from May 29, 2018
B. One Extra Bit
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
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.
2. Crisis Files
These are five crisis files
that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 29, 2018:
1. Allan Nairn on How Trump Dragged a Rightist Revolution to
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:
2. 1968: A Look Back at the My Lai Massacre, MLK’s
Columbia Protests &
3. Teaching ‘Les Misérables’ in Prison
4. One Dire Prediction for Trump’s Tax Cuts Is Already Coming
5. America’s Megalomaniac
Nairn on How Trump Dragged a Rightist Revolution to Power
This article is by
Jeremy Scahill on The Intercept. It starts as
Yes indeed: I
think it is a good idea to ¨occasionally step back from the daily grind¨, and in fact would welcome
considerably more of the same - that is, if it were done by
fine journalists like Jeremy Scahill
or Allan Nairn.
Trump has been in office 16 months. And the majority of media hours and
column inches spent on his administration deal primarily with the
Russia investigation, Stormy Daniels, and Trump’s personnel intrigue.
It’s not that there isn’t great journalism being done on other issues.
It’s that this narrow set of stories consume much of the energy and are
on constant repeat pretty much everywhere in corporate media, except
for FOX, which generally broadcasts from an alternate reality.
Intercepted, we have found it useful to occasionally step back
from the daily grind of the Trump presidency and take stock of where we
are and how we got here. My friend and colleague Allan Nairn is one of
the sharpest analysts of the modern history of the American empire. As
a journalist, he has played a significant role in exposing
the U.S. involvement and sponsorship of brutal regimes and
security forces around the globe.
Here is a longer quotation than is normal in Nederlog. It also is from
the beginning of the article, and I quote it because Nairn has quite
similar ideas about Trump´s background as I have.
Here they are:
of the reasons I wanted to talk to you is I really get the sense,
paying attention to the New York Times, Washington Post, major media
outlets, that we seldom as a society step back and sort of say, “What’s
the bigger picture of what has happened under Trump on a foreign policy
level, on a domestic level, setting this in the context of broader
How do you assess where we
are a year and a half into the Trump presidency?
Trump dragged a rightist revolution into power. It’s the Paul Ryan
agenda which could never have gotten elected in its own right, because
it’s anathema to most Americans — slashing Medicare, slashing
social security, transferring trillions of dollars from the working
people, and even the poor and the middle class to the very rich. Mitt
Romney kind of tried to run on that and failed. Ryan, in his own right,
could never get elected president. But Trump, with his genius for
unleashing the beast in white America, touching these deep chords of
racism that succeeded in turning a crucial number of previous white
Obama voters into Trump voters, precisely, in large part, because of
his racist appeals and his appeals to fear.
He succeeded in dragging
the Republican Party into the White House with a minority of the votes.
And this is a Republican Party that is one of the most radical
mainstream political parties in all of American history, perhaps with
the exception of the pro-secessionist Democrats at the time of the
Civil War. And they’ve been in there, they’ve been implementing a
rightist revolution, doing the massive transfer of wealth in part via
the tax bill, but also an important part by systematically, agency by
agency, trying to gut the constraints on large corporations and the
oligarchs, regarding the environment, their treatment of labor, their
ability to discriminate, their ability to commit fraud without fear of
being sued by the public, increasing the rights of rich individuals to
intervene in politics, decreasing the rights of collectives of working
people to intervene in politics, like the Gorsuch-led Supreme Court
decision just the other day, inhibiting the ability of workers to file
class-action lawsuits against their employers.
It’s a systematic program
that’s been in the works since 1980, really. In a sense, it dates back
to the old Powell memorandum, where Powell, who later joined the
Supreme Court, said we, the representatives of the rich, we’ve got to
fight back against this new environmental movement, against this
consumer movement, against the labor movement, and also implicitly
against the Civil Rights movement. “These people have been making too
many gains, we’ve got to organize ourselves.”
And they did! They created
Heritage, and this whole other elaborate apparatus, and later the Koch
Brothers came in, and they created ALEC, the American Legislative
Exchange Council. They sent people down to the state legislature. And
they’ve been working on this program for decades.
(and I added
the links) ¨It’s a
systematic program that’s been in the works since 1980, really. In a
sense, it dates back to the old Powell
memorandum, where Powell,
later joined the Supreme Court, said we, the representatives of
rich, we’ve got to fight back against this new environmental movement,
against this consumer movement, against the labor movement, and also
implicitly against the Civil Rights movement. “These people have been
making too many gains, we’ve got to organize ourselves.”
Then there is this (spoken by
Allan Nairn) on the freedom of the press in the USA, that -
least - exists and is being used, versus what MSNBC and CNN are doing
with the freedom of the press: Dump it and go after ¨Russia-gate¨,
which is utter bullshit
according to any well-informed source I read in
the last two years:
So, almost everything,
almost every atrocity committed in the U.S. system is on the public
record somewhere, it’s somewhere in a library, it’s somewhere in a
posting on the Internet, somebody has done a good investigative piece
on it. It’s all out there somewhere.
But unless it’s repeated,
hammered away, day after day, on the big media outlets, it may be on
the public record but it’s not in the public consciousness. And that’s
all that matters in politics: What is in the public consciousness? And
those that set the rhythm of repetition that determine the public
consciousness — in this case, the media outlets like MSNBC and CNN,
which today play an absolutely central role, even more important than
the old Walter Cronkite broadcast back in the ’60s and ’70s, and [Dan]
Rather in the ’80s, ’90s — they have seized on this Russia scandal as
their theme. They want to attack Trump. They want to go after Trump.
But they devote vast portions of their airtime to speculation about
this Russiagate scandal, to the exclusion of hammering away on all
these other themes about the outright decimation and crushing and theft
of the American working class at the hands of this administration.
I´d say: more or
Here are two points of mine.
The first is on ¨the
public consciousness¨, which is not
being reached by what´s
in the public record but by what is on ¨the big media outlets¨:
If you say this, it
means that what you are saying is that ¨the public
days consists of people with a maximum IQ of 115 (this was the average IQ in
1984 of the students at the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam) and
a high school diploma, who gather (functionally anonymous, often) on
Facebook, where there are about 2 billion more of these folks, of whom
hardly anyone has the intellect to write their own sites in html, but
who now are all promoted to be ¨publishers¨, and who mainly
read as ¨news¨ what their billions of fellows regard as ¨news¨, and who
commonly react to that in Tweet-length ¨ideas¨ full of the grossest
scoldings and insults.
I am sorry: I despise
Facebook, but I fear its extremely low standards (set by
billions of the most stupid folks) may be the standards of the
which means that I am extremely glad to have been born in 1950
instead of later.
My second point is
about Nairn´s ¨They want
to attack Trump. They want to go after Trump. But they devote vast
portions of their airtime to speculation about this Russia-gate scandal¨:
No, not after more
than one and a half years of continuous Russia-gate baloney:
is not dictated by the MSNBC´s
and CNN´s blindness to the
facts; that is dictated by precisely the same norm as made CBS
millions of free airtime to Trump before the elections: That
CBS would get financially a lot better of it. (And they
right: They may have given Trump enough votes to win the elections, but
they did get financially a lot better from it).
And here is Nairn
(still quoting from near the beginning) on Russia-gate:
say: Pursue it, investigate it and then put it on the front burner when
you’ve got the facts nailed down. Look, Trump is a guy who’s guilty of
almost everything, in a meaningful sense. Yet, here, the Democrats have
pinned the political future of the world on nailing him for the one
thing of which he may in fact be innocent: Russia collusion. I mean,
he’s guilty of just about everything else.
I agree - and I note
aside that Cambridge
Analytica + Steve
Bannon are FAR more likely
candidates that explain how Trump could win the elections than
¨Russia-gate¨. But this does not
seem to be taken up by Mueller (?!?!?).
And this is (after
skipping a whole lot) from near the end, about the facts about
torturing people as organized by the USA:
Because the Obama ban and
the actual Haspel activities related to torture committed by actual
U.S. citizens, actual U.S. personnel, be they CIA or be they military,
who are the ones who lay the hands on the torture victim and do the
waterboarding, or the suffocation, or the burning, or the cutting, or
In fact, in the vast
majority of cases it is not directly U.S. citizens who do it, it’s U.S.
clients. So it’s personnel from Thai intelligence, from Israeli
intelligence, from the Palestinian Authority, from Libya, from Syria,
from Iraq, from Afghanistan, from Colombia, from the Philippines, from
Indonesia, et cetera, et cetera, cetera, on through dozens of
countries, where the U.S. has sponsored, armed, paid for, trained and
often, in cases of interrogation, directly supervised foreign
nationalists as they carry out interrogations using torture, sometimes
with questions fed to them by the American personnel.
And this is a strongly recommended article, which has a lot
more than I quoted.
A Look Back at the My Lai Massacre, MLK’s Assassination, Columbia
Protests & Catonsville Nine
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts as follows:
Today, in this
holiday special, we look back at 1968—a pivotal year in modern American
history. It was a year that saw the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther
King and Robert Kennedy, historic student strikes from Columbia to San
Francisco State, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Chicago
Democratic convention protests and the escalation of the Vietnam War.
Over the next hour, we will air highlights from our recent coverage of
four key events: the My Lai massacre, the assassination of Rev. Martin
Luther King Jr., the Columbia student strike and the Catonsville Nine.
I say, which I do because
this seems a very good idea, especially on Democracy Now!
factually a great lot better and clearer than MSNBC,
And I think I should add that I was 18 in 1968, and indeed recall each
and every fact that got mentioned in the above list (as a - quite
leftist - Dutchman). Then again, I do not have much of an idea
these stories of 1968 strike the people who were born in 2000 (in part
because I am childless because I am ill since 1.1.1979
with - what I am
only since 2018 allowed to say - ¨a serious chronic disease¨,
mere 40 years¨ has been denied to exist by virtually all
Anyway... here is one other bit:
This is a fine article
with lots of quotations. It is strongly recommended to
everybody (and not just to those who can remember 1968 very well, to
which I belong).
GOODMAN: Today, in this Democracy
Now! special, we go back 50 years, to 1968, a pivotal year in
modern American history, a year that saw the assassination of Dr.
Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, historic student strikes from
Columbia University to San Francisco State, the Soviet invasion of
Czechoslovakia, the Chicago Democratic convention protests and the
escalation of the Vietnam War. Over the next hour, we’ll air highlights
from our recent coverage of four key events, including the
assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the Columbia student strike
and the Catonsville Nine. But we begin in Vietnam.
Fifty years ago, on March
16, 1968, U.S. soldiers slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese women,
children and old men, in what became known as the My Lai massacre.
Women were raped. Houses were burned. Bodies were mutilated. Then the
U.S. military attempted to keep the massacre a secret. In March,
survivors of the massacre gathered at the site to describe the horror
of what happened on that day, 50 years ago, in 1968.
O, and incidentally (being a European): In Europe there was the
enormous explosion of May´68
(that I also attended, both in May and in June of 1968) and worldwide
there were very many protests as well: See Protests of 68.
‘Les Misérables’ in Prison
article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I spent the last four
months teaching Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel “Les Misérables” at a
maximum-security prison in New Jersey. My students—like Hugo’s main
character, Jean Valjean, who served 19 years in prison—struggle with
shame, guilt, injustice, poverty and discrimination, and yearn for
redemption and transformation. The novel gave them a lens to view their
lives and a ruling system every bit as cruel as Hugo’s 19th-century
was wildly successful when it was published, including among Civil War
soldiers in the United States, although Hugo’s condemnation of slavery
was censored from Confederate copies. It was American socialist leader
Eugene V. Debs’ favorite book—he read it in French. The socialist
British Prime Minister Lloyd
George said “Les Misérables” taught him more about poverty and the
human condition than anything else he had ever read and instilled in
him a lifelong ambition “to alleviate the distress and the suffering of
the poor.” Hugo’s novel, however, enraged the ruling elites. It was
panned by French critics. Copies were burned in Spain. Pope Pius IX put
it on the church’s list of banned books, along with “Madame
Bovary” and all the novels of Stendhal and Honoré de Balzac.
I say. I think this is
a good idea - and indeed Chris Hedges these days also is a
Incidentally, I am
saying this is a good idea while I am not a strong
believer in the efficacy or indeed the science of educating
formally, in classes, with exams - to read novels: I think
should be read and should be known, but I also think that nearly
everything I have read from things called ¨Literature¨ in
Then again, Chris
Hedhes is certainly not trashy, and the people he is teaching
special in the following sense:
I think this is correct,
and I leave the rest of the article to your interests. It is
My students will spend
their lives condemned as felons. They, like Valjean, will never
completely wash away the mark of Cain. Transformation, even when it
occurs, will not free them from the criminal caste system.
Transformation must be carried out not for what it will achieve, for
often it will achieve nothing, or how it will be perceived, for most of
the wider society will not perceive it. Transformation is about making
peace with yourself. It is about obeying your conscience, which Hugo
equates with the divine. It is about never living at the expense of
another. Transformation is about rising above the hatred many feel,
with justification, for a society that has betrayed them.
Dire Prediction for Trump’s Tax Cuts Is Already Coming True
article is by Jacob Sugarman on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Well... Jacob Sugarman
very probably is correct when he calls the report from Axios
¨disturbing¨, but it is not for me, for the simple reason that
believed in ¨trickling down¨ (that is: in the riches of the rich
trickling down to take care of the poor: utter bullshit).
In fact this
was merely the lie that made the rich even richer than they are by
cutting their taxes.
Six months after Donald
Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 into law, “the days of
most people getting a pay raise are over.” Those are the findings of a
report from Axios, which also notes that major corporations are
planning on cutting their respective payrolls, despite having secured trillions
in savings from Republican legislators.
During a conference held
Thursday at the Dallas Fed, several of the country’s leading CEOs were
asked if they had any plans to use their collective tax windfall to
increase wages. Their answers, according to Axios’ Steve LeVine, were
“candid and bracing.”
“It’s just not going to
happen,” Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida Troy Taylor
told the discussion’s moderator. “Absolutely not in my business.”
And there is this about what CEOs earn these days:
I think the people named
and listed are extremely obscene thieves of millions, and it is
one of the reasons why I am for
socialism in which the rich do not and
cannot earn legally more than 20 times of what the poor
earn, and to
insist that greed should be controlled by LAW.
And this is a
Meanwhile, the chasm
separating the incomes of corporate executives from rank-and-file
laborers has never yawned wider. Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street
Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which requires major
corporations to compare the earnings of CEOs with median-compensation
employees, we now know it would take workers at companies like Walmart
and Time Warner centuries, even millennia, to match the annual
salaries of their higher-ups.
Last week, The New York
Times highlighted six
outrageous CEO pay packages
that help put
this gap in perspective. They include disgraced
casino mogul Stephen Wynn, whose $34,522,695 income totaled 909
times that of an average Wynn Resorts staffer; First Data CEO Frank
Bisignano, whose compensation was $102,210,396, or 2028 times that of
his employees; and former Mattel CEO Margaret Georgiadis, whose
$31,275,289 salary registered at 4,987 times that of her workers.
5. America’s Megalomaniac
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
I spent last week at a
South Korea, during which time Trump went from seeking a meeting with
Kim Jong Un to cancelling it, then suggesting it might be back on.
“What does Trump want?”
officials at the conference kept asking me. Notably, no one asked what
United States wants. They knew it was all about Trump.
Trump’s goal has nothing to
peace on the Korean peninsula, or even with making America great again.
all about making Trump feel great.
“They are respecting us
Trump exulted to graduating cadets at the Naval Academy last Friday.
is such a great feeling, isn’t it? Nothing like winning. You got to
Well... I think I agree
with Reich that Trump seems to love dancing with military shoes on the
faces of those he beat, but then I am thinking now, and since more than
two years, and as a psychologist, that Trump is both a madman and a neofascist.
I think Reich and I
agree that Trump is a madman.
In fact, I think that the best term for Trump´s madness is
But then I am
also a psychologist (and a philosopher), and I know a lot more
about psychology than Reich does, while I may have more
experience with doctors than he has. And if I don´t (for Reich has
a genetical disorder, which must have cost him a lot of
trouble and pain), I certainly have more experiences with
doctors who pretend they know you
are a madman (for 40 years, and so is your
wife, for she has the same disease), while in fact
they know shit about your ¨serious
chronic disease¨ - since 2018 (!!!) - and are lying to you
and abusing you and totally refusing
to help you with anything you ask:
¨There is the hole of the
door!¨ as the medic who was part of the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam told
me, around 1982.
And as a
psychologist I know that Wikipedia has been given to the psychiatrists of
the APA - which is a professional organization of frauds, liars, deceivers and pseudoscientists:
THESE total assholes and total pseudoscientists now determine
what psychiatry is supposed to mean (in an encyclopedia intended for all
men, and not just for fraudulent pseudo- scientists),
and indeed these pseudoscientists also succeeded in banning the whole term ¨megalomania¨
(proper English since the 1890ies) from Wikipedia, and replacing this
by ¨narcissism¨. (The term still was on Wikipedia a few years ago.)
For me - who has been persecuted for 40 years with the bullshit
diagnosis that my complaints, and those of my ex, who also is ill
for 40 years, were ¨psychosomatic¨ (which is not even a
medical diagnosis) - this (and much more besides, that I
won´t mention here and now) is that the Wikipedia is sick and
corrupt (and probably is abused by rich corporations in
APA, that makes hundreds of millions out of its lies).
Here is more by Reich
The only thing that’s
Trump is now making foreign policy on his own – without America’s
Congress, even without the State Department. Trump may consider this a
win but it hardly makes America safer.
Some earnest foreign policy
are seeking to discover some bargaining strategy behind Trump’s moves
Korea. Hint: There’s no strategy. Only a thin-skinned narcissist
flattery and fearing ridicule.
Yes, I agree with Reich
(and ¨narcissism¨ is what you get if you enter ¨megalomania¨ in the
Wikipedia, because some psychiatrist around 1968 said it was the better
term: the psychiatri- zation of English).
And here is Reich on
Trump and the media:
As you may have noticed,
doesn’t like to be criticized. As Trump explained to Leslie Stahl of
“60 Minutes” during his campaign, his aim is “to discredit you
all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me no
Trump - who is a madman
- will try to ¨discredit¨ and ¨demean¨ everyone who writes anything
about him that Trump does not like. The president of the USA!
Talking to the press about the press!
Here is the end of
If peace is truly advanced
on the Korean
peninsula, the Prize shouldn’t go to Trump. It should go to South
president Moon Jae-in, who has tirelessly courted the world’s two most
Yes, I quite agree.
B. One Extra Bit
an extra bit in the crisis series. I did so before a few times. And the
following article is quite good, although I fear it is only
mathematically interested. It is by mathematician
It starts as
I say, which I do this
time because I do have a strong ¨interest (..) in the overlap of
science and philosophy¨,
and while I do not know Jim Holt, I am quite ready to believe Woit´s
recommendation of his book.
Jim Holt has a new book
out, a collection of essays entitled When Einstein
Walked with Gödel. I wrote enthusiastically about his last book (Why
Does the World Exist?) here
and, if you have any interest at all in the overlap of mathematics,
science and philosophy, I recommend this one just as highly. Holt is
pretty much a unique example of someone able to regularly write about
topics in this area in a manner that is both enlightening and
This is a book of essays
written on different topics for different venues, of too great a
variety to try and itemize here. Most of them have some sort of
connection to mathematics and philosophy, typically centering on one
idea or one, often historical, figure.
There is also this in the article:
In fact, I am regularly
following Woit because I agree with him (and Feynman, and
about the metaphysics that string theory has imported into physics: I
think it is nonsense (as do Woit and Smolin), and while I am certainly
neither a physicist nor a mathematician, I am a philosopher with
serious interests in both (and some capacities also, that would have
been a lot more dominant were it not for the fact that I am ill since
One of the essays included
here is a slightly edited and updated version of a
review of my book and Lee Smolin’s written back in 2006 for the New
Yorker (my blog post about it is here).
Of the many reviews of these books at that time, Holt’s seems to me the
most accurate and insightful take on the two books and the issues they
were trying to address.
For a very well-executed
review of the new book at the New York Times, see here.
Jerry Alper has an interview and discussion of the book here.
Another book I just finished reading is Errol Morris’s The
Ashtray, which is also about philosophy and science. Morris, one of
my favorite filmmakers, started out a career as a Ph.D. student of
Thomas Kuhn’s, and that did not go well. For more about the book, see
Finally, I also like it a lot that Woit likes Errol Morris. I
some articles by Morris in Nederlog, mostly because he had studied with
Kuhn and thought the same about Kuhn as I concluded a few years later:
He is a clever con-man (who threw an ashtray at Morris, because Morris
criticized Kuhn). So this is a strongly recommended article,
only the mathematically interested will care to read it.
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 (!!).