from July 2, 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 July 2, 2018:
1. America the Failed State
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. Where’s Our “Dr. Strangelove”?
3. Trump’s Rage Junkies
4. Nomi Prins on the Banks That Run the World
5. The No-Deal President
the Failed State
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Our “corporate coup
d’état in slow motion,” as the writer John Ralston Saul
calls it, has opened a Pandora’s box of evils that is transforming
America into a failed state. The “unholy trinity of corruption,
impunity and violence,” he said, can no longer be checked. The ruling
elites abjectly serve corporate power to exploit and impoverish the
citizenry. Democratic institutions, including the courts, are
mechanisms of corporate repression. Financial fraud and corporate crime
are carried out with impunity. The decay is exacerbated by the state’s
indiscriminate use of violence abroad and at home, where rouge law
enforcement agencies harass and arrest citizens and the undocumented
and often kill the unarmed. A depressed and enraged population, trapped
by chronic unemployment and underemployment, is overdosing on opioids
and beset by rising suicide rates. It engages in acts of nihilistic
violence, including mass shootings. Hate groups proliferate. The
savagery, mayhem and grotesque distortions familiar to those on the
outer reaches of empire increasingly characterize American existence.
And presiding over it all is the American version of Ubu Roi, playwright
Alfred Jarry’s gluttonous, idiotic, vulgar, narcissistic and infantile
king, who turned politics into burlesque.
Yes indeed - I think Chris
Hedges is quite correct. In case you don't think so
(and I agree the
above paragraph is strong), try the economist Nomi Prins, whose recent
book “Collusion: How
Central Bankers Rigged the World” is reviewed below
(and who seems to
think more or less the same as Hedges does, and as I do).
Here is something on the - quite classical - system of rotten boroughs,
that are now being recreated by computers in the USA:
Rotten boroughs were
the 19th-century version of gerrymandering. The British oligarchs
created electoral maps through which depopulated boroughs—50 of them
had fewer than 50 voters—were easily dominated by the rich to maintain
control of the House of Commons. In the United States, our ruling class
has done much the same, creating districts where incumbents, who often
run unchallenged, return to Congress election after election. Only
about 40 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are actually
contested. And given the composition of the Supreme Court, especially
with Donald Trump poised to install another justice, it will get worse.
Here is Hedges on the two
prominent American political parties: they are both thoroughly corrupt:
The two political
parties are one party—the corporate party. They do not debate
substantive issues. They each support the expansion of imperial wars,
the bloated military budget, the dictates of global capitalism, the
bailing out of Wall Street, punishing austerity measures, assaulting
basic civil liberties through wholesale government surveillance and the
abolition of due process, and an electoral process that has cemented
into place a system of legalized bribery. They battle over cultural
tropes such as abortion, gay rights and prayer in schools. We elect
politicians based on how we are made to feel about them by the public
relations industry. Politics is anti-politics.
Yes indeed - and if you
disagree, read again the last sentence: "Politics is anti-politics" and then again the rest of this paragraph.
Then these is this:
[Saul] warned we
not be complacent because of President Trump’s imbecility. Trump is
immensely dangerous. “The insipid,” Thomas
Mann wrote in “The Magic Mountain,” “is not synonymous with the
Actually (and I don't
Mann, though this may not be relevant) it is not the insipidity
harmful: it are the conformism
whole lying system of public quasi- morality that mark the
(who tend to earn a bit more than the average, and who want to keep
their relative advantages at virtually any cost).
Here is more that is well-perceived:
“I’ve always opposed
trade deals not because I oppose trade,” Saul said, “or because I
thought they were about getting a fair balance in the trade, but
because the trade deals were about something else. They were about
deregulation. They were about handing power to corporations and banks.
They weren’t about trade.
Precisely - and see my "It's
the deregulation, stupid!" of 2015 and - once again - item 4
Here is the last bit I quote from this fine article (in which there is
a lot more):
Yes indeed to all of this,
and especially - because I rarely read this, outside my
own columns -
with: ‘Americans are stupid.
Americans are corrupt.
Americans are not
educated.' And not only do I think these three characterists
“But there’s always a
shadow to the bright tower,” Saul went on. “Trump’s feeding that
shadow. ‘Americans are stupid. Americans are corrupt. Americans are not
educated. Americans can’t be trusted.’ The whole list. The longer the
chaos goes on, the worse it gets.”
The collapse of the
legislative and executive branches of government has now been
accompanied by the collapse of the judiciary. The loss of an
independent judiciary, Saul warned, is especially ominous.
I think they are crucial for a decent rational explanation
I have seen happening in the last 40 years, for if the Americans would not
have been stupid and would not have been ignorant in majority
almost none of the very many quite important very bad
were taken in the last 40 years would have been taken.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Our “Dr. Strangelove”?
article is by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
The most peculiar
thing about America’s 2018 apocalyptic imagination is the dog that
isn’t barking. We have “Westworld” and “Terminator” and “Ex Machina”
and a dozen more movies about artificial intelligence that decides to
kill us. We have “The Day After Tomorrow” and “An Inconvenient Truth”
and “Mother!” and maybe “Interstellar” and “Game of Thrones” about
global warming. But we are notably bereft of movies, television
shows, and novels about nuclear war.
Yes indeed - but let me
start with an introduction to Stanley Kubrick's
for Kubrick was one of the best directors of film ever; "Dr.
Strangelove" is one of the best comedies ever; and you really
should see it if you never did.
The good news – or at least
the not incredibly horrible news – is that Donald Trump
may be doing us the unexpected favor of kickstarting our nuclear
imagination and sending us down a path where we can save ourselves.
Then again, after the above "good news" here is a bit of bad news, that
explains - to a certain extent - why "Dr. Strangelove" could be
Kubrick was a unique man with an extraordinary perception, who
seems to have been one of the most intelligent and best
directors of his time, and I do not think he will recur,
The Sixties were - as John Cleese correctly pointed out, in an
interview I saw yesterday - "a creative period" and in fact that was
the only "creative period" in my life (and I was born in 1950).
So I do not expect anything like Dr. Strangelove to be filmed
decade, or the previous one: There is no such tremendously gifted
director, and there is also not the freedom to publish his kind of
As to the chances of a nuclear war:
There is widespread
agreement among experts that the chances of a nuclear war are now higher than
they were during the Cold War, not lower. This past January, the
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists set their doomsday clock at two
minutes to midnight, as close as it’s been since it was created in
I entirely agree,
main reason to think so is the mad neofascist Donald Trump. And here is
Ellsberg (another of my heroes) on the chances of a nuclear
Daniel Ellsberg — who took part in U.S. planning for nuclear war before
he leaked the Pentagon Papers, and recently wrote “The
Doomsday Machine” — believes it’s
“unlikely” we’ll survive another 100 years if we don’t completely
eliminate nuclear weapons. The main reason we’re even here now, he
says, is simple good fortune, rather than planning or wisdom, and our
good fortune will almost inevitably expire.
Yes indeed - and the "good
fortune" was in fact that there were some Soviet military men who kept
their cool and decided not to fire the atomic weapons they had been
supposed to use. This was indeed good fortune, and to believe
another hundred years of similar good fortune is like
roulette with the whole world (where one of the present
main players is
Donald Trump, who is in my psychologist's opinion a thorough and very
Here is the last bit I quote from this fine article:
“Most of the time,”
say James Blight and Janet Lang, two of the foremost academic experts
on the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, “most people give the issue no
thought, no resources, and know next to nothing about the level of the
threat [that] might careen the world once again into some shocking,
unexpected crisis that spins out of control toward Armageddon. Are we
that dumb? That ignorant? That much in denial?”
I think one is fully
justified in saying: Yes, Americans are that dumb;
Americans are that ignorant;
and Americans are that much
in denial, especially since "Dr.
over 50 years old, and its serious warnings were almost
completely unheeded in the next 50 years. And this is a strongly
article is by Charles Blow on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
is truly a confounding time to be alive, to be an American.
are watching as a president of the United States openly lies,
fabricates and exaggerates while two-fifths of the
population cheers him for it.
spurns our allies and embraces our adversaries and people shrug.
his congressional allies and his propaganda arm are waging open warfare
on the Federal Bureau of Investigation in an effort to tarnish it
before its inquiry into connections between the Trump campaign, family
and associates and Russia can be made public.
is a racist who disparages black and brown people, whether they be
immigrants, Muslims, people from Haiti and Africa, Barack Obama, the
mayor of San Juan or Maxine Waters. People equivocate about it and
is attacking the press in the most aggressive of terms so that what
they reveal about him will be viewed with skepticism.
is attempting to weaken our institutions, our protocols and
conventions, our faith in the truth, our sense of honor and our respect
for the rule of law.
somehow, many Americans, even those disgusted by what they see, have
resigned themselves to this new reality.
Yes, I think all of this is true. Here is more on
is like a drug dealer who has addicted his followers to fear and rage
and keeps supplying it in constant doses. His supporters have become
rage-junkies for whom he can do no wrong.
of that is undoubtedly due to the increasingly racialized nature of our
partisanship, but it is also because Trump has positioned himself as a
white power president.
of the things that his supporters like is the very thing that others
detest: His unapologetic, unabashed crusade to fight off all efforts at
racial and ethnic inclusion. They may not articulate it as such, but
that is the nature of Trump’s policies: Promising to build a wall,
disparaging Mexicans, separating immigrant families, the Muslim ban,
decreasing even legal migration, denigrating protesting football
Yes indeed. Then there is this:
no amount of moralizing from Trump’s opposition will affect the fervor
of his supporters. Quite the opposite: Nothing quickens the pulse and
induces the delight of conservatives more than the consternation of
liberals. They would let the whole country collapse for the pleasure of
And this is where we are now:
at a standoff.
No, I don't think so.
First, the main three main forces of the ordinary
conservatives aka neoliberals aka neofascists (I am starting to use
these as equivalents (i) because they often are (not always),
and second because in
nine years of fast internet I
have not read a single
journalist who seems to have any decent idea of what a
definition of "fascism" looks like, even though very many
have used the
term) are stupidity,
(much more than "the
Second, as also indicated by my first remark, the terms
"conservatives" and "liberals" are these days so confused as to
almost meaningless: You just can't use them as if they are clear.
And third, I don't see "a standoff": I see
for Trump. But this is a recommended article.
Prins on the Banks That Run the World
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
talks with Nomi Prins about her latest and what Scheer calls her “most
ambitious” book, “Collusion: How
Central Bankers Rigged the World.”
The two discuss the 2008
financial crisis, the disconnect between governments and the governed,
as well as Prins’ unique perspective on the financial world thanks to
her time as a banker. Scheer and Prins come to the conclusion that the
world’s biggest banks “rigged the
world,” as the author’s title suggests, but perhaps more alarmingly,
that the Federal Reserve has allowed financial institutions to continue
growing and “screwing over the consumers.”
I think there’s an element of what’s
happened in this past decade since the financial crisis,” says Prins,
“where yes, the Federal Reserve sort of led the way for the major
central banks in the world … to manufacture money in order to save the
global financial system, basically global banks.”
Yes indeed - I completely agree and
Nomi Prins is one of the few economists who make sense to me (and I
have read quite a lot of them: most of them are
metaphysicians, in the way many modern string theorists in physics are,
who left the notion of truth as
Nomi Prins: That’s the thesis–that’s just America.
[Laughs] That’s the thesis of what the Fed has done, first of all, yes.
Forgetting to watch their banks, which they are supposed to regulate,
going into the financial crisis. In fact, seeing problems emerging and
literally publicly deflecting, for example, that mortgage problems were
going to become a bigger issue in the public eye and in the press. Two,
going on after the financial crisis, to subsidizing these banks; they
have unleashed, the Federal Reserve, with no limitation, with no
regulation, with no legislation, with no accountability, the largest
bank subsidy program in the history of the world. And I say this
because they’ve brought in–and this is where the term collusion comes into play–a number of other G7 central
banks to expand that subsidy for banks in the financial system
throughout the world.
Yes again: I again completely agree,
this is also one of the radical changes that the crisis of 2008
- that was totally mismanaged by Obama, and totally
mishandled, criminally also,
except that laws do not apply
anymore to the really big players, by Eric Holder, who refused
prosecute bank directors because that might ruin the world - and who
made the banks twice as rich and twice as powerful as they were.
And here is the explanation of the basic
trick the Federal Reserve used (which in fact was enabled by
destruction of the
gold standard in 1971):
RS: Let me just stop you there, by the way,
because the book is all about manufacturing money. I don’t think people
quite understand that. This is not, you know, you don’t sort of get
this out of a bank and move it over here or something. When they bought
the—basically what they did is they bailed out the banks, and Obama did
it right along with George W. Bush; he did the same program. And what
they did is they said, look, you guys have all these terrible
collateralized debt obligations, and you know, credit default swaps,
all these terrible packages of junk; we’re going to buy it from you,
OK. But they didn’t tax Americans; they didn’t tax anyone; they didn’t
have money, they didn’t actually write a check. They invent money
electronically, use that to buy this stuff, right, and then stash it
off the books of the banks with the Fed. Isn’t that the basic scam here?
NP: Yeah, that’s the basic scam, and this
happened throughout the world. So for example, you know, when I say
“conjure electronically,” create, you know, as you’re talking about, it
would be literally like if you were a regular person, you go to your
ATM, and your bank says you know what, I know you only have $1,000 in
your account; we’re just going to add a zero. Yeah, we’re not even
taking it from anyone else and giving it to you; we’re literally
creating a zero. That’s what we’re doing, we are creating a zero.
That is, since money
just paper: "They invent money
electronically, use that to buy this stuff, right, and then stash it
off the books of the banks with the Fed. Isn’t that the basic scam here?"
It is, as Prins
affirms. And this is what happened a trillionfold around 2008.
It did enrich the very rich bankers, and it did enrich some other very
rich, but that is all it helped.
And here is the
of the story, as told by Scheer:
Precisely. And it is all
based on nothing - except that the non-rich have to accept the loans
the banks made to themselves, and will have to pay them later. This is
a strongly recommended article, in which there is considerably
RS: But instead, they added those
said to the banks, we’ll take your lousy loans that you created, and
we’re going to take them—and the result, and this is something I saw in
your book so clearly stated, I haven’t seen it anywhere else—the whole
irony is, this banking meltdown happened because these banks were
allowed to become too big to fail. That was the whole significance of
Glass-Steagall from the Great Depression: don’t ever let them be too
big, don’t ever let them commingle investment banking with the
federally secured deposit of ordinary people; that wall, OK, they get
rid of the wall, they become too big to fail, and then we have to bail
them out. But your book, Collusion:
How Central Bankers Rigged the World, by Nomi Prins—your book points out they’ve
grown twice as large as a result of this. They’re bigger than they were
in terms of this indebtedness and what have you.
5. The No-Deal President
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Trump promised to be
in chief. But so far – whether he’s dealing with foreign
governments or with Congress – Trump has shown that he can’t make
a deal. Here’s the list:
I think Reich is correct - and
incidentally, Trump's "The Art of
the Deal" was not written by Trump but by his "co-author" Tony
Schwarz (who regrets it).
In any case, Reich is right that Trump can't make a deal. Here is a
list of 15 important possible deals Trump could have made but did not
make - and I print just the titles, and remove all the associated text,
which you can get by clicking on the above title):
1. No deal with North
2. No deal on Nafta.
3. No deal with China on
4. No deal on steel and
5. No deal on the Qatar
6. No deal on Syria.
7. No deal on Russia.
8. No deal on Iran.
9. No deal on climate
10. No deal on Pacific
11. No deal with Group
12. No deal on DACA or
13. No budget deal.
14. No deal on replacing
Affordable Care Act.
15. No deal on gun
And here is Reich's
I think Reich is right,
and I also think that one of the reasons that Trump cannot make deals
is that he is a megalomaniac
(which is the better term than the psychiatrese term
"narcissist" (but the the Wikipedia has been completely
psychiatrised)): He only accepts "deals" with people he has defeated.
And this is a recommended article.
Bottom line: Trump can’t
make deals. He can only pull out of deals
already made, or pretend he’s made deals that soon evaporate.
 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 (!!).