This is a Nederlog of Monday, March 13, 2017.
Summary: This is an
ordinary crisis log with four items and
four dotted links: Item 1 is about Chris Hedges'
weekly column on Truthdig; item 2 is about an
interview with Bernie Sanders (with a note by me on The Guardian); item 3 is about conservatism, but is a bit vague (no
definition, for one thing); and item 4 is about an
interview with someone who collaborated with Sanders, about whether
Sanders should try to lead a third party. (I think he should, but I
agree the question is difficult. And I think he should because both the
Democrats and the Republicans have sold themselves to the bankers:
They're too rich and too corrupt.)
March 13: As to the
The Danish site is on time yesterday; and even the Dutch site
now is on time for me. Where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others
I have NO idea: It may
2015. (They do want immediate
payment if you are a
week behind. They have been destroying
my site now for over
a year. And I completely distrust them, but also do not
know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
1. The Dance of Death
The first item today is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
The ruling corporate elites no longer
seek to build. They seek to destroy. They are agents of death. They
crave the unimpeded power to cannibalize the country and pollute and
degrade the ecosystem to feed an insatiable lust for wealth, power and
hedonism. Wars and military “virtues” are celebrated. Intelligence,
empathy and the common good are banished. Culture is degraded to
patriotic kitsch. Education is designed only to instill technical
proficiency to serve the poisonous engine of corporate capitalism.
Historical amnesia shuts us off from the past, the present and the
future. Those branded as unproductive or redundant are discarded and
left to struggle in poverty or locked away in cages. State repression
is indiscriminant and brutal. And, presiding over the tawdry Grand
Guignol is a deranged ringmaster tweeting absurdities from the White
I more or less agree but I like to note a
First, about "[t]he
ruling corporate elites no longer seek to build":
I think - since 2012 - that they
well may have decided that there are too many people in the world.
I do not know this, but in practice it seems indeed as if they
are trying to make the rich as rich as possible, and move the poor to
an early death. (And I agree there are too many people on earth, and
indeed think so since 1972, when the situation was far less bad than it
Second, I agree that "[i]ntelligence, empathy and the common good are banished.
Culture is degraded to patriotic kitsch. Education (..)" has been
effectively killed, for the most part. But this is also a
process that was started in the 1970ies, and has become worse
and worse ever since. Also, it is not all education, but most
education. Then again, it is almost all education if one leaves
colleges and universities out of consideration. (And I have seen this
steady regress to academic titles that are even open to those with an
IQ of less than 100, if they have enough money, start in 1965 in
Holland. I also am the only one known to me in Holland who protested
Third, I agree that "[t]hose branded as unproductive or redundant are discarded and
left to struggle in poverty or locked away in cages". Not everywhere, indeed, but I saw the same happening to
me since I fell ill 1979: There is no money for the chronically ill;
there is no care of any kind for the chronically ill; and in fact I am
supposed to be - by most medics and all psychiatrists - not ill but insane (a
psychosomatizer for 38 years, with only A's on a B.A. philosophy and an
M.A. psychology, who did it all without any lectures) and in fact I was
never even regarded as ill by narkonazistic
sadofascistic bureaucrats and terrorists who also are the inhuman norm
in bureaucratic and political Holland. 
Fourth, I agree that the president of the
USA is "a deranged ringmaster tweeting
absurdities from the White House" - and I think
that is also a very serious problem.
Then again, I also think Western civilization is falling apart for
quite a while now, and since the 1970ies, so it is not just Trump, but
goes far beyond him. Then again, having an irresponsible madman as the
most powerful man on earth seems THE recipe for a major disaster.
Now we move back for a look at other empires that collapsed:
The graveyard of world empires—Sumerian,
Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Mayan, Khmer, Ottoman and
Austro-Hungarian—followed the same trajectory of moral and physical
collapse. Those who rule at the end of empire are psychopaths,
imbeciles, narcissists and deviants, the equivalents of the depraved
Roman emperors Caligula, Nero, Tiberius and Commodus.
Hm. I know a fair amount of history but I
don't know this, indeed because it seems to me somewhat subtly mistaken
in three ways:
The first is that - to the best of my
historical and political knowledge - "world empires" do not
collapse in the course of days, weeks, months or years. The actual
take as short as that, but in order to collapse a "world empire" must
have been falling apart for a rather a long time before, often indeed
for several hundreds of years. Read for example Gibbon's very
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire": It took several
hundreds of years for the Western Roman Empire to fall to pieces.
The second is that "Caligula,
Nero, Tiberius and Commodus" were indeed
(probably) all four mad (and I did read Suetonius) but they were also emperors of Rome long
before the real collapse (which took place - after a long decline -
somewhere in the 5th Century AD).
And the third is that it is not
necessary that "the end of empire" is marked by "psychopaths,
imbeciles, narcissists and deviants". Indeed the
leaders may be fairly honest and fairly competent men, who just cannot
still the tide of collapse (and the collapse normally long precedes
Then there is this om the collapses of
The ecosystem that sustains the empire
is degraded and exhausted. Economic growth, concentrated in the hands
of corrupt elites, is dependent on a crippling debt peonage imposed on
the population. The bloated ruling class of oligarchs, priests,
courtiers, mandarins, eunuchs, professional warriors, financial
speculators and corporate managers sucks the marrow out of society.
I think this is more or less correct, but
it describes the end rather than the decades or hundred or even
several hundreds of years of decay leading up to that end. And
the decay tends to be caused by (i) strong external enemies and wars;
(ii) many mistaken decisions in law and economics (that tend to support
the few rich, while doing nothing for the many poor); and (iii) natural
causes, like a collapsing ecosystem, the scarcity of important economic
goods, or changes of climate.
Then there is this, which is unfortunately
just one sentence:
The complex bureaucratic mechanisms that
are created by all civilizations ultimately doom them.
Probably yes, but I am more concerned with
the "homo bureaucraticus":
I think both politicians and bureacrats
tend to be of a lower - intellectual and moral - level than
those whom they rule and that surround them: By far the most
politicians I have seen in the last 50+ years were frauds, liars and
deceivers who pretended to work "for the community" but in fact worked
for themselves or - at best - their own parties, while their
factual collaborators, the bureaucrats, tend to be lazier, more stupid,
and more powerful than anyone who works for themselves or in an industry.
But this is just in passing. I may return
to the special human characters that tend to be politicians and
bureaucrats later. Here I continue with Chris Hedges, who says this
about many of Trump's appointees:
The Trump appointees—Steve Bannon, Jeff
Sessions, Rex Tillerson, Steve Mnuchin, Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, Rick
Perry, Alex Acosta and others—do not advocate innovation or reform.
They are Pavlovian dogs that salivate before piles of money. They are
hard-wired to steal from the poor and loot federal budgets. Their
single-minded obsession with personal enrichment drives them to
dismantle any institution or abolish any law or regulation that gets in
the way of their greed.
I think the last statement may well be
correct, though it seems as if e.g. Bannon, and possibly more, may have
a political plan that is quite radical and quite far reaching. And I
also think Trump and Bannon are out to radically change the USA, and
make it far more according to their - rightist, authoritarian, profit-oriented,
pro-rich - ideals than it constitutionally can be.
And this is from the ending:
The severance of a society from reality,
as ours has been severed from collective recognition of the severity of
climate change and the fatal consequences of empire and
deindustrialization, leaves it without the intellectual and
institutional mechanisms to confront its impending mortality. It exists
in a state of self-induced hypnosis and self-delusion.
I fear this may well be correct, though I
insist that the "state of self-induced hypnosis
and self-delusion" has been produced by
stupidity and ignorance on large parts of the voters, by systematic
false and misleading propaganda in the mainstream media, and
by an altogether failing education of nearly everyone, both by their
parents and by their schools and universities, that are very much worse
than they were in the previous century, before circa 1970.
And this is a recommended article.
2. Bernie Sanders on Trump
and the Resistance: 'Despair Is Not an Option'
The second item is by Ed Pilkington on AlterNet and originally on The
Let me start this by saying something on
The Guardian and Pilkington.
I lived in England for a while in the
early 1970ies, and lived with a radical, leftist, extremely intelligent
woman who much preferred The Guardian over any other paper (also
without mistaking it for a very leftist paper, as she herself was). So
I was inclined to like it when I seriously started reading it again in
2013, and indeed I did.
But by 2015 this liking had much subsided,
and especially because of two extremely radical changes that were
effected then (at the end of the editorship of Alan Rusbridger): The
whole paper was - without giving any noticing - turned to be made
uncopyable by ordinary readers, as if its writers deserve the right of
72 years of personal property in their writings, and they started to include
at least half and quite often considerably more of
Since then The Guardian is mostly dead for
me (and if you want to read something like a paper that is at least more
readable and more honest than The Guarian try the
As to Ed Pilkington: I do not very
well know who he is, but he is one of the people around whose personal
interests and personal riches the present Renewed And
Restyled Guardian turns: The Guardian exists to keep The
Guardian and its journalists rich, and anything that goes against
this - like real journalism - is severely frowned upon, by The
Guardian and its journalists.
I also think one of Pilkington's ends as a
journalist who interviewed Bernie Sanders was to depict him as somewhat
of a loony and a utopian, which seems to accord with the present chief
editors' values, but I merely mention this in passing since I lack both
the space and sufficient interest in Pilkington to investigate this
Anyway... after these introductory remarks
on The Guardian, this is from near the beginning:
“These are very scary times for the
people of the United States, and … for the whole world. We have a
president who is a pathological liar. Trump lies all of the time.” And
Sanders believes the lying is not accidental: “He lies in order to
undermine the foundations of American democracy.” Take his “wild
attacks against the media, that virtually everything the mainstream
media says is a lie.” Or Trump’s denigration of one of George W Bush’s
judicial appointees as a “so-called
judge”, and his false claims
that up to 5 million people voted illegally in the election. Such
statements, which Sanders calls “delusional”, are meant to lead to only
one conclusion, he says: “that the only person in America who stands
for the American people, who is telling the truth, the only person who
gets it right, is the president of the United States, Donald Trump.
That is unprecedented in American history.”
I think that is mostly correct, and indeed
would strengthen this (as a psychologist) by noting that (1) Trump really
is delusional -
and by this I mean what the Wikipedia says about delusions:
And also that (2) the underlying reason for
Trump's extremely frequent delusionary statements is that he is
mentally ill: He has megalomania, known among psychiatrists as
"grandiose narcissism". (And since tomorrow it is a year ago that I agreed
to that diagnosis, I did have a year to think about it: I believe I am
- alas, alas, for it is extremely bad for the most powerful man
on earth to be mad - quite correct.)
A delusion is a belief
that is held with strong conviction despite superior evidence
to the contrary. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on
false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion,
or other effects of perception.
Delusions typically occur in the context of
neurological or psychiatric
disease, although they are not tied to any
particular disorder and have been found to occur in the context of many
pathological states (both physical and mental).
Then there is this about Sanders:
Sanders occupies an exalted pedestal in
American politics today. In 2016 he won 23 primary and caucus races to
Clinton’s 34, notching up 13 million votes. Given the odds stacked
against him – Clinton’s establishment firepower; the skewed weighting
of the “superdelegates” that tipped the primaries in her direction by
reserving 15% of the votes for the party establishment; and the cynical
efforts of the party machine through the Democratic national convention
to undermine Sanders’ campaign by casting aspersions on his leadership
abilities and religious beliefs, as revealed in the Russian-hacked
– that was no mean achievement.
I agree. Here is the last bit that I'll
quote from this article:
Sanders’ sanguine response was rooted in
his familiar critique of modern capitalism – that it has left the US,
alongside the UK and other major democracies, vulnerable to rightwing
assault. This is how he connects Trump with Brexit, and in turn with
the jitters gripping continental Europe ahead of elections in France
and Germany – common manifestations all, he believes, of the ravages of
“One of the reasons for Brexit, for
Trump’s victory, for the rise of ultra-nationalist rightwing candidates
all over Europe, is the fact that the global economy has been very good
for large multinational corporations, has in many ways been a positive
thing for well-educated people, but there are millions of people in
this country and all over the world who have been left behind.”
I think that is quite correct: Modern
capitalism has grown extremely right wing; it is driven by just one
norm that also destroys all other norms: maximum profits for the
multinational corporations; and the multinational corporations are
helped and supported by the great majority of modern "academics" and
"intellectuals", who help and support it for money: As long as
they are better off than the poor, they will support the rich.
3. Restoring a Responsible ‘Conservatism’
The third item is by Graham E. Fuller on Consortiumnews:
This comes with a subtitle:
As much as “liberal” has become a dirty
word in U.S. politics, the word “conservative” has been ripped from all
its honorable traditions and redefined as a dangerous form of
radicalism, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.
Yes, that seems correct, although I think
there are several distinct causes involved, next to a degree of fashion.
The article starts as follows:
What is it about the U.S. that makes it
virtually the only country in the world where a political Left scarcely
exists? We have a center Right — the Democratic Party. And we have a
far Right — the Republican Party. In fact, just invoking the L-word
“Liberal” can inflict quick political death. Yes, we’re safe from
the Left here in America.
Having such a stunted political spectrum
is bad enough in itself. Still worse is the utter corruption of the
word conservative. U.S. society has allowed the Republican
Party to hijack the word, distort it and redefine it to its own ends,
against its real meaning.
Isn’t it time for progressives to stop
bashing their heads against the “liberalism” wall? Even the Democratic
Party machine itself has barred the gates against progressive
Democratic candidates. At this point, we need a rethink.
Hm. I agree there is hardly any - real,
reasoned, intelligent - Left in the USA. There are of course a few
(Chomsky and Nader are the most well-known, I think), but by and large
this is correct.
But I don't quite agree that words have a "real meaning", though the issue is
fairly complicated, and we might settle for something like "the real
meaning of a word is indicated by its definition in good and well-known
dictionaries". This will also change,
and it probably will not reflect quite a few uses that its users allow
it to have, but it
makes some sense.
Unfortunately, Fuller does not give
any dictionary definitions of either "liberal" or "conservative", and indeed no definitions whatsoever. What he
does give is this:
Indeed, it’s the Republicans who are
False Conservatives. They place the interests of the corporate world,
profit and the welfare of a minority above all else. Their agenda is
clear: generating ever more corporate business, clearing more land for
“development,” installing more robots to make production more efficient
— this is a conservative agenda?
Actually it sounds like a very
aggressive revolutionary approach to reshaping our entire earthly
domicile in economic terms. It risks all in the name of production and
profit. What true conservative could buy into that?
I agree that the Republicans "place the interests of the corporate world, profit and the
welfare of a minority above all else" (and the
"minority" = "the rich"). Then again, I would much rather have some
reasonable dictionary definition of "conservative" than rely on
Fuller's - unstated - associations with that term.
Then there is this:
Republicans tend to believe that war is
heroic, glorious, “our finest fighting men,” pride of the nation,
anything to keep our nation safe, huge budget expenditures at the cost
of almost everything else. Here’s what founding father James Madison
had to say about it:
“Of all the enemies to public liberty
war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and
develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from
these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many
under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom
in the midst of continual warfare.”
I agree with Madison and observe that the
USA has been in constant war since briefly after 9/11, that is, for
some 16 years. I also observe that the freedoms of everyone - not just
the Americans - have, in fact at least, almost completely disappeared:
Everyone - living anywhere - has his own
entry somewhere in the NSA's, the CIA's or the FBI's secret files that
chart everybody, and presumably take down everything that can be found
about anyone (mails, phonecalls, personal sites - anything). Apart from nuclear war, I do not know of anything that
more harms almost everyone than the present state of affairs.
But I will leave that topic, which also is
not treated by Fuller, and continue with this bit:
Hm. Fuller gets a bit clearer by his
specification that "for a genuine conservative
the first priority is the health and welfare of our communities and our
people", but not much, for "the health and welfare of our communities and our people" also is quite vague.
President Calvin Coolidge before the
Great Depression famously said, “The chief business of the American
people is business.” Republicans have even since managed
to persuade faux Democrats to adopt this position. (Remember Bill
Clinton — it’s the economy stupid!) But prioritizing the health of the
economy gets the priorities wrong: for a genuine conservative the first
priority is the health and welfare of our communities and our people.
Now, there is undeniably a relationship
between the health of the economy and the general welfare, but they are
not one and the same thing at all. Human welfare must be the end goal;
a healthy economy, however interpreted, represents the means
and says nothing of equitable distribution.)
Then again, I - more or less - agree with his last statement above: "Human welfare must be the end goal; a healthy economy,
however interpreted, represents the means" and not the end.
This is the last bit I'll quote and it is from the ending:
It is unconscionable — and
incomprehensible — that conservatism today has come to stand for
profit, the welfare of the military-security- industrial complex, and
the massive corruption of our political order through their “political
contributions.” Or that Republicanism should celebrate conservatism by
throwing away social safety nets and sowing religious and ethnic fears.
Actually, I think it is quite
comprehensible (to me, at least) "that
conservatism today has come to stand for profit, the welfare of the
military-security-industrial complex, and the massive corruption of our
political order through their “political contributions.”"
For I have been - more or less - following politics for over 50 years
now, and I have seen most political terms "change meanings" - at least
in people's heads and in journalist's writings, and those two much
more so than in dictionaries - quite often, and sometimes also quite
And while I do not know how "conservative"
will be understood in ten or twentyfive years (if these are given to
humanity, which I insert mostly because of Trump), but
I am quite sure the term will be there as long as there are humans more
or less like
ourselves, and it probably will be more in the direction of Fuller's
ideas than in the direction of the present politicians.
Calls on Bernie Sanders to Lead a New Party
The fourth and last item today is by Paul Jay of The Real News Network,
who interviews Nick Brana, who assisted Bernie Sanders while he tried
to win the presidential nomination. There also is an introduction from
First the introduction:
PAUL JAY: Now, there’s a new initiative:
to create a new party and recruit Bernie Sanders to be the head of that
party. Well, Bernie got asked about this on Meet the Press, and here’s
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you a question.
Some of your former staffers, including Nick Brana, have a Draft Bernie
for a People’s Party Movement. Essentially, they want to start a new
political party. In the statement it said, “Despite Bernie Sanders’
monumental endeavor to bring people into the Democratic Party, people
are leaving it by the millions. The collective efforts to reform the
party cannot stem the tide of people who are going Independent, let
alone expand the Democratic base.” What do you say to those efforts?
I don't know that "people are leaving [the Democratic
Party] by the millions",
but I am quite willing to believe it, and indeed have given up the
Democratic Party myself.
It clearly - and in fact since Bill Clinton - has been the
alternative rightish party that still speaks sometimes with a
leftish (or better: "leftish") mouth, but which serves the rich, and is
in the hands of the rich, who serve themselves and the rich.
Here is Sanders' reply, which is a bit
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I say two things.
Right now, we are in a pivotal moment in American history. We have a
president who is delusional in many respects, a pathological liar,
somebody who is trying to–
CHUCK TODD: Strong words, can you–
BERNIE SANDERS: Those are strong words.
CHUCK TODD: Can you work with a
BERNIE SANDERS: Well, it makes life very
difficult, not just for me, and I don’t mean… you know, I know it
sounds… it is very harsh. But I think that’s the truth. When somebody
goes before you and the American people and says, “Three to five
million people voted illegally in the last election.” Nobody believes
that. There is not the scintilla of evidence. What would you call that
remark? It’s a lie. It’s a delusion.
But second of all, to answer your
question, I think what we need to do right now is focusing on bringing
the American people together around a Progressive agenda. American
people want to raise the minimum wage. They want to rebuild our
crumbling infrastructure. They want the wealthiest people in this
country to start paying their fair share of taxes. They want the United
States to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee
healthcare to all people as a right.
This is evasive because Sanders doesn't
answer Todd's question. And while I more or less agree that large
chunks of the "American people" want the things Sanders
attributes to them, I don't think they will reach these things
with the present Democratic Party and its present leadership:
Essentially, these have been sold to the banks.
And here is Nick Brana, who says the same
thing (I think):
NICK BRANA: But most telling to me,
Paul, is something that was never on the table in the first place. And
that’s the… it’s something that we all espoused and agreed upon on
Bernie’s campaign, and that’s the idea that the politicians themselves,
not necessarily the DNC being hooked onto corporate money, that’s
certainly true, but the politicians, Democratic politicians themselves
being hooked on the corporate lobbyist and Wall Street billionaire
money. And that was never even contested in the party, you know? And
that to me… for it not to be even on the table, you know, tells me that
the party is really not going to be the institution through which we
can effect Progressive change.
I think that is correct. Here is more
Brana, who now sounds a little less certain:
But, that kind of effort, to build a
third party that can overtake actually a major party, has never
succeeded, that route to doing it. And so by that I mean, when a party
tries to build itself up from nothing, from scratch, up into a party
that can challenge the major parties, successfully, we just saw that’s
what has never worked successfully.
We just saw in the general election the
two most despised candidates going against each other. 82% of people
told the New York Times they were disgusted with the election, and with
the way it had unfolded, and yet still the Green Party and the
Libertarian Party couldn’t break 5%. They couldn’t get the minor party
And so that tells you how effective
those systems are at really keeping the third parties down.
But that last part is misleading for a
reason Jay correctly mentions:
PAUL JAY: I think part of the reason for
that is then – and far more even now – the media simply marginalizes
the person. Because the media is so part of the State, and they only
want the two parties, and it’s one of the reasons the Green Party
doesn’t break through, because the media simply will not let the Green
Party have a platform. They’ll never let them be in a debate, and so on.
I think that is correct. There is
considerably more in the interview, but it doesn't get much further
than this, that seems to amount to:
There is a considerable part of the
American population that has had it with both the Democrats and the
Republicans, and who would support a third party, but a third party, to
be successful, needs the support of the mainstream media, that do not
want a third party.
I think that is more or less correct. And this is a recommended article.
updating problem now plagues me since the end of 2015, since when both
of my sites do not update properly anymore (while both did it for 20
and for 12 years without any problem). I commented on it here: Updating
the site (which ends: "I am very sorry,
but this seems the way things are going: If you are not a rich
CEO of a multi-national corporation, you are not fully human, and you better forget about any rights you
once had") doesn't work anymore, not on time, but on some arbitrary date.
This last reference is also a bit out of date, since I changed it on February 1, 2017. Here is a link explaining that: Explanations of the renewal
of my site. This is still an experiment. (And I can't do much else, and what I do costs me a considerable amount of work, that would be completely unnecessary if my providers did what I pay them to do.)
 You may of course disagree, but unless you have been intentionally kept out of sleep for 7 years
(when the police told you: "We only come when the bodies are lying dead
on the floor, for all Amsterdammers are bastards" resp. refused to do anything against illegal drugsdealers, also not after murder threats, also not after the dealers were arrested with 2 kilos of heroine and 1 kilo of cocaine (probably by mistake), also not after they had tried to gas me (literally), all because these drugsdealers were - it seems - the personal friends of Mayor Van Thijn, who wished to allow them full terrorist powers), and you also were ill all the time while this happened, I don't think you are the one to correct me
for my opinions. O and yes: I have also been called "a dirty fascist"
for ten years in the University of Amsterdam because I was not a Marxist.
(While both my father and his father were in the communist resistance,
were arrested, were convicted to concentration camp punishment , as
"political terrorists", where my grandfather was murdered.)
Finally, Mayor van Thijn and some others are those who are most responsible for the turnover since 1988 of around 600 billion euros worth of illegal drugs from Holland, so I do think I have something to complain about. (I do not know how much he pocketed himself, but I take it he is extremely rich.)