in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from January 29, 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 29, 2019:
1. The World to Come
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. Donald Trump and the Media Temple of
3. Trump Administration Seizes Venezuela Oil Assets
4. Senate Pressured to Defeat 'Unconstitutional' Attack on
5. Wall Street: "It Can't Be Warren and It Can't Be Sanders"
1. The World
This article is by
Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
The ruling elites are
painfully aware that the foundations of American power are rotting. The
outsourcing of manufacturing in the United States and the plunging of
over half the population into poverty will, they know, not be reversed.
The self-destructive government shutdown has been only one of numerous
assaults on the efficiency of the administrative state. The failing
roads, bridges and public transportation are making commerce and
communications more difficult. The soaring government
deficit, now almost a trillion dollars thanks to the Trump
administration’s massive corporate tax cuts, cannot be eliminated. The
seizure of the financial system by global speculators ensures, sooner
rather than later, another financial meltdown. The dysfunction of
democratic institutions, which vomit up con artists such as Donald
Trump and hold as alternatives inept, corporate-indentured politicians
such as Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, is cementing into place a new
authoritarianism. The hollowing out of the pillars of the state,
including the diplomatic corps and regulatory agencies, leaves the
blunt force of the military as the only response to foreign disputes
and fuels endless and futile foreign wars.
Yes, I more or less agree.
Here is some more:
Just as ominous as the
rot is the internal decay. Among all social classes there is a loss of
faith in the government, widespread frustration, a sense of stagnation
and entrapment, bitterness over unfulfilled expectations and promises,
and a merging of fact and fiction so that civil and political discourse
is no longer rooted in reality. The nation’s isolation by its
traditional allies and its inability, especially in the face of
environmental catastrophe, to articulate rational and visionary
policies have shattered the mystique that is vital to power. “A society
becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial,”
George Orwell wrote. “That is when its ruling class has lost its
function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.” Our
elites have exhausted fraud. Force is all they have left.
I have two comments on
the above quotation.
My first comment is on
this passage: ¨a merging
of fact and fiction so that civil and political discourse is no longer
rooted in reality¨. I quite
agree, but like to point out that in my opinion, in the end this
is mostly due to Facebook giving everyone a kind of website on
Facebook, as ¨a reward¨ for Facebook´s stealing their privacies and
¨paying¨ for that with ¨personalized advertisements¨.
And this means that while
some 20 and more years there were several millions or tens of millions
who could get published (I am sorry, but I do not know the numbers)
these days there are more than two billion ¨publishers¨, who
all can (re-)publish whatever shit they see or receive, and can also do
so anonymously, that is, for ordinary users of computers.
I think this is very
dangerous, but I do not know what to do against this.
And my second comment
is, firstly, about George Orwell,
who wrote ¨“A society
becomes totalitarian when its
structure becomes flagrantly artificial. (..) That
is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging
to power by force or fraud.¨
I agree with Orwell, but I have - so far, at least, and my
should remember I do not live in the USA - some problems with
addition that ¨Our elites
have exhausted fraud. Force is all they have left.¨
For I doubt
that the ¨elites have
exhausted fraud¨; I do not
see what else
they have to offer anyway (as long as there are elections); and
besides, there seems to be a difference between Hedges in 2014 and
Hedges now, for in 2014 Hedges seems to have believed (more than not)
in Sheldon Wolin´s
And I do not
Hedges thinks at present about ¨inverted totalitarianism¨.
Here is more from the
The ruling ideology of neoliberalism,
the ruling elites recognize, has been discredited across the political
spectrum. This is forcing the elites to make unsavory alliances with
neofascists, who in the United States are represented by the Christian
right. This Christianized fascism is swiftly filling Trump’s
ideological void. It is embodied in figures such as Mike Pence, Mike
Pompeo, Brett Kavanaugh and Betsy DeVoss.
In its most virulent form,
one that will be expressed once the economy goes into crisis, this
Christian fascism will seek to purge the society of those branded as
social deviants, including immigrants, Muslims, “secular humanist”
artists and intellectuals, feminists, gays and lesbians, Native
Americans and criminals—largely poor people of color—based on a
perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible. Abortion will be
illegal. The death penalty will be mandated for a variety of crimes.
Education will be dominated by white supremacist views of history,
indoctrination and the teaching of creationism or “intelligent design.”
I think I disagree with the
assertion that (bolding added) ¨[t]he
ruling ideology of neoliberalism,
the ruling elites recognize, has been discredited across the
political spectrum¨. That is:
I agree with Hedges that neoliberalism is and was an
ideology of the rich that has little or nothing to do how the real
economy is being run, but I do not agree that it ¨has been discredited across the political
And I suppose I mostly agree
with Hedges about what he calls ¨Christian fascism¨ but - living in
Europe - I was never confronted by it.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
will be celebrated. Violence will be held up as the mechanism to
cleanse the society and the world of evil. Facts will be erased or
altered. Lies will become true. Political language will be cognitive
dissonance. The more the country declines, the more the paranoia and
collective insanity will grow. All of these elements are present in
varying forms within the culture and our failed democracy. They will
become pronounced as the country unravels and the disease of
The ruling oligarchs, as
all failed states, will retreat into fortified compounds, many of which
they are already preparing, where they will have access to basic
services, health care, education, water, electricity and security
largely denied to the wider population. The central government will be
reduced to its most basic functions—internal and external security and
collecting taxes. Severe poverty will cripple the lives of most
citizens. Any essential service once provided by the state, from
utilities to basic policing, will be privatized, expensive and
inaccessible to those without resources.
Most or all of the above is
predictive rather than descriptive, although I
agree that Hedges may
well turn out to be right. And there is considerably more in the
article, that is strongly recommended.
Trump and the Media Temple of BOOM!
This article is by
Jeremy Scahill on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
BuzzFeed or Buzzkill?
week on Intercepted: Longtime investigative journalist Michael Isikoff
of Yahoo! News analyzes the BuzzFeed News bombshell report that Trump
ordered Michael Cohen to lie to cover up a planned Trump Tower in
Moscow. Robert Mueller is disputing the report and Isikoff offers his
own critique of the story and what we know to be true thus far.
Stephanie Kelton, the popular economist and adviser to the Bernie
Sanders 2016 campaign, talks about Modern Monetary Theory, the lies
told by Republicans and Democrats about deficits, and whether young
workers will ever get Social Security benefits. Los Angeles public
school teachers appear to have won some major victories as a result of
their historic strike. We speak to Noriko Nakada, an 8th grade English
teacher at Emerson Middle School in LA, and labor journalist Sarah
Jaffe, who covered the strike for The Nation.
In fact, this is the
introduction to a long article of which I can only
review a small part (for reasons of space and time).
Here is the first bit:
Thursday, on January 17, Buzzfeed News published an absolute bombshell
story alleging that Donald Trump had directed his longtime attorney
Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump
Tower in Moscow. Buzzfeed said the allegations came from “two federal
law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.”
Buzzfeed also reported that
Trump supported a plan, set up by Michael Cohen, to visit Russia during
the presidential campaign. Why? In order to meet personally with
President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. “Make
it happen,” the sources said Trump told Cohen.
JS: Within moments of this story going
live, it quickly dominated cable news coverage. Calls came from
Washington to initiate impeachment proceedings. The new chair of the
House Intelligence Committee promoted the story on Twitter. Boom
cannons were posted online by the usual suspects. This was perhaps the
smoking gun. This could spell the end for Trump. It’s a clear
impeachable offense. It’s a criminal offense.
JS: And then came this extraordinary
development: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s spokesperson took the
unprecedented step of publicly challenging the accuracy of the Buzzfeed
story, releasing a statement that said —
Errol Barnett: “BuzzFeed’s
description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and
characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office,
regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”
In fact, it seems Buzzfeed still seems to support its
it also seems as if part of the reason is Mueller´s vagueness about
what is not accurate in Buzzfeed´s reports.
I do not know how this stands today. Here is something else,
Yes, I think all of the
above is correct, and The Guardian also has deeply
fallen in my
estimation since 2013/2014 (since when it also made its website
The British Guardian
has still not addressed why it is that no other news outlet has
reported that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort met three times
with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in
London. No one else has been able to confirm any of that. Paul Manafort
denies it. Julian Assange denies it. That is the most surveilled
embassy door on planet earth and no video has emerged to support the
Guardian’s report. The story came. It was a very big deal. No one else
confirmed it and now it’s just floating out there on the internet.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I copied this - which in fact is
the introduction to a fairly interesting interview with Kelton - mostly
because it seems a good and fairly objective summary of some
facts about the present USA. There is a whole lot more in
that is recommended.
Some 40 percent of
Americans struggle to pay for at least one basic need like food,
housing, healthcare or utilities. That’s according to the Urban
Institute. Income inequality in the U.S. has continued to grow
steadily since the 1970s. The top one percent have seen their wealth
grow, taking home an average 26 times more than the rest of the public.
Trump and his self-celebrated Republican tax cut is going to make it
much, much worse. It’s a classic reverse Robin Hood — stealing from the
poor to give to the rich.
My next guest is a
provocative and brilliant economist. She is professor of public policy
and economics at Stony Brook University, Stephanie Kelton. She served
as chief economist for the minority on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee
in 2015 and as a senior economic adviser to Bernie Sanders’ 2016
Kelton is one of the
prominent backers of Modern Monetary Theory and she argues that almost
everything we are told about the deficit, about funding of social
programs, about social security is wrong and it’s actually the product
of politicians well, politicking. Kelton’s arguments have been gaining
momentum lately, as has much of the Bernie Sanders economic message
from the 2016 campaign — on health care, education and taxing the rich.
Ocasio-Cortez recently forced a national discussion on these issues
when she advocated a marginal tax plan that would tax the ultra-wealthy
at 70% on the money that they make beyond 10 million dollars. By the
way, for context, that rate was 78% between 1930 and 1980 and it was
actually more than 90 percent from 1951 to 1963. Remember that when you
watch the freak-outs over Ocasio-Cortez’s modest proposal.We are going
to break all of this down right now with Stephanie Kelton.
Administration Seizes Venezuela Oil Assets
is by Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It
starts as follows:
The Trump administration
intensified its interference in politically-fractured Venezuela on
Monday by announcing the seizure of billions of dollars in assets
connected to the nation's state-owned oil company, a move critics
decried as part of a "dangerous" U.S. policy to help opposition forces overthrow
elected president Nicolás Maduro.
I say, for I did not
know this. And I see this mostly in the light of the Mafia-like
government of the USA, that attacks and seizes whatever and whoever it
does not like, regardless of any and all international law.
Here is some more:
Mnuchin vowed the United
States "will continue to use all of our diplomatic and economic tools"
to back Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself Venezuela's "interim
president." The secretary made clear that "the path to sanctions relief
for PdVSA is through the expeditious transfer of control to the interim
president or a subsequent, democratically-elected government."
I say. Here is
the last bit that I quote from this article:
In addition to tightening
economic restrictions on the Maduro government as a way to bolster the
position of Guaidó, Bolton also issued a fresh threat of military
action by telling reporters in the White House briefing room that Trump
"has made it clear that all options are on the table" when it comes to
next possible steps.
"This is very dangerous,"
world-renowned economics professor and senior U.N. advisor Jeffrey D.
Sachs warned on CNN Monday afternoon. He expressed concern
that the administration's actions could cause immense suffering among
the Venezuelan people, similar to the consequences endured by citizens
of other countries subjected to U.S. interventions.
"The problem here is that
these efforts by the United States to change other countries'
governments often lead to catastrophe," Sachs noted, "as has happened
all through the Middle East in recent years."
"Very often Washington
says, 'Somebody must go,'" he continued. "And this is how our foreign
policy often works—it's very arrogant [to say] who should rule in
I agree with
regards to the - quite realistic - possibility that ¨the administration's actions could cause
immense suffering among the Venezuelan people¨ and the fact that ¨these efforts by the United States to change
countries' governments often lead to catastrophe¨
but I would have liked his mentioning international laws, since
seems - to me, at least - to be breaking international laws with
respect to Venezuela (and quite a number of other countries, like Iraq,
Iran and Afghanistan). And this is a recommended article.
Pressured to Defeat 'Unconstitutional' Attack on Right to Protest´
is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts
With the GOP-controlled
set to vote Monday evening on legislation that would hand states more
power to punish companies and individuals that participate in
pro-Palestinian boycotts of Israel, rights groups urged
people to contact their representatives and pressure them to block the
"unconstitutional" legislation for the fourth time.
"Today at 5:30pm [ET] the
Senate is voting on a bill promoting state laws that suppress the right
to boycott Israel—even though multiple judges have found such laws to
be unconstitutional," the ACLU declared
in a tweet. "It's up to us to tell our senators: Hands off the right to
I say - and since it
is very early Tuesday morning, I do not know the outcome of the
Then again, I agree with the ACLU and ¨multiple judges¨ that such a law
is unconstitutional: You should have the right to your own
opinions, also if these disagree with the government.
And if this is denied, the denial is totalitarian
(in my sense, though not in the crazy Wikipedia sense
of the term, that seems to derive from Brzezinski).
Besides, in case you wonder about the unconstitutionality: If this is
constitutional, then why would (for example) Trump´s and Bezos wish
that you should only buy via Amazon and should only buy - wherever
possible - Trump products, not be constitutional?!
Anyway... I agree with the ACLU. Here is some more:
Sponsored by Sen. Marco
(R-Fla.) and officially titled the Strengthening America's Security in
the Middle East Act, Senate Bill 1 (S.1) is a package of legislation
that includes the Combatting BDS Act, a bill that would give states and
localities more legal authority to punish companies and individuals who
engage in boycotts of Israel.
As The Intercept pointed
out, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) last year
supported "far more draconian" legislation
sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.).
Cardin's bill, which the
ACLU called a "full-scale
attack" on the First Amendment, was co-sponsored
by 15 Democratic senators and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).
This does not sound
good. And this is a recommended article.
5. Wall Street: "It Can't Be Warren and It
Can't Be Sanders"
This article is by Jake
Johnson on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:
I say, for I did not
that one of the very brave anonymous CEOs of an anonymous "giant bank" does not mind many of the Democrats who also want to
become president of the USA, while he (I suppose) does mind if
the Americans were to elect Warren or Sanders.
The first 2020 Democratic
presidential primary is still over a year away, but Wall Street
executives are reportedly
already freaking out about two likely progressive candidates: Sens.
Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
"It can't be Warren and it
can't be Sanders," the CEO of a "giant bank" anonymously told Politico,
on Monday that Wall Street executives are "getting panicked" about the
presidential prospects of the Senate's two fiercest financial sector
an exploratory committee for president last month, vowing to take on
the "corruption" that is "poisoning our democracy." Sanders, for his
part, has yet to publicly announce a bid for the White House—but Yahoo
on Friday that the Vermont senator plans to launch his campaign
Both progressive senators
have placed scrutiny of Wall
Street's size, record of large-scale
fraud, exorbitant CEO
pay packages, enormous political
influence, and lack of stringent
regulations at the center of their political agendas for years, and
deep-pocketed bankers who have profited
immensely from President Donald Trump's tenure are worried that one
of the two could ascend to the White House and threaten their
Then again, I must add that this brave anonymous CEO of an anonymous "giant bank" does indirectly support my
conviction that the only reasonable Democratic presidential
that I have heard about are Warren and
Here is some more:
I say again, for I did not
know the above. And I also draw a conclusion: I do not believe
presidential candidacies of Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, Biden and
O´Rourke, and I do not because Wall Street seems to embrace
them, while it
does not embrace Warren and Sanders.
According to Politico,
Wall Street executives who want Trump out of the White House mentioned
"a consistent roster of appealing nominees" they would find acceptable
outside of Bloomberg, who the outlet describes as Wall Street's
This "roster" reportedly
included Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand
(N.Y.), and Kamala Harris (Calif.); former Vice President Joe Biden;
and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas).
As CNBC reported
earlier this month, Harris, Booker, and Gillibrand
have all reached out to Wall Street to gauge support for 2020
campaigns. Harris announced
that she is running for president last week, and Gillibrand launched an
exploratory committee for president earlier this month.
In fact, this is also Jake Johnson´s conclusion:
I totally agree
and this is a strongly
"The best indication of
you should vote for in the Democratic Primary if you actually want
progressive policy is who Wall Street doesn't like, which essentially
means Bernie or Warren," concluded
journalist Josh Mound.
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 (!!).