from August 6, 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 August 6, 2018:
1. The Useful Idiocy of Donald 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 American Sea of Deception
3. Mainstream Media Should Stop Giving Extreme Views a
4. Journalists Are All Julian Assange
5. The Biggest Threat to Our Democracy
1. The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump
In fact, this is an
article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig that was first published on January
28, 2018. Truthdig repeats it because Hedges is on holiday, and
I repeat my review from January 29, 2018 because I like
that as well. Here it is:
article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
The problem with Donald
Trump is not that he is imbecilic and inept—it is that he has
surrendered total power to the oligarchic and military elites. They get
what they want. They do what they want. Although the president is a
one-man wrecking crew aimed at democratic norms and institutions,
although he has turned the United States into a laughingstock around
the globe, our national crisis is embodied not in Trump but the
corporate state’s now unfettered pillage.
Trump, who has no
inclination or ability to govern, has handed the machinery of
government over to the bankers, corporate executives, right-wing think
tanks, intelligence chiefs and generals. They are eradicating
the few regulations and laws that inhibited a naked kleptocracy.
They are dynamiting the institutions, including
the State Department, that served interests other than corporate
profit and are stacking the courts with right-wing,
corporate-controlled ideologues. Trump provides the daily
entertainment; the elites handle the business of looting, exploiting
I agree with Hedges that
Trump seems to have ¨handed the
machinery of government over to the bankers, corporate executives,
right-wing think tanks, intelligence chiefs and generals¨ and I also agree that these folks ¨are stacking the courts with right-wing,
I think I may disagree a
little with Hedges on Trump´s intelligence and his madness, which
probably has a lot to do with the fact that I am a
happens to think that by far the best explanation for Trump´s
extremely many oddities (let´s say)
is that (i) he is in fact a
madman - as some 70,000 other psychologists and
psychiatrists seem to have agreed to, meanwhile, and also because I
think that (ii) Trump is in fact a neofascist, as I have defined them:
Neofascism is a. A social system that is
marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where
the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that
propounds an ethics which has profit as
its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist,
anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist,
and that has a corporative
organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are
stronger than a national government or state, b. A political philosophy or
movement based on or advocating such a social system.
I have quoted my
definition once again, because I think it is correct; and because I
know a whole lot about fascism, but
have never read a proper definition
of it by any journalist whatsoever (because there are more than seven
characteristics (?!)), indeed also not by Hedges.
So here is my point-by-point argument why Donald Trump is a neofascist on the basis of the
above definition of the term ¨neofascism¨:
1. a government with a centralized
powerful authority: Existed already in the USA.
2. the opposition is propagandized, suppressed or censored:
Evidently so as regards
while Trump clearly desires to suppress those who criticize him.
3. propounds an ethics which has profit
as its main norm: Evidently so.
4. has a politics
that is rightwing: Evidently so.
5. has a politics
that is nationalistic: Evidently so. (¨Make America Great
6. has a politics
that is pro-capitalist: Evidently so.
7. has a politics
that is anti-liberal: Evidently so.
8. has a politics
that is anti-equality: Evidently so.
9. has a politics
that is anti-leftist: Evidently so.
10. wishes a government in which multi-national corporations are
strongest: Evidently so.
Besides, Trump indeed also is a racist. And there is one
feature that is missing in the above definition:
11. the American
government´s secret services have been trying for 17 years now to know
about absolutely everyone living absolutely anywhere: in the
end this is by far
the biggest danger of a threatening neofascism, in addition
above 10 criterions that are all satisfied by
Trump and his government.
Finally, about Trump´s
intelligence: If he is a genius, I am a cucumber, and if he is in
any way brilliant I would be quite amazed, but I do not know Trump at
all. I take it he is not stupid, though probably also much pampered by
a lifetime of riches, but what I am very worried about is that
I do think - as a psychologist, which gives me six years
of possibly more insight than non- psychologists have 
- he is both mad and quite irresponsible.
I leave it at this, and
return to Hedges´ text:
institutions are hollowed out, a process begun before the election of
Trump, despotism is inevitable. The press is shackled. Corruption and
theft take place on a massive scale. The rights and needs of citizens
are irrelevant. Dissent is criminalized. Militarized police monitor,
seize and detain Americans without probable cause. The rituals of
democracy become farce. This is the road we are traveling. It is a road
that leads to internal collapse and tyranny, and we are very far down
I agree with Hedges
thay the USA is quite far down the road to some form of
neofascism, although the outcome is not necessarily despotism.
For the amount of despotism that an authoritarian government
uses tends to be roughly proportional to the opposition and
resistance it faces, and there are at least two alternatives:
The first is inverted
totalitarianism, which is a term introduced by the American
political philosopher Sheldon Wolin.
Wolin was also extensively (and interestingly) interviewed by Hedges in
2014, and here is the last file
of my reviews of these interviews in Nederlog (which still ought to
alternative is that the largest part of the American population has
given up intelligent caring for their government and the
form of their government, and may proceed more or less as they have
been now and the last seventeen years of continuous American wars
faught in other continents than the American one.
I do not know
how likely either alternative is, but they do exist. Here is
The elites’ moral and
intellectual vacuum produced Trump. They too are con artists. They are
slicker than he at selling the lies and more adept at disguising their
greed through absurd ideologies such as neoliberalism
and globalization, but they belong to the same criminal class and share
many of the pathologies that characterize Trump. The grotesque visage
of Trump is the true face of politicians such as George W. Bush, Bill
and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The Clintons and Obama, unlike
Bush and Trump, are self-aware and therefore cynical, but all lack a
While I agree that all
American politicians I have seen do remind me of con artists, I think I
like to avoid terms like ¨intellectual vacuum¨, ¨criminal class¨ and
In fact, they may be
more or less correct from a left(ish) point of view, but the right does
at least have an
ideology to put forward (neoliberalism),
while I also think most of the rich right do not think of
themselves as a ¨criminal class¨ but as a
class of leaders, and
also do not think they are themselves ¨pathological¨, but in fact that leaders
like they are deserve the
riches they get.
Then there is this by
The elites in dying
cultures turn everything into a commodity. Human beings are
commodities. The natural world is a commodity. Government and
democratic institutions are commodities. All are mined and wrecked for
Yes, I agree mostly -
and see yesterday´s ¨A Summary of ¨The
Century of the Self¨¨.
There is also this on
what commodities are and cannot be:
The elites in a dying
culture confuse what the economist
Karl Polanyi calls “real” and “fictitious” commodities. A commodity
is a product manufactured for sale. The ecosystem, labor and money,
therefore, are not commodities. Once these fictitious commodities are
treated as real ones for exploitation and manipulation, Polanyi writes,
human society devours itself.
I think I agree with
Polanyi and Hedges, and indeed it might have been added that
one of the real differences between
commodities and non-commodities
is not whether something can be sold on a market, but whether purported commodities
are rapidly or at all replaceable by
alternative commodities - and Polanyi is right that e.g. the
ecosystem, money and labor (in a sense) are not commodities:
they cannot be replaced (as are, in a similar sense,
culture: these may be mostly absent in a given society, but if there
are less depraved societies, these will tend to take over).
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article, on Trump´s impeachment:
I agree with Hedges
(unfortunately) that it ¨is
unlikely¨ that Trump will
be impeached, at least as long as the Republicans have the majority in
the Senate and the House.
investigation—launched when Robert Mueller became special counsel in
May and which appears to be focused on money laundering, fraud and
shady business practices, things that have always characterized Trump’s
financial empire—is unlikely to unseat the president. He will not be
impeached for mental incompetence, over the emoluments
clause or for obstruction of justice, although he is guilty on all
these counts. He is useful to those who hold real power in the
corporate state, however much they would like to domesticate him.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
American Sea of Deception
This article is by Paul Street on Truthdig. It starts as
Four days ago, The Washington
Post reported that the epic pathological liar Donald Trump made
4,229 false statements during his first 558 days as United States
president. Trump spoke or tweeted falsely, on average, an astonishing
7.6 times per day during that time.
We have no historical
database of presidential untruth on which to rely to make detailed
comparisons, but it is certain that Trump’s rate of falsehood is beyond
anything ever seen in the White House. Armed with Twitter and a mad and
malignantly narcissistic penchant for twisting facts and truth in
accord with his own ever-shifting sense of what serves his interests
and hurts his perceived foes, this monstrosity is gaslighting the last
flickering embers of civic democracy at a velocity that would make
Goebbels green with envy.
Yes, I quite
agree (and have said, as a psychologist, since 2016 (in fact, since its
beginning) that Trump is not
sane and thay Trump is a
neofascist - and for the last bit see above.
Here is more:
Still, if much of the
populace has become inured to presidential lying and misstatement, it’s
hardly all the current president’s fault.
Deception and misstatement
are “as American as Cherry Pie” (to quote H. Rap Brown on
violence)—though here perhaps I should say “as American as George
Washington’s childhood cherry tree fable.”
While we’ve never seen
anything on Trump’s psychotic scale, the problem of U.S. presidential
deception goes way back in American history.
Yes, I quite agree
again. Also, in the original a long review of American
presidential deceptions is given, from which I select just a few bits.
Here is the first:
Regarding Vietnam, Daniel
Ellsberg recalled 17 years ago that his 1971 release of the
Pentagon Papers exposed U.S. military and intelligence documents
“proving that the government had long lied to the country. Indeed, the
papers revealed a policy of concealment and quite deliberate deception
from the Truman administration onward. … A generation of presidents,”
Ellsberg noted, “chose to conceal from Congress and the public what the
real policy was. …”
President Richard Nixon
lied about wanting peace in Vietnam (his agent, Henry
Kissinger, actively undermined a peace accord with Hanoi before the
1968 election) and about respecting the neutrality
of Cambodia. He lied through secrecy and omission about the
criminal and fateful U.S. bombing of Cambodia—a far bigger crime than
the burglarizing of the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate
complex, about which he of course famously lied.
Quite so. Here is some
Bill Clinton (subject of a
Hitchens book titled “No One Left to Lie To”) and Barack
Obama were both silver-tongued corporate-neoliberal Wall Street and
Pentagon Democrats who falsely claimed to be progressive friends of
working people and the poor. President Obama lied repeatedly, as when
claimed that he would have his Department of Justice investigate
and prosecute abusive lenders for cheating and defrauding ordinary
Yes, I agree (and am also
prepared to argue that the real point of both Clinton´s and
Obama´s presidency was - for them - to become a millionaire with more
than $100 million, in which both succeeded).
Here is some more - and
this bit is severally edited:
But presidential lies are
just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to an American political,
media, intellectual and educational culture that has long been drenched
in a vast sea of fable, deception, ideological selection and flat-out
propagandistic falsification. The biggest and most relevant lies of our
time don’t just issue from the mouths, press releases and now, sadly,
Twitter feeds of presidents. They are major historical and societal
myths and grand narratives of broad falsehood widely shared across the
major party spectrum by “responsible” and “respectable” authorities in
politics, business, education, literature, religion, media and public
I recently asked a dozen or so
online associates and friends for their top five nominations under the
category of the Big Lies of Our Time in the United States.
Here are my nominations for
the Top 10 Big National Lies:
live in a democracy.
is about democracy.
is about the free market.
business and its political agents are freedom-loving libertarians
who hate “big government.”
United States is a great land of liberty.
United States is a great monument to classlessness.
work and individual brilliance is the key to individual wealth,
and the lack of such work and brains is the source of individual
have an “independent” and “mainstream” media.
U.S. is a force for good and peace in the world
The severe editing I
mentioned above concerns the ten bold points above: In the
original, the bold points are the titles, and each bold point consists
of an explanation - that I have all deleted in this review.
In case you disagree with any
of these ¨Top 10 Big National Lies¨, read the original.
Here is the ending of the
I agree again, and include
my addition to the very last quoted statement: And that seems only
possible after another major collapse of the economy. And this is a strongly
Trump deserves a special
place in the Totalitarian Hall of Shame’s special Lying Head of State
exhibit, but all these grand national deceptions were in place under
Obama, Bush 43, Clinton, Bush 41 and Ronald Reagan. Most of them have
been operational under most of modern U.S. history. Impeaching or
un-electing the uber-dissembler who now occupies the Oval Office will
not magically make them go away. Only a great people’s rebellion on
behalf of liberty, equality, solidarity, the common(s) good—and
truth—can do that.
Media Should Stop Giving Extreme Views a Platform
This article is by Anonymous on AlterNet and originally on
The Conversation. It starts as follows:
In recent weeks, a number
of quite astounding articles have appeared in the British press. These
have included among others, a
Times columnopining the benefit to Britain in the current climate
of having a political leader like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or Recep
Tayyip Erdoğan; referred to as “strongmen”. In the Daily
Telegraph, a similarly toned piece contemplated the reinstatement
of the death penalty after Brexit.
Somewhat appealing to the
lowest common denominator, these and similar articles prompt questions
about the extent to which Britain’s mainstream media is shifting
towards the right of the political spectrum. Even more worrying is the
extent to which it is “normalising” extreme right-wing ideas and
AlterNet more each time I see it (every day, so far) and this
dates from when AlterNet was sold, after which the program or
the person called ¨Cody Fenwick¨ started to write tweets that mock
articles (that also all end with horribly colored pictures of horrible
In fact, I think
AlterNet is dead and if I see much more of the name of ¨Cody Fenwick¨ I will very probably delete
it from the 35 sites I look at every day: I do not want any ¨Cody
And this is another crazy
article on AlterNet. Here is more from the article:
Indeed, one of the goals of
right-wing extremists has always been to appear “normal”. In recent
years, the British National Party (BNP) was
transformed under the leadership of Nick Griffin. By trying to
look more like mainstream politicians, Griffin believed that the BNP
would become more electable. Despite the outward change, its
nationalist agenda remained constant.
While the BNP achieved relative
success in local and European elections, Griffin’s appearance on
BBC1’s Question Time pretty much destroyed his credibility both inside
and outside the BNP. Describing the treatment he received as being akin
to a “lynch
mob” highlights the stark difference between then and now.
Here is the crazy
ending of this article:
I’m not advocating
censorship or limiting free speech – far from it. What I am saying is
that the mainstream media has a responsibility for ensuring objectivity
and impartiality. The zeal to maintain what is obviously a false
balance by giving a platform to such extremists is not part of that
remit. Big media organisations must be aware that legitimisation of the
far right is not acceptable. They cannot normalise nor be seen to give
permission to what are, in truth, hateful ideas and ideologies.
I am a leftist and I am
a liberal, and I have been so for nearly 50 years now. The
anonymous writer of this article seems a ¨leftist¨ (that is, one who is
pretending) and a ¨liberal¨ (also pretending), but really seems
to be saying that the rightist mainstream media should publish only
what he/she approves of - which is totalitarian
idiocy in my mind. (And if you who are a ¨leftist¨ want to forbid
rightist views, what is to keep the rightists from forbidding leftist
Are All Julian Assange
This article is by Robert
Parry on Consortiumnews. If fact,
Parry died fairly recently, and this article was originally written and
published in 2010, but it is still well worth reading,
especially as Assange now has been shut up and is awaiting delivery to
the English police, who probably will soon deliver him to the CIA.
The article starts as follows:
the unusual aspects of the case, the Obama administration’s reported
plan to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for conspiring with
Army Pvt. Bradley Manning to obtain U.S. secrets strikes at the
heart of investigative journalism on national security scandals.
that this story is in fact about Robert Parry and his motivation to
start Consortiumnews. Here is some more:
because the process for reporters obtaining classified information
about crimes of state most often involves a journalist persuading some
government official to break the law either by turning over classified
documents or at least by talking about the secret information. There is
almost always some level of “conspiracy” between reporter and source.
to what some outsiders might believe, it’s actually quite uncommon for
sensitive material to simply arrive “over the transom” unsolicited.
Indeed, during three decades of reporting on these kinds of stories, I
can only recall a few secret documents arriving that way to me.
cases, I played some role – either large or small – in locating the
classified information or convincing some government official to
divulge some secrets. More often than not, I was the instigator of
in 1995, Consortiumnews.com was started as a way to publish secret and
top-secret information that I had discovered in the files of a closed
congressional inquiry during the chaotic period between the Republicans
winning the 1994 elections and their actual takeover of Congress in
is some more - and remember the article was written in 2010:
in the WikiLeaks case – instead of simply complaining and moving on –
the Obama administration appears to be heading in a direction not seen
since the Nixon administration sought to block the publication of the
Pentagon Papers secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971.
agree with Parry (and strongly dislike rich man Obama). Here is
one appreciation by Parry:
so, the Obama administration, which came to power vowing a new era of
openness, is contemplating a novel strategy for criminalizing
traditional journalistic practices, while trying to assure major U.S.
news outlets that they won’t be swept up in the Assange-Manning dragnet.
for the Obama administration, its sudden aggressiveness in divining new
“crimes” in the publication of truthful information is especially
stunning when contrasted with its “see no evil” approach toward openly
acknowledged crimes committed by President George W. Bush and his
subordinates, including major offenses such as torture, kidnapping and
agree. And here is the end of Parry´s article (in 2010):
other words, the Obama administration appears to be singling out
Assange as an outlier in the journalistic community who is already
regarded as something of a pariah. In that way, mainstream media
personalities can be invited to join in his persecution without
thinking that they might be next.
Well... I do not
think we are ever anything but ourselves, and besides, while there
probably are a few more journalists like Assange (indeed like Robert
Parry), I think Assange´s type is fairly rare.
American journalists may understandably want to find some protective
cover by pretending that Julian Assange is not like us, the reality is
– whether we like it or not – we are all Julian Assange.
And in any case, this is a recommended article.