in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from May 2, 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 May 2, 2019:
1. Why Are We Complicit? A Narrative for
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. Venezuela Coup Attempt Fails to
3. Yes, We Can do Better Than Capitalism
4. The New "Infrastructure Deal" Is a Political Disaster
5. Where the Money Is
Are We Complicit? A Narrative for Our Era
article is by Roy M. Poses MD on Health Care Renewal. In fact, I had a review of an earlier article on
Health Care Renewal on April 29 (to which I refer because the
history of my ex and myself is relevant, and it is briefly told there),
while the present article can be seen as a continuation of the above
article. In any case, it starts as follows:
Why are seemingly good people
complicit with bad things? In health care, we have seen seemingly
good health care professionals and academics silent in the face of manipulation
of clinical research; deception,
attacks on free
speech and the press, silencing of whistleblowers;
of interest; ill-informed,
incompetent, self-interested leadership; and outright corruption
We have seen the anechoic
effect, that cases of such behavior are not the subject of polite
discussion. When I saw a whistleblower being threatened (he
ultimately lost his job), one colleague said I should ignore it, and
keep my nose "to the grindstone."
Why? One explanation is that ordinary people are afraid to
challenge behaviors that help the rich and powerful, fear losing their
jobs, fear angering others. It seems hard to comprehend the
mindset of those who are complic[i]t.
I quite agree, but I fear I am also in a fairly small
one of at most 5%. Then again, I am rather to very certain that at most
1 in 20 Dutchmen have the internal courage, the character, and
the intelligence to stand up against politicial leaders they strongly
disagree with, and I am rather to very certain of this because it
accords with my own life (of meanwhile nearly 69 years), and it
with the lives of my parents, and it accords with the lives
of my grandparents.
And the point here is that I am leftist radical who ceased to be a Marxist when I
was 20, but who became a student leader even though he was ill, namely
to oppose the destruction of the Dutch universities and of the courses
given there, but who found that 95% of the students much rather had
worthless universities and worthless courses than good universities and
good courses, because the latter were more difficult, while the former
would provide them with M.A. diplomas. They told me so, and also
called me "a dirty fascist" and "a terrorist" not because they
knew I was, but because they knew they disagreed with me and were in
My parents were both communists/Marxists for at least 45 years of their
lives, and were in the resistance during WW II. My mother was never
arrested, but both my father and his father were, and were convicted by
collaborating Dutch judges (none of whom was ever
punished, and all of whom could continue their careers as
judges after WW II). Also, while my father survived over 3 years and 9
months of 4 German concentration camps, my grandfather - who also
turned into a communist/Marxist in 1937 - was murdered in such a camp.
Finally, in Holland over 100,000 Jews were arrested and murdered,
and at most 1 in 20 had the courage to try to do something against this
I could write a lot more, but these are the basic facts why I do
believe 19 out of 20 Dutchmen either lack the courage, or the
character, or the intelligence to stand up against politial leaders
they strongly disagree with - even if at the same time 19 out
of 20 Dutchmen will insist falsely
that they do (indeed precisely
as immediately after WW II 19 out of 20 Dutchmen insisted falsely that
they had been in the resistance).
As I said, I am afraid at most 1 in 20 Dutchmen will agree with
me, but then again I know no one with
a Dutch family as radical as my
family was. And I am sorry if you belong to the 19 out of 20 - but
hey: You are still there, whereas my direct family was
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I don't think
Comey is the right person to tell you what you should and should not
do, but he is right to the extent that "people are sucked into complicity", indeed to an embarrassing
least in my eyes. Also, this is a strongly recommended
Today we have a new narrative
about how people are sucked into complicity, in an op-ed
in the New York Times by James Comey,
leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them.
Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring.
more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing.
I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod
Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the
compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to
something they will never recover from.
Coup Attempt Fails to Overthrow Maduro
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the
Yes indeed, although I
tend to be very skeptical about anything Guaidó says in public, and rather
skeptical about anything Maduro says in public, but the above bit seems
to sketch the situation in and around Venezuela reasonably well.
Maduro is claiming to have defeated a coup attempt launched by
opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the president of the Venezuelan National
Assembly. On Tuesday morning, Guaidó appeared in an online video
standing among heavily armed soldiers, calling for the military to back
what he called the “final phase” of an effort to topple Maduro’s
government. Guiadó appeared alongside Leopoldo López, a longtime
opposition leader, who was reportedly released from house arrest by
renegade officers. Guaidó has been attempting to topple the Venezuelan
government since January, when he declared himself to be Venezuela’s
interim president. The Trump administration, as well as Brazilian
President Jair Bolsonaro and others, openly supported the coup attempt.
Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox Business
that military action in Venezuela is possible, “if that’s what is
required.” We speak to Miguel Tinker Salas, Venezuelan historian and
professor at Pomona College.
Here is some more:
Of course Bolton was
speaking utter bullshit:
Quite evidently Guaidó tried
to start a coup; and quite
evidently he is totally unelected and as such not "the legitimate interim president of Venezuela", but I do have to grand that almost all
Western governments (rather than the people) seem to agree with
GOODMAN: In Washington,
national security adviser John Bolton repeated the Trump
administration’s position on Venezuela, saying all options are on the
table. He also insisted Tuesday’s events were not a coup.
BOLTON: We want, as our
principal objective, the peaceful transfer of power. But I will say
again, as the president has said from the outset, and that Nicolás
Maduro and those supporting him, particularly those who are not
Venezuelans, should know, is all options are on the table. … This is
clearly not a coup. We recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim
president of Venezuela. And just as it’s not a coup when the president
of the United States gives an order to the Department of Defense, it’s
not a coup for Juan Guaidó to try and take command of the Venezuelan
Here is some more:
Well... I agree
Goodman that I do not have any certainty that I do understand what is
happening in Venezuela, and two reasons are that I have not paid much
attention to Venezuela in the past, and also that my Spanish is not
good at all.
GOODMAN: (..) Professor
Miguel Tinker Salas, let’s begin with you. What do you understand is
happening on the ground right now in Venezuela? What has taken place?
And the significance of Juan Guaidó standing together with Leopoldo
What took place yesterday was an intended coup. The problem is, if
you’re going to stage a coup, you normally would have the generals and
the admirals standing at your side. So, obviously that didn’t happen.
So it was an attempt on the part of Guaidó and López and his faction
within the right-wing opposition to try to create greater divisions
within the military. It was obviously that he did not have that
support. What had happened was, they had a handful of lower-ranking
officers from the National Guard. They had one general from the
military intelligence service. But they did not have the core within
the Army or the Navy or the Air Force.
Then again, I do trust Goodman and am more or less prepared to
Salas comments as a possibly correct statement of what is happening in
Venezuela by someone who knows a lot more about Venezuela than I do.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I take it this is
factually correct and this is a recommended article.
(..) So, as I said earlier, this is an effort to provoke this crisis,
to try to escalate it, because we’ve already had three separate
incidents previously. Guaidó claimed he would be president on January
23rd. He wasn’t; it failed. He claimed that on February 23rd, from the
border in Cúcuta, he would re-enter the country, assume the presidency.
It failed. So, once again, we have Guaidó claiming that he will assume
the presidency. This time it appears to have failed, as well.
We Can do Better Than Capitalism
This article is by Richard
Wolff on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
I tend to avoid
by Richard Wolff because he is an American academic Marxist whose
articles tend to be too Marxist for me, but he is
sometimes right, and
he seems mainly correct in the present article, which is in fact
the meaning of the term "capitalism".
As capitalism drives itself
into ever-greater inequality, instability and injustice, its critics
multiply. Worried defenders react in two ways. Many dismiss the
criticisms. After all, capitalism has been around a long time and
weathered ups and downs before. They presume or hope that criticism
will fade as little really changes despite the critics, and
frustrations set in. It’s just losers who complain. The winners will
surely carry the system forward. Some defenders insist that there
simply is no alternative to capitalism, so criticism becomes pointless.
A second sort of defenders
takes a different approach. They place adjectives in front of the word
capitalism and argue for some and against other such adjectives. Thus
we get criticisms of statist or state-interventionist capitalism in
favor of “free-market” capitalism and of “regressive” capitalism in
favor of “progressive” capitalism. Greedy capitalism, we are told, must
give way to “sharing” capitalism. Similarly it is said that “Crony”
capitalism or capitalism without a social conscience should be
Capitalism’s defenders of
both types clearly want the basic system to continue. But exactly what
is the system? It turns out that its defenders are neither agreed nor
clear about the definition of what they are defending.
And indeed this first bit is correct. Here is some more:
Is capitalism a “market”
system? If that means markets are the institutional mechanism whereby
resources and products are distributed—by voluntary exchanges between
owners of goods and services—then the problem is that capitalism is
hardly the only “system” that utilizes markets. Slavery certainly did
(think slaves and cotton in the US south). Feudal plantations often did
too. And both Soviet and contemporary Chinese socialisms have made use
Yes indeed. Here is
Is capitalism a “private
enterprise” system versus a “state enterprise” system? Such a
definition is also problematic. Slavery and feudalism exhibit
co-existences of enterprises owned and operated by private individuals
holding no position within any state apparatus alongside those owned
and operated by state officials. There have been private and state
enterprises within slave, feudal, and capitalist systems. The presence
of state enterprises, like the presence of markets, is thus not
Yes, I agree again.
the last bit from this article that I quote:
are intrinsic. They comprise the employer- employee relationship at its
core and that relationship’s results for the broader economy, politics
and culture. Modern society’s systemic problem is capitalism, not this
or that kind of capitalism. Reforms have replaced one kind of
capitalism with another.
I more or less agree,
and this is a strongly recommended article because the meaning
term "capitalism" indeed is considerably less clear than is
New "Infrastructure Deal" Is a Political Disaster
This article is by
Jeffrey C. Isaac on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes, I take it Isaac is quite
correct on all the four points he mentions above.
Also, I think I
should say right away that I strongly dislike both Pelosi and
In the past 24 hours four
things of direct political importance to the ongoing saga of the Trump
Maladministration have occurred:
(1) the Barr Justice
Department, and the Trump administration more generally, has escalated
its battle of wills with the House Judiciary and Intelligence
Committees, refusing to comply with requests for information and for
interviews, in clear violation of the law;
(2) Trump and his family
members have filed a civil suit trying to block Deutschebank from
disclosing financial information that has been duly requested by House
(3) The New York Times reported
that Robert Mueller sent a letter to Barr in late March
objecting to Barr’s public statements about how the Mueller Report
exonerated the President
(4) Nancy Pelosi and Chuck
Schumer met with President Trump in the White House, and agreed
to the outlines of a plan for a $2 trillion infrastructure bill .
According to the Times:
“Ms. Pelosi requested the meeting with Mr. Trump, in part to change the
conversation from impeachment to infrastructure and to demonstrate that
Democrats want to proceed with a policy agenda, and not merely with
investigations of the president.”
Here is more:
Well... I don't
Jeffrey Isaac's "credentials
as a political scientist of good professional standing" and in fact I don't care much, but he
is clearly allowed to write what he wants. And I think he is correct
about "Trump’s dangerous
Re-read those statements by
Pelosi and Schumer again.
Would it be consistent with
my credentials as a political scientist of good professional standing
to declare that these statements are craven and idiotic?
Let me be even clearer.
Trump’s dangerous authoritarian tendencies have been on display for
over two years. The Mueller investigation did not exonerate him. And in
the face of the Mueller Report, Trump has lied about the Report;
blatantly rejected any form of Congressional oversight; and waged a
campaign of verbal violence against Mueller and against the Democrats,
accusing them of “treason” and of attempting “a coup.”
The situation has become
graver by the day. House Democrats are readying subpoenas. A number of
very prominent Democrats have consistently denounced Trump’s flouting
of constitutional democracy. Many have talked of impeachment, and among
the Democratic presidential contenders, Elizabeth Warren, and now even
Joe Biden, have seconded this talk.
And Schumer smiles because
Trump deigns to meet with him after calling his party treasonous?
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I more or less agree
Isaac, but not quite with his statement that "if properly conducted [impeachment hearings] can weaken [Trump] and link to a broader
campaign against him", and
my reasons are that (i) nobody knows they can or will be "properly conducted"; that (ii) it may also happen that as a result of
impeachment hearings Trump (once again) gets loads of free TV time;
while (iii) in any case impeachment is very improbable with the
Senate where the Republicans have the majority. But he is right
the centrist Democrats, and this is a recommended article.
It would be bad enough if
Pelosi and Schumer were “bringing a knife to a gunfight”; but they are
bringing nothing but a pencil and a smile. This is the way they “deal?”
Trump is a danger to
democracy. I have argued
that the Democrats should commence impeachment hearings,
not because such hearings can remove Trump, but because if properly
conducted they can weaken him and link to a broader campaign against
him. I stand by this argument. But others favor more conventional
Congressional investigations, and this too makes some sense. What does
not make any political sense is the notion that one can conduct such
investigations, in the fact of constant resistance and attack by Trump,
and at the same time make nice with Trump.
Either the Democrats are in
a political battle, now, to defeat a dangerous president, or they are
the Money Is
article is by Jim Hightower on Common Dreams and originally on
Creators. It starts as follows:
Yes, I think all
above is correct. Here is some more on the honesty and character of
Famed bank robber Willie
Sutton once explained that he busted into banks because "that's where
the money is." What a small-timer! Corporate thieves—including the
biggest banks—know that the big scores are in the tax code and federal
budget. America's superrich establishment decided to woo Trump and his
fanatical constituency to back their agenda of plutocratic plunder.
It's working. The big
legislative accomplishment of the guy who claimed to be a working-class
hero was his 2017 Christmastime signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
As most Americans now realize, the tax cut was not for them but instead
was a disgraceful trillion-dollar-a-year giveaway to corporate giants
and their wealthiest shareholders.
According to Americans for
Tax Fairness, hundreds of TCJA's corporate backers are already making a
killing. In just the first three quarters of 2018, big business quietly
pocketed stunning tax savings they would have — and should have — paid
to support America's public needs:
— Apple: $4.5 billion
— AT&T: $2.2 billion
— Bank of America: $2.4
— Verizon: $1.75 billion
— Walmart: $1.6 billion
Well... the "innovative operating model for our future" involves shifting as many
jobs as possible to - especially - India because workers are paid a
fraction of what American workers are to be paid. And this means
that those who had the jobs in the USA after this "innovative operating model for our future" has been applied have lost their
jobs, which in turn means that the very rich get more and more rich,
and the rest gets poorer and poorer.
ThinkProgress found that
2018, RATE members — including AT&T, Capital One, CSX, Ford,
General Dynamics, Intel, Kimberly-Clark, Lockheed Martin, Macy's,
Northrop Grumman, T-Mobile, Verizon, Viacom and Walmart — instead
eliminated more than 100,000 U.S. jobs. Verizon, for instance, promptly
offered a "voluntary severance package" to 44,000 employees and
offshored thousands of its U.S. jobs to India. It was "an opportunity
to find more efficiencies," the CEO told workers, "and help expedite
... an innovative operating model for our future." Or, to put it more
simply: It was greed.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes again, and this is a strongly
So where did the money
the top. After all, only the tax giveaways were mandated — not a dime
in obligations (not even thank-you notes) was written into law. With no
strings attached and union voices largely hushed or marginalized, top
executives and board members spent it on themselves and their big
investors, hiding their grubby motives behind "stock buybacks," an
accounting gimmick that hikes the pay of bosses who do nothing to earn
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 3 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 (!!).