from June 18, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from June 18, 2018:
1. Et Tu, Bernie?
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. Hundreds of Children Wait in Cages in Texas Warehouse
3. Eon McLeary and Manuel Ruiz on Documentary 'The Work' and
Health in Prison
4. The Psychology Behind the Trump Cult
5. Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
1. Et Tu, Bernie?
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
There are two versions of
Bernie Sanders. There is the old Bernie Sanders, who mounted a quixotic
campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination as a democratic
socialist who refused corporate cash and excoriated corporate
Democrats. And there is the new Bernie Sanders, who dutifully plays by
the party’s rules, courts billionaires, refused to speak out in support
of the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee (DNC)
for rigging the primaries against him and endorses Democratic
candidates who espouse the economic and political positions he once
began in December 2015 when he saw the groundswell of support for his
candidacy and thought he could win the nomination. He dropped the
fiery, socialist rhetoric that first characterized his campaign—he had
given whole speeches on democratic socialism shortly after he announced
his candidacy in May 2015. He hired establishment Democratic Party
consultants such as Ted Devine, who, ironically, played a role in the
creation of the superdelegates that helped fix the nomination victory
of Hillary Clinton. He would spend tens of millions of the some $230
million he raised during the campaign on professional consultants. When
it was clear he would lose, Sanders and his influential campaign
manager, Jeff Weaver, began coordinating closely with the Clinton
campaign. By May of 2016, Sanders had muted his criticisms of Clinton
and surrendered to the Democratic Party machine. He has been an
obedient servant of the party establishment ever since.
I say, for I did not
know everything that Hedges says here. In fact, I knew little
of this, although I did know that there are several versions of
Sanders. Also, while I trust Chris Hedges more than I do Bernie
Sanders, indeed simply on the basis of what I do know about their
lives, which is meanwhile considerable (and much more so than it would
have been before internet), I also do not trust Chris Hedges
So let´s see. First my
attitudes to Bernie Sanders. Of everyone who reaches some political
prominence in the USA he and Elizabeth Warren are about the only
ones I trust more than not (for I think all the other more or less
prominent politicians in the current USA incline more
towards personal corruption/personal enrichment than defending
the rights of their voters), and in fact this is built mostly on
what they did and said politically, and also on what other more or less
prominent American politicians did and said.
And here is Hedges on
Sanders was always
problematic. His refusal to condemn imperialism and the war industry—a
condemnation central to the message of the socialist leader Eugene V.
Debs—meant his socialism was stillborn. It is impossible to be a
socialist without being an anti-imperialist. But at least Sanders
addressed the reality of social inequality, which the Republican and
Democratic establishment pretended did not exist. He returned political
discourse to reality. And he restored the good name of socialism.
Well... I do agree
Sanders was (and is) less opposed to American imperialism and the
American war industry than I am, but there are several possible reasons
for this. Here are two.
First, Sanders is one
of the very few American political radicals there were in the
last 50 years or so, and the only one who has been active since
the mid 1970ies. And second, I don´t think Sanders is quite a
socialist (as I would define ¨socialism¨: see here) or indeed a democratic
socialist: I think - and I am allowing here for the considerable
political differences that exist between the USA and Europe -
that Sanders is (mostly) more of a social democrat than either
a socialist or a democratic socialist.
And - in case you did
not know - most European social democrats have been (and were, for a long
time, also) for imperialism (of some sort), and against
socialist or communist revolutions and revolutionaries, while being
otherwise for the most part fairly or faintly leftist.
As far as I know, this may
be the position of Sanders as well, and while I do not like European
social democrats, in the USA being both a social democrat and
a leading politician is quite rare and for that reason, at least in my
eyes, more sympathetic.
Here is more from a
considerably longer discussion by Hedges, that relates to Donna
Brazile´s revelations about the manipulations by the DNC:
“The agreement—signed by
Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to
Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing
in the DNC, Clinton would control the party’s finances, strategy, and
all the money raised,” Brazile wrote. “Her campaign had the right of
refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would
make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required
to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data,
analytics, and mailings.”
Sanders, although he knew
by September 2016 that the process was rigged, said nothing to his
supporters. He was tacitly complicit in the cover-up. It was left to
one of the architects of the fraud, Brazile, to reveal the scam. But by
then it was too late.
Well... yes and no, and
I have two remarks.
The first remark is
that Hilary Clinton apparently had (and probably still has) the
absolute power in the DNC, and she has acquired the absolute power
by ... raising money (from mega-rich bankers, undoubtedly) for the DNC,
and therefore Hilary Clinton ¨would control the party’s finances, strategy, and
all the money raised¨. That
is not democracy: that is complete manipulation by the rich
for the rich.
And my second remark is
that, granting that Sanders ¨knew
by September 2016 that the process" - in the DNC - ¨was rigged¨, what was he supposed to say less than 2 months before the
elections? In fact Trump won the elections (at least formally), but
if Sanders had been loudly calling the DNC corrupt (or ¨rigged¨) briefly before the elections, this probably (as
well) would have meant that Trump would have won.
So I don´t
quite agree with Hedges. Here is more by him:
Those who support Sanders’
capitulation, including his high-priced establishment consultants, will
argue that politics is about compromise and the practical. This is
true. But playing politics in a system that is not democratic is about
becoming part of the charade. We need to overthrow this system, not
placate it. Revolution is almost always a doomed enterprise, one that
succeeds only because its leaders eschew the practical and are endowed
with what the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr calls “sublime
madness.” Sanders lacks this sublime madness. The quality defined
Debs. And for this reason Sanders is morally and temperamentally unfit
to lead this fight.
No, I disagree with
First, I know that
politics is supposed to be ¨about
compromise and the practical¨,
but that is not what is relevant here. What is relevant is that the
is no longer a real democracy, while Sanders is one of the few
politicians who is not corrupt and often criticizes the
other politicians as (for the most part) a social democrat.
Second, one major
problem that Hedges does not discuss at all in this article is that in
the USA there are but two parties that have political power -
parties have been vastly corrupted by money from the very rich.
And my third point is
that I don´t quite believe in ¨sublime madness¨ (and both of my
parents were real communists for 45 years or more, as was a
grandfather: I do know something about real leftist families
and real leftist idealism), and in so far as I believe in it, I
would rewrite it as ¨personal talent, personal courage and personal
honesty¨. I do believe that Sanders has some personal talent, personal courage and
personal honesty, certainly when compared with almost any other
American politician, though indeed I do not know whether he has enough.
Then there is this
point, which is quite correct:
The Democratic Party is
neither democratic nor in any real sense a political party. It is a
corporate mirage. The members of its base can, at best, select
preapproved candidates and act as props in a choreographed party
convention. Voters have zero influence on party politics.
I agree this is
note the implication: In present-day American politics the choice
between the rich rightists and the rich quasi-leftists, and in the
nearly all of both dominant American political parties are for the
because these pay them very well.
This is from Hedges´ ending:
No, I don´t think so, though
indeed I am also not certain how much Sanders will or can help those
with - let´s say - genuine leftist feelings in the present USA.
The Democratic Party elites
in an open process and without corporate backing would not be in power.
They are creations of the corporate state. They are not about to permit
reforms that will see themselves toppled. Yes, this tactic of fixing
elections and serving corporate power may ensure a second term for
Donald Trump and election of fringe candidates who pledge their loyalty
to Trump, but the Democratic elites would rather sink the ship of state
than give up their first-class cabins.
The Democratic Party is as
much to blame for Trump as the Republicans.
Sanders won’t help us. He has
made that clear. We must do it without him.
You can be for Hedges (which is a fairly consistent and honest
position, I think) but the problem with that is that you have to
up nearly all ordinary politics in the USA, and this will defeat
almost certainly (as well), at least without a major recession.
You can be for Sanders, but the problem with that is that (at least in
my case) he is more of a compromising politician than seems fair from a
real leftist point of view, and besides, he will be 77 within three
For the moment, I think I remain for both. And this is a recommended
of Children Wait in Cages in Texas Warehouse
This article is by
Nomaan Merchant on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It
starts as follows:
Inside an old
warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of children wait away from their
parents in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20
children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips
and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets.
One teenager told an
advocate who visited that she was helping care for a young child she
didn’t know because the child’s aunt was somewhere else in the
facility. She said she had to show others in her cell how to change the
The U.S. Border Patrol on
Sunday allowed reporters to briefly visit the facility where it holds
families arrested at the southern U.S. border, responding to new
criticism and protests over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance”
policy and resulting separation of families.
Actually, this reminds me
quite strongly of Stalin´s
policies and laws, for Stalin from the early 1930ies onwards made members
of one´s family, whether they knew anything or not: simply because
thry were family, co-responsible for the (asserted) crimes a
family-member was accused of: One could get 10 years in some
concentration camp (that these days are not called ¨concen- tration
camps¨ anymore on the ever worsening Wikipedia) simply for being
the wife or aunt of some (asserted) criminal.
Then again, I do not
know whether Stalin intentionally arrested persons and took away their
five year olds for doing nothing (other than seeking asylum).
Here is some more:
Reporters were not allowed
by agents to interview any of the detainees or take photos.
Nearly 2,000 children have
been taken from their parents since Attorney General Jeff Sessions
announced the policy, which directs Homeland Security officials to
refer all cases of illegal entry into the United States for
prosecution. Church groups and human rights advocates have sharply
criticized the policy, calling it inhumane.
I agree, but it is well
to know that Sessions seems to reason as Joseph Stalin did. Here is the
last bit I quote from this article:
“The government is
literally taking kids away from their parents and leaving them in
inappropriate conditions,” Brane said. “If a parent left a child in a
cage with no supervision with other 5-year-olds, they’d be held
Yes indeed, and this is
a recommended article.
McLeary and Manuel Ruiz on Documentary 'The Work' and Mental Health in
This article is by
Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
In this week’s
episode of “Scheer
Intelligence,” host and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer
discusses the new documentary “The Work” with producer
Eon McLeary and with Manuel “Manny” Ruiz, one of the subjects. The
documentary follows members of a group therapy program at Folsom State
Prison created by the Inside Circle Foundation, which brings together
inmates and non-inmates to work through mental health issues. It’s a
rare view into the reality of life for the 2.3 million Americans
currently behind bars.
In fact, this is a quite
long interview with both persons mentioned, of which I will quote
three bits. Here is the second bit:
[W]hat I like about the guests today,
they’re involved with a film called “The Work,” which does not convey, really, the
excitement of the film. But it’s a chance to see inside this huge
population of 2.3 million people in one kind of incarceration or
another in the United States. And for most people, they’re kind of a
throwaway population; out of sight, out of mind; the assumption that
they’re criminals, that they’re not, cannot be rehabilitated.
And what this movie does is it visits a
program that I think has been in existence for 17 years, which comes
from the opposite way: it says, you know, these are important human
beings; they have souls, they have feelings, they have experience; and
they can be rehabilitated. And it’s a program that’s been successful,
at least for 40 human beings, who, not one has returned, I gathered
My own approach is that everyone
feelings, experiences, ideas and values, and almost everyone ¨can be
rehabilitated¨ (though I except people like Eichmann).
Here is the last bit that I´ll quote from
this article - and there is a reason to quote this, which I will give
after the quotation:
MR: Well, to me, I recognize that there’s a, in
myself, when I got into the group, I was not in touch with my emotions.
That’s the gist of it for me. I was out of touch with how I felt. I
didn’t know how to deal with how I felt, and I suppressed a lot of what
I felt. And that informed my behavior, and informed my decision-making.
And the more I worked, doing the weekly groups where I was modeled by
other men who had been doing this type of work, how to be in integrity,
how to know what it is that I’m feeling and how to respond
appropriately with the emotions that come up, I got better at it. And I
worked with other men; we all learned how to be emotionally literate,
and to work with our feelings.
Then, seeing other people, whether other prisoners or
people from the outside who do not know how to deal with their
emotions, and just go through life with a mask–just like we would do
inside prison, walk the yard and put on a mask. But nobody knows who I
really am. Most times I don’t even know who I really am, unless I do
that introspective work. Seeing people from the outside who aren’t in
touch with themselves, it was easy to spot.
I think what Manny Ruiz is describing is
something that is much like alienation
- but then I must admit that I had expected again much better
from the ever worsening Wikipedia (based on earlier readings, indeed).
So all I´ll do here and now is to
that (i) the above description is a rather good description of
alienation, which (ii) is considerably wider spread than among
poor, the discriminated and the incarcerated. This is a recommended
article, in which there is a lot more than I quoted.
Psychology Behind the Trump Cult
article is by Rick Shenkman on AlterNet and originally on History News
Network. This article starts as follows:
mechanism inclines us toward consistency, especially when our beliefs
and behavior are in conflict. While we often hold contradictory views,
obvious contradictions make us feel uncomfortable. By nature we aren’t
Walt Whitmans. “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict
myself, I am large, I contain multitudes,” Whitman says in his poem
“Song of Myself.” But that’s not how the brain operates. The human
brain does not like cognitive dissonance—as social psychologist Leon
Festinger dubbed the phenomenon in the 1950s. Rather than live with
contradiction, we figure out a way to reduce it. How far are we willing
to go to do this? Pretty far.
I do not know who Rick
Shenkman is, except that he seems to be a historian, and not a
psychologist. Well, I am a psychologist, and I somewhat disagree with
the above, while I disagree a lot with the next quotation from this
But first the above quotation. What I object to is that all
living persons - geniuses and idiots, brilliant people and frauds,
liars and honest persons a.s.o. - are collected under ¨we¨ and
if there is no difference in family background, in intelligence, in
character, in knowledge or in conformism: None of that matters, it
seems, for Shenkman´s extreme generalizations.
And here is what Shenkman thinks (or says he thinks):
Once they realized
that no flying saucer was whisking them away and that no great flood
was coming, they concluded that they had saved the world from
destruction. Their example of faith had so moved God that he had
decided to spare humanity. They saved us all.
It is easy for us, from our
vantage point, to think of these folks as ridiculous believers in
magical thinking. But what they fell victim to was a form of thinking
to which we are all highly susceptible. We all want to believe what we
believe is true. That’s the Perseverance Bias in action. Once we settle
on a view of the world, we are inclined to persist in it. If forced to
confront inconvenient facts—as the Chicago cultists were forced when
life on earth didn’t come to an end—we are capable of going to great
lengths to explain them away. That’s because we absolutely hate
So here it goes: With
the help of ¨Perseverance Bias¨ and what ¨we¨ ¨absolutely hate¨,
Shenkman at least strongly suggests that a high intelligence,
attitude, and a lack of conformism
all are as
virtually nothing compared with the Cognitive Dissonance that ¨we¨
I think he is either
you and me or stupid
the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
article is by Doug Rawlings on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
By the time I
reached Episode Four in this ten-episode film, I concluded it should
not be touted as an Emmy Award-winning documentary.
In fact, this is about Ken Burns and Lynne Novick’s “Vietnam
War” series that I also wrote about on June
1, 2018, with a similar point.
“Resolve,” is the story of 1966, a year that the producers of this film
have designated as the time when doubt began to worm its way into
American troops. This doubt sows the breeding ground for what we now
call “moral injury.”
The American soldier
in Vietnam begins to realize that his job of killing others, or
supporting those who are carrying out the killing, is not divinely
ordained. He is not in a just war. In fact, he is being used by others
who have much more pedestrian motives—rank, saving face, gaining
political favor, selling weapons.
This is three years
before I even set foot in country, into a war much different than early
1966. In 1969, we trudged into that muck and mire as reluctant cynics.
Incidentally, I did not see this series (and will not, for one
thing because it is too long), but I do know a fair amount
about the Vietnam war, because I was born in 1950 in a genuine
communist family, and lived through many demonstrations and actions
concerned with Vietnam in the 1960ies (between 1965 and 1970).
But this is by a genuine Vietnam veteran, who was not happy
¨Vietnam War¨. Here is part of Rawlings´ explanation why:
So, let’s assume that
Burns and Novick et al. are somewhat accurate in setting off
1966 as the “turning point” in our slow awakening to the truth. So what?
First off, this would
have been a good point for the auteurs to work in the aforementioned
concept of moral injury.
As that term begins
to be thrown around in popular culture, losing any real meaning, it is
important to note that it was intended to mean a slow, remorseful
process of recognizing one’s complicity in what most religions call
“evil,” combined with a soul-shaking sense of betrayal.
You realize that
there is no excuse for your unwillingness or inability to stop human
degradation as it unfolds before you as your deeply held
moral codes wither away. And now you must accept the consequences of
that debilitating malaise that worked its way into your head.
I agree (and indeed for
me ¨moral injury¨ when applied to Vietnamese veterans means
rather different than when it is applied to 19-year olds who never
faught in their lives).
Here is more:
At this juncture of
the film, four episodes into a 10-episode saga, it is evident to me
that we are not watching a true documentary film. In my eyes,
documentation is rooted in facts and, if at all possible, immutable
truths. The documentarian’s function is to get down to historical
truths, to discover cause and effect, and to provide us with a
trustworthy scaffolding on which to rebuild our memories as soundly as
possible. No, we are watching instead a series of anecdotes, each one
imbued with the earnestness of the teller. Who dares to question the
grieving mother or disillusioned sister or duty-bound soldier? We are
not being invited into a logical discussion of facts here—we are being
asked to bear witness.
I take it this is more
or less true, but I neither saw the series nor served in Vietnam (or
Then again, I should also say that the above problem - what one
a series of anecdotes rather than a consistent and sensible story -
plagues many so-called filmed documentaries, which again is a
for me to avoid them if I want to learn something: I normally prefer
Here is some more:
As a veteran of that
war who has tried to bring to light its utter depravity and as a
teacher, I oppose letting this visual extravaganza stand as a
definitive historical record that students will turn to in their
It is a cornucopia of
anecdotes that gives us a glimpse of that war that I’m sure the
Pentagon and the Koch brothers, who funded it, would approve of,
but its priorities are misguided. The war was never “begun in good
faith.” It was never just a “mistake.” It was, from the beginning
and throughout, a morally depraved undertaking.
Yes, I agree. Here is
the last bit that I quote from this article:
I agree and this is a
soldiers from this country sent to Vietnam did not “serve”—we were
used. We were blood-sacrificed on the altar of greed
and power along with millions of Vietnamese dead. And for
John Pilger, the
Australian journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker
wrote: “The invasion of Vietnam was deliberate and
calculated—as were policies and strategies that bordered on genocide
and were designed to force millions of people to abandon their homes.
Experimental weapons were used against civilians.”
Burns and Novick
avoid those conclusions although thousands of Vietnam veterans came to
realize the soul-devastating truth during the war or soon after. A film
that brings their words into the narrative would be a major step
forward. This one is far from that.
This is not history we
are watching. We are watching theater.
 I have
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 (!!).