from December 3, 2017
3. Extra: The US Opioid Crisis
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, December 3,
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 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
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from December 3, 2017
A Historic Tax Heist
2. America’s War on America
Republican Tax Plan Is Only the First Step
Key Psychological Traits of Trump Supporters
5. Robert Reich: How Clinton and Obama Failed to Defend 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:
Historic Tax Heist
This article is by The Editorial Board of The New York Times. It starts
With barely a vote
to spare early Saturday morning, the Senate passed
a tax bill confirming that the Republican leaders’ primary goal is
to enrich the country’s elite at the expense of everybody else,
including future generations who will end up bearing the cost.
Yes indeed: I think this
is all quite correct. And I do agree that
The bill is expected to add more
than $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, a
debt that will be paid by the poor and middle class in future tax
increases and spending cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other
government programs. Its modest tax cuts for the middle class disappear
after eight years. And up to 13 million people
stand to lose their health
insurance because the bill makes a big change to the Affordable Care
Yet Republicans somehow found
a way to give a giant and permanent tax cut to corporations like Apple,
General Electric and Goldman Sachs, saving those businesses tens of
billions of dollars.
"the Republican leaders’ primary goal is to
enrich the country’s elite at the expense of everybody else, including
future generations who will end up bearing the cost."
That is, the few rich
are stealing billions from everybody else, and got that far by buying
Next, there is this:
Because the Senate
was rewriting its bill till the last minute, only the dealmakers
themselves knew what the chamber voted on.
As I have said before,
this means that for me this cannot be a law in a democracy:
The great majority of the votes in the Senate and in Congress were by
people who do not know the text of the bills they endorse or
That is possible only in either an authoritarian system or in a
dictatorship. And indeed, since this is passed into law, I conclude (as
I also did before) that this is a law but this is not a law
in a democracy: It is a deeply authoritariam and in fact, in my
terms, a neofascistic law.
And by "neofascism"
I mean this (and this is a definition by a
logical philosopher, that is far better than any definition I have read
by journalists of either "fascism" or "neofascism"):
Neofascism is a. A social system that is
marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where
the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that
propounds an ethics which has profit as
its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist,
anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist,
and that has a corporative
organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are
stronger than a national government or state, b. A political philosophy or
movement based on or advocating such a social system.
think both Trump and the Republican Senators are neofascists,
in the given sense: Check out the points!
Finally, I quote this bit:
The votes for the
bill by Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain and Jeff Flake of
Arizona were particularly disheartening.
how much did they get from the very rich for voting for
the neofascistic tax bill? In fact, I don't think we'll ever know, but
my own view was from the beginning that it was an attempt by
Senators to get richer, and not to please or displease voters:
in, and from then on they can do and say and lie as they please.
This is a recommended article.
War on America
This article is by Eric Ortiz (the managing editor of
Truthdig). This is from near the beginning:
U.S. tax plan is a scam—a corporate
coup—that benefits a few rich and powerful Americans that make the
most and want to pay the least. They are the owners of our country, the
plutocrats and oligarchs that run
this nation and tell politicians what to do, such as increase the military
budget from $793.7 billion in 2017 to $824.6 billion in 2018. We,
the 99 percent, are not in the club. Anyone who wants a fair and just
society becomes an enemy of the state.
Yes indeed - and this does
go a bit further than the previous NYT article, and is quite correct
in doing so: The votes in the Senate and in Congress are mostly
bought, and they are all bought by the rich, also in the
Democratic Party (though possibly not on this tax bill).
Then there is this:
The story of income
inequality in the United States is as old as the republic itself. But
the latest tax-cut measure takes capitalist greed to a new
level of inhumanity. The bill has the potential
to destroy life for millions of working families, women, children,
the sick, old and poor.
Yes indeed, except that
(i) the capitalist greed is now back where it was in the 1920ies and
that (ii) - see neofascism above - the one
criterion the Republican use is profit: If you don't make
considerable profits yourself, you are not fit to live in
Trump's neofascistic USA, and you're better of dead, indeed in part
because your job will soon be done by articial intelligence.
Then there is this - and I am a big fan of George Carlin.
I also regard him as an important and very courageous social
As George Carlin
said “The owners know the truth. It’s called the American dream because
you have to be asleep to believe it.”
You are strongly
recommended to see the video (3 min 14 sec). Here is one quote from it:
on the rich): "They want more for themselves and less for everybody
else. But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a
population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want
well informed well educated people capable of critical thinking."
Precisely: What the
very rich want is ignorant
Back to the article. Here is the last bit that I quote:
Both the Republican
and Democratic parties are complicit and responsible for our unequal
present and uncertain
future. Neither has a path toward freedom and equality for all. The
liberal vs. conservative paradigm is a dirty trick, meant to divide the
American people and maintain the illusion
of democracy while neoliberal oligarchs and corporatists have
looted the public for the past 30 years without conscience or
Unfortunately, this is
partially confused, simply because it seems to identify democracy vs.
non-democracy with liberal vs. conservative: The first opposition is about
laws and politics, while the second opposition is about
and these are true or false regardless of whether the state is
democratically governed or not.
But this is a recommended article.
Republican Tax Plan Is Only the First Step
article is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet. (I shortened the title.)
This is from near the beginning:
If all the Republicans were
doing was lining the pockets of the already rich, that would be bad
enough—pick your adjective. But that’s not the endgame. Before the
Senate voted, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a past presidential
candidate, said the Republicans must make additional cuts to Social
Security and Medicare, both federal programs for those over age 65 as
well as people with disabilities and parentless children (..)
Why doesn't Rubio
simply say: "I want these worthless people who don't make any profit to
be dead as soon as possible?" For that is what it comes down to.
More specifically, Rubio seems to want to kill 57 million Americans:
[The Trump Taxes are]
projected to impose $400 billion in cuts to senior healthcare in the
next decade The PayGo trigger will “undermine the delivery of care to
the 57 million seniors and disabled Americans who depend on the
program,” wrote Max
Richtman, head of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security
You doubt this? Well...
it is nearly 10 times as much as the six million Jews that were killed
by the Nazis, and indeed he also doesn't want them murdered or locked
just wants their money:
“At a moment when 10,000
Americans are turning 65 every day, members of the Senate have stolen
the retirement health benefits that Americans have earned over a
lifetime to provide an unneeded windfall to the top 1 percent," Richard
Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said.
"They seem determined to create a retirement crisis that will take
decades to reverse."
And that well may cause
many millions to suicide for lack of money and lack of medical
care. (And see below.)
Key Psychological Traits of Trump Supporters
article is by Bobby Azarian ("a cognitive neuroscientist") on AlterNet.
It starts as follows:
The lightning-fast ascent
and political invincibility of Donald Trump has left many experts
baffled and wondering, “How did we get here?” Any accurate and
sufficient answer to that question must not only focus on Trump
himself, but also on his uniquely loyal supporters. Given their extreme
devotion and unwavering admiration for their highly unpredictable and
often inflammatory leader, some have turned to the field of psychology
for scientific explanations based on precise quantitative data and
established theoretical frameworks.
I am sorry, but I am
psychologist and a philosopher of science and I totally deny
that "the field of
psychology [produes] scientific explanations based on precise
quantitative data and established theoretical frameworks".
Physics does. Chemistry
does. Biology does. Psychology emphatically does not,
and if you want to read a good argument try this, by Paul Lutus: Psychology
In fact, I am also
considerably less optimistic about "cognitive neuroscience"
Lutus, if only for the simple reason that it is just starting, and many
of those have been educated as psychologists (which is not a
proper scientific education).
Here is more by Azarian:
Although analyses and
studies by psychologists and neuroscientists have provided many
thought-provoking explanations for his enduring support, the
accounts of different experts often vary greatly, sometimes overlapping
and other times conflicting. However insightful these critiques may be,
it is apparent that more research and examination is needed to hone in
on the exact psychological and social factors underlying this peculiar
To put this is in
At present psychologists
and neuroscientists are contradicting each other in very many ways and
on very many things, but believe me, as an academic scientist: "more research and examination is needed". (O Lord!)
Then there is this by
Academic Psychologist Pettigrew - and I only copy Pettigrew titles and
leave out his texts (...)
In a recent review paper published
in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Psychologist
and UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew argues that five major
psychological phenomena can help explain this exceptional political
Personality Syndrome (...)
dominance orientation (...)
4. Intergroup contact (...)
5. Relative deprivation (...)
The texts I omitted are again written
in academese "English". One of the tricks used is to redefine
everything as abbreviations, like "Social Dominance Orientation"
is mentioned once and then turned to "SDO".
Finally, here is the
end which illustrates more academese "English"
For example, an analysis conducted
by FiveThirtyEight estimated that the median annual income of
Trump supporters was $72,000.
If such data is accurate,
the portrayal of most Trump supporters as “working class” citizens
rebelling against Republican elites may be more myth than fact.
What I mean is this:
"If such data is accurate" (why would he mention it if he thinks it is not
accurate, to start with?!), but let us suppose
so, for he does say "If".
But OK, then the median income of Trump supporters is $72,000. It is an
assumptiom, started with "If" but it has some evidence.
Well, "If" so, the
"may" is academese baloney. And if the "may" is not
then the assumption that Trump supporters earn $ 72,000 is not
correct. (Simple logic.)
I think - as a
psychologist and a philosopher of science - this article is academese
Reich: How Clinton and Obama Failed to Defend the Middle Class
This article is by David Sirota on AlterNet and originally
on International Business Times. It starts as follows:
How did Donald Trump
win the presidency? In a new podcast interview with International
Business Times, former Clinton adminstration Labor Secretary Robert
Reich says the Republican was able to take advantage of voters'
frustration with both parties' failure to confront corporations'
growing power over American life — and Reich faulted Presidents
Bill Clinton and Barack Obama for failing to "deal with the structural
problems" in the economy.
This is a fairly long
interview and I will just quote two bits from it. But before doing so,
I should say that one of the things I disagree with Reich is
about capitalism. It will take me much too far to explain most
reasons for this - rather fundamental - disagreement, but I will give
Reich spoke to IBT during the
release of his new Netflix documentary "Saving Capitalism," which
argues that an unprecedented flood of corporate campaign
cash resulted in public policies that have distorted capitalism
and harmed America's middle class.
One. Capitalism exists about 200 years now (since the
1820ies or so). There is nothing necessary about it, and it may
well be replaced by other models, including the neo-feudalism
that the Republicans support, in which the strongest players are no
longer governments but international corporations (like Facebook,
Google, Amazone, Apple and Microsoft).
Two. There is a very simple solution to save
most of capitalism, that is i.a. based on private property: Keep everything else as it is, but do not allow any human beimng to make or
earn more money than $300,000 a year (in present terms).
You may excel in anything you
are capable of - mathematics, languages, sports, theater, philosophy,
dancing, music, you name it - except that no one may amass more
personal power and more money (and money = power in the present system)
than what corresponds to $300,000 a year, which means that only 1%
of the American population will be hit by such a measure: 99% of
the Americans earns less.
Reich does not consider either point at all. Here is the first
quote (and Reich says considerably more):
You argue that
capitalism needs to be saved, but what is your response to polls
showing many Americans want an alternative to capitalism?
If we could come up with
something that was much different, we might want to try that, but even
the Chinese who call themselves a communist nation practice a form of
capitalism in terms of private property and the free exchange of goods
and services. I think the real question is what I meant by ‘saving
capitalism’: saving capitalism from the moneyed interests that are
now distorting our system of capitalism in ways that make it very
difficult for most people to get ahead.
In the first place, the
Chinese may be called "a communist nation", precisely as the
Union was called "a socialist nation", but either term was just
for and by the very few who rule(d) these societies.
And in the second
place, Reich is not speaking about capitalism - that
exists for 200 years and was much more inequal between 1820 and
1940 than it was between 1945 and 1980 (mostly thanks to John Maynard
Keynes): He is speaking about laws and politics.
Here is the other bit
that I quote from the much longer interview:
You argue that we
are living in a an age in which money has an unprecedented
influence on politics. But were things really better in past
I think we're back to that
Gilded Age right now, but we did have a period beginning after the
second World War, culminating in the late '40s, '50s, '60s where we
were much more equal society.
This is correct - and
as I said, this was mostly due to John Maynard
Keynes (who was
capitalism as Reich is), but these were again legal and political
Finally, here is an extra bit, namely a video by Abby
Martin on the Opioid
Crisis that takes 21 min 56 sec:
This is a very
good interview with lawyer Mike Papantonio. Here is the text under the
A new phenomenon has
emerged in the United States: 64,000 people died in 2016 of a drug
overdose—with 80% from opioids—with levels of addiction nearly 500%
higher over the last six years.
This is strongly
recommended and also both quite amazing and quite horrible in its
Behind this epidemic is a
multi-billion dollar industry, that feeds drug manufacturing giants,
distributers and more.
With the US government failing
to address the crisis, one law firm has taken to a massive lawsuit.
Head of that case is Mike Papantonio, who also won major lawsuits
against big tobacco, chemical corporations and more. Abby Martin
interviews him about this new suit, and why he is pushing for many
executives to go to jail.
 I have now been
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 (!!).