from January 10, 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 10, 2019:
1. The Crisis Is in the Oval Office
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. William Arkin on Homeland Security’s
3. Has the Ruling Class Finally Had Enough of Trump?
4. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Politics of Dancing
5. The Big Economic Switcheroo
Crisis Is in the Oval Office
This article is by
The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
How fitting is it
that President Trump’s first Oval Office address, which he requested be
televised live in prime time by every major network, was aimed at
stirring up the American public about a crisis largely of his own
In case you don´t know, ¨the
crisis¨ consists in Trump´s decision to switch off much of the American
government´s work in order to force the Democrats to fund his border
wall, that anyway is a crazy idea, which Trump also promised his voters
would be paid for by the Mexicans.
Not that the border
crisis is one of Mr. Trump’s self-serving political fictions — like the
deep state or widespread voter fraud. It may have started out that way,
but the situation has, with the president’s nurturing, become something
far more tragic.
thought-out and even more poorly executed policies on the pretext of
battling a nonexistent national security crisis, Mr. Trump has helped
create a pressing humanitarian one. Desperate migrant families being
detained en masse at the border are overwhelming a system pushed beyond
its limits by an administration that chose to ignore the implications
of its actions — overcrowding, children falling gravely ill and,
paradoxically, the haphazard release of throngs of detainees into
border communities stretching from California to Texas.
And I more or less agree to the above, but I quite disagree
that the deep state is a ¨self-serving
political fiction¨ of Trump: That
is utter baloney.
Here is the beginning of the Wikipedia article on the deep state:
I do not claim the above
is quite clear, but it shows that even the term ¨deep state¨
considerably before Trump became president (namely since around 1990).
Also, I think I should point out that one version of the notion that
there is a deep state is Eisenhower´s military-industrial
complex, that in the Wikipedia starts with this paragraph (minus
A deep state
(from Turkish: derin devlet,
also known as a state within a state) is a form of clandestine government made up of hidden
or covert networks of power operating independently of a nation's
political leadership, in pursuit of their own agenda and goals.
Examples include organs of state, such
as the armed forces or public authorities (intelligence agencies, police,
secret police, administrative
agencies, and government bureaucracy).
A deep state can also take the form of entrenched, career civil servants acting in a
non-conspiratorial manner, to further their own interests. The intent
of a deep state can include continuity of the state itself, job
security for its members, enhanced power and authority, and the pursuit
of ideological objectives. It can operate in opposition to the agenda
of elected officials, by obstructing, resisting, and subverting their
policies, conditions and directives. It can also take the form of Government-owned
corporations or private companies that act
independently of regulatory or governmental control.
I think the above two quotations
from the Wikipedia make clear that The Editorial Board of The New York
Times either does not know what they are talking about or
- far more
probably - was lying.
complex (MIC) is an informal alliance between a nation's military
and the defense industry that
supplies it, seen together as a vested interest which influences public policy. A driving factor behind this
relationship between the government and defense-minded corporations is
that both sides benefit—one side from obtaining war weapons, and the
other from being paid to supply them. The term is most often used in
reference to the system behind the military of the United States,
where it is most prevalent and gained popularity after its use in the farewell address of
President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 17,
1961. In 2011, the United States spent more (in absolute numbers) on
its military than the next 13 nations combined.
In fact, I do not know why, but it does seem to me a
Here is some more:
Mr. Trump is now
invoking the urgency of the situation as a justification for pursuing
more wasteful, hard-line measures that most Americans do not support,
chiefly the ludicrous border wall over which he has shut down critical
pieces of the government. The president and his enablers have been
busily knitting together inaccurate data, misleading anecdotes,
exaggerations and other “alternative facts” about the flow of
criminals, drugs and terrorists across the southern border. He seems to
hope he can paint a dystopian landscape of security threats and human
suffering so dire that the American people will rally to his side and
pressure congressional Democrats to succumb to his demands for a
towering wall — preferably concrete, but at this point, it seems, steel
Failing that, Mr. Trump
has also been floating the possibility of stiff-arming Congress
altogether. With his advisers increasingly anxious that Republican
lawmakers are poised to abandon them on the shutdown, the president has
raised the threat of declaring a national emergency, which he thinks
would allow him to command the Pentagon to build his wall.
I think the above is
mostly correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
While Mr. Trump
proved a wily campaigner and political street fighter, as president he
has been painfully out of his element. Two years in, he remains ill
suited to the complicated, thankless, often grinding work of leading
the nation. Governance clearly bores him, as do policy details both
foreign and domestic. He has proved a poor judge of talent. He prefers
grandstanding to negotiating, and he continues to have trouble with the
whole concept of checks and balances.
That is one way of saying he
is utterly incompetent. I agree, but since I am a
psychologist, I agree with many other psychologists that the
explanation for Trump´s utter incompetence as president of the
United States is that I and many other psychologists think Trump is insane.
Arkin on Homeland Security’s Creeping Fascism
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the
reporter and analyst William Arkin announced he was leaving the network
last week in a blistering letter that took aim at the mainstream media
for encouraging perpetual warfare and bolstering the national security
state. In his letter, Arkin writes of Trump, “Of course he is an
ignorant and incompetent impostor. And yet I’m alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be
in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war.
Really? We shouldn’t get out Syria? We shouldn’t go for the bold move
of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we
should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is
so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And
don’t even get me started with the FBI:
What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?” We
speak with Arkin in New York City. He is the author of many books,
including “Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security
In fact, I wrote about Arkin
before, namely here (and briefly
later). Here he is himself:
William Arkin: (...)
So, we have two problems. One is, we have a presence in the Middle
East, which has grown enormously since 9/11. I believe that that
military presence, in itself, provides the stimuli for the creation of
more terrorists. Everyone has said this since 2001, but it has really
reached a crisis point today, because even as the Taliban were defeated
or al-Qaeda was driven into a small number or as the United States was
able to maintain some level of security in Iraq, what happened was new
groups emerged, new groups kept popping up. And now we see ISIS. We see al-Shabab in Somalia. We see new
organizations emerging in Niger and Mali etc.
So, the net assessment of
our presence in the Middle East, first of all, has to be: What is it
that is about our presence itself that is the stimuli for the creation
of both local and foreign fighters and their growth? And then, second,
what is it about our military and the use of our military forces that
is inappropriate or not appropriate for the conflicts in which we fight?
I more or less agree,
although I do not think his questions are very appropriate.
some more by him:
So, really, the scope and scale of the American military actions around
the world is far greater than what most Americans perceive. But again,
let’s be clear about diagnosing the issue. It’s less and less
manpower-intensive. It’s more and more focused on drones. It’s more and
more focused on airpower. It’s more and more focused on space and
cyber. And so we don’t see the kinds of injuries and deaths that we
were seeing a decade ago during, say, for instance, the surge in Iraq.
It’s become more invisible as a result of the style of American
warfare. And as a result of that, it’s almost as if the national
security state has the ability to do what they want to be doing
autonomously, with very little intervention on the part of civil
Yes, although I
think I should point out that while the losses in lives and wounded
soldiers on the American side grew much less than they were
thirty years ago, this is definitely not the case on the
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I agree with Arkin,
for ¨counterterrorists¨ are terrorists, which should not
exist as a governmental institution in a democracy, and I also agree
that the so-called ¨homeland
security¨ (which also
sounds ¨a little bit
brown-shirty to me¨) is a
large step towards the kind of neofascism which
controls everyone to a very much larger
extent than the Gestapo or the
KGB could do, simply because the
internet was designed to do
so, and succeeded. (For more, see here).
GOODMAN: And what do you
mean by the “creeping fascism of homeland security”?
ARKIN: You know, I was
against the creation of the Homeland Security Department in 2003, to
begin with. First of all, don’t like the word. “Homeland security”
sounds a little bit brown-shirty to me. But, second of all, it was
created to be a counterterrorist organization, a domestic
counterterrorist organization. And all during the Obama administration,
we heard Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, saying,
“You know, we are counterterrorism.” But since then, we’ve seen they’re
creeping into cybersecurity. We’ve seen them creeping into election
security. We’ve seen ICE
and TSA become the second and third largest federal law
enforcement agencies in the country. And so, now homeland security sort
of has become a domestic intelligence agency with really an unclear
remit, really with broad powers that we don’t fully understand.
the Ruling Class Finally Had Enough of Trump?
is by Paul Street on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
As the United States
lurches toward its 2020 presidential election cycle, it is useful to
revisit the central tension of Donald Trump’s presidency. I’m speaking,
of course, about his phony populism and the politico-financial
establishment’s utter contempt for his political ascent. As the
Democratic field slowly takes shape, the question now is whether the
ruling class has finally had enough.
This is not to suggest that
these elites dislike Trump for the same reasons a Truthdig reader
might. Those who stand atop the nation’s power structures have long
been comfortable with American corruption, patriarchy, racism and
outright sociopathy. For evidence, look no further than the disparate
presidencies of the so-called American century.
No, what’s different and
problematic for our country’s oligarchs is that while the presidency
has long served America’s imperial interests, it has typically done so
while purporting to stand for something more noble. The U.S. government
and, above all, its executive branch, are expected to masquerade as
forces for “good”—democracy, liberty and peace, at least in the
abstract, and an outwardly multilateralist management of world affairs.
I think this is more
or less correct (although I do not see ¨the central tension of Donald Trump’s presidency¨).
Here is more:
I agree with the second
paragraph (but less with the first).
Trump is a new and
different kind of presidential animal. He makes no pretense of himself,
the presidency or the United States being about anything more than
mercenary and socio-pathological self-interest. He gives not one flip
about racial and ethnic diversity, equality or the state of global
affairs, much less the fate of our planet.
Trump openly mocks and
assaults science, expertise and intellectual rigor, denying the
obviously anthropogenic nature of our climate crisis. Openly assaulting
the very notion of veracity, he repeats the same false statements long
after they’ve been proven false by exhausted reporters.
Here is more:
But beyond being bad for
the brand, Trump brazenly flouts ruling-class institutions and
conventions. He does not consult the Council on Foreign Relations, the
Atlantic Council, the Wilson Center or the Brookings Institution on
foreign or domestic policy. He doesn’t read policy briefs or white
papers from establishment think tanks.
Instead, he prefers to take
advice from fellow wacky billionaires and right-wing media
personalities with whom he regularly consults by phone late at night,
alone in his bedroom, or via Fox News. He claims to know more about
developments in other nations than his own top generals and spooks.
Yes indeed - and
these are some of the reasons why many psychologist have
the basic problem with Trump is that Trump is insane (which I,
is psychologist, agree with).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Still, there are real
limits to the establishment’s discomfort with Trump, who has been
useful to the nation’s rulers and owners in four key ways.
First, for all his talk of
protectionism, Trump is a rapacious neoliberal who has rewarded the 1
percent with personal and corporate tax cuts, as well as deregulation
designed to funnel wealth upward. The superrich and their retainers in
Washington have been willing to tolerate his misbehavior because his
policies have lined their pockets.
Second, the endless Trump
circus functions to divert the masses from the corporate looting that
his administration and much of Congress is advancing behind the scenes
to devastating effect.
Third, even as he serves
the moneyed elite, the mendacious mogul currently occupying the White
House has been deceptively labeled a “populist.”
Fourth, Trump’s awfulness lowers the bar for whoever might replace him
in the White House. “Anybody but Trump” is understandable, but it opens
the door for millions of Americans to gratefully welcome a Wall Street
Democrat like Joe Biden, a cipher like Beto O’Rourke or, perish the
thought, Hillary Rodham Clinton herself.
I more or less
agree, though not with the third point, for what is and is not
¨populist¨ seems rather unclear to me. Anyway. This is a recommended
Ocasio-Cortez and the Politics of Dancing
is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
“If I can’t dance, I don’t
want to be part of your revolution,” are words attributed to the great
early 20th-century anarchist thinker, writer and crusading
social-justice activist Emma Goldman. While she may not have uttered
precisely those words, the sense of the phrase was on full display in
Congress last week, as a video circulated of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
dancing with friends while she was an undergraduate at Boston
University, 10 years ago. The video surfaced in a failed attempt to
discredit the new member of Congress as she was sworn in as the
youngest women ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ocasio-Cortez’s response to
the online criticism was short and brilliant, tweeting a video of
herself dancing into her new congressional office. The video got
tremendous attention. What was largely overlooked was the tune that she
was dancing to: the classic 1970 anti-war anthem “War,” sung by Edwin
Starr. It rocketed to No. 1 in the summer of 1970, and has been a
staple anthem against war ever since. “War, What is it good for,
Absolutely nothing,” the chorus goes. Ocasio-Cortez mouths the words as
she dances through her congressional office door.
I really like Emma Goldman
since reading her
autobiography around 40 years ago, and I also like
her (indeed possibly attributed) “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your
revolution”, indeed in part because I liked to dance a lot
(that is, before falling ill, also 40 years ago).
And I also really like the
classic 1970 anti-war anthem “War” since 1970.
The last link is to the text of ¨War¨ and in fact here is a link to ¨War¨ with the text
projected while it is sung.
Here is more:
is the last bit that I quote from this article:
website details an array of progressive policies, including a “peace
economy” that reads, in part: “As of 2018, we are currently involved in
military action in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan,
and Somalia. Hundreds of thousands of civilians in these countries have
been killed either as collateral damage from American strikes or from
the instability caused by U.S. interventions. Millions more have fled
their broken countries, contributing to the global refugee crisis … we
must end the ‘forever war’ by bringing our troops home, and ending the
air strikes that perpetuate the cycle of terrorism throughout the
She recently corrected Fox
News host, and unofficial consigliere to President Donald Trump, Sean
Hannity, who accused her of the heresy of calling for an “end to
military airstrikes.” She responded in a tweet, saying she supports
“ending unjust wars” entirely.
I again completely
and this is a strongly recommended article.
Last July, she said on
“Democracy Now!” that “the issues I ran on were very clear … improved
and expanded Medicare for all; tuition-free public colleges and
universities, as well as trade schools; a Green New Deal; justice for
Puerto Rico; an unapologetic platform of criminal-justice reform and
ending the war on drugs; and also speaking truth to power and speaking
about money in politics.”
The Green New Deal calls for
the rapid and radical decarbonization of the entire economy,
transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources in hopes of
staving off the worst effects of climate change while there is still
5. The Big Economic
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
The biggest untold story
about how we pay for government involves a big switcheroo by America’s
Decades ago, wealthy
Americans financed the federal government mainly by paying taxes. Their
tax rate was far higher than what it is today.
Now, wealthy Americans
finance the federal government mainly by lending it money, and
collecting interest payments on those loans, profiting when the rest of
us pay them back.
Follow the money: As the
debt continues to grow, interest payments are becoming huge. Taxpayers
could soon be paying more in interest on the federal debt than we spend
on the military or on Medicaid.
Interest on the debt is
expected to hit $390 billion next year, nearly 50 percent more than in
2017, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
I say, and I do so
because I did not know that the mere interest on the American
government´s debts will amount to $390 billion dollars next year.
The rest is known to me, and here is more:
Who’s receiving these
interest payments? Mostly Americans, not foreigners. And most of these
Americans are wealthy investors who park their savings in treasury
bonds held by mutual funds, hedge funds, pension funds, banks,
insurance companies, personal trusts, and estates.
The richest 1 percent of
Americans now owns 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, which is more
wealth than the bottom 90 percent put together.
Which means a big chunk of
the growing interest payments American taxpayers make on the federal
debt is going to… rich Americans.
But then my own position is that a situation in which the
richest 1% possess 40% of the nation´s wealth, which again is more than
the bottom 90% own together is (i) so extremely unfair and also
(ii) will almost certainly not be stopped, but only will grow
worse, that I
am a proponent of democratic socialism, while Reich seems to be
a proponent of capitalism (for one of his latest book is titled ¨Saving
In fact, I do not know whether humanity will ever live
under a - real and functioning - system of democratic socialism, indeed
mostly because I think this will only be achieved by some kind of revolution,
and it is a fact that most revolutions fail, but then again
I also agree with Chomsky that the present capitalism seems to be
heading to major destructions of the environment or to a nuclear war.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I quite agree. Then
again, I admit that I did not read Reich´s ¨Saving Capitalism¨,
Reich definitely is a sensible and intelligent man, with whom I often
(more or less) agree.
The Trump-Republican tax
cut will cause the debt to explode even further. Trump’s own Office of
Management and Budget predicts an added $100 billion a year in deficits
over the next decade, adding up to $1 trillion of additional debt.
Keep following the money:
Most of the benefits from those tax cuts are going to the wealthy. 65
percent have gone to the richest fifth of Americans, 22 percent to the
top 1 percent.
So you see the big switcheroo?
The rich used to pay higher taxes to the government. Now, the
government pays the rich interest on a swelling debt, caused largely by
lower taxes on the rich.
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 (!!).