from January 31, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) 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 more than two years
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
I shall continue.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from January 31, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. Bernie Sanders: What Trump Won't Say in His Big
2. Fed Up With Democrats, Progressives Forge Own Path
3. Why Do Evangelicals Worship Trump? The Answer Should Be
4. Is Trump Slowly Killing Democracy?
5. Will Congress Face Down the Deep State?
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:
Sanders: What Trump Won't Say in His Big Speech
This article is by Bernie Sanders on AlterNet. It starts as follows -
and I am sorry I do not have more on the State of the Union,
but - I think that - most of it is a bore.
Also, I have to grant that the first article I read about it
was in the NYT, by one Nicholas Kristof, who was too lazy or too sickly
egoistic to write for the NYT but only repeated his
managed to get his own name in his
own article a
mere 39 times.
I do not know who Nicholas Kristof is, and all I want
is how to avoid that manner of idiotic, sick egoism.
Anyway... here is Bernie Sanders:
Tuesday night is
Trump’s State of the Union speech. Nobody knows exactly what he will be
discussing, but I’m absolutely certain what he will NOT be talking
He will surely not be
apologizing for the many lies he told American voters: how he promised
to defend the interests of working people, but then sold them out to
Wall Street and the billionaire class.
During his campaign he
promised to provide health care to “everybody,” but then supported
legislation which would have thrown 32 million Americans off of the
healthcare they had. Although we managed to stop his effort to repeal
the Affordable Care Act, 3.2 million fewer Americans today have health
insurance than when Trump first came into office, and millions more
will lose their health insurance as a result of the repeal of the
During his campaign he
promised to pass tax reform legislation designed to help the middle
class. The legislation that he signed will, at the end of 10 years,
provide 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent, drive up the
deficit by $1.7 trillion and raise taxes for millions of middle class
Trump´s State of the
Union was yesterday evening, and since I write Nederlog in Holland, and
start very early in the morning all I have seen from
yet, are Twitters or Tweet-like reports.
And I don´t care for
Trump´s lies, so I do not know how much more I will read about Trump´s
own lies in his State of the Union address.
But here is some more
by Bernie Sanders:
During his campaign he
promised to take on the outrageously high prices of the pharmaceutical
industry which, he told us, was “getting away with murder.” Then, as
president, while drug prices continue to soar, he appointed a drug
company executive as Secretary of Health and Human Services who worked
to triple insulin prices.
During his campaign he
promised to take on the greed of Wall Street, but then proceeded to
appoint more Wall Street titans to high positions than any president in
history. Now, with Wall Street firmly behind him, he is trying to
repeal the modest provisions of the Dodd-Frank legislation which
provide some consumer protections against Wall Street thievery.
This is again all true.
Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
Trump will also not be
talking about the role that he has played in significantly lowering the
respect that people all over the planet have for the United States.
Once, not so many years ago, we were considered to be the political and
moral leader in the world, the country most admired. Now, according to
a recent Gallup poll, since Trump has been president median approval of
U.S. leadership plummeted to 30 percent, down from 48 percent in 2016.
Trump will not talk about
his efforts to undermine democracy in the United States and his support
for authoritarianism abroad. He will not mention his encouragement to
Republican governors to accelerate efforts for voter suppression, and
his admiration for the leaders of countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia
and the Philippines.
Again all true.
more in the article, that is recommended.
Fed Up With Democrats, Progressives Forge
This article is by Jim Hightower on AlterNet. This is from near the
Far from panicking,
America’s political left is organizing, strategizing, mobilizing … and
WINNING. Coalitions of local progressive activists (newly energized by
an infusion of dynamic, creative young people and people of color) came
together after the 2016 election. They recruited and trained candidates
from their own ranks; methodically knocked on doors, having thousands
of front-porch conversations with voters on basic issues; mobilized
supporters for intensive election-day turn-out drives; and elected
scores of audaciously populist mayors, council members, legislators,
and other officials.
This is the mouse hole to watch, for it’s where ordinary people — those
fed up with the corporate-rigged, business-as-usual politics and
policies of both major parties — are actively rebuilding democracy and
beginning to produce real change. It’s a nationwide rebellion made up
of spontaneous local rebellions, each sparked by various specific
grievances with America’s ruling royalists.
No, I am sorry: I know Jim
Hightower is a leftist, and I am also a leftist, although I do not
share some characteristics of many leftists.
Three differences between myself and most leftists I have known is that
I am not totalitarian;
I think that most ordinary people
are more totalitarian than not (and this is based on more
than 50 years of personal experiences); and also I am - still - more
of a scientist than of a politician. 
And I think the above is simply far too optimistic. I also have
another reason, which will emerge after the next and
In fact, I started to read
this article that, given its title, seemed to give some
indication how American progressives can avoid
both the Republican
and the Democratic parties, fundamentally because most of their
elected members have been corrupted, while
both parties also are
heavily financed by the rich or the banks.
This burgeoning movement is
not merely about protesting or lobbying the government — it intends to
become the government. It’s a new politics embracing a three-front
strategy I call R-I-P:
— Resist the Trumpeteers
and corporatists of all parties who’re imposing
The most common characteristic
of last year’s progressive, populist candidates is that they were
genuinely of the people, not career pols who were next in line.
plutocratic rule over us commoners.
— Insist on enacting a positive, aggressively progressive people’s
— Persist in organizing from the ground up to sustain both “little-d”
politics and “everybody” policies.
But there is nothing about these important issues in this
Do Evangelicals Worship Trump? The Answer Should Be Obvious
This article is by Chauncey DeVega on
AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as follows:
Why do white
right-wing Christian evangelicals support Donald Trump? The answer is
quite simple. Their agenda is his agenda. Trump and the Republican
Party are working to take away women's reproductive rights, and to
extending special "conscience" protections to "Christians" who feel
that their faith should somehow supersede the law. They view the poor,
the disabled, and others as "useless eaters," and are working to
protect white privilege and the power of white right-wing Christians in
all areas of American life. Trump is also a petit-fascist and an
authoritarian. This vision of the world is embraced in every way by
I think this is correct.
There also are at least two quite
interesting articles by Chris Hedges - who also is a
Protestant minister - on the American Christian evangelists, namely one
with Abby Martin, reviewed here: Is ‘Christianized
Fascism’ the Biggest Threat We Face Under Trump? and one
by Chris Hedges himself: Chris
Hedges: Trump and the Christian Fascists
thought both articles quite interesting and quite good,
and they do
also give considerable background to DeVega´s article.
Here is some more from that article:
Well... as I said when reviewing
item 2, I think ordinary men
(left, middle, and right) are considerably
than they think they are, and I also think that most
ordinary men are characterized by stupidity and ignorance - and
besides, they now have the social media in which everyone
publish who can compose a Tweet (which fundamentally changed the
I think, and not for the better) and can do so (mostly) anonymously
every ordinary user who is not a leading member of the NSA or
Amazon, Google or Facebook.
Writing at the History News
Network, Ed Simon explores this theme:
Well, I don’t believe in a literal anti-Christ, and to accuse Trump of
being one gives the president far too much credit. At his core he is
simply a consummate narcissist with little intelligence and less
curiosity, one who has somehow become the most powerful man in the
world. And that’s certainly dangerous enough without invoking anything
supernatural. Still, it’s surprising that evangelical Christians, who
for years preached about such a figure, seem to lack the self-awareness
to identify something so anti-Christian in Trump himself. Or worse yet,
they certainly recognize it, but don’t care.
And I think American evangelical Christians are as a rule very
indeed not because they are necessarily stupid (many of
them are, but some are not), but because they all tend to look at
or plainly lying
programs, e.g. on Fox
News, and to little else.
Here is minister Brandi Miller, quoted from the Huffington Post:
As I just indicated, I
these events by the stupidity, the ignorance, the totalitarian
attitudes and the very many lies they get in
their regular ¨news¨, that
mark most ¨Christian evangelicals¨. Also, I agree with Chris Hedges
that the name ¨Christian evangelicals¨ is grossly misleading,
again this is what they call themselves, and no doubt most do
it, even if their actual faith is far
removed from the teachings of
We must consider how one
can use the name Jesus ― a marginalized Palestinian who espoused
non-violence, love, inclusion and a preferential option for the poor ―
to endorse a president whose violence, bigotry and love of money is
It seems as if white
evangelicals will overlook every moral inconsistency and offense if it
means ushering in the Kingdom of White Jesus.
Here is the last bit of this article that I quote:
Trump has become a
pseudo-Christian savior, to whom evangelicals offer their votes their
allegiance and their political donations, worshiping at the altar of
this false image of God.
Movement conservatism, after
all, can be considered a type of political religion. It relies on untrue
fables and faith divorced from empirical reality, it drives out
heretics and other non-believers and it offers a creed and rites which
are not to be questioned or violated under any circumstances. In total,
American conservatism at present is deeply fundamentalist. But it is
also deceptively inclusive: authoritarians, bigots, racists,
misogynists, white supremacists, nativists, gangster capitalists, the
willfully ignorant and anti-intellectual, and those who eschew reason
for passion are all welcome.
Yes, I think that is
correct. And see the above mentioned articles.
Trump Slowly Killing Democracy?
This article is by Heather Digby Parton on AlterNet and originally on
Salon. This is from near the beginning:
There seems to be a
consensus that over the course of the last few months Trump has shown
an alarming propensity to abuse his power, but it's still unclear
whether there is a clear case that he broke the law. If it can be
proven that he has abused his power or broken the law, the one remedy
everyone can agree upon -- as with any president -- is impeachment.
Well... yes and no: I do
not know about the ¨consensus¨ Parton speaks of (of
the left, perhaps -
but that is not a consensus); I think it ought to be clear to
who is at least fairly intelligent that Trump abuses his power
2000 lies in his first year); and I also think there are clear cases
where he broke the law (profiting himself from his presidency),
Because the Republican
majority in Congress is acting as Trump's accomplices rather than a
co-equal branch of government with oversight responsibility and an
obligation to defend the Constitution, however, impeachment is highly
with the conclusion: it is unlikely he will be impeached
Here is more:
Again yes and no: I have
not read Levitsky and Ziblatt, but I have read a
whole lot on politics
(<- one list of quite interesting books) and I am rather doubtful
about the norms they use.
This president and his
henchmen could create an authoritarian regime within the rough
boundaries of the Constitution and the imprimatur of democratic
legitimacy. It would hardly be unprecedented. It's the way it happens
in the modern world. Political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel
Ziblatt have written a new book, "How Democracies Die," which surveys how
democratic nations can slide into authoritarianism when they lose
their willingness to live by two specific norms: mutual toleration and
The first is the belief that
the opposition is operating in good faith and with a common love of
country. The other is the forbearance not to push the boundaries of
power, something that all the players in our system have more of than
the law can possibly constrain on its own.
In their view, America is in
danger of going down that road, having weakened its system going back
to the 1980s, when the back-benchers of the Republican Party, led by
Newt Gingrich, began to attack democratic norms that had been in place
since the end of the Civil War -- the last time American
democracy went sideways.
As to ¨mutual toleration¨: There is something to be said for
it is also fairly clear that many on the rightist and the leftist side
of politics have - in actual fact - little toleration for the ideas,
values and acts of their opponents. And besides, if one side (see Newt
Gingrich, above) is not at all practising toleration of
the the other
side, the other side has very little reason to practise toleration of
the first side.
And as to ¨forbearance¨: I think it is ill formulated, and it does also
not seem to be true.
This is about the many Republicans that have abandoned democratic norms:
like Gingrich, Dick Cheney and more recently Paul Ryan and Mitch
McConnell, started to abandon democratic norms a long time ago,
starting with the slash-and-burn politics of the '90s and through the
Bush and Obama years. They eventually evolved into something more
closely resembling an organized gang dedicated to protecting their turf
by any means necessary than a recognizable American political party.
Today, Newt Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives,
Of course the president
ought to be able to expect loyalty. He is the chosen president of the
United States by the American people, and he is the chief executive. If
they’re not loyal to him, who the hell are they supposed to be loyal to?
Every American used to know
that the answer to that was "the Constitution and the rule of law."
I think this is quite
justified - and Parton is also right vis à vis Gingrich with regard
The Americans in general and Gingrich in particular must be loyal to
their Constitution and the rule of law, for if they are not, what is
left of their political system is authoritarianism, greed, and
dictatorship - which very well may be the ends of some
This is the end of the
So far, Trump's
administration has been a chaotic mess, and for the most part, the
institutions are holding, even if they are starting to fray at the
seams. But authoritarianism can happen by accident as much as design.
As Jeet Heer writes in this piece in the New Republic, precisely
because Trump "is a weak president who doesn’t know how to achieve his
agenda, he’s given to strident rhetoric attacking the legitimacy of his
political foes and the institutions that stand in his way."
Every such attack
undermines the stability of our democratic system, giving succor to
those who are anxious to use the opening for their own gain and
emboldening those who applauded the dark American world Trump promised
back on the campaign trail. It's entirely possible that we are sliding
backwards into a new authoritarian system one tweet at a time without
even knowing it.
Perhaps. And while I
believe it is possible that ¨authoritarianism can happen by accident as much as design¨, I do not think that is the
the present USA.
Congress Face Down the Deep State?
This article is by Ray McGovern on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
With the House
Intelligence Committee vote yesterday to release its four-page
memorandum reportedly based on documentary evidence of possible crimes
by top Justice Department and FBI leaders, the die is cast. Russia-gate
and FBI-gate are now joined at the hip.
Actually, I think the FBI/CIA/NSA does not quite coincide
with the Deep State - see e.g. here
- because I think in the Deep State there also are some
industries or at least some leaders of some industries
(notably: the arms industry) included, but OK.
The coming weeks will show
whether the U.S. intelligence establishment (the FBI/CIA/NSA, AKA the
“Deep State”) will be able to prevent its leaders from being held to
account. Past precedent suggests that the cabal that conjured up
Russia-gate will not have to pick up a “go-to-jail” card.
Here is more:
Granted, at first
glance Deep State’s efforts to undercut candidate Donald Trump at first
seem so risky and audacious as to be unbelievable. By now, though,
Americans should be able to wrap their heads around, one, the dire
threat that outsider Trump was seen to be posing to the Deep State and
to the ease with which it held sway under President Barack Obama; and,
two, expected immunity from prosecution if Deep State crimes were
eventually discovered after the election, since “everybody knew”
Hillary Clinton was going to win. Oops.
Actually, I don´t know
whether the ¨Deep State’s
efforts to undercut candidate Donald Trump at first
seem so risky and audacious as to be unbelievable¨.
I think McGovern is right about Russia- gate (that is: Both he
and I have not seen any convincing evidence it is
true), but I - for one, and I never met anyone of them, unlike
McGovern - have no idea about what Bush, Cheney, Clinton and
Obama do think and know about the amounts of propaganda
that are mixed in with the American mainstream media.
Then there is this:
It is no exaggeration to
suggest that the Republic and the Constitution are at stake. A friend
put it the way:
“When GW Bush said of the
Constitution, ‘It’s just a goddam piece of paper,’ I thought it was
just another toss-off bit of hyperbole as he so often would utter. Not
so. He, and many in his administration (and out) sincerely believe it
and set out to make it so. They may actually have succeeded.”
I agree with
McGovern ¨the Republic and
the Constitution are at stake¨,
but the rest - which may be true, but I don´t know - is just the
opinion of one man.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I almost feel sorry for
what is called “mainstream media” and – even more so – for the majority
of Americans deceived by the prevailing narrative on Russia-gate.
Even though that narrative now lies in shreds, there is no sign so far
that the pundits will fess up and admit to spreading a far-fetched,
evidence-impoverished story that was full of holes from the get-go.
Even vestigially honest
journalists of the old school, who may themselves have been taken in,
will have a Herculean challenge if they attempt to write to right the
ship of journalism. As for brainwashed Americans, pity
them. It is far easier to deceive folks than to convince them
they have been deceived, as Mark Twain once wrote.
I agree with the first
paragraph, were it only because to the best of my knowledge the
mainstream media have been lying or propagandizing since 1980 at the
latest, and this only got worse since.
As to the second
paragraph: Mark Twain was quite right that ¨it is far easier to deceive folks than to
they have been deceived¨, indeed because deceiving them
does not involve making them admit that they were mistaken or
might have been mistaken, whereas trying to undeceive the deceived
often flounders right in the beginning, because the deceived don´t
easily admit that they have been deceived.
And this is a recommended
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 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
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 (!!).
 There is another thing I disagree about with most
leftists and ¨leftists¨: I do not believe that ¨all men are
equal¨ (in fact) and I don´t because I know intelligence
- like beauty and length, and many other characteristics - are not
distributed equally about the population.
fact, I am for equality, but the equality I am for is an equality in
law: All human beings (when adult) deserve to get the
same rights as everybody else.
I have heard and seen many leftists who confused equality-in-law with