from January 16, 2019
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 January 16, 2019:
1. John Bolton Wants to Bomb Iran — and He
May Get What He Wants
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. May and Brexit Face Uncertain Future
After Crushing Defeat in
3. Professor Wolff: The Next Economic Crisis Is Coming
4. Universal Basic Income Will Make Serfs of Us All
5. Critics Warn EU Reforms a 'Dire Threat' to Internet as We
1. John Bolton Wants to Bomb Iran — and He
May Get What He Wants
This article is by Mehdi Hasan
on The Intercept. This is from near its beginning:
I say. Well, Bolton was
wrong that the USA would be celebrating in Tehran ¨before 2019¨.
Trump’s national security
adviser is a hard man to keep down.
In 2003, Bolton got
the war he wanted with Iraq. As an influential, high-profile, hawkish
member of the Bush administration, Bolton put
pressure on intelligence analysts, threatened
international officials, and told barefaced
lies about weapons of mass destruction. He has never
regretted his support for the illegal and catastrophic invasion of
Iraq, which killed hundreds
of thousands of people.
Now, he wants a war with
Iran. So say State Department and Pentagon officials, according to the Wall
Street Journal, who were “rattled” by his request to the Pentagon
“to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last
year.” The New
York Times also reported that “senior Pentagon officials are
voicing deepening fears” that Bolton “could precipitate a conflict with
Should we be surprised? In
March 2015, Bolton, then a private citizen, wrote an op-ed for the New
York Times headlined, “To
Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” In July 2017, just eight months
prior to joining the Trump administration, Bolton told
a gathering of the cultish Iranian exile group Mujahedin-e-Khalq
that “the declared policy of the United States of America should be the
overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran” and that “before 2019, we
here will celebrate in Tehran.”
Then again, Bolton sounds - in my ears, at least - as if he is so
bloodthirsty that he may as well been counted as an insane person,
as I think Trump is.
Then again, while I am morally certain that Bolton is up to no good,
and seems quite unhealthily bloodthirsty, I know too litttle about
him to judge his sanity in a more or less rational manner.
And here is some on Mike Pompeo, who seems similar to Bolton:
Outside of the
Bolton-dominated National Security Council, there’s also the hawkish
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who once
suggested launching “2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear
capacity.” As I noted
last week, in his recent
speech on Middle East policy in Cairo, Pompeo made more than 20
references to “malevolent,” “oppressive” Iran and denounced “Iranian
expansion” and “regional destruction,” while giving Saudi Arabia a big
wet kiss. “Countries increasingly understand that we must confront the
ayatollahs, not coddle them,” he declared. Pompeo then told Fox
News, before leaving Cairo, that the United States would be hosting
an international summit on Iran in Poland next month.
Here is Medhi
Hasan, who asks some quite rational questions about these two
Also, how far does
this retaliatory logic extend? The United States has been accused
of supporting extremist, anti-government groups in Iran, as well as Israeli
strikes on Iranian positions in Syria; does this mean that the
Iranians have a right to launch retaliatory air strikes on U.S. soil?
Do the Cubans have the right to bomb Miami, where a number of U.S.-supported
anti-Castro groups reside and operate?
Well... I am a total atheist, but I
agree with Hasan to the extent that both Bolton and Pompeo sound more
like the Mafia than like leading American politicians. And this
is a recommended article.
Logic, however, has never
been Bolton’s strong suit. He is an ideologue. “It is a big mistake,”
he once declaimed,
“for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may
seem in our short-term interest to do so — because, over the long term,
the goal of those who think that international law really means
anything are those who want to constrict the United States.”
To hell with international
law. And the International
Criminal Court. And civilian
lives. The bellicose Bolton is going to spend much of 2019 making
the case, both in public and in private, for war with Iran — a war that
would make the invasion of Iraq look like a walk in the park. This is
what makes the mustachioed national security adviser, with an office
down the hallway from Trump, the most dangerous member of this reckless
Devil incarnate? Perhaps
that was an understatement.
and Brexit Face Uncertain Future After Crushing Defeat in Parliament
This article is by
Stephen Castle and Ellen Barry. It starts as follows (but I don´t
anything from the NYT anymore as long as it mixes its
articles with 10 times
This is also the reason for missing links:
Minister Theresa May on Tuesday suffered a humiliating defeat over her
plan to withdraw Britain from the European Union, thrusting the country
further into political chaos with only 10 weeks to go until it is
scheduled to leave the bloc.
fact, the present article is about the big news in Europe,
yesterday, and the above summary
vote to reject her proposal was the biggest defeat in the House of
Commons for a prime minister in recent British history. And it
underscores how comprehensively Ms. May has failed to build consensus
behind any single vision of how to exit the European Union.
Now factions in
Parliament will offer their own proposals — setting off a new,
unpredictable stage in Brexit, the process of withdrawing from the bloc.
completely lost control of the process, and her version of Brexit must
now be dead, if she loses by 230 votes,” said John Springford, deputy
director of the Center for European Reform, a London-based research
Here is some more on the consequences of this defeat of May
has created a risk that Britain will exit the 28-nation European bloc
with no deal, which analysts have warned could tip Britain into
recession and trigger shortages of food, medicine and electricity
because of constraints on trade.
It is very
early Wednesday morning as I write this review, so I do not
know the outcome of today´s vote.
Mrs. May’s plan
would ultimately have given Britain’s government power over immigration
from Europe, and would have kept Britain in the European Union’s
customs and trade system until at least the end of 2020 while a
long-term pact is negotiated.
after the vote against her proposal, the Labour Party leader, Jeremy
Corbyn, citing the “sheer incompetence of this government,” called for
a vote of no confidence in Ms. May, which will be debated on Wednesday.
That could in
theory lead to a general election, but few analysts said they thought
he could muster the necessary votes.
Here is some more on the consequences:
think it’s now between a softer Brexit and a second referendum,” Mr.
I have no idea
what will happen though ¨a repeat referendum¨ is a possibility. Anyway. Here is the last bit from
this article, about May´s government:
Still, with no
consensus behind any one path, and a vanishing window for further
negotiation, more radical solutions are rising to the fore.
One group of
lawmakers is campaigning for a repeat referendum, which could
potentially reverse the decision to leave the European Union. Another
favors leaving the bloc as planned on March 29 without a withdrawal
agreement, a so-called hard Brexit.
have been in extraordinary circumstances,” said Nikki da Costa, a
former director of legal affairs at 10 Downing Street. “Things that in
normal times would not be considered survivable have become normalized.
What the government would be looking for is a pathway through this.”
I say. No doubt
there will be more to follow and this is a recommended article (that I
recommend you not to download onto your computer from the New
Ms. Da Costa
predicted: “We will be doing this again in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Philip Cowley, a
professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said he was
struggling to identify a comparable defeat in the history of British
“When you ask me
for a historical benchmark, I can’t find any example,” Mr. Cowley said.
Wolff: The Next Economic Crisis Is Coming
Lee Camp on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Every time I
sit down with
economist Richard Wolff, he demonstrates why the field of economics is
so necessary in the cultural critique of our American empire. In my
recent interview with him, we discussed why the thriving economy touted
by President Donald Trump hasn’t translated into real gains for the
majority of Americans. We also went over what is hidden by the economic
indicators that allow the financial industry to celebrate while so many
Americans are still suffering.
Here is some
background on Richard
Wolff. As you can see from that, Wolff is an American academic Marxist, and
indeed, at least according to The New York Times Magazine, he is ¨
America's most prominent Marxist
As I have
explained quite a few times before, both of my parents were Marxists (and
intelligent and sincere ones, though not well educated); one
grandfather also was a Marxist, and the other grandfather was an
anarchist; while I ceased to be a Marxist at age 20 (in 1970) and have
ever since been some kind of anarchist.
In any case,
I am very well informed about Marxism, which also made me
interested in Wolff some years ago. The outcome of that interest was
that I do not think Wolff is very interesting, but that
should not prejudice you.
Here is some
from the interview:
Professor Wolff — thanks for joining me! Last month was, apparently,
the worst December for the stock market since the year 1980. What’s
going on here?
WOLFF: A lot of things are coming to a head. Each one of them
by itself might have gone by without this, but they’re too many.
To list major
ones: The tariff war with China, Europe and the rest creates enormous
uncertainty. It makes all the predictions and plans of corporations and
entire countries uncertain. People are holding back. Number one.
Number two, the
capitalist system that we’re all part of has a downturn on average
every four to seven years. It’s been more than seven years since the
last crash — 2008/9 —so everybody knows it’s coming.
It’s not a
question of whether, we’ve never been able to overcome these kinds of
instabilities in our system. So we’re overdue for one.
another one that people don’t talk about. The big tax cut last
December, 2017, gave an awful lot of money to the richest Americans and
to big corporations. They had no incentive to plow that into their
businesses, because Americans can’t buy any more than they already do.
They’re up to their necks in debt and all the rest.
I think all of the
above is (very probably) quite correct. Here is some more:
You brought up predictions of an impending crash because it’s been
seven or eight years, even JPMorgan Chase has told investors that the
next crash, the crisis, they think will be in 2020. What does it mean
when the largest financial firms in the world are saying, “Oh yeah!
We’re just going to have another financial crisis around the corner”?
It’s a wonderful sign. (Laughs) And by the way, JPMorgan Chase is not
the only one. Goldman Sachs has done that, the International Monetary
Fund, lots of the major players know it’s coming. The only disagree on
exactly when which you can never know anyway. But here’s what it means,
it means that they have accepted, as if it were like rain falling from
the sky, that this economic system we have crashes every few years.
Well... in fact the
majority of all (academic) economists - of which there are at least
three kinds, who differ about most things: economy is not
much of a real science, so far, in my opinion - accepts
that capitalism comes with crises and that no economist (of
any kind) seems capable of predicting when they arrive.
It is more or less the same here. Here is some more:
Well again, there are a number of reasons why wages aren’t going up.
What we’ve seen is a quote-unquote “recovery” that is very peculiar.
peculiarities: People who lost jobs — and those are in the millions in
2008, 2009, and 2010 — have now gotten jobs, that’s true, but the jobs
they’ve gotten have lower wages, have less security and fewer benefits
than the ones they lost, which means they can’t spend money like we
might have hoped they would if they had got the kinds of jobs they
lost, but they didn’t. And the second thing is that large numbers,
particularly of white men aged 30-60, have not gone back into the labor
They lost their
jobs, it’s very hard for them to find new jobs. The jobs they find are
so poor that they’re more likely to stay at home, or do something else.
Yes, to the best of
my knowledge that is true. Here is the last bit that I quote from
(..) The biggest thing that’s kept this economy going in the last few
years should make everybody tremble. It’s called debt, let me give you
just a couple of examples. Ten years ago, at the height of the crash,
the total debt carried by students in the United States was in the
neighborhood of $700 billion, an enormous sum.
What is it today?
Over twice that, one-and-a-half trillion dollars. The reason part of
our economy hasn’t collapsed is that students have taken up an enormous
amount of debt that they cannot afford, in order to get degrees which
will let them get jobs whose incomes will not allow them to pay back
the debts. And forget about getting married, forget about having a
I think this is
also correct, and this is a recommended article.
Basic Income Will Make Serfs of Us All
Valerie Vande Panne on Truthdig and originally on the Independent Media
Institute. It starts as follows:
Universal Basic Income
(UBI) is a much-touted solution to our increasingly tech-driven
society, proposed by everyone from Alexandria
to conservative libertarian think tank the Cato
The idea is that UBI could
replace vanishing jobs and give all Americans a cushion. Give every
American a set amount of money per month, often suggested at the $500
or $1,000 level, to spend as they wish.
Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg have all pointed to UBI
as a solution for the fact that tech is taking over entire industries.
Besides being a prong in the “Green
New Deal,” the city of Stockton,
California, is implementing a trial run beginning in February by giving
100 residents $500 a month.
Never mind that in 1972,
when the idea of UBI was gaining popularity, the guaranteed amount discussed
was $1,000. It seems absurd that, given inflation and massive
cost of living increases over the last 45 years, $500 a month is what’s
I say, which I do in
part because not all of the above was known to me. Then again, I am somewhat
familiar with the Universal Basic Income. And I should also say that
what I have read about it (various items over the years) did not
seem very specific, while I also must say that I disagree with
it under capitalism.
But I do not
know whether Ms. Vande Panne is correct, and part of the reason for
that is that what I read about the Universal Basic Income mostly seemed very vague.
Here is some more:
What UBI would do is
facilitate our society’s continued consumption. That’s the point, at
its heart, and why the great titans of contemporary wealth are
championing it: Hypercapitalism has sucked so much wealth from the
bottom rungs that giving them money to spend seems a viable
option to keep the economy chugging its fossil fuel-powered engine into
an increasingly bleak future.
Capitalism is failing, and
the strategy is to give everyone money to spend.
Of course, the great
masters of the moneyverse Branson and Zuckerberg can’t come out and say
that, but the progressive left and the conservative right have happily
taken over the job of selling it to society on their behalf—with very
little details, of course.
Yes, this seems correct to
me. And one quite basic point about the Universal Basic Income that still is not
unanswered is that it is unclear to me who should generate
the money for the Universal Basic Income. (And if this is supposed to be
the taxes: Why not spend it in a more useful way, like
repairing the American infra-structure, that is falling apart?)
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
It’s up to us, individually
and in our own communities, how we want to proceed. Do we provide
everyone with a universal basic income? Do we return to more basic ways
of life and rewrite the rules to enable that? Or do we do a combination
of both, or something else entirely?
The choice is ours, and it
is important to consider as universal basic income becomes the slogan
No, I am sorry: The
choice is not ¨ours¨, at least not if we are in the 90% of
those who do not earn much. Also, once again I have not learned
much about the Universal
Basic Income, except that it seems a bit more certain that it is not
a good idea. And this is a recommended article.
Warn EU Reforms a 'Dire Threat' to Internet as We Know It
Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed - and this law may be the end of all freedom on the
internet, and the end of my Nederlogs as well. Then
again, in case you didn´t know this, something much like this was predicted
in 2008 by the late Gore Vidal for 2018, so he may well have been off
by no more than one year.
As the European Union
plows ahead this week with far-reaching copyright rules that critics
"cripple freedom of expression on the internet," privacy advocates and
web defenders across the globe are raising alarm and calling on EU
member states to block the measures.
"The new EU Copyright
Directive is progressing at an alarming rate," Electronic Frontier
Foundation (EFF) special adviser Cory Doctorow wrote
on Monday, describing the rules package as a "catastrophe for free
"This week, the EU is
asking its member states to approve new negotiating positions for the
final language. Once they get it, they're planning to hold a final vote
before pushing this drastic, radical new law into 28 countries and
500,000,000 people," Doctorow added, calling on residents of European
nations to pressure their representatives to stop the directive.
Here is some more:
While the vast majority
rules in the sprawling Copyright Directive are "inoffensive updates to
European copyright law," Doctorow points out, two specific
measures—Article 11 and Article 13— "pose a dire threat to the global
In fact, I do
not even know whether to believe the above. My reason is that I
consider the European Convention on Human Rights a sick and
degenerate imposition of surveillance by the anonymous security staffs
(the spies) on everyone.
And I have explained that many times, but no one seems
to care that the security staffs are now legally allowed to read
everything, instead of - as they were in the original Universal
Declaration of Human Rights - not
being allowed to read most private information of anyone.
Anyway. Back to the article:
I have to say that I do not
understand Article 11 as summarized here, although it seems as
if I am supposed to pay for the links I make in Nederlog (and
elsewhere). Well... I do not have the money, and besides this rule seems the complete opposite of any
freedom whatsoever, if I have to pay for any link or else
totally have to shut up.
Doctorow goes on to detail
the implications of both rules:
- Article 11: A proposal
to make platforms pay for linking to news sites by creating a
non-waivable right to license any links from for-profit services (where
those links include more than a word or two from the story or its
headline). Article 11 fails to define "news sites," "commercial
platforms," and "links," which invites 28 European nations to create 28
mutually exclusive, contradictory licensing regimes. Additionally, the
fact that the "linking right" can't be waived means that open-access,
public-interest, nonprofit and Creative Commons news sites can't opt
out of the system.
- Article 13: A proposal
to end the appearance of unlicensed copyrighted works on big
user-generated content platforms, even for an instant.
Then again, I am quite sure that since Article 11 ¨fails to define "news sites," "commercial
platforms," and "links"¨ it
has been designed on purpose to do as
much harm as possible.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Well... I am sorry for
Berners-Lee but I think that the internet he is supposed to have
designed was designed in fact as the supreme ¨tool for the automated surveillance and
control of its users.¨
As Common Dreams
at the time, internet pioneers Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf warned in
a June letter to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani that
Article 13 of the directive would transform "the internet from an open
platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated
surveillance and control of its users."
Berners-Lee will disagree, but he worked for DARPA and one of his
bosses was Zbigniew Brzezinski, and he had that goal of turning
personal computers into ¨a tool
for the automated surveillance and control of its users¨ already in
1969, as you can see here.
Anyway... this is a strongly 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 (!!).