November 11, 2017
3. My site exists 21 YEARS + some recent changes
This is a Nederlog of Saturday November 11,
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 November 11, 2017
China Has Donald Trump Just Where It Wants Him
2. Bill McKibben on Future of the Paris Climate
3. We Are Now One State Closer to
4. Year One: The Mad King
5. Billionaire Who Shuttered News Outlets Shows
Why We Need a $1 Million
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:
Has Donald Trump Just Where It Wants Him
article is by Roger Cohen on the New York Times. It starts as follows:
President Trump is incidental to China’s ambitions, a mere
blip on a 33-year plan. In a speech last month, President Xi Jinping set
out the objectives with great clarity. By 2035 China will be a
“global leader in innovation,” showing “solid progress” toward
“prosperity for everyone.” By 2050, China will be a “global leader in
terms of composite national strength” and a “great, modern socialist
these are Xi Jinping´s promises rather than solid fact
or indeed solid predictions. But I agree he made these
promises, and I also agree with Xi that China is ¨socialist¨ in more
or less the same sense as the Soviet Union was ¨socialist¨, while
¨socialist¨ China now exists nearly as long as the Soviet Union did,
and will probably exist longer.
again, as my quotation-marks indicate, I disagree with the
thesis that China is socialist: It is ruled by the leaders of the
Chinese Communist Party, which Party has nearly all the powers, but in
my opinion it is far more like an authoritarian state-capitalism
with a few sniffs of socialism, than like real - liberal -
socialism. But in these respects it is like the Soviet Union.
more on the present developments:
gave Trump a warm welcome this week, said the Pacific was big
enough for both nations and offered business agreements. Trump made
nice and suggested that China and the United States could solve “almost
all” of the world’s problems, “and probably all of them.” This was the
noise. The real story is growing Chinese strength, steady Chinese
purpose aimed at midcentury dominance and erratic American outbursts
suggestive of a petulant great power’s retreat.
seems true and one underlying gross fact is that China has almost 4
times as many inhabitants as the USA. (But the projected Chinese ¨midcentury dominance¨ is still 33 years in the future, in which time a
whole lot may happen.)
is this on Xi:
Xi’s speech to the 19th National Congress of the Communist
Party of China marked his apotheosis. He has joined the pantheon along
with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. His thought is now dogma. His China
has entered a different phase. Having grown independent and then rich,
it is now “becoming strong.”
no: Indeed Xi joined something like a Chinese pantheon, which I
consider a pity, and not an optimistic sign, for the new
¨dogma¨ will mostly increase Xi´s personal power in an already very
authoritarian large country.
And it is not
true that China has become ¨rich¨, or at best this is a
half-truth: ¨China¨ may be rich, but the vast majority of the
Chinese still are quite poor.
is a fairly interesting article that is recommended.
McKibben on Future of the Paris Climate Accord
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! This starts with the following
As Democracy Now! heads
to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, we speak with
350.org’s Bill McKibben. Several U.S. delegations are scheduled to
attend despite the fact that President Donald Trump says he is pulling
the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. The Trump
administration is sending officials to push coal, gas and nuclear power
during a presentation at the U.N. climate summit. Meanwhile, a
coalition of U.S. cities, companies, universities and faith groups have
opened a 2,500-square-meter pavilion outside the U.N. climate
conference called “We are Still In”—an effort to persuade other
countries that wide swaths of the United States are still committed to
the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. McKibben also discusses his
newly published first novel, “Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of
I have excerpted some
previous interviews with Bill McKibben on Democracy Now! and this is
This is about the
Paris climate accord, that I was mostly not interested in,
because the previous one - Kyoto - had been a mess, and because I
thought, and think, its demands were far too small (and I am
following the environment since 1972):
GOODMAN: (..) But now
Syria and Nicaragua joining the Paris climate accord leaves the U.S.
alone in the world?
McKIBBEN: Which is, if you think about it, particularly
remarkable, because what country has poured more carbon into the
atmosphere than any other in the long history of burning coal, gas,
oil? Our almost unbelievable decision to back away, even from this
quite modest Paris accord, is probably the most dramatic act of
American diplomacy almost ever. I mean, we’re literally saying, “We
know more than everybody else in the world about the biggest problem
the planet’s ever faced.”
In fact, Syria and
Nicaragua thought - like I do - that the Paris climate accord requested
too little, but they now have joined. And this makes the USA almost
the only country that refused to sign the Paris accord.
Here is some more on
the USA and Paris, for the USA has rejected the Paris accord, but still
is sending a delegation:
McKIBBEN: So, the U.S. is still sending a delegation. We want
it both ways, where, having rejected the Paris accord, we now want to
screw up any efforts to keep it going forward by other countries. You
know, it’s like—I don’t know what it’s like.
I´d say this shows
explicit and clear sadism
(but I am a psychologist).
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
GOODMAN: So, a lot has
been made, in this first year since Donald Trump was elected, that he
has not passed any significant legislation. But doesn’t this obscure
the fact, especially in the area of the environment, they are moving
full speed ahead?
McKIBBEN: Absolutely. The environment is the place where,
arguably, he’s done the most damage. And in a sense, it’s not really
Trump in this case. This would have happened with almost any
Republican, because this is the Koch brothers’ agenda. This is what
they’ve wanted forever.
Yes indeed, I agree
with McKibben. And this is a recommended article in which there is
Are Now One State Closer to Having a Corporate- Dominated
This article is by Steven
Rosenfeld on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
While Democrats on
Wednesday were feeling encouraged and empowered by Tuesday’s
coast-to-coast rejection of Trumpism, Republican legislators who
control Wisconsin did what the GOP does best in elections: voted to rig
the system to favor their agenda. Only this time the target wasn’t
voter suppression; it was the U.S. Constitution.
On Tuesday, the Wisconsin
Legislature voted to call for what’s known as an Article V
constitutional convention, becoming the 28th state to do so in recent
years. Thirty-four states are needed, according to the nation’s
founding document, to launch a process that would open up the
foundation of American’s rights and laws to revision.
“Sadly, this is not fake
news,” said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. “The specter of
an Article V convention to rewrite the Constitution remains one of the
most alarming threats to our democracy that nobody has ever heard of
Yes indeed. I have written
about this as well in Nederlog, and it is about a quite disquieting
If 2 out of 3 American
states agree, there may be a new constitutional convention, which
may make all of the USA neofascistic
in one full swoop, because the new constitutional convention will
be dominated by the rich, who are also very much richer and
much more powerful than the rich were around 1780.
Here is more by Karen
special interest groups behind this effort to call a convention are not
likely to stop with a single amendment when there are no rules to
prevent opening up the Constitution to a full rewrite in a runaway
convention,” Flynn explained. “The effort to call the convention is
funded by wealthy special interest groups like the American Legislative
Exchange Council that have long pushed for a broad legislative agenda
in the states, and it is hard to imagine the[m] not foisting that
agenda on the Constitution itself through unelected and unaccountable
delegates to the convention.”
Precisely. And here
are two Supreme Court justices on the same question:
Supreme Court justices
from both sides of the aisle agree on this assessment.
“There is no way to
effectively limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional
Convention,” wrote Warren
Burger, chief justice from 1969 to 1986. “The Convention could make
its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit
the convention to one amendment or one issue, but there is no way to
assure that the Convention would obey.”
“I certainly would not
want a constitutional convention,” said Antonin
Scalia, associate justice from 1986 to 2016. “Whoa! Who knows
what would come out of it?”
Nobody knows. And that’s the
I agree with both.
But just six more states are needed, and then the USA may be totally
transformed, very probably by the richest for the
One: The Mad King
This article is by
Charles J. Sykes on The New York Review of Books. It starts as follows:
“Think of Donald Trump’s
personal qualities,” the former presidential nominee told the audience.
“The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd
He reminded the audience
that Trump was “an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who
attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a
brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who
bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches
He laid out the clear and
present danger posed by Trump. “He creates scapegoats of Muslims and
Mexican immigrants. He calls for the use of torture. He calls for
killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He
cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the
Constitution to limit First Amendment freedom of the press. This is the
very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.”
Beyond Trump’s unfitness
for office was his coarsening effect on the culture. “Now, imagine your
children and your grandchildren acting the way he does. Would you
welcome that? Haven’t we seen before what happens when people in
prominent positions fail the basic responsibility of honorable conduct?
We have. And it always injures our families and our country.”
That was March 3, 2016, and the speaker was Mitt Romney. As
extraordinary as his indictment was, it had little discernible effect
on Trump’s march toward the Republican nomination. But the speech
underlines a central reality of our politics: the GOP knew what it
was embracing; it was all there and Republicans were warned. They
may have been deluded, but they were not uninformed.
Yes indeed: All of
that seems quite true. Here is one more bit:
Less than a year into his
presidency, we hear the same question again and again: What will it
take? What has to happen for Republicans to break with their Mad King?
The honest answer is: Who
Quite so, and this is
a recommended article.
Who Shuttered News Outlets Shows Why We Need a $1 Million Maximum Income
This article is by Kate Aronoff on Truth-out and
originally on In These Times. It starts as follows:
PRECISELY! I have
made that proposal quite a few times, as in fact did George Orwell, and
there is more here: On The
Crisis: Robert Reich,
Socialism, 11 hypotheses about the causes of the crisis
and also here: Orwell
What is a maximum income?
Taxing every penny someone makes over a million dollars by 100 percent
and putting it back into public coffers.
It would be hard to think
of a better test case than Mr. Ricketts, whose net worth is around $2.1
billion and who -- like many rich people -- uses his wealth
irresponsibly, and to the detriment of society.
Ricketts spent millions of
dollars supporting Republicans in the 2012 election cycle. During that
time, he launched a $10 million ad campaign, predicated on describing
then-sitting president of the United States -- "Barack Hussein Obama"
-- as a "metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln."
For in fact that is also part
of an important argument for socialism:
(1) money and power are about equivalent, in the sense that one
usually has more power if and only if one has more money;
(2) this effects enormous differences in equality between the
few rich and the many poor;
(3) for which reasons it is best to limit the amounts of money and
of power each and any individual in a state may have, and
(4) one such limit is to make the richest in a state not richer than 10
or 20 times the amounts that the poor earn (which ought to give a
decent living to the poor).
This is not yet socialism - see: Orwell
on socialism - but it
seems remarkably sane to me in view of the enormous
inequalities in power that have existed the last 2500 years between the
rich and the poor, that worked universally against the interests of the
many and the poor.
Here is Aronoff's proposal:
What if he just
couldn't do all that, every piece of which involves having amassed vast
stores of wealth? As they attempt to overhaul the tax code, Republicans
have argued that one of their chief aims is to make the tax code
simpler for average Americans. This is a lie, of course, but the goal
is a worthy one. And what simpler solution than redistributing the
wealth of everyone earning more than a cool million?
In fact my own proposal
was to forbid anyone making more than 20 times as much as the
poorest; Orwell's proposal was to to forbid anyone making more than 10 times as
much as the poorest; while it seems as if the average American
- quite surprisingly! - would like to see a difference between
the rich and the poor that is marked as 7 to 1 in terms of
Here is some more by Aronoff:
A maximum income -- and
progressive taxation more generally -- is less about redistributing
income than about redistributing power, though the two aims go
hand-in-hand. If you think this sounds like radical Marxist nonsense,
consider what the Republicans are doing right now. The GOP's
newly-released "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" would double the cut-off at
which households become eligible to pay the estate tax -- protecting
multi-millionaires and starving public coffers of funds -- while making
it impossible to deduct expenses for healthcare.
Under the GOP plan, state
and local tax credits would be fully eliminated for everyone but
property owners, whose deduction would be capped at $10,000. Why? To
make room for corporate tax cuts and more giveaways to the
ultra-wealthy. Tax codes set a rough blueprint for what kinds of people
and activities a society values most. For Republicans, that's a small
cadre of 1 percenters and the corporations they run.
It is not
"radical Marxist nonsense", because it is certainly not Marxist. And as
Aronoff does point out, the GOP does try to realize the
opposite: All advantages for the richest.
Here is one argument for
limiting the amount of money any one individual may own:
The point of implementing
high taxes on the wealthy in the depths of the Great Depression, as
Roosevelt did, was to "make it de facto illegal to be too rich,"
Steinbaum writes. "When it's illegal to be too rich, many of the things
rich people do -- exploit labor, monopolize markets, squeeze supply
chains, offshore jobs, asset-strip their companies, commit fraud --
aren't worth doing."
This creates a balancing
effect on the economy -- distributing money more equally, but also
penalizing wealthy misanthropes like Ricketts and dampening the
negative impact they have on the world.
Yes indeed - and note
that any one may excel everyone else (or most people) in any other
respect: one may be a better sporter, a better comedian, a better
actor, a better scientist, a better mathematician a.s.o. just as long
as one does not earn more money than 20 (or 10 or 7)
times as much as the poorest do.
And besides, if the
least restrictive rule is followed (not more than 20 times as much)
this means that in terms of yearly earnings in the USA at most 3%
of the population will be effected: Everybody else earns less to
Anyway... this is a
3. My site
exists 21 years + some recent changes
I started the present Nederlog
as follows (which I did for quite a few years on November 11, which is also St.
The site started around November
11, 1996, although in the very beginning I only had a
telephone modem (that was very slow), while I had a
minimalistic site until 1998 or so.
Since then the site grew to over 500 MB, mostly from texts I
wrote. And it is unlikely to last another 21 years, for by that time I
will be 88.
Meanwhile, I am rather amazed it lasted 21 years, in part
because my site is genuinely radical and genuinely
intellectual, and in part because I never expected to make
it till I was 65, mostly because of the City of Amsterdam´s opposition
to my oppositions to their fascist terrorist ¨University¨ of
Amsterdam, where their many fascists and terrorists styled me
¨a filthy fascist¨ and ¨a terrorist, a terrorist, a terrorist¨ because I
protested their Stalinism, their pseudo-science, their politicizing
science, their utter falsity, plus three years of terrorism by a
madman who was protected by the "University"s Board of Directors,
but indeed with hardly any effect. (I did win the court trial,
but then the Board of Directors refused - since 1985 - to enter into
these questions: I was much better of dead, in their clear
But anyway... I did get as far as this; I have still not
been killed (and have been credibly threatened quite a few
times); and I will continue as long as I can.
I have now been saying since
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. They have
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 (!!).