A. Selections from
October 20, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Friday, October 20,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) 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 nearly two years (!!!!) I have
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
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from October 20, 2017
How the Deranged Took Over America
2. The conspiracy to censor the Internet
3. Corporate TV Drops the Ball on Climate Change
4. Is Trump Playing the
Madman, or Is He Really This
5. 51 GOP Senators Just Voted To Cut $1.5 Trillion
from Medicare and Medicaid
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:
the Deranged Took Over America
This article is by John
Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
It’s not news to most
people that the US in no longer a true Democracy.
It’s one thing to lose our freedoms; it’s quite another to lose them to
a collection of anti-science whack jobs straight out of the middle ages.
And of course, with Herr
Trump doing his best to neutralize the already eviscerated press, scare
the hell out of us, keep us distracted from real issues, and govern by
tweets, things have only gotten worse.
What’s not as well understood is precisely how a right wing de facto
coup caused the US to move from
a democracy to an oligarchy, and how the inmates took over the
Trump, of course, has
added a whole new dimension to the coup. No longer are we simply
living in an oligarchy, we’ve become a nation suffering from full on
psychosis, and Trump is the logical endpoint of the coup’s reliance on
fear, distraction, hate, anger and xenophobia. What makes it possible
for an abomination like Trump to gain power is that the institutions we
used to rely upon to confront the oligarchy have been taken over by it
in the last four decades. Two in particular have contributed to
the tragedy that is Trump.
Well... I´d say yes
agree - for the most part - that the USA at present is more of an
oligarchy than a democracy, and that there has been something like a
coup that developed over the last nearly fifty years, and specifically
F. Powell Jr. attended the rich to the fact that they could
take over democracy
by investing some of their money, since when they have been
trying to do so, and have largely succeeded.
But I quite disagree
that the USA has "become a
nation suffering from full on psychosis":
I am a psychologist I do know what a psychosis is, and
that concept is not at all applicable to the "nation" or the
majority, while my own explanation, namely that there are far
too many persons who are stupid or ignorant is far
more adequate, but seems rarely or never mentioned by journalists.
of that fact is that it is not flattering to considerable parts
of their audiences.
I do not
know whether that is correct, but I do know since over 50 years
that most people I've met or that I've read (and indeed especially
in journalism) are not as intelligent or as informed as the academics
that I do admire, and I have also seen in the last 50 years
the systematic destruction of all education: The present
"intellectuals" - for the most part - know at most half of what the
intellectuals between 1865 and 1965 knew, and while there are many
more nominal "intellectuals" their level of intelligence is
considerably less than 50 and more years ago.
There are two main
reasons that Atcheson sees for the present oligarchy that rules the
USA. The first is this:
Again I say yes and no:
A press that
fails to hold anyone accountable
insanity is passed off as an “alternative viewpoint” by the mainstream
media. Case in point: the Republican’s claim that their tax
“reform” is good for the middle class. In reality, it’s simply
another reincarnation of the same old tax-cuts-for-the-rich scheme
they’ve been pushing since Reagan.
And now Trump. Sure, the
entire Party has been lying for decades, but at least it followed a
plan (laid out by James Powell in 1971) with a purpose—to serve the
oligarchy that provides campaign funds. But now, their leader
—our President—is a pathological liar, who lies randomly and with no
purpose. Yet still, the press treats his inchoate ramblings as if
they were “another perspective.” Not only are his rants not
“another perspective” they are idiotic and dangerous and so obviously
unhinged that his own people refer to him as a “fucking moron” and try
to contain his tsunami of idiocy as the nation drifts into disaster on
First, I agree the present ¨tax-reform¨ is ¨the same old tax-cuts-for- the-rich scheme¨ that the Republicans have ¨been pushing since Reagan¨.
this again precludes this plan is ¨complete insanity¨. It is very
dishonest and quite manipulative, but that is not at all the
same as ¨complete insanity¨.
Second, it is not
¨James Powell¨ but Lewis
F. Powell Jr. who laid out the plan for an oligarchical
takeover of the rich. Also, while I do agree - as a psychologist,
it seems presently with 62,000 other psychologists and psychiatrists -
that Trump is insane, I
wish journalists would read the reasons of these psychologists - and to
say that the president behaves as a “fucking moron” is to say he acted quite stupidly, but it is
not to say that he is (also) not sane.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
partners in crime
The fact that a mere 26.1
percent of the eligible voters could put this ignoramus in office is
directly a result of Democratic malfeasance. How? Well, if you
read Clinton’s latest book, or the misguided ramblings of neoliberals
Schoen the neoliberal mafia that controls the Democratic Party
still seems to have no clue that they enabled his victory by refusing
to stand for the vast majority of Americans who are – and have been for
some time now – getting screwed by decades long allegiance to the uber
wealthy and elitist interests in lieu of the people’s interests.
And again I
say yes and no:
I agree that the
Democrats are partners in crime with the Republicans.
the ¨mere 26.1 percent of
the eligible voters¨ is
mostly not due to the Democrats, but to the fact that about
half of the American population did not vote in the presidential
think that the presently leading Democrats (leading in the party) do
have a clue, and that clue is money: By siding with the rich,
they get money from the rich (rather like the Clintons made more than
$100 millions from the rich bankers): They chose for being
corrupted and for getting rich or richer themselves.
is a recommended paper, but both because I agree and disagree, for by
now I am getting also rather sick of journalists who simply seem to
refuse (or not understand) the
reasons of psychologists to call Trump insane, but not
most of his (also corrupt, also bad) fellow Republicans.
I also do think that most journalists do not like to speak the truth to the
majority of their audiences: At least half of the American people is stupid and ignorant, for
at least half of the American population has an IQ of maximally
conspiracy to censor the Internet
This article is by
Andre Damon and Joseph Kishore on the World Socialist Web Site.  It starts as follows:
representatives of the American ruling class are engaged in a
conspiracy to suppress free speech. Under the guise of combating
“trolls” and “fake news” supposedly controlled by Russia, the most
basic constitutional rights enumerated in the First Amendment are under
The leading political
force in this campaign is the Democratic Party, working in
collaboration with sections of the Republican Party, the mass media and
the military-intelligence establishment.
The Trump administration is
threatening nuclear war against North Korea, escalating the assault on
health care, demanding new tax cuts for the rich, waging war on
immigrant workers, and eviscerating corporate and environmental
regulations. This reactionary agenda is not, however, the focus of the
Democratic Party. It is concentrating instead on increasingly
hysterical claims that Russia is “sowing divisions” within the United
agree with most of this but I do not believe in ¨the working
class¨, as I explained in my note , which means
that I have to skip considerable parts of this article.
Then again, this is mostly correct (in my view ):
The drive toward Internet
censorship in the United States is already far advanced. Since Google
announced plans to bury “alternative viewpoints” in search results
earlier this year, leading left-wing sites have seen their search
traffic plunge by more than 50 percent. The World Socialist Web Site’s search traffic from Google has fallen
by 75 percent.
Facebook, Twitter and
other social media platforms have introduced similar measures. The
campaign being whipped up over Russian online activity will be used to
justify even more far-reaching measures.
As I said, I agree
mostly with the above and also with the following bit:
This is taking place as
universities implement policies to give police the authority to vet
campus events. There are ongoing efforts to abolish “net neutrality” so
as to give giant corporations the ability to regulate Internet traffic.
The intelligence agencies have demanded the ability to circumvent
encryption after having been exposed for illegally monitoring the phone
communications and Internet activity of the entire population.
In one “democratic”
country after another governments are turning to police-state forms of
rule, from France, with its permanent state of emergency, to Germany,
which last month shut down a subsidiary of the left-wing political site
Indymedia, to Spain, with its violent crackdown on the separatist
referendum in Catalonia and arrest of separatist leaders.
fact, democracy in Europe started to die especially since the
introduction of the euro in 2002 and the continuing unification of
Europe: This gave far too much power to a tiny clique,
that is also mostly not elected.
This is also a
recommended article, but I have skipped considerable parts that I do
not agree with.
TV Drops the Ball on Climate Change
article is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig. I suppose it
was first published on Democracy Now! but this is not mentioned in the
article that starts as follows:
journalist I.F. “Izzy” Stone often cautioned, “All governments lie.”
But even Izzy would have been dizzy with the deluge of lies pouring out
of the Trump administration, including President Donald Trump’s claim
that human-induced climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese
to hurt the U.S. economy. Global warming has exacerbated recent
catastrophic events from Houston to Miami to Puerto Rico and the U.S.
Virgin Islands, and, now, to raging fires sweeping across California.
The corporate TV weather reporting aids and abets Trump’s
misinformation by consistently ignoring the role of climate change in
this string of disasters.
Yes indeed, for this seems
all true to me. Next, there is this - and Williams is a
bioclimatologist who works for the Columbia University:
When asked about the
failure of network TV meteorologists to make the connection between
extreme weather and climate change, Williams said: “The terms ‘global
warming’ and ‘climate change’ have been politicized. But in the circles
that I work with, with real climatologists who are working on these
issues every day, there is no hesitation to use those terms. As you put
greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the globe warms, whether it’s the
Earth or another planet. It’s just the law of physics. And so, it is
surprising to see trained meteorologists on TV steer away from those
although I´d say that ¨it is
surprising to see trained meteorologists on TV steer away from those
terms¨ only if you
believe that the present role of the media is to tell the truth to
Clearly it is not, and it has not been so for quite a while.
The mainstream media mostly propagandize.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article, from near the end:
It is not only
surprising. This massive omission reinforces the efforts of climate
change deniers to confuse the American public and stall climate action.
You have to ask, if we had state media in this country, how would it be
I take it
that by ¨state media¨ a similar situation is meant as was the case in
the Soviet Union. If so, the I´d say that the situation with the media
in the USA is quite bad, but not as bad as the Soviet
Union, for there all opposition was kept from speaking in public.
And this is a recommended
Trump Playing the Madman, or Is He Really This Nuts?
This article is by
Chauncy DeVega on AlterNet and originally on Salon. This is from near
has threatened countries such as North Korea and Iran with nuclear
annihilation. In a speech before the United Nations, Trump engage in
juvenile name-calling. He apparently finds it amusing to call North
Korean leader Kim Jong-un "Rocket Man" while threatening to destroy his
country. Trump's nickname for himself remains unknown.
this nuclear theater of the absurd continues, the national security
establishment looks on, its leaders and spokespeople often
publicly appear dumbfounded, confused and outright flummoxed by
Trump's behavior. Matters are made only more dire by the
very real concerns about the president's
Well... once again: I am a psychologist, who thinks now
since more than one and
half years that Trump is insane, and I do wish
that journalists would read (or understand) the psychologists´
reasons to say so - and see here
for a fairly clear indication of what moved psychologists and
psychiatrists to speak up.
- since I do think that Trump is mad - my guess for
Trump´s own nickname for himself is The Greatest Genius There Ever Was
(but I don´t know).
Then there is this - and the person interviewed is (once
again) not a psychologist or psychiatrist but a ¨professor
of national security¨ (which is not a real science):
Trump's unpredictability in respect to foreign policy, the concept of
the "madman theory" has been used by journalists and others to describe
his supposed strategy. Can you provide some context for the madman
theory? What are its origins?
The madman theory is a
notion of deterrence in which you want to convince your opponent that
you're more reckless than he is. Deterrence in its simpler version is
like a game of chicken. So if that's the paradigm, the madman theory is
like downing a bottle of vodka in front of your opponent and saying,
"You know what, dude, I don't care if I live or die. I'm crazy. I'm
nuts." On that concept, the other guy is going to swerve first, because
he is going to say, "My opponent just isn't rational."
Once again: If you consider whether or not Trump is
a madman, you should not ask a ¨professor of national security¨ nor
¨journalists¨ but psychologists or psychiatrists: It is their
specialism, just as the climate is the specialism of climate
scientists, and not of politicians.
I think the example this ¨professor of national security¨ gives sounds extremely childish to me.
again, he does have one reasonable idea:
United States still has nuclear forces on a "ready to launch in 15
minutes" status as though it were 1961. I don't actually think that's a
good idea. I think that in the day-to-day operations of the government,
there should be a second set of codes.
I wrote a piece in USA Today where I
suggested there should be a second person -- maybe the Senate Majority
Leader -- who would hold a kind of veto code.
one reason why it is fairly ridiculous (and extremely dangerous) to
have ¨nuclear forces on a
"ready to launch in 15 minutes" status as though it were 1961¨ is that the Soviet Union is
thoroughly dead since 1991, and the present Russia is quite
GOP Senators Just Voted To Cut $1.5 Trillion from Medicare and Medicaid
This article is by John Qually on Common Dreams. It
starts as follows:
Along strict party
lines, the Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday night voted to pass
a sweeping budget measure—one criticized as both "despicable" and
"horrific" for providing massive giveaways to corporations and the
super-rich while eviscerating funding for social programs, healthcare,
education, and affordable housing.
The measure passed by 51-49
vote, with only one Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, joining
every Democrat and the chamber's two Independents who voted against it.
Its approval now paves that way for massive tax giveaways to the
wealthy and corporations envisioned by President Donald Trump and the
GOP in both the House and the Senate.
"51 Republican Senators
just voted to cut Medicaid by $1 trillion and Medicare by $500 billion
so that millionaires and corporations can get a tax cut. It's immoral
and despicable," said TJ Helmstetter, a spokesperson for Americans for
Tax Fairness, in a statement immediately following the vote.
I completely agree.
There is also this in the article:
Again I completely
agree. This is a recommended article (but I wish Common Dreams quoted
fewer or no Tweets).
Though the budget
resolution itself is nonbinding, MoveOn.org's Ben Wikler notes how the
Senate passage on Thursday represents the "starting gun for what might
be the most consequential legislative fight of the Trump era: the
looting of the U.S. treasury to reward billionaire GOP donors and
mega-corporations, at the expense of the rest of us." And with the
Senate resolution now in place, a reconciliation process can begin with
Republicans in the House, meaning the GOP can "shoot for a tax bill
without a single Democratic vote."
 I have now been saying
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 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
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 (!!).
 This is the first or one of the
first times (I reviewed over 1500 articles in
the last four years) that I review an article of the World Socialist Web Site (which
replaced the thoroughly awful Huff Post in the list of sites I
look at every morning) and I do want to make three points:
The WSWS site is based on a socialist
point of view (which I agree with, albeit it that ¨socialism¨ is a
quite pluriform idea), but it seems to be mostly Marxist, which I
And I disagree with Marxism in another way than almost everyone
My parents were communists/Marxists all their adult lives, as
was a grandfather of mine, and I did read a lot more of Marx and Lenin in my
teens than most Marxists.
This also allows me to refute Marxism by the time I was 20, indeed for quite
theoretical (including mathematical) reasons that escape almost all
Marxists (that I know of or have read). (See e.g. Steedman´s ¨Marx after
That was the first point I wanted to make.
The second is that I believe in human groups
(which are local and limited) but not in ¨the working class¨
that - presumably - covers everyone who is not rich, living anywhere:
It seems a useless or a false abstraction to me.
And the third is that I also am a philosopher, who read over 50
years of philosophy, and I just am too arrogant (I presume) to discuss
Marxism with most (and with every anonymous person). I am sorry: Nearly
all Marxists I
know, including quite a few academic ones, hardly know Marx at all.
 I suppose I also have to explain that my
fundamental reasons are scientific,
or logical and not
political, moral or ethical.
I do have political,
and ethical values, but they
are secondary. I know (i.a. from studying philosopy, in a
university, that illegally denied my right of taking the M.A. in it)
that this is different from most people, including most