in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from June 11, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
I realize that I did not commemorate the fact that I am writing Crisis files for six years now, since I
started to do so after June 10, 2013,
which taught me about Snowden.
I am registering it now, and may write about it the coming days, but I
am also somewhat worse at present than I was for a long time.
There will be more about computers and Ubuntu in Nederlog soon, but I
am happy to announce that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, that I installed in 2017,
works again as it did before on May 24, and after 24 hours of misery.
And on May 23 I also got a working computer with 18.04 LTS
worse than 16.04 LTS because its Firefox also is a menuless
horror that I refuse to use, but
happily SeaMonkey is not, for it still has it menus and can be
installed on 18.04), so I
present - and after two weeks of struggling - in the possession of two
more or less, though not yet quite decently working computers.
So today there is a more or less common Nederlog, where "common" is the
style I developed in 2013.
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
four crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from June 11, 2019:
1. The Cult of Trump
The items 1 - 4 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:
Making Billions at the Media's Expense
American Women Prefer Socialism to Capitalism: Poll
4. George Conway
assails Trump in blistering Twitter thread
1. The Cult
This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as
note: The 45th president’s approval
ratings remain steady despite numerous scandals and missteps. Below
is an Oct. 29, 2018, column in which Hedges analyzes Donald Trump’s
seemingly indefatigable appeal. On Tuesday, Truthdig will publish a new
column by Hedges, one that will present the text of a speech he will
give that same day in London in support of Julian Assange.
I say. I repeat
the review I wrote on October 30,
Well... yes and no.
Cult leaders arise from
decayed communities and societies in which people have been shorn of
political, social and economic power. The disempowered, infantilized by
a world they cannot control, gravitate to cult leaders who appear
omnipotent and promise a return to a mythical golden age. The cult
leaders vow to crush the forces, embodied in demonized groups and
individuals, that are blamed for their misery. The more outrageous the
cult leaders become, the more they flout law and social conventions,
the more they gain in popularity. Cult leaders are immune to the norms
of established society. This is their appeal. Cult leaders demand a
God-like power. Those who follow them grant them this power in the hope
that the cult leaders will save them.
Donald Trump has transformed
the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult. All cults are
personality cults. They are extensions of the cult leaders. The cult
reflects the leader’s prejudices, worldview, personal style and ideas.
Trump did not create the yearning for a cult leader. Huge segments of
the population, betrayed by the established elites, were conditioned
for a cult leader. They were desperately looking for someone to rescue
them and solve their problems.
First, what is a cult?
According to Wikipedia (quoted from the beginning, without note
The term cult
usually refers to a social
group defined by its religious,
spiritual, or philosophical
beliefs, or its common interest in a particular
personality, object or goal. The term itself is controversial and it has
divergent definitions in both popular culture and academia and it also has been an ongoing source
of contention among scholars across several fields of study. In the sociological
classifications of religious movements, a cult is a social group
with socially deviant or novel
beliefs and practices, although this is often unclear.
Besides, there is the fact
(it seems) that at least in the English speaking world, the term ¨cult¨
normally has negative implications, mostly because those who
say so believe that what they call a cult or cults are in various ways too
Second, in some ways I agree with Hedges that Trump is
- effectively, at least - making himself into a cult leader, and that
there is something like a cult of Trump.
But third, I do not think that saying a group
is a cult or that a group´s leader functions like the leader of a cult
helps a lot to explain the group or the leader, and especially
not if the
common fundament of many, though not all, human social groups,
are that its ordinary members have little influence on the leadership
of their group because ordinary
members are by and large not informed
while many are marked by ignorance or stupidity
about their own group, their own leader and the real ways of the real
world, are wholly undiscussed - as is the case in this article.
Here is more on Trump:
Trump’s refusal to
acknowledge and address the impending crisis of ecocide and the massive
mismanagement of the economy by kleptocrats, his bellicosity, his
threats against Iran and China and the withdrawal from nuclear arms
treaties, along with his demonization of all who oppose him, ensure our
cultural and, if left unchecked, physical extinction.
Yes, I more or less agree
with that quotation.
Here is more on cults and their leaders:
obsequious fawning and total obedience. They prize loyalty above
competence. They wield absolute control. They do not tolerate
criticism. They are deeply insecure, a trait they attempt to cover up
with bombastic grandiosity. They are amoral and emotionally and
physically abusive. They see those around them as objects to be
manipulated for their own empowerment, enjoyment and often sadistic
entertainment. All those outside the cult are branded as forces of
evil, prompting an epic battle whose natural expression is violence.
Again yes and no:
Yes, I more or less agree these characteristics do seem to
apply to Donald Trump, but again I think the concept of a cult is less helpful than the
concept of totalitarianism,
which has similar consequences.
Then again, I must remark that the Wikipedia seems to be recast now by
some anonymous right wingers with a lot of money, who have deleted
the previous more or less good definition of totalitarianism,
which is that this is an ideology or religion that is
pretended to have final answers to many important human
questions and problems and that is pretended to be thereby
justified to persecute persons who do not agree with the ideology or
the religion, and has replaced this by the ideological bullshit
that seems to originate with Brzezinski, according to whom
totalitarianism has nothing to do with ideas, religion, or
absolutism but is (I quote, with bolding added) ¨a political concept that defines a mode
of government, which prohibits opposition parties, restricts
individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an
extremely high degree of control over public and private life.¨
The second definition of
totalitarianism - it is about a mode of government
much rather than a mode of feeling, valueing, and reasoning of persons - at
best is an implication of the first definition which is what Orwell and
most intellectuals understood by it.
Here is more on Orwell (who used the term ¨cult¨ rarely or never in his
understood that cult leaders manipulate followers primarily through
language, not force. This linguistic manipulation is a gradual process.
It is rooted in continual mental chaos and verbal confusion. Lies,
conspiracy theories, outlandish ideas and contradictory statements that
defy reality and fact soon paralyze the opposition. (..) The cult
leader does not take his or her statements seriously and often denies
ever making them, even when they are documented. Lies and truth do not
matter. The language of the cult leader is designed exclusively to
appeal to the emotional needs of those in the cult.
Well... perhaps, but why
are so many moved by ¨continual
mental chaos and verbal confusion. Lies, conspiracy theories,
outlandish ideas and contradictory statements that defy reality and fact¨ ?! Why do they not
(rationally) conclude that they live in mental chaos and verbal
confusion, and try to get some rational clarity?! Because most are stupid and ignorant.
This from the ending of this
Our only hope is to
organize the overthrow of the corporate state that vomited up Trump.
Our democratic institutions, including the legislative bodies, the
courts and the media, are hostage to corporate power. They are no
longer democratic. (..) We give people an alternative to a Democratic
Party that refuses to confront the corporate forces of oppression and
cannot be rehabilitated. We make possible the restoration of an open
society. If we fail to embrace this militancy, which alone has the
ability to destroy cult leaders, we will continue the march toward
Perhaps, but this is far
from hopeful. Then again, I agree I am pessimistic as
well, and this is a recommended article, mostly because it is by
Hedges, and not because I agree with it.
Is Making Billions at the Media's Expense
This article is by Jacob Sugarman on Truthdig. It starts as
Yes, I think the above is
all correct, and indeed in my opinion Google should not exist as it
Last year, amid a wave
of layoffs and turmoil in the media that has shown no
sign of breaking, Google earned $4.7 billion in revenue from news
publishers through search and Google News—a figure that is likely
conservative due to the multinational’s diverse business model. The
findings were part of a
study by the trade organization News Media Alliance,
previously the Newspaper Association of America, and first reported in The
New York Times.
“The actual value of news
content to Google is more difficult to quantify because of the various
ways the company uses news content to drive traffic, develop its
products and entrench its dominant position,” the study reads. “In
addition to using news content for product development, such as
training its artificial intelligence services, Google is tailoring its
products—ramping up its use of news—to keep users in the Google
For a news industry that
earned a total $5.1 billion in advertising in 2018, the dangers are
Here is some more:
Well... I think the last
bit I just quoted sounds extremely weak, but then again that
probable position of authentic American providers of news (which
David Chavern, the News
Media Alliance’s president and chief executive, offered a similar
assessment: “[Google] makes money off this arrangement and there needs
to be a better outcome for news publishers.”
Chavern hopes this latest
study will impel Congress to pass the Journalism
Competition and Preservation Act, a bill sponsored by House
Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline, D-R.I., and House
Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga. According to the alliance,
the legislation would “grant news publishers an antitrust safe harbor
allowing them to come together to collectively negotiate with the tech
platforms for more equitable terms.”
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I agree with
Warren, and I also observe that the last quoted paragraph sounds rather
ominous: If the - real - press is dead or mostly dead, so is
This is a recommended article.
Google’s hefty profits at
the news industry’s expense will likely renew calls in progressive
circles to smash Big Tech. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has called for
Facebook to be broken
up, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced a proposal in
March that would dismantle several Silicon Valley monopolies, including
Google. “We must help America’s content creators — from local
newspapers and national magazines to comedians and musicians — keep
more of the value their content generates, rather than seeing it
scooped up by companies like Google and Facebook,” she
wrote at the time.
As the News Media Alliance
makes clear, the future of the Fourth Estate may depend on it.
American Women Prefer Socialism to Capitalism: Poll
This article is by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truthdig. It
starts as follows:
Well... yes but mostly no,
for who can define ¨socialism¨ and ¨capitalism¨ clearly? Almost no one,
I am pretty sure, after ten years of reading about the crisis. (You can
find my answers here: Crisis: On Socialism where you also will find that reasonable
definitions are far from easy.)
Signs that socialism is
gaining popularity in the United States are popping up everywhere.
Publications such as The
Economist, The Guardian and The
New York Times have all been saying for some time that American
millennials are more
interested in socialism than capitalism these days, with one 2017
Guardian piece even framing it as a youthful
love affair with a not-so-young idea. Then there was Bernie
Sanders’ unexpected popularity among young voters during the 2016
primaries, with polls showing that the self-proclaimed Democratic
more votes from the under-30 crowd than Trump and Clinton combined.”
Add to this the rise of figures like Rep. Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America,
and polls showing that Democrats
are increasingly embracing socialism, and it’s clear the term no
longer holds the misguided Cold War stigma it did for decades.
Also, I like to add that if Zapata had not written about
but ¨the left¨ or ¨leftist ideas¨ I think she would have been far more
Here is some more:
No, I am sorry: I do not
believe so at all. What I possibly do believe (but don´t know
is the above with ¨socialism¨ replaced by ¨the left¨ or ¨leftist ideas¨.
Now a new
Harris poll conducted for the show “Axios on HBO” reveals 40% of
Americans would take socialism over capitalism. Perhaps more
significantly, the poll finds a whopping 55% of women between the ages
of 18 and 54 would prefer to live under socialism.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Well... to say at this
point that ¨there’s some
disagreement over what American socialism would look like¨ is true, though I would have
written something considerably stronger, to the effect that few
Americans seem to have decent ideas about socialism.
As Axios also points out,
however, there’s some disagreement over what American socialism would
look like. But when it comes to some of the key policies being put
forward by progressives like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez—such as
single-payer health care, a living wage and tuition-free higher
education—most Americans polled seem to agree:
- Universal health care: 76%
- Tuition-free education: 72%
- Living wage: 68%
- State-controlled economy: 66%
- State control and regulation of private property: 61%
- High taxes for the rich: 60%
- State-controlled media and communication: 57%
- Strong environmental regulations: 56%
- High public spending: 55%
- Government “democratizes’’ private businesses—that is, gives
workers control over them—to the greatest extent possible: 52%
- System dependent on dictatorship: 49%
- Workers own and control their places of employment: 48%
- Democratically-elected government: 46%
Given these numbers, and
the fact that even Fox News viewers seem to support policies like
Medicare for all, as evidenced by Sanders’
recent town hall on that cable news channel, at the same time
Democratic 2020 hopefuls move
further left on many of these very issues, it could be only a
matter of time before American women get their wish to live in a
Also, as to the above list: I think (with a few exceptions) the above
is better read as being about social democracy. And I
don´t recommend this article, because it is much too vague.
Conway assails Trump in blistering Twitter thread
This article is by Alex Henderson on AlterNet. I abbreviated
the title. It starts as follows:
Anyone who follows George
Conway on Twitter knows that the Republican attorney is among President
Donald Trump’s most vehement critics on the right. While his wife, GOP
activist and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, is among the president’s
staunchest defenders, GC has a totally different point of view — and in
a blistering Twitter thread posted over the weekend, GC questioned
Trump’s mental health and urged others to do the same.
Yes indeed. And I think
- as a psychologist, also - that Conway is quite right: See Crisis: Is Donald Trump
Mentally Ill, that gives the answer many psychiatrists and
psychologists agree to.
Also, I dislike it
very much that AH abbreviates GC. Here is some more:
In his thread, the attorney
also posted, “Do yourself and the country a favor. Resign and seek the
psychological treatment you so obviously need.” And GC went on to point
readers in the direction of some anti-Trump books, including Bandy
Lee’s “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental
Health Experts Assess a President” and Dr. Justin A. Frank’s “Trump on
the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President” — both of which examine
Trump’s mental state.
Well... I think Conway is
mostly right, but I also think that once you are quite rich you can be
rather mad without any criticism.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
In other tweets over the
weekend, GC spoke out against Trump’s “myriad psychiatric problems” as
well “the media’s and the nation’s utter failure to confront the fact
that we have a psychologically unwell and unfit president.”
What’s astonishing is the
media’s and the nation’s utter failure to confront the fact that we
have a psychologically unwell and unfit president.
-- George Conway
Yes, I think he is
correct, but no, I will not recommend this article because I very
strongly dislike personal abbreviations as made by AH in A.
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 (!!).