scientists say that the major building block of the universe is
hydrogen because it is the most plentiful element, but my theory is
that the universe is made out of stupidity
because it is more plentiful
than hydrogen, and since it is more plentiful why shouldn´t we talk
-- Frank Zappa 
from December 6, 2017
3. Extra: Propaganda Buries Facts & Manipulates
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, December 6,
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 6, 2017
Mueller’s Facts and Trump’s Make-Believe
2. Gangster Capitalism and Nostalgic Authoritarianism in
3. Dan Rather: 'Wealth Can Never Be a Measure of Worth'
4. Lawmakers Are Scrambling to Prevent Trump from Launching a
5. The GOP Tax Bill Is Social Darwinism in Action
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:
Facts and Trump’s Make-Believe
This article is by Roger Cohen on The New York Times. It
starts as follows:
contempt that’s so contemptible: President Trump’s contempt for the
Constitution to which he swore an oath, for the F.B.I. that’s allegedly
in “Tatters” (sic), for the majority of Americans (including his
base) who will be worse off from a fat tax cut for the richest, for the
shared wonder inspired
by our public lands, for America’s allies, for the science that
explains why it’s getting warmer, for due process, for truth, for
informed debate, for the press, for the values anchored by liberty that
the United States has attempted to represent to the world.
That’s a lot of
contempt for one man. But it comes naturally to Trump. He has not given
a moment of reflection to the office he occupies, or how its
responsibilities may differ from those of running a real estate
company. If bullying worked then, if stiffing contractors and trashing
the truth worked then, why should they not work now?
I don´t think it
is the contempt of Donald Trump or for Donald Trump that is very
important, for I think - as a psychologist and a philosopher - that he is both insane, in the psychiatric
sense, and a neofascist, in my
sense, but I more or less agree with the question in the second
paragraph, because I agree Trump is mostly being a president as if
he is ¨running a real estate
Here is Cohen´s
answer to his own question:
is why they may not work. Mueller, as the special counsel investigating
Russian interference in the 2016 election, is interested in facts. On
one side, the steady accumulation of facts and the flipping
of Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, who was
busy following instructions and trying to make nice to Russia. On the
other side, the increasingly frenzied and fantastical early-morning
tweets of a president who wakes up every day to Moscow messing with his
mind. Trump flails. He can’t believe this is happening.
Mueller is interested in facts, but - as I said - I think Trump´s
tweets are good evidence that he
is both insane and getting more insane, as was predicted by
psychologists and psychiatrists over a year ago.
the last bit that I´ll quote from this article:
As I said
above, I am a psychologist and I think he is insane. Also
- having known really insane people, as Trump is, in my firm
opinion - I do not have good ideas about what is going on in
his mind. Besides, what is ¨an alternate reality¨ for Cohen and for me may
very well be (for the most part) what Trump really believes, but indeed
I don´t know that either.
I was struck by this passage about Trump from
Billy Bush, the former host of “Access Hollywood,” in The New York
Times. “The man who once told me — ironically, in another off-camera
conversation — after I called him out for inflating his ratings:
‘People will just believe you. You just tell them and they believe
you,’ was, I thought, not a good choice to lead our country.”
“Just tell them and they believe you.” That’s Trump’s credo.
In the same way he believes women appreciate his
“Grab-’em-by-the-pussy” approach. The president believes what he wants
With the power
he has he thinks he can shape an alternate reality and persuade enough
Americans of its authenticity to perpetuate his power. He believes he
can turn Americans from citizens into apprentices. Apprentices, in his
experience, are pliable to his whim.
There is considerably more in this article: I quoted only from the
Capitalism and Nostalgic Authoritarianism in Trump’s America
This article is by Henry Giroux on
Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Just one year into
the Donald Trump presidency, not only have the failures of American
democracy become clear, but many of the darkest elements of its history
have been catapulted to the center of power. A dystopian ideology,
a kind of nostalgic yearning for older authoritarian relations of
power, now shapes and legitimates a mode of governance that generates
obscene levels of inequality, expands the ranks of corrupt legislators,
places white supremacists and zealous ideologues in positions of power,
threatens to jail its opponents, and sanctions an expanding network of
state violence both at home and abroad.
I should start this review
by saying that this is the first article by Henry Giroux that I
review; that I review it because it appears on Truthdig; and that I
like Truthdig but admit that I don´t like Giroux much, not
because I know much of him, but because his ¨academic studies¨ - ¨public pedagogy,
cultural studies, youth studies, higher education, media studies, and critical theory¨ - are not real
academic studies in my eyes, and because he seems to me to be
much like the ¨social democrats¨ I met as professors in lecturers in
the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam, who nearly all excelled in lying and
posturing in the 1980ies (and who now - I grant - probably are
fashionable neoconservatives, unlike Giroux).
Anyway - that is mostly personal. I more or less agree with the above,
except that it contains too many long words for journalism.
Here is some more:
accelerated a culture of cruelty, a machinery of terminal exclusion and
social abandonment that wages a war on undocumented immigrants, poor
minorities of color and young people. He uses the power of the
presidency to peddle misinformation, erode any sense of
shared citizenship, ridicule critical media and celebrate right-wing
“disimagination machines” such as Fox News and Breitbart
News. Under his “brand of reality TV politics,” lying has
become normalized, truthfulness is viewed as a liability, ignorance is
propagated at the highest levels of government and the corporate
controlled media, and fear-soaked cyclones of distraction and
destruction immunize the American public to the cost of human suffering
More or less the same
applies as I said above4, although I may agree on ignorance and
indeed on stupidity
with Giroux (and see note ).
Then again, to illustrate the differences between Giroux and
First, I have been called ¨a fascist¨ in the University
of Amsterdam for the first time over 40 years ago now, very
probably by a sadofascist herself who said so because I had replied to
her ¨Do you know Marx?¨
with ¨Yes, but I like Charles
Sanders Peirce better as a philosopher¨ (she was almost
certainly a member of the Dutch Communist Party, as were most of
the leading members of the student party the ASVA, that had the
control over the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam between 1971 and 1995, and
that was utterly corrupt),
and her reasoning went as follows (as she explained to me in 1977):
¨Peirce was an
American; Americans are fascists (because of Vietnam); therefore you¨ -
that is me - ¨sympathize with fascists, which only fascists do¨.
What I did not
tell her (and never told the ASVA, the members of which called
me ¨a fascist¨ very many times, mostly because I had started a
student party that was against them, and that was pro real science) was
that (i) my grandfather was a - real - communist since
1937, and was arrested by the SS in 1941, and condemned to concentration
camp imprisonment, where he was murdered (ii) my father was
a - real - communist since 1935, and he was arrested by the SS
in 1941, and condemned to concentration
camp imprisonment, and survived more than 3 years and 9 months as a
¨political terrorist¨ (and he survived thanks to his - real -
communist friends there); and (iii) I had had a - real - communist
education, and had been a member of the Dutch Communust Party from
1968 till 1970, when I left it because (1) I thought Marx was mistaken in
theory of value; Marx was mistaken about the
transformation problem; and Marx was mistaken about dialectical
materialism, and besides (2) the communists had an utterly
corrupt alderman in Amsterdam. (For considerably more see here). 
Then again, I always liked and admired my parents - and my mother
also was a - real - communist since the 1940ies,
and also was in the - real - resistance, but had the luck never
to be arrested by the Nazis.
In fact, knowing so well what real communists are:
Noone I met in the
University of Amsterdam was a real communist (compared with my
parents and grandparents): all were indulging in romanticism
and folklore because that was then quite fashionable
and made studying a whole lot easier.
Second, I knew since August of 1978 (also nearly 40
years ago) that the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam had adopted the
following principle (which was and is a contradictory
knows that truth
does not exist¨
which was the reason I
started the student party that opposed the ASVA.
This told me within two years that about 5% of the people who
were students, lecturers or professors in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam
agreed with me; 95% (!! in a
university!!) agreed that ¨Everybody knows that truth does not
exist¨, honestly or
not, and mostly for political reasons. (And this continueed till
1995, when - after 25 years - the Dutch parliament took away the
control of the students of the Dutch universities. )
Third, I was talking here mostly about the years 1977-1982,
after which I stopped studying for some years because I was and
am ill (with ME/CFS), but when I started
studying again in the academic year 1987/1988 I found that the ASVA still
had the power in the ¨U¨vA; that they still called me ¨a
fascist¨ or ¨a dirty fascist¨ because I was not a Marxist, and
indeed after I gave an invited speech to the students, lecturers and
professors in May 1988, I was soon - quite illegally - removed
from the faculty of philosophy, very briefly before taking my M.A.
there, because I had
dared to criticize my - totally incompetent, very parasitical -
¨teachers¨ of philosophy. And immediately after the speech
in May 1988 I was called - screamed by many tens of students - ¨a dirty
fascist¨ and ¨a terrorist, a terrorist, a terrorist¨.
Those are some of my experiences and background, and these are quite
different from the experiences of Henry Giroux.
Back to Giroux:
Trump’s serial lying
is daunting in that it normalizes discourses, “actions, and policies
exempt from moral evaluation [and] treated as beyond good and evil.” As
Hannah Arendt argues in “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” the erasure of truth,
facts and standards of reference furthers the collapse of democratic
institutions because it is “easier to accept patently absurd
propositions than the old truths which have become pious banalities.
Vulgarity with its cynical dismissal of respected standards and
accepted theories carried with it the worst … and [is] easily mistaken
for courage and a new style of life.”
Yes, Arendt saw that quite
well, as indeed I did in 1978, for if there is no
truth, it also cannot be true there was a Holocause nor that my
father and grandfather had been truly locked up in concentration camps
as ¨political terrorists¨ - but then again, 95% of all
students, all lecturers and all professors disagreed with me
that there is truth, between
1971 and 1995, at least. (For my party insisted there was
there was real science, but
polled 5% of the votes.)
Here is the last bit I quote from Giroux:
Ours is an
unprecedented corporate takeover of the U.S. government and the
reemergence of elements of totalitarianism in new forms. At stake here
is the power of an authoritarian ideology that fuels a hyperactive
exploitative economic order, apocalyptic nationalism and feral appeals
to racial cleansing that produce what Paul Street has called the nightmare of capitalism.
I agree with this - but as
I implied: I am very skeptical about most academics, who tend
to be much more interested in money and in power than in
morals and in science, indeed whatever their verbal
pretenses are, and I am also quite pessimistic
because I have been protesting against totalitarianism
since 1977 in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam, and I have since then till
now met almost no one in Holland who agrees with me that truth
and science really exist.
There is quite a lot more in this article.
Rather: 'Wealth Can Never Be a Measure of Worth'
article is by Eric Ortiz on Truthdig. This is from near the beginning:
Veteran journalist Dan
Rather shared his thoughts on class warfare in a powerful
Facebook post Monday:
When the time comes, and
I hope it comes soon, to bury this era of moral rot and the defiling of
our communal, social, and democratic norms, the perfect epitaph for the
gravestone of this age of unreason should be Iowa Senator Chuck
Grassley’s already infamous quote:
“I think not having the
estate tax recognizes the people that are investing… as opposed to
those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s
on booze or women or movies.”
Grassley’s vision of
America, quite frankly, is one I do not recognize. I thought the heart
of this great nation was not limited to the ranks of the plutocrats who
are whisked through life in chauffeured cars and private jets, whose
often inherited riches are passed along to children, many of whom no
sacrifice or service is asked. I do not begrudge wealth, but it must
come with a humility that money never is completely free of luck. And
more importantly, wealth can never be a measure of worth.
I agree with Dan Rather, although I should add that (i)
I do ¨begrudge¨ the wealth of billionaires and millionaires,
that (ii) almost all suddenly acquired wealth was -
historically - acquired dishonestly (by cheating or by
violence) and (iii) I think an economy in which money = power, which is
what capitalism is about, is a thoroughly immoral economy.
Here is some more:
completely agree - and as I said above: Nearly all suddenly acquired
wealth is acquired dishonestly or by violence, and ¨Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid,
education, nutrition, affordable housing¨ will disappear or grow much less,
because the Republicans have introduced and accepted a very dishonest
tax bill that almost only favors the rich and the very rich.
The tax bill is all part of
a morally bankrupt Republican plan. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,
explained in an email to his supporters on Tuesday:
Let me be very clear
about what is happening here. It is an extraordinarily cynical
“two-step” process. First, Republicans are looting the Treasury. They
are stealing trillions of dollars from the American people in order to
give huge tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations. Second, as
their tax breaks increase the deficit by $1.4 trillion, they will come
back and, in the name of “deficit reduction,” propose major cuts to
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, nutrition, affordable
housing and other programs desperately needed by the shrinking middle
… Once they pass this bill,
they will claim we need to deal with the deficit by cutting Social
Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
This is a recommended article.
Are Scrambling to Prevent Trump from Launching a Nuclear War
article is by Lisa Fuller on AlterNet and originally on Foreign Policy
in Focus. It starts as follows:
Former National Security
Council Director Peter Feaver recently
told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “even a single nuclear
detonation” could “trigger an escalatory spiral that would lead to
Two days later, Rep. Adam
Smith (D-WA) introduced a bill that could therefore save
civilization. The entirety of the No First Use bill reads: “It is the
policy of the United States to not use nuclear weapons first.”
The risk of nuclear war is
at an all-time high, according to Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry and
expert Scott Sagan. Smith’s bill
could be one of the most effective ways to mitigate that risk. It would
substantially reduce the likelihood that either the U.S. or North Korea
would start a war, whether through a pre-meditated attack or as a
result of miscalculation.
Well... I agree with
the proposed bill and with Adam Smith, but I also think that wars
are started by denying existing (international) laws, as indeed
Trump constantly does, and as has happened many times in the
past as well, and as indeed also was and is the case since 9/11: Sixteen
years of wars, none of which was approved by Congress, although that is
Then again, Lisa Fuller
also sees this:
The problem isn’t only
that nobody can stop Trump
from realizing his long standing desire to
use nuclear weapons. It’s also that Trump’s advisers may now be more
likely to toss him the nuclear football than to pry it out of his hands.
officials — including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, CIA
Director Mike Pompeo, National Security
Adviser H.R. McMaster, Chief of
Staff John Kelly, and Joint Chiefs of
Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford — have all voiced support for using a
preemptive strike to prevent North Korea from developing the capacity
to strike the continental U.S., even while acknowledging the “horrific” ramifications.
Quite so. There is also this
on an earlier bill:
Rep. Ted Lieu and Sen.
Edward Markey had enough foresight in January to introduce other legislation intended
to prevent Trump from launching a pre-emptive strike. Unfortunately,
their bill had too many loopholes to be reliable — including an
exception in the event of an “imminent threat.”
restriction becomes impotent if the Trump administration uses “elastic
definitions of the phrase ‘imminent threat,’” as the Cato
Institute’s John Glaser puts it.
Given Trump’s propensity for stretching the truth,
it’s safe to assume that he considers definitions to be elastic as a
Yes, I agree. And Trump can
start a nuclear war within minutes if he wants to. And he is quite insane, in my
The article ends as follows:
As long as Trump is in
office, therefore, the No First Use bill is our best hope of preventing
Our survival may depend on
Perhaps. As I said, I agree
with the bill - but wars start very often by some illegal means, from
one side or the other.
GOP Tax Bill Is Social Darwinism in Action
article is by Chauncy DeVega on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It
starts as follows:
The Republican "tax
reform" bill passed by the United States Senate during the late-night
hours last Friday is evil. It has no redeeming social value. It takes
money and resources from those who have the least in to further subsidize the rich and corporations. It
will worsen those problems its proponents claim it will solve. It is a
nightmare. Republicans and others who support this legislation have
revealed once again that they lack any human decency or wisdom or sense
of civic responsibility.
I agree with this, but it
also is mostly an expression of values. Here is
This evil will kill
people and increase human misery so the idle rich and other plutocrats
can have even more money. This statement is no exaggeration. It is a
plain fact: The Republican tax bill will raise taxes on the poor and working classes in
order to give the very richest American hundreds of billions of dollars.
This is a clear statement of social and political priorities: The
amount of money gifted to the rich by Republicans is so large it could
have paid for debt-free college and universal health care.
And I agree with this as
well, and indeed this also seems factually
correct. There is also this:
This evil is
empowered by a party, a president and a right-wing movement that feels
nothing but contempt for the very idea of democracy. The United States
is in extreme peril. Moreover, the evil of the Republicans' "tax
reform" bill is not a result of happenstance, accident or coincidence.
It is an outgrowth of a much deeper malevolent ideology.
Well... to the best of my
knowledge all of this started with Reagan and Thatcher, in 1980 and
1979. But I agree that now the rich seem to be much stronger
Indeed, there is also this, that goes back to around 1800:
Republicans from the
post-civil rights era to the age of Trump have increasingly been in
thrall to "Social Darwinism" and the 19th-century English economist
Thomas Malthus. In this paradigm, the real value of individual human
beings (and societies) is determined by their economic productivity and
financial value as decided by capitalism. This cruel vision treats
human beings almost like animal livestock; "social betters" engineer
certain outcomes to cull the herd so the most "valuable" and
"productive" are nurtured and protected. All others are viewed as
parasites who should be removed, exterminated or bred out of existence.
Yes indeed - and because I am a
great fan of William
Hazlitt, who is the best essayist I ever read, and
who lived from 1778 till 1830, I like to remark that the best
arguments I read against Malthus are Hazlitt´s.
And he wrote this in 1808, but unfortunately his writing is so
good that it is, for that reason, almost wholly unknown, indeed till
this day, in spite of efforts of Tom
and Michael Foote
around 2000 to get him better known.
The best places on the internet that I know to read Hazlitt are
and the archive.org, although I
should immediately add that Google has made a
major mess of much of his work.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
The past is
prologue, in an especially cruel sense. Republicans are deliberately
advancing a backward-facing view of American society and human
development. The next step in their war on the American people has
already begun, with arguments that programs such as Medicare, Medicaid
and Social Security are somehow too expensive, and thus unsustainable,
because of the destruction caused by their tax bill. What is the
ultimate goal? It may be no exaggeration to suggest they wish
to eliminate the "useless eaters" in order
to ensure the plutocrats and oligarchs of total power and endless wealth
Yes, I entirely agree: There are
too many persons in the world to feed with the present economical
system, and it seems that a considerable number of the richest have
chosen to kill the poor by denying them the money to survive.
And in fact, that is also how capitalism worked in the middle of
the 19th Century. This is a recommended article.
This is a fine
interview by Abby
Martin with Chris Hedges. It may be from before Nov 19,
2017, but dates on Youtube are usually missing and often wrong, and the
interview is fine in any case. And indeed I did not see it
until yesterday. It is strongly recommended and will take 31 m
41 s of your time.
 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 (!!).
 Of course, Zappa´s argument is invalid,
but he is quite right that stupidity (and ignorance) are both quite
important in human history and rarely talked about.
Also, one of the main reasons why I mention stupidity and ignorance so much (and see my Welcome to the NUSA):
(i) stupidity and ignorance have
been my very conscious enemies since more than 50 years,
and (ii) they also are part of my fundamental code of ethics, that
is as follows: "Don't be MAD: don't SIN", where "MAD"
abbreviates "meanness, anger, dishonesty" and "SIN" abbreviates
"stupidity, ignorance, negligence".
 As to myself and my father:
My father died in 1980 and fell ill with incurable prostate cancer in
1979. I never told him that the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam taught - everywhere
that I know of, and I did three full studies in 1979 - that¨Everybody knows that truth does not
exist¨ (though my father very probably would have agreed with
me: he definitely believed in truth).
He also was a quite prominent member in the Dutch CP (of which
he was a member for 45 years), and he knew rather a lot of Marx and
Engels because my father was supposed to take care of the
education of communists in Amsterdam between 1951 and 1969.
Therefore I was very early exposed to quite a few books by Marx and
Engels. I believed in them till 1968-1970, when I seriously studied
them and found them mostly mistaken - and most of these findings were quite
my own. (The links in the paragraph this note belongs to are to
Wikipedia items, and while I grant that Ian Steedman -
in 1977, in ¨Marx
after Sraffa¨ argued better than I did, I had found
his points completely by myself, in 1969 and 1970. And Steedman
was an academic economist, while I was 19/20 in 1969/1970.)
And as I implied: There was no one who ever studied in
the University of Amsterdam (where the great majority at least had ¨a
lot of sympathy for Marx¨) who had as communist and as revolutionary a
background as I had (I am absolutely certain), and there also
was no one in the University of Amsterdam who knew as much of
Marx and Engels as I did.
 Once again: The Dutch decided - completely
uniquely in the whole world - to effectively give the Dutch
universities to the students in 1971, by imposing a
parliamentary structure on it, where there were elections
every year for ¨the University parliament¨ and also for the many
¨faculty parliaments¨, that were much like resp. the national
parliament and the city councils, and to give everyone who
studied or worked in the university - students, lecturers, professors,
toilet cleaners, secretaries, typists - one vote, according to the rule
¨1 (wo)man = 1 vote¨.
This gave the students by far the most power, simply because
there were far more students than others, and in Amsterdam (and
also in Nijmegen and Tilburg) this meant that the communists had the
majority, especially from 1977-1984.
Again, after 1991 I learned that almost everyone that was a
leading member of the ASVA in that period were members of the