from July 29, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
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 29, 2018:
1. Chomsky on Mass Media Obsession with Russia & the
Stories Not Being
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. Democratic Moderates Fear the 'Socialist Left' Will Wreck
3. 6 Reasons for Hope in Trump Times
4. Hottest Four Years Ever? 2015. 2016. 2017. 2018?
5. Three Failing Experiments? Mine, America’s, and Humanity’s
on Mass Media Obsession with Russia & the Stories Not Being Covered
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
The New York Times
reports special counsel Robert Mueller is scrutinizing President
Trump’s tweets as part of Mueller’s expanding probe into Trump’s ties
to Russia. This latest revelation in the Mueller investigation is part
of a nearly 24-hour stream of headlines about Trump, Russia and the
administration’s various scandals. But is the mainstream media missing
the real stories amid its obsession with “Russiagate”? For more, we
speak with world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and
professor Noam Chomsky on media manipulation in the Trump era.
Incidentally, I always
print the introductions to the interviews on Democracy Now! because I
think this is a good way on introducing interviews, and it is also
always well done. And on the just quoted bit I have one comment:
I do not believe in "Russiagate" as this has been presented,
mostly because it was Hillary Clinton's bad excuse for not being
elected president; because there is some evidence for Russia's hacking,
but not at all as much as Clinton insists; and also because if
Steve Bannon's Cambridge Analytica (that stole at least 70 million
American personal dossiers from Facebook) had been investigated by
Robert Mueller I would have been interested, and quite
seriously as well, but to the best of my knowledge Mueller has
investigated absolutely nothing about Cambridge Analytica, and - it
seems to me - because this would oppose Clinton's refrain that "The
Russians" did it.
To be sure, part of the last paragraph is guessing, but Mr.
Mueller is not one for much clarity or much information.
And here is Noam Chomsky:
Well, my frank opinion is that—I must say I don’t pay much attention to
television, so I don’t know a great deal about it. But, in general, I
think the media—first of all, Fox News is, by now, basically a joke.
It’s, as you said, state media. The other media, I think, are focusing
on issues which are pretty marginal. There are much more serious issues
that are being put to the side. So, the worst of—even on the case of
immigration, once again, I think the real question is dealing with the
roots of immigration, our responsibility for it, and what we can do to
overcome that. And that’s almost never discussed. But I think that’s
the crucial issue. And I think we find the same across the board.
Yes, I think Chomsky is right
- and incidentally, the last time I watched TV was in 2001,
with friends, for I do not have a TV since 1970: It is too stupid; far
too much lying, hypocrisy and propagandistic
for me; and it also contains loads and loads of advertisements
- all explicit lies
or explicit propaganda
- that I refuse to see.
Here is more by Chomsky:
So, of all Trump’s
policies, the one that is the most dangerous and destructive, in fact
poses an existential threat, is his policies on climate change, on
global warming. That’s really destructive. And we’re facing an imminent
threat, not far removed, of enormous damage. The effects are already
visible but nothing like what’s going to come. A sea level rise of a
couple of feet will be massively destructive. It will make today’s
immigration issues look like trivialities. And it’s not that the
administration is unaware of this.
I basically agree,
although I should add that I am one the at least 70,000
psychologists who insists that Trump is insane (you may
disagree if you are a psychologist yourself, but not
otherwise: I am sorry, but education does count for me), and
given that premiss, I think I would argue that the danger that the
madman Trump starts a nuclear war is - currently, and indeed mostly
because of the madness of Trump - as serious a danger as
climate change, though I agree climate change will remain important for
hundreds of years. If mankind survives.
Here is more by Chomsky:
And Rex Tillerson,
who was supposed to be the adult in the room before he was thrown out,
as CEO of ExxonMobil, was devoting enormous
resources to climate change denial, although he had, sitting on his
desk, the reports of ExxonMobil scientists, who, since the '70s, in
fact, were on the forefront of warning of the dire effects of this
accelerating phenomenon. I don't know what word in the language—I can’t
find one—that applies to people of that kind, who are willing to
sacrifice the literal—the existence of organized human life, not in the
distant future, so they can put a few more dollars in highly
overstuffed pockets. The word “evil” doesn’t begin to approach it.
These are the kinds of issues that should be under discussion. Instead,
what’s being—there is a focus on what I believe are marginalia.
Yes, I agree. As to the
terminology for lying frauds like Tillerson: I grant I can't find a
really good term either, but I do have a description: Tillerson is a
man driven by infinite personal greed to extend his own income, and
does not care shit for the lives, the health, or the chances of anyone
who does not - at least - have $100 million. (Trump appears to be
Here is more by Chomsky:
First of all, if
you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever
the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as
compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with
enormous support. Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly
overwhelms anything the Russians may have done, I mean, even to the
point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to
Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress,
with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s
policies—what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015.
I do not know
whether all of the above is true, but I agree with Chomsky that
Nethanyahu seems another madman, whose activities also may
start World War III.
Here is the last bit I quote from Chomsky:
I mean, one of the
most elementary principles of a functioning democracy is that elected
representatives should be responsive to those who elected them. There’s
nothing more elementary than that. But we know very well that that is
simply not the case in the United States. There’s ample literature in
mainstream academic political science simply comparing voters’
attitudes with the policies pursued by their representatives, and it
shows that for a large majority of the population, they’re basically
disenfranchised. Their own representatives pay no attention to their
voices. They listen to the voices of the famous 1 percent—the rich and
the powerful, the corporate sector.
Precisely. And this is
also why I gave up the Democrats, simply because I found that
nearly all of them may sound somewhat radical before elections, but
most do the biddings of the bankers and the rich as soon as they are
elected - and I grant they do it for "good money" for
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Moderates Fear the 'Socialist Left' Will Wreck the Party
article is by Andrew O'Hehir on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It
starts as follows:
This is all quite true.
Here is more:
No political organization
in the recent history of the world has had a gift for snatching defeat
from the jaws of victory quite like the Democratic Party. This is the
party that has managed to lose three of the last five presidential
elections, despite only once in that period getting fewer votes than
the opposition. Although the Democrats nominally hold positions with
broad majority support on a wide range of issues, following the heavy
losses of the 2010 and 2014 midterms the party found itself in its
worst nationwide position since the early 1930s.
For much of the 20th century,
Democrats understood themselves to be the party of permanent hegemony
on Capitol Hill, no matter who was in the White House: Between the
Franklin D. Roosevelt election of 1932 and the Newt Gingrich election
of 1994, the party held a House majority for 58 out of 62 years, and a
Senate majority for 52 of 62.
Over the last three
decades, the party has been virtually wiped out in numerous states
between the coasts where it was once competitive (or even dominant). It
now holds a legislative majority in just 14 states. You can slice and
dice the history of American party politics in all sorts of tedious
ways, but there is no clear precedent for such an imbalance. More to
the point, there’s no precedent whatever, in the United States or
anywhere else, for a situation where one party appears to represent
majoritarian opinion and typically gets more votes, but has
conclusively been shut out of power.
And the reason for this
must be (primarily) changes within the Democratic Party. I think that
is correct, and the main change I see is that the majority of the
Democratic Party (indeed like the majority of the Republican Party)
seems to have just one single norm: How much are they paid
(mostly be lobbyists) for their decisions.
In brief, the political system of the USA has been mostly destroyed
and by the rich, and indeed also both main parties are equally
Then there is this:
What may be even
more impressive than the Democratic record of losing winnable elections
is the party's aptitude for finding someone else to blame every time it
happens. It was the Russians. It was Ralph Nader. It was the Swift-boat
ads. It was liberal complacency. It was gerrymandering. It was all the
mean things Republicans said.
I think this is also true,
but I regard it as less serious because almost every party almost
everywhere resorts to lies
to account for their losses. Then again, the main reason for the other
corruption of large parts of the Democrats simply is never mentioned by
them: The - corrupt - money many of them get for their decisions from
the rich or from lobbyists.
Here is some more on the Democrats:
A debate is overdue.
But a debate about what? The problem for Democratic moderates is
precisely that they will not define or explain their positions clearly,
except in wonky, granular, political-calculus terms, in large part
because their ideas are widely discredited and massively unpopular.
Yes, I agree. They much
rather endlessly discuss vagueries with very little or no evidence than
answer the question: Who got how much from whom
for which decisions?
Finally, this is about "socialism" and the Democratic Party:
It’s tempting to say
that a specter is haunting the Democratic Party and it’s the specter of
socialism, blah blah blah. But that’s largely untrue: The specter is
imaginary and so is the socialism, pretty much. Bernie Sanders and
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and their loose array of allies across the
country are a modest contingent within the party. Only a handful of
them will win elections this year, and in any case they’re closer to
being old-time left-wing populists, with a 21st-century overlay of
multiculturalism and intersectionality (..)
Yes, I quite agree
and this is a strongly recommended article.
Reasons for Hope in Trump Times
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Actually, this is from a fairly
brief article, from which I have only copied the bold main
points, and suppressed the rest. You can read all of it by clicking on
the last link.
In these darkest of days,
here’s what gives me hope:
First, Donald Trump has
been a giant wake-up call that we can’t take democracy for granted.
As to this first point: I am sorry, but I do not consider this
a reason for hope, indeed as little as I would regard having a
pneumonia as a reason for health.
Here is more:
The second thing
that makes me optimistic is occurring at the grassroots of America,
where there’s more activism than I remember in half a century.
I agree with Reich that this is
a reason for hope, except that it is definitely exaggerated: Fifty
years ago ("half a century") it was 1968 (which I recall very
well) and there certainly was "more activism"
then than there is now.
Then again, if Reich had said "forty years" I would have agreed. Here
Third, Fueled by
Trump’s election, more women are running for office than ever before.
I do not really know whether
this is a reason for optimism. I
happen to like women a bit better than men, and I do think
women are the right persons to ask about the things that are
characteristic for women, and to that extent I agree with Reich, but on
the other hand I have seen no radical differences in intellect
or morality between most men and most women, whereas also women can be
corrupt as well as men.
optimistic because America’s history shows that every time we’ve gotten
off track, Americans mobilize to get our country back on track.
I am sorry, but this is not
a logical argument: If you agree that American history, parlementarism,
influence of voters, surveillance of absolutely everyone by the creeps
from the NSA etc. have "gotten
off track" you are being unlogical
if you are optimistic.
And indeed, I agree a lot is "off
track" but for me
this is a reason for pessimism, not
for optimism. (To me this sounds like saying "The armies of the enemy
have utterly defeated us, but I am optimistic we shall win
Here is more:
Fifth, I’m also
optimistic because these grueling years of the Trump presidency have
made us all realize how fragile our democracy really is, and what we
need to reform
This is also not a
logical argument, but this is a bit less clearly so than the previous
one: I disagree completely with "us all" (this
is at most true of a fairly small minority) and also with the thesis
what we know "what we need to
reform" (for this is true
only of a smaller minority).
Here is the last bit that I quote:
optimistic because I don’t like the alternative.
I am more interested in the truth than in
supplying reasons for optimism, and especially at a time in which I
have many reasons for pessimism and very few for optimism. Then again,
this may be a difference between Reich and myself. And in any
case, for this last point I have a parallel which I think does apply,
though I also admit it is a bit exaggerated: This sounds like one is a
Jew who has arrived at Auschwitz, and who concludes he is optimistic
because he doesn't "like the
Then again, I agree that the reasons one has for being
optimistic or optimistic mostly are private and do not have much to do
with truth or facts.
Four Years Ever? 2015. 2016. 2017. 2018?
is by Common Dreams Staff on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
According to data from the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2018 is on pace
to be the fourth hottest year on record. Only three other years have
been hotter: 2015, 2016 and 2017.
"The impacts of climate
change are no longer subtle," Michael Mann, a climate scientist and
director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University,
"We are seeing them play
out in real time in the form of unprecedented heat waves, floods,
droughts and wildfires. And we've seen them all this summer," he said.
Even more than extreme weather,
climate change is best exemplified by the consistent rise in
temperatures year after year.
Yes, I completely
agree. Here is one more bit from this article:
Again I completely
agree, and this is a recommended article.
Climate scientists sounded
alarms this week as reports circulated of extreme weather and
record-breaking high temperatures all over the globe, with dozens of
deaths and thousands of hospitalizations reported in some
countries—while one journalist with a major platform on corporate cable
news admitted the news media's failure to give serious attention to the
link between the climate crisis and such events.
"There is no doubt that the
prolonged extreme temperatures and floods we are witnessing around the
world right now are a result of climate change," said Caroline Rance,
climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland. "Temperature
records are being broken across the U.K. and globally, exactly as
climate science has long warned, and with devastating consequences."
Failing Experiments? Mine, America’s, and Humanity’s
This article is by
Tom Engelhardt on Common Dreams and originally on TomDispatch. It
starts with te following subtitle:
Each of us might,
sooner or later, be thought of as a kind of failed experiment that ends
in the ultimate failure: death. And in some ways, the same thing
might be said of states and empires.
In fact, I mostly disagree
with this, which is also why I quoted this: I certainly do not
think that death is the ultimate failure, and in fact I think so while
I also think there is no heaven, no god, and no
afterlife of any kind. And one of my reasons is that everything
that gets born must die; and another of my reasons is that I - for one
- would not like to live the next 100 or 500 years as a couch
Here is some more:
There was a period
in my later life when I used to say that, from the age of 20 to my late
sixties, I was always 40 years old; I was, that is, an old young man
and a young old one. Tell that to my legs now. Of course,
there’s nothing faintly strange in such a development.
My life has been very
different from Engelhardt's: I have had a "serious chronic disease" from age
28 to age 68 (at least), while the existence of that "serious chronic disease" has been systematically
denied by 9 out of 10 (or more probably: 99 out of 100, or 999 out
of 1000, but I jave evidence only for 9 out of 10) of Dutch medics,
which created enormous problems
for me that lasted at least 25 continuous years.
In fact, I'd say I have felt as if I was 70 or older ever since I was
28, and indeed I still do. (But no Dutch medic cares.)
Here is more, this time about the USA:
In this case, the
nation I’m thinking about, the one that seems in the process of being
unbuilt, is my own. You know, the one that its leaders -- until
Donald Trump hit the Oval Office -- were in the habit of eternally
praising as the most exceptional,
the most indispensable
country on the planet, the global policeman, the
last or sole superpower. Essentially, it. Who
could forget that extravagant drumbeat of seemingly obligatory
self-praise for what, admittedly, is still a country with wealth and
financial clout beyond compare and more
I agree. Here is more:
than the next
significant set of competitors combined?
It’s hard to look
back on the last decades and not think that democracy has been sinking
under the imperial waves. I first noticed the term “the imperial
presidency” in the long-gone age of Richard Nixon, when his White House
began to fill with uniformed flunkies and started to look like
something out of an American fantasy of royalty. The actual power
of that presidency, no matter who was in office, has been growing ever
since. Whatever the Constitution might say, war, for instance, is
now a presidential, not a congressional, prerogative (as is, to take a
recent example, the imposition
of tariffs on the products of allies on “national security” grounds).
Yes, I agree again (and I
am rather certain that in legal fact war can only be
declared by Congress, and I think the same should be true - but I don't
know - for tariffs).
Here is more again:
He’s also gained his
own private air force: the CIA’s Hellfire-missile armed
drones that he can dispatch across much of the planet to kill those
he’s personally deemed his country’s enemies. In that way, in
this century -- despite a ban
on presidential assassinations, now long ignored -- the president has
become an actual judge, jury, and executioner. The term I’ve used in
the past has been assassin-in-chief.
I think Engelhardt was
(and is) quite correct. Here is more on the insane person who now is
president of the USA:
When that “very
stable genius” (as he reminded
us again recently) inherited such powers long in the making, he
also inherited the power to use them in ways that would have been
unavailable to the president of a country that had genuine “checks and
balances,” one in which the people knew what was going on and in some
sense directed it.
More or less, I would say,
for my own view is that (bolding added) "genuine “checks and balances”" are possible only if it is impossible
for either the rich or their lobbyists to corrupt the men
and women in the Senate and the House - whereas at present this
corruption seems to happen all the time: American lawmakers
make or reject laws for money for themselves; not because they
may do good or bad for ordinary people who have to live with their
Here is more:
In other words, in
the twenty-first century, Donald Trump is proof indeed that the
American experiment in democracy may be coming to an unseemly end in a
president with all the urges of an autocrat (and so many other urges as
well). Or think of it this way: the contest -- from early on an
essential part of American life -- between democracy and empire seems
to be ending with empire the victor.
Yes, I quite agree. Here
is the last bit that I quote from this article:
There is, however,
another experiment, a planet-wide one that seems to be failing as
well. You could think of it as humanity’s experiment with
industrial civilization, which is disastrously altering the environment
of this previously welcoming world of ours. I’m referring, of
course, to what the greenhouse gases from the fossil fuels we’ve been
burning in such profusion since the eighteenth century are doing to our
I think "fossil fuels" started in the 19th Century, but otherwise Engelhardt
again seems quite correct, and this is a recommened article in which
there is considerably more.
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 (!!).