from July 19, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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 19, 2018:
1. The Death of Truth - Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump
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. The Human
Cost of Getting Used to Trump
3. Confront Digital Oligarchs and Defend Net Neutrality
4. Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda
5. Over 60 House Democrats to Launch Medicare for All Caucus
Death of Truth - Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump
This article is by Chris Hayes on
The New York Times. It starts as follows:
Well... I basically agree with
Chris Hayes, but these paragraphs do require some comments:
president is a liar. He lies about matters of the utmost consequence
(nuclear diplomacy) and about the most trivial (his golf game). He lies
about things you can see with your own eyes. He lies about things he
said just moments ago. He lies the way a woodpecker attacks a tree:
compulsively, insistently, instinctively. He lies until your temples
throb. He lies until you want to submerge your head in a bucket of ice
and pray for release.
yet millions of Americans either believe what he says or delight in his
obvious deceptions. One of the country’s two major political coalitions
is devoted to justifying and defending those lies to the point of
absurdity. Republicans will argue all at once that the president is not
tearing immigrant children from their parents, that he is doing it but
it’s necessary to deter future immigrants, that the children aren’t
really the children of those who are bringing them but rather coached
to pretend they are by smugglers, and that Obama did the same thing and
now Donald Trump has mercifully ended the practice. It feels very much
as if something has ripped in the fabric of reality of America at this
“The Death of Truth,” by the former Times book critic Michiko
Kakutani, attempts to make some sense of our present epistemic
I agree with the first paragraph. I would have put it differently, I
suppose, but then I am neither an American nor do I watch American TV
(or indeed TV since 1970). In any case, Trump is the grossest
liar I have ever heard, and these
indeed include the facts that ¨[h]e
lies about things you can see with your
own eyes. He lies about things he said just moments ago.¨
And in fact, I suppose at least in part because I am a
psychologist, I have agreed since 2016 that the
main reason that I absolutely never
saw as gross a liar as Donald
Trump is that he is not sane: he is a megalomaniac aka a
narcissist, which is a serious personality disorder.
I suppose I should add that, since I am a psychologist, and
also given the extra-ordinary many and often quite crazy lies Trump
uttered since 2016, it will be very difficult to shift my
Next the second paragraph. I again basically agree - but then I
immediately have a considerable intellectual problem: if the
president of the USA is the grossest liar
I have ever heard, and if he
has been lying like a madman since 2016 (at least, and yes:
getting worse and worse), then what should I think about the
roughly 60 million Americans who voted for him?
Here is my answer (and yes, I have a very high IQ): I think a
percentage - especially white people who are well paid - voted for
Trump from something that may be called rational self-interest. But I
also think that the majority of his voters are stupid or ignorant or
thinkers (and more probably all of that than one
or two of these characteristics).
Finally the third paragraph. Michiko Kakutani
is five years younger than I am and was for a long time the chief book
critic on the New York Times. She studied English literature. And in
fact my guess is that she will not make much ¨sense of our present epistemic crisis¨ because she is not a philosopher (I
am, and the only
reason I got an M.A. in
psychology is that I was - illegally but
effectively - refused the
right to take my M.A. examination in philosophy in the ¨University¨ of
Amsterdam because I was not
Marxist and because I was pro real science) and also because she speaks
(bolding added) of ¨our present
My conflicts with the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam started in 1978 - fully forty years
ago! - because I was told (together with many others) at the
official opening of the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam (literally, but in
Dutch) the stunning lie
- which then effectively soon
(after the arrival of postmodernism in the 1980ies) became the
of the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam till 1995 at least.
- Everybody knows that
truth does NOT exist
And this means that Kakutani does appear to be walking behind the
facts, indeed because the same or similar things have been said
became very popular in the 1980ies, which is interestingly
retold here: Morningstar shines a bright light on
postmodernism (and that dates back to 1993).
Back to Hayes´ article who writes
The title, “The
Death of Truth,” implies truth was alive before, and that this era
signals its demise. But anyone who lived through the George W. Bush
years and the Iraq war (something Kakutani devotes a few pages to), or
has spent any time reading American history, knows that official
deception about the most important matters of life and death is by no
means a new phenomenon.
Quite so - and indeed anyone
who has been educated at the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam and has a
rational mind knows this since 1978, or indeed since the arrival of postmodernism in the 1980ies in very many
And this is also justified in the sense that postmodernism had wide
consequences outside the universities.
Here is more Hayes:
The best moments
come from unnerving historical nuggets and finds, like this great Arendt
observation that “in an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the
masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time,
believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and
that nothing was true. … The totalitarian mass leaders based their
propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such
conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements
one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable
proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead
of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that
they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire
the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”
I more or less agree with
Arendt - ¨the masses had
reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe
everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that
nothing was true¨ - but
then I insist that is possible only because the vast majority
of the ¨masses¨ are either stupid or ignorant or
Here is the last bit of this article that I quote, which is Hayes about
Hayes and others:
Given my job, I am
forced to ask myself every day: Is it possible to say anything truly
profound or new about Donald Trump at this moment in time? He is
describable, almost fully, in a few short words: a misogynist, a bigot,
a narcissist, a con man and a demagogue. And his behavior, like the
woodpecker, feels instinctual and feral: a deeply broken man who
hammers away moment to moment trying to repair his own brokenness, and
leaving nothing but a hole. What sense is there to be made of it all?
Our collective ability to reason with one another, to recognize what is
plainly in front of our faces, to reach consensus on the most obvious
of matters does seem imperiled as never before.
Well... not for me. But
effect I am an academically trained philosopher and psychologist and
Hayes is right truth
has been blackened by extremely many lies by very
many none too bright academic careerists since thirty years at least.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Human Cost of Getting Used to Trump
article is by Bill Boyarsky on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
It’s well documented that
federal immigration detention centers are a living hell. What’s makes
them more dehumanizing is the racism poisoning our country, both inside
and outside the detention center walls.
President Donald Trump,
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Republican members of Congress are
spreading the poison with inflammatory words appealing to the deep
prejudices of the GOP voting base.
Trump has long appealed to
racism. He aims his attacks at immigrants, mostly those with darker
He stirs deep fears.
To Sessions, immigrants
are “more likely to be convicted of sexual assault, robbery, and
driving under the influence. They’re more than twice as likely to be
convicted of murder.”
I agree with Boyarsky
that Trump and Session are liars, also about immigrants. And speaking
of immigrants, the following is relevant, and either true or probably
That’s the takeaway from a
May 2018 study published in the journal Criminology by scholars Michael
T. Light of the University of Wisconsin and Ty Miller of Purdue
University titled “Does
Undocumented Immigration Increase Violent Crime?”
The researchers wrote:
In reference to public
policy, at the most basic level, our study calls into question one of
the primary justifications for the immigration enforcement build‐up.
Debates about the proper role of undocumented immigrants in U.S.
society will no doubt continue, but they should do so in light of the
available evidence. For this reason, any set of immigration policies
moving forward should be crafted with the empirical understanding that
undocumented immigration does not seem to have increased violent crime.
Here is more about the lifes
of immigrants and some of the governmental lies about them:
Just about a quarter of the
immigrants arrive with children, and several hundred have been sent
back to their homelands without their children, which explains the
hundreds of tragic family separations that are shaming the country.
Sessions excuses the
separations on the grounds that a family member is found to be a
criminal and must be imprisoned. That’s not true. TRAC found only one
such family member in April. That leaves the federal government no
excuse for the cruel practice of separating children from their
parents, some of whom they may never see again.
I agree and go further:
Sessions simply has no right whatsoever to kidnap children
from their parents, indeed also not from parents whom he
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Well... I am not ¨getting used to Trump¨, but meanwhile I tend to believe that the reasons are
that I am an intelligent philosopher and psychologist who stems from a
family with both parents in the resistance against the Nazis, a
grandparent in the resistance against the Nazis, who was murdered by
them in a concentration camp, and a father who survived over three
years and nine months in four German concentration camps.
With Trump leading the way,
hate and bias are becoming accepted parts of the national dialogue.
This thoroughly disrespectful man is making such attitudes respectable.
We’re getting used to Trump. We’re accepting the way vast segments of
America—Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims of all ethnicities, Asians
of all religions—are being subjected to scorn and hatred, just as
Japanese-Americans were during World War II. “A Jap is a Jap,” Lt. Gen.
John DeWitt, commander of the U.S. Army’s Western Command, said in
1942. “The Japanese race is an enemy race.”
Michiko Kakutani, who was
senior book critic for The New York Times, wrote
in her former paper last week about those days, when her family was
separated and incarcerated in distant parts of the country. She
compared it to today: “Once again national safety is invoked to justify
the roundup of whole groups of people. Once again racist stereotypes
are being used by politicians to ramp up fear and hatred. And once
again lies are being used to justify actions that violate the most
fundamental American ideals of freedom, equality and tolerance.”
I am sorry if you disagree, but then you are like 95% of the Dutch,
collaborated with the Nazis, and forty years later
because it hallowed their lies, evasions, stupidity and
cowardliness. And this is a recommended article.
Digital Oligarchs and Defend Net Neutrality
article is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig. It starts as
Imagine if Comcast or
Verizon or AT&T, or any other “internet service providers” (ISPs),
had the authority to decide what websites you could visit, or what
video chat program you must use to call friends or family. Imagine if
they manipulated the speed that websites load, giving preference to
content providers that paid extra to be in an internet “fast lane.”
Imagine if they prevented you from watching videos on any site except
YouTube, or barred you from using Skype. These ISPs provide the
connection to the internet, but they shouldn’t be able to control how
you use the internet. This core quality of the internet, that it is
open, is called “net neutrality.”
regulations just put in place by the Trump administration do away with
Yes indeed. Here is more:
Immediately after President
Barack Obama’s FCC passed the net neutrality rules in 2015, the telecom
industry sued in federal court to get rid of them. The D.C. Court of
Appeals ultimately upheld the regulations. That important ruling
included a dissent written by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the man Trump just
nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In that dissent, Kavanaugh
made the extraordinary claim that net neutrality violates the First
Amendment rights of the ISPs. “The threshold question,” he wrote in his
dissent, “is whether the First Amendment applies to Internet service
providers when they exercise editorial discretion and choose what
content to carry and not to carry. The answer is yes.” Corporations are
not people. Kavanaugh’s views on net neutrality should definitely be a
focus at his Senate confirmation hearing.
Well... I think that
the First Amendment has been thoroughly abused by the
majority of the
Supreme Court since the Citizens United
decision of 2010, and I take it
that it will be further abused by the majority of the Supreme Court.
also take it that the rules of common English or of common
just don´t hold anymore for the majority of the judges of the Supreme
Court, and that the First Amendment, at least in their hands, is
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
These large ISP
corporations, however, are trying to control the internet, to restrict
the free flow of information, to restore their historical role of
for-profit arbiter of what we can and cannot read, watch or hear.
Preserving net neutrality will thwart the digital oligarchs, keeping
the internet open and free.
I agree in principle,
but I am also afraid that the large ISP corporations will succeed,
indeed with the help of the majority of the Supreme Court. And this is
a recommended article.
Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda
is by Norman Solomon on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
diplomacy with Russia is now extreme. Mainline U.S. journalists and top
Democrats often bait President Trump in zero-sum terms. No doubt
Hillary Clinton thought she was sending out an applause line in her
tweet Sunday night: “Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do
you know which team you play for?”
I agree with I.F. Stone
and indeed started my Nederlogs for quite a few years with several
quotes, including his.
A bellicose stance toward
Russia has become so routine and widespread that we might not give it a
second thought — and that makes it all the more hazardous. After
President George W. Bush declared “You’re either with us or against
us,” many Americans gradually realized what was wrong with a Manichean
view of the world. Such an outlook is even more dangerous today.
Since early 2017, the U.S.
mass media have laid it on thick with the rough political equivalent of
a painting technique known as chiaroscuro — “the use of strong
contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a
whole composition,” in the words of Wikipedia. The Russiagate frenzy is
largely about punching up contrasts between the United States (angelic
and victimized) and Russia (sinister and victimizer).
As the great journalist I.F.
Stone observed long ago, “All governments lie, and nothing they say
should be believed.” In other words: don’t trust, verify.
Then again, I think I somewhat disagree with Solomon, and
indeed not because he is wrong, but because he does not
seem to see that a ¨bellicose
stance toward Russia has become so routine and widespread¨ is being furthered and strengthened
by the majority of the American media because the majority of the American mainstream
media has become totalitarian.
But Solomon is right in this:
Often the biggest
lies involve what remains unsaid. For instance, U.S. media rarely
mention such key matters as the promise-breaking huge expansion of NATO
to Russia’s borders since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the brazen
U.S. intervention in Russia’s pivotal 1996 presidential election, or
the U.S. government’s 2002 withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile
Treaty, or the more than 800 U.S. military bases overseas — in contrast
to Russia’s nine.
Precisely - and ¨800 U.S. military bases overseas¨ = 4 per country, although it
would also seem as if 25% of all countries (small ones) lack U.S.
Then there is this:
For human survival
on this planet, an overarching truth appears in an open letter
published last week by The Nation magazine: “No political advantage,
real or imagined, could possibly compensate for the consequences if
even a fraction of U.S. and Russian arsenals were to be utilized in a
thermonuclear exchange. The tacit pretense that the worsening of
U.S.-Russian relations does not worsen the odds of survival for the
next generations is profoundly false.”
... and indeed many more. This is
helpful, but meanwhile Solomon´s ending is this:
The initial 26 signers of the
open letter — “Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National
Security” — included Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg,
writer and feminist organizer Gloria Steinem, former UN ambassador Gov.
Bill Richardson, political analyst Noam Chomsky, former covert CIA
operations officer Valerie Plame, activist leader Rev. Dr. William
Barber II, filmmaker Michael Moore (...)
Yet a wide array of
media outlets, notably the “Russiagate”-obsessed network MSNBC, keeps
egging on progressives to climb toward peaks of anti-Russian jingoism.
The line of march is often in virtual lockstep with GOP hyper-hawks
like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The incessant drumbeat is
in sync with what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of
I agree with Dr. King (who spoke
over 50 years ago), but meanwhile opinions like his are being battled
by vast mostly totalitarian parts of the U.S. mainstream media. But this
is a recommended article.
Meanwhile, as Dr. King said,
“We still have a choice today: nonviolent co-existence or violent
60 House Democrats to Launch Medicare for All Caucus
This article is by
Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Adding to the rapidly
growing wave of support for Medicare for All at the grassroots and
on Capitol Hill, more than 60
House Democrats are forming an official Medicare for All Caucus
with the goal of closely examining specific policy components of
single-payer and seriously discussing the steps necessary to implement
it in the United States.
Well... I hope
they make it, but I should say immediately that ¨the goal of closely examining specific policy
components of single-payer and seriously discussing the steps necessary
to implement it¨ does sound
considerably less strong in my eyes than in the eyes of Jayapal.
"This is a sea change from
just four or five years ago and people are more likely to see
healthcare as a right," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) told Vice
News, which first
reported on the formation of the caucus on Wednesday.
But OK. Here is a bit more:
Once again, I hope
they make it, but one of the things I have learned about the current
USA is that democracy is mostly dead: It doesn´t matter much
what the majority of the American people think or want, for what
happens is up to their representatives - and these representatives are
often more interested in their own financial welfare than in
the rights of their voters. But this is a recommended article.
As Common Dreams reported,
a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 51 percent
of Americans—and 74 percent of Democrats—support a single-payer
healthcare plan over the current for-profit system, which has left
around 30 million Americans without any health insurance.
In addition to growing
support among the American public, Medicare for All is also gaining
steam among congressional candidates, who
have discovered that a platform calling for healthcare for all as a
right is a winning message.
Medicare for All has also
received record levels of support among current members of Congress.
Sen. Bernie Sanders'
for All Act currently has 15 Democratic co-sponsors, while the
House Medicare for All bill—led
by Ellison—has the support of nearly two-thirds of the Democratic
 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 (!!).