s victory
has met resistance from establishment Democrats, many of whom, perhaps
defensively, limit their analysis of 2016 to Trump’s open bigotry and
In fact, I also do not quite understand the second paragraph, for that
seems to depend on a particular meaning of ¨ideological¨,
which I do
Here is some more (and the ¨reclusive senator¨ is Bertie Sanders):
that the famously no-nonsense and reclusive senator’s appeal is
actually about his charisma, not his politics. “The evidence suggests
that [Bernie] Sanders did well in the primaries, not because of his
progressive views,” she tweeted, “but because his voters were attracted
to a charismatic white guy they viewed as an outsider.” She argued that
if charisma and whiteness were all it took to attract a Bernie-sized
following, then Beto offers a younger, better option. “Beto is far more
that future in 2020 than Bernie,” she wrote.
I´d say: If she is a -
genuine - feminist,
I am a banana. Then again, I would also say that most feminists
since the early 1970ies (when feminism
became fashionable) are not genuine feminists, at least
from my - radical,
leftist - point of view.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
Both of these arguments,
so plainly errant as to feel like gaslighting, are part of a
larger rhetorical trend toward divorcing voter preferences from
ideology. Wittingly or not, the effect is to undermine the obvious
power of progressive ideas. If Sanders’s appeal can be reduced to
charisma, then he can easily be replaced by a younger, more charismatic
candidate who is friendlier to big-money interests. If his support is
the result of racism or sexism, then his
political message can be dismissed as the fruit of that poisonous
tree, and other, more diverse candidates can become powerful symbols
for anti racism — even if their records
betray their commitment to people of color.
Yes, this is more or
less correct. And indeed it seems to me as if Marcotte and a majority
of the elected Democrats are more into treating politicians as
are film stars (with an incidental moral message, mostly to be
supported by the attractiveness of their faces) than into treating politicians
as if they have serious ideas about society,
economics and values.
For more on this, see item 1.
is by The Editorial Board on The New York Times. I only
reproduce some of the
text, for I learned that The New York Times now embodies its texts
that is a dirty - "immoral" - technique and I will not
it. Also, I strongly recommend you not to download any articles
The New York Times (unless you want to be known by them in intimate
Here is the beginning of the present article:
As the government
shutdown over President Trump’s demand for border-wall funding moves
through week three, the administration is looking to cut a deal with
Democrats by emphasizing the deepening humanitarian crisis at the
border — a crisis caused in large part by this administration’s
inhumane policies, political grandstanding and managerial incompetence.
Yes, that is more or less
correct. Here is some more:
In a letter Sunday to
lawmakers, the White House laid out its latest proposal for addressing
the border tumult. The administration called for more immigration and
Border Patrol agents, more detention beds and, of course, $5.7 billion
to build 234 new miles of border wall. The White House also demanded an
additional $800 million for “urgent humanitarian needs,” such as
medical support, transportation and temporary facilities for processing
and housing detainees.
Translation: Mr. Trump’s mass
incarceration of migrant families is overwhelming an already burdened
system that, without a giant injection of taxpayer dollars, will
continue to collapse, leading to ever more human suffering.
Late last week,
frustrated by his standoff with Democrats, Mr. Trump even threatened to
declare a national emergency in order to get his wall built without
Congress’s approval — a move guaranteed to prompt a ferocious legal
Any attempt to sell Mr.
Trump’s cruel immigration agenda with a veneer of humanitarian measures
should be viewed with skepticism. This administration has long held
that the best way to deal with asylum seekers fleeing the horrors of
their home countries is to increase their suffering upon reaching the
United States to discourage others from even trying.
Well, if "Trump even threatened to declare a national
emergency in order to get his wall built without Congress’s approval" and that emergency goes through,
American democracy may as well be declared dead (rather than sick or
dying), for democracies are based on the power of parliaments and
laws these declare.
And this is a recommended article, but I would not download it, if I
were you, for The New York Times includes ten times the amount of
(undeclared, unexplained) to its aticles (unlike far more decent
Actions on Climate Fall Woefully & Inexcusably Short of What We Need
is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts
with the following introduction:
House Speaker Nancy
facing criticism from some climate activists for failing to back a
Green New Deal. Last week Pelosi announced the formation of a new
Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, headed by long-standing Florida
Congressmember Kathy Castor. But the committee is far weaker than what
backers of a Green New Deal had envisioned. The committee will not have
subpoena power or the power to draft legislation. We speak with
Varshini Prakash, founder of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate
group that has occupied and lobbied at congressional offices, risking
arrest to demand adoption of the Green New Deal and bold climate
Yes, I think that this is
what Pelosi did, and I also think that she did so
because she much
dislikes the Green New Deal. And this is her way of
things she does not like but that do seem to have considerable
popularity: Welcome them with a smile, and proceed by denying them the
powers they demand.
Here is more from the
One of the most prominent
backers of the Green New Deal has been newly sworn-in New York
Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. On Sunday, she was interviewed
on 60 Minutes by Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: You’re talking
about zero carbon emissions, no use of fossil fuels, within 12 years?
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: That is the goal. It’s ambitious.
COOPER: How is that
possible? Are you talking about everybody having to drive an electric
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: It’s going to require a lot of
rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now. What is
the problem with trying to push our technological capacities to the
furthest extent possible?
COOPER: This would
require, though, raising taxes.
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: There’s an element where, yeah,
people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes.
COOPER: Do you have a
specific on the tax rate?
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, you look at our tax
rates back in the '60s, and when you have a progressive tax rate
system, your tax rate, you know, let's say, from zero to $75,000 may be
10 percent or 15 percent, etc. But once you get to like the tippy tops,
on your 10 millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60
or 70 percent.
Yes, and I agree with
Ocasio-Cortez on this. Here is the last bit that I quote from this
PRAKASH: (..) So,
essentially, Nancy Pelosi is reviving a 10-year-old committee, the
Select Committee for the Climate Crisis, but we find that it’s actually
woefully and inexcusably short—falls short of what we need in this
moment in terms of climate ambition in this crucial juncture in history.
Namely, it falls short in
three ways, some of which you already mentioned. It doesn’t include
anything about creating a draft, sort of a blueprint, for a plan for a
Green New Deal over the next year, ahead of the next presidential
election. It doesn’t include any provision that actually bars people
who are taking money from oil and gas executives and lobbyists, who are
jeopardizing my generation’s future, from sitting on the committee,
something that, frankly, we find to be a conflict of interest. And
thirdly, it doesn’t include any power to subpoena, which actually
renders this committee less powerful than the one we had even a decade
Quite so - and this was
all quite intentional by Pelosi (for she does not want a real
Deal, and has a great amount of personal power). And this is a
Time to Bring Back the Corporate Death Penalty
is by Thom Hartmann on Truthdig and originally on the Independent Media
Institute. It starts as follows (with a quotation):
I say, for this is a quotation
that I did not know and do like. Then again, I think I
can restate the fourth paragraph in another way:
“The prevalence of
the corporation in America has led men of this generation to act, at
times, as if the privilege of doing business in corporate form were
inherent in the citizen, and has led them to accept the evils attendant
upon the free and unrestricted use of the corporate mechanism as if
these evils were the inescapable price of civilized life, and, hence to
be borne with resignation.
greater part of our history, a different view prevailed.
“Although the value
of this instrumentality in commerce and industry was fully recognized,
incorporation for business was commonly denied long after it had been
freely granted for religious, educational, and charitable purposes.
“It was denied
because of fear. Fear of encroachment upon the liberties and
opportunities of the individual. Fear of the subjection of labor to
capital. Fear of monopoly. Fear that the absorption of capital by
corporations, and their perpetual life, might bring evils similar to
those which attended mortmain [immortality]. There was a sense of some
insidious menace inherent in large aggregations of capital,
particularly when held by corporations.”
—U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Louis Brandeis, 1933 dissent in Liggett v. Lee
Incorporation for business indeed was denied because of
fear, and these fears, in turn, were based on the fact that beyond a
certain lower limit no ordinary man ever reaches, power = wealth - and
both power and wealth (history teaches) usually only work for
themselves, and to get more power or wealth.
Here is more:
I think this is both quite
interesting and quite true, although I also think that the
phrase ¨the corporate death penalty¨ is a bit misleading (for no real
person dies when an association of real persons gets forbidden).
The Corporate Death
Penalty Is Not New
While the human death
penalty has largely disappeared in the world and is fading in the U.S.
(a good thing), the corporate death penalty needs a revival.
The corporate death
penalty, widespread in the 19th century, is a political and economic
Darwinian process that weeds bad actors out of the business ecosystem
to make room for good players.
The process of revoking
corporate charters goes back to the very first years of the United
States. After all, the only reasons states allow (“charter”)
corporations (normal business corporations can only be
chartered by a state, not the federal government) is to serve the
Anyway. Here is more:
Again I think this is quite
interesting, including the fact that in the last 100 years no
really powerful or wealthy corporation has been hit by anti-corporate
laws. And I´d say this is the reason: powerful and wealthy
corporations are so powerful and so wealthy that they can overpower or
buy most of those who oppose them.
From the founding of
to today, governments routinely revoked corporate charters, forcing
liquidation and sale of assets, although it’s been over a century since
such efforts have focused on corporations large enough to have amassed
financial and, thus, political power.
Here is another lesson from history:
I say! I do so because I quite
agree to the Tilman act (and also like its formulation). In fact,
something much like the Tilman act would do a lot of good at
present (but I fear it is at present not possible to introduce
a similar law without a revolution).
In reaction to public
with the predatory and monopolistic behavior of these corporate giants,
the “Progressive Era” of Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency (1901-1909) saw
numerous laws passed designed to restrain bad corporate behavior. The
most well-known was the 1907 Tillman Act, which made it a felony for a
corporation to give money to federal politicians’ campaigns.
The Tillman Act was based,
in part, on numerous state laws, like this one that Wisconsin passed in
1905 (and was taken off the books in 1954):
contributions by corporations. No corporation doing business in
this state shall pay or contribute, or offer consent or agree to pay or
contribute, directly or indirectly, any
money, property, free service of its officers or employees or thing of
value to any political party, organization,
committee or individual for any political
purpose whatsoever, or for the purpose of influencing legislation of any
kind, or to promote or defeat the candidacy of any
person for nomination, appointment or election to any
political office. [Wis. Laws, Section 4479a (Sec. I, ch. 492, 1905)]”
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
In my opinion corporations are not
persons and should not have the rights of real - biological,
human - persons at all. And I completely agree with the ending,
and this is a fine article that is strongly recommended.
successfully argued before the Supreme Court that they should have
First Amendment rights of free speech, Fourth Amendment rights of
privacy, Fifth Amendment protections against takings, and Fourteenth
Amendment rights as “persons” to “equal protection [with you and me]
under the law,” among other “rights of personhood.”
It’s long past the time
that these “persons,” when they become egregious and recidivist
criminals (and particularly when they repeatedly kill people), be
treated the same as human criminals: remove them from society
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 (!!).