from January 17, 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 17, 2019:
1. British Democracy Nears Meltdown as
Parliament Deadlocks Over
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. Britain Races Toward a Cliff. Time
to Slow Down.
3. “A Fight for the Soul of Britain”: May Goes Down in
4. Bases, Bases, Everywhere … Except in Pentagon’s Report
5. Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into
Democracy Nears Meltdown as Parliament Deadlocks Over Brexit
This article is by
Robert Mackey on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed. I think this
is all quite correct.
To say that the United
Kingdom’s system of democratic governance is showing signs of strain,
the day after Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed deal to exit the
European Union was rejected by Parliament in an unprecedented
landslide, would be a considerable understatement.
That’s because the massive
vote against May’s compromise Brexit plan — by a coalition of members
of Parliament who want a more radical break from the EU and those who
want to remain closer to, or even inside, the trading bloc — reveals
that something far closer to a systemic meltdown is already in progress.
The core of the problem is
that the country’s representative democracy, in which decisions are
traditionally taken by a government acting on behalf of a majority of
Parliament’s members, was thrown into crisis in 2016, when the public
voted in a referendum to withdraw from the EU, despite the fact that
most legislators, including May herself, had argued against a British
exit. It didn’t help that the pro-Brexit campaign succeeded in
large part because of exaggerations and outright lies about how
painless a divorce from the EU would be.
The prime minister has
ignored the fact that, as pro-EU voters continue to point out, the vote
in favor of Brexit was a narrow one — the measure passed by a 52-48
Perhaps I should add that I am also somewhat amazed by the mess
the Brits are making out of this, and I lived briefly in England, but long
ago, indeed before it entered the European Union, but then
I also should say that since Thatcher came to power in 1979, Great
Britain has steadily grown much worse (also thanks to the very
Blair), at least for those who are not rich conservatives.
Then again, the previous paragraph states some my personal
values. Here is more from the article:
Yes indeed. Besides,
Brexit was introduced by the former conservative PM, David Cameron, because
he felt sure he would win a referendum about it,
but he lost by
48 against 52% of the voters.
While she has steadfastly
refused to say that she thinks Brexit is actually a good idea, May has
committed her government to carrying out what she describes as the will
of the people to leave the EU, but also worked to limit the inevitable
economic damage of cutting ties with her nation’s leading trade
But now that May’s
compromise deal with the EU has been rejected by 230 votes, and there
appears to be no majority in Parliament for any other version of
Brexit, the political system seems to have arrived at an impasse, just
10 weeks before the country’s membership in the union expires on March
Here is some more:
Yes, this is also quite
correct. And I am writing this very early on January 17, so I can add
that Corbyn lost yesterday´s vote, as predicted by Mackey.
Before the Brexit
introduced an element of direct democracy into the parliamentary
system, a prime minister who lost a vote on the central issue of her
government by even one vote, let alone 230, would have been expected to
resign or call a general election. The leader of the opposition Labour
Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has attempted to force May to step down by
calling for a vote of no confidence in her government on Wednesday, but
she is widely expected to win the vote and remain in office, since even
her staunchest opponents in the Conservative Party, and her Ulster
unionist allies, fear a Corbyn-led government more than they hate May.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I believe this is correct
(and Kellner´s reasons seem to be based on the facts of dying older
people, who were 2 to 1 for Brexit, and incoming new young voters, who
seem to be in majority against Brexit.) There is considerably more in
this article, which is recommended.
Still, if no other
found to the impasse, a new referendum could offer a way out for the
deadlocked Parliament. Although a result different from that of 2016 is
far from certain, recent
calculations by the pollster Peter Kellner suggest that the country
gets more pro-EU with each passing day.
Races Toward a Cliff. Time to Slow Down.
This article is by
The Editorial Board of The New York Times. It starts as follows:
there’s an upside to the crushing defeat of Prime Minister Theresa
May’s laboriously negotiated plan for withdrawing from the European
Union, it is that staring in the face of an exit without a deal 10
weeks from now may finally compel British lawmakers to accept reality.
indeed. (As an aside: I also first converted this to pure text,
am a complete opponent of the fact that in the present NYT there is
times - 10 times!! - more utterly
That was far
from evident in the immediate aftermath of the 432-to-202 vote in
Parliament on Tuesday. Though it was the worst drubbing a British
government had suffered in modern times and a dangerous step toward the
cliff’s edge, the vote was cheered by many sides — by hard-core
Brexiteers who would sever ties to the Continent at any cost; by
“remainers” for whom any glitch in the Brexit process keeps alive the
hope of staying in the union or at least softening the terms of a
divorce; by Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, who wants to oust Mrs. May so he
can come to power.
ambitions, at least, were dashed for the moment when many of the
politicians from Mrs. May’s camp who defied her on Tuesday came to her
support on Wednesday, opting to keep her in office rather than risk an
election in which they had no acceptable alternative candidate.
Here are some backgrounds:
other members of the European Union have been united in insisting that
the withdrawal agreement negotiated with Mrs. May’s government over 17
months be viewed as a final deal. Among other provisions, that
nearly-600-page agreement set a transition period lasting through 2021
to make a trade deal and included a “backstop” that would ensure that
no matter what else was decided in that period, the border between the
Republic of Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland would
read this before, in several other articles, so to that extent it is
correct. I must add that I do not think the problems about ¨the British province of
Northern Ireland¨ are fundamental, but that is just what I
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
votes of this week make at least that much clear, British politicians
may at last begin confronting the real options they face. These
includes trying to forge a consensus position on a new Brexit deal and
hoping the Europeans will consider it; or opting for a new referendum,
which is favored by politicians who believe that enough of the public
has reconsidered Brexit to scrap the idea; or accepting Mrs. May’s deal.
This is more or less correct. My own tastes are
new referendum, but this is basically because I am for democracy, and
because I have seen too many lies and too much incompetence of British
(and other) politicians. This is a recommended article.
Fight for the Soul of Britain”: May Goes Down in Historic Defeat
is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts
with the following introduction:
Prime Minister Theresa
Brexit deal was crushed Tuesday in the biggest defeat for a sitting
British government in modern history. After months of build-up, May’s
plan for withdrawing Britain from the European Union was voted down 432
to 202, fomenting political uncertainty about the future of Britain, as
well as May’s leadership. On Wednesday, Parliament will vote on a
no-confidence motion in May’s government. We speak with Paul Mason, New
Statesman contributing writer, author and filmmaker. His latest piece
for the New Statesman is titled “To avoid a disastrous failure, Labour
must now have the courage to fight for Remain.”
Quite so, and I can add that
May has won the no-confidence motion yesterday. Here is more:
GOODMAN: The U.K. is
scheduled to leave the European Union in 10 weeks, but the rejection of
the Brexit deal leaves ambiguity about what will happen next. Shortly
after Tuesday’s vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed Parliament,
calling for a vote of no confidence today in Theresa May’s government.
CORBYN: The result of
tonight’s vote is the greatest defeat for a government since the 1920s
in this House. This is a catastrophic defeat for this government. After
two years of failed negotiations, the House of Commons has delivered
its verdict on her Brexit deal. And that verdict is absolutely
decisive. … I, therefore, Mr. Speaker, inform you I have now tabled a
motion of no confidence in this government. And I’m pleased—I am
pleased that motion will be debated tomorrow, so this House can give
its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this government and pass that
motion of no confidence in the government.
GOODMAN: That was Tuesday.
Today, Labour Leader Corbyn said he misspoke when he called the vote
the largest defeat since the 1920s, saying, in fact, it’s the largest
defeat in the U.K.’s democratic history.
Parliament is currently
debating Corbyn’s no-confidence motion and will vote at 2 p.m. Eastern
As I said, Corbyn lost the
vote, it seems because the sitting parliamentarians rather have an
incompetent conservative government rather than any Labour government.
Here is more:
MASON: Well, Amy, just let
me just put this into context for American viewers. Imagine Trump said,
“Let’s leave NAFTA.” OK, the right of
American politics would applaud. But if you said, “Well, we’re leaving NAFTA, but we’re following NAFTA’s rules, so
Canada and Mexico will get to determine America’s trade policy,” there
would be uproar on both sides of your House of Representatives.
And that’s effectively what
happened last night in British politics. The far right of the Tory
Party and all the other progressive parties combined together to defeat
May. So, 230 out of a 650 Parliament, that was the margin. And it
leaves her not only facing the worst defeat a government has ever
faced, but this is the only piece of legislation her government was
elected to do. It is a one-trick pony, and the trick just failed.
Yes, I agree. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this article:
MASON: The way it goes now
is that if Corbyn were able to win a vote of no confidence against
Theresa May, there would have to be a general election. Now, that’s
something that’s not only, you know, politically unpalatable to the
right and, of course, the corporate elite here in Britain, but this
crisis we’re living through here in Britain, with Brexit, is the
endpoint of a 40-year period of neoliberal economics. It’s become very
focused, as it has in your country, on xenophobia, white nationalism,
free trade. All these themes are there. And basically, the corporate
elite cannot afford to see this Tory government fall, when the only
alternative is the most radical and most left-wing Labour Party we’ve
ever had. And so, that’s why you’ve got this complete stasis and
paralysis in British politics.
Yes, this seems
correct. There is considerably more in the article, that is strongly
Bases, Everywhere … Except in Pentagon’s Report
is by Nick Turse
on Consortium News. It starts as follows:
Within hours of
President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from
Syria, equipment at that base was already being inventoried for
removal. And just like that, arguably the most important American
garrison in Syria was (maybe) being struck from the Pentagon’s books —
except, as it happens, al-Tanf was never actually on the Pentagon’s
books. Opened in 2015 and, until recently, home to hundreds of U.S.
troops, it was one of the many military bases that exist somewhere
between light and shadow, an acknowledged foreign outpost that somehow
never actually made it onto the Pentagon’s official inventory of bases.
Yes, all of this seems
correct to me, but then again I know nothing about the number of bases
that the Pentagon simply does not list although they exist.
Then again, I am sure they exist, at least in Syria, in Iraq,
and in Afghanistan.
Officially, the Department of
Defense maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight
U.S. territories, and 45 foreign countries. A total of 514 of these
outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide
property portfolio. Just to start down a long list, these include bases
on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, in Djibouti on the Horn of
Africa, as well as in Peru and Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and
the United Kingdom. But the most recent version of that portfolio,
issued in early 2018 and known as the Base Structure Report (BSR),
doesn’t include any mention of al-Tanf. Or, for that matter, any other
base in Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Niger. Or Tunisia. Or
Cameroon. Or Somalia. Or any number of locales where such military
outposts are known to exist and even, unlike in Syria, to be expanding.
Here is more from the article:
According to David
Vine, author of “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm
America and the World,” there could be hundreds of similar
off-the-books bases around the world. “The missing sites are a
reflection of the lack of transparency involved in the system of what I
still estimate to be around 800 U.S. bases outside the 50 states and
Washington, D.C., that have been encircling the globe since World War
II,” says Vine, who is also a founding member of the recently
established Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition, a group of
military analysts from across the ideological spectrum who advocate
shrinking the U.S. military’s global “footprint.”
I take this as support of
the previously quoted two paragraphs. And incidentally, if your
response is that the Pentagon is supposed to figure in a democracy, my
reply is that, so far as the Pentagon is concerned that is not
case, as can be illustrated by the fact that while the Pentagon
more than 50% of the American tax dollars, it has not even been
properly audited for more than twenty years.
Back to the article:
bases are off the books for a reason. The Pentagon doesn’t want to talk
about them. “I spoke to the press officer who is responsible for the
Base Structure Report and she has nothing to add and no one available
to discuss further at this time,” Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant
Colonel Michelle Baldanza told TomDispatch when asked about the Defense
Department’s many mystery bases.
Quite so, and I especially
agree wih the second quoted paragraph.
“Undocumented bases are immune
to oversight by the public and often even Congress,” Vine explains.
“Bases are a physical manifestation of U.S. foreign and military
policy, so off-the-books bases mean the military and executive branch
are deciding such policy without public debate, frequently spending
hundreds of millions or billions of dollars and potentially getting the
U.S. involved in wars and conflicts about which most of the country
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
The Overseas Base
Realignment and Closure Coalition notes that the United States
possesses up to 95 percent of the world’s foreign military bases, while
countries like France, Russia, and the United Kingdom have perhaps
10-20 foreign outposts each. China has just one.
Precisely. Also, all of
the quotations I reproduced are from the beginning of this article,
that is strongly recommended, and in which there is a lot
The Department of Defense even
boasts that its “locations” include 164 countries. Put another way, it
has a military presence of some sort in approximately 84 percent of the
nations on this planet (..)
Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe'
is by Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It
starts as follows:
Ahead of the World
Forum's (WEF) annual
meeting in Davos, Switzerland next week—which convenes the world's
wealthiest and most powerful for a summit that's
been called both the "money Oscars" and a "threat to democracy"—the
group published a report declaring, "Of all risks, it is in relation to
the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into
While WEF has
made a habit of recognizing the threat posed by the human-made
climate crisis in its Global Risks reports—for which it has
garnered some praise—author and activist Naomi Klein was quick to
challenge the narrative presented in the latest edition
(pdf), pointing out that many of the polices pushed by the very people
invited to the exclusive event have driven the global crisis.
"Sleepwalking? Nah. The
policies of global deregulation, privatization, unending consumption,
and growth-worship that you advanced so aggressively in order to
construct the Davos Class marched us here," she tweeted. "Pretty sure
your eyes were wide open."
Yes, I agree
with Naomi Klein about this. Here is one more bit:
Yes. And this is a
Responding in a statement,
Marco Lambertini, director general of World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
International, said: "Recognition of the dangers posed by climate
change and biodiversity loss is not enough. The science is clear: we
need to see urgent and unprecedented action now."
of not changing course are enormous not just for nature, but for
humans. We depend on nature much more than nature depends on us,"
Lambertini added. "Global political and business leaders know that they
have a major role to play in safeguarding the future of economies,
businesses, and the natural resources we depend on."
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 (!!).