from August 27, 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 27, 2018:
1. Becoming Serfs
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. America Is Married to the Mob
3. Hot Enough for You?
4. Sanders Says Democratic Party Will Now Be 'More Open,
5. Why Democracy Needs Solidarity for Julian Assange's Freedom
1. Becoming Serfs
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
You know the
statistics. Income inequality in the United States has not been this
pronounced in over a century. The top 10 percent has 50 percent of the
country’s income, and the upper 1 percent has 20 percent of the
country’s income. A quarter of American workers struggle on wages of
less than $10 an hour, putting them below the poverty line, while
of the average CEO of a major
corporation is more than 300 times the pay of his or her average
worker, a massive increase given that in
the 1950s the average CEO made 20 times what his or her worker
made. This income inequality is global. The richest 1 percent of the
world’s population controls 40 percent of the world’s wealth. And it is
Precisely. And it is
because of these facts, that all involve the near coincidence of power
and wealth (somebody with power can get wealth; somebody with wealth
can get power), while I think that great inequalities in power and
wealth cause misery, poverty, and death to many who are not
powerful nor wealthy, that made me opt for socialism. See my On Socialism for considerably more on socialism, including George
Orwell´s vision of it, that is somewhat contrasted with my vision.
Also, I should add that I was raised as a child of two very brave
communists; gave up communism at 20
because I disagreed with Marx´s economics,
his historical materialism (to the effect that all historical
developments depend on the economy), and his dialectical materialism;
and then chose for philosophical
anarchism, where my use of ¨philosophical¨ before
¨anarchism¨ indicated that while I preferred libertarian anarchism,
I also thought only a fairly small minority had the
intelligence, the honesty and the moral courage to live in such a
So in fact my choice for socialism is a second-best
choice, and in my version of socialism I am mainly insisting on
three things: (1) the differences between power and wealth and no power
and poverty are far too large under capitalism; (2)
only made smaller by legal norms; (3) these legal norms are impossible
Back to more Hedges:
We live in a new
feudalism. We have been stripped of political power. Workers are
trapped in menial jobs, forced into crippling debt and paid stagnant or
declining wages. Chronic poverty and exploitative working conditions in
many parts of the world, and increasingly in the United States,
replicate the hell endured by industrial workers at the end of the 19th
century. The complete capture of ruling institutions by corporations
and their oligarchic elites, including the two dominant political
parties, the courts and the press, means there is no mechanism left by
which we can reform the system or protect ourselves from mounting
abuse. We will revolt or become 21st-century serfs, forced to live in
misery and brutally oppressed by militarized police and the most
sophisticated security and surveillance system in human history while
the ruling oligarchs continue to wallow in unimagined wealth and
Again I say: precisely.
And I am myself most afraid of ¨the most sophisticated security and
surveillance system in
human history¨ - which
is fundamentally the internet computer
(of any kind).
Here is something on Roosevelt´s New Deal and the Keynesian
that was the dominant economical opinion from 1946 till 1979, roughly:
The New Deal
programs were paid for by taxing the rich. Even in the 1950s, during
the Eisenhower presidency, the top marginal rate was 91 percent.
Yes indeed. In fact -
possibly in part because I am 68 now, possibly in part because I have
learned that there is hardly any sound understanding of most things
that I hold important by people whose IQs are less than 130 - I might not
be for socialism if Keynes´
principles to maintain a partially tamed
capitalism (by high taxes on the rich) would still be in force.
But I think now that Keynes was an exceptional capitalist, and by far the most capitalists are
for anything that improves their
profits, and don´t care for the human costs to the non-rich as long as
Here is more by Hedges:
The rich, enraged,
mounted a war to undo these programs and restore the social inequality
that makes them wealthy at our expense. We have come full circle.
Dissidents, radicals and critics of capitalism are once again branded
as agents of foreign powers and purged from universities and the
airwaves. The labor movement has been dismantled, including through
so-called right-to-work laws that prohibit agreements between unions
and employers. The last remaining regulations to thwart corporate
pillage and pollution are removed. Although government is the only
mechanism we have to protect ourselves from predatory oligarchs and
corporations, the rich tell us that government is the problem, not the
Again I say: precisely.
(And as a socialist, I am for government for the reasons Hedges
Here is more by Hedges:
“The quality of the
jobs, the security, the benefits and the impact on physical and mental
health have been cascading downward as the wages remain stagnant,” he
went on. “We’re not in a recovery. We’re in an ongoing decline, which,
by the way, is why Mr. Trump got elected. This is happening to
capitalism in Western Europe, Japan and the United States. This is why
an angry working class is looking for ways to express and change its
I mostly agree, although I
do not believe in the ¨working
class¨, mostly for two
First, the Marxist
conception of class is mistaken, indeed fundamentally because
of Marx´s false
historical materialism: People´s choices, values, ideas and ideals
are not merely and just determined by the economy and their
economical status. And second, because in practice the notions
behind the class concept failed again and again, and notably
wars, were the poor faught and died for rich men´s interests
the poor were nationalists.
Here is the last bit of Hedges that I quote:
There is no
discussion in the corporate-controlled media of the effects of our
out-of-control corporate capitalism. Workers struggling under massive
debts, unable to pay for ever rising health care and other basic costs,
trapped in low-wage jobs that make life one long emergency, are
rendered invisible by a media that entertains us with court gossip from
porn actresses and reality television stars and focuses on celebrity
culture. We ignore reality at our peril.
Yes. There is considerably
more in this article, notably on the American professor and Marxist
Richard Wolff, which I have skipped because I do not like Wolff, mainly
because he sounds too much like the Dutch ¨Marxist¨ professors I have
met and read. And this is a strongly recommended article.
2. America Is Married
to the Mob
This article is by
Andrew O´Hehir on Alternet and originally on Salon. It starts as
All sorts of melodramatic
language has been deployed to describe Donald Trump’s presidency over
the last couple of years: It’s a treasonous conspiracy to undermine
American democracy and install a puppet regime controlled by our
enemies; it’s a slow-motion fascist coup, seeking to undo civil rights
and cultural diversity and institute a white-supremacist theocracy.
What if it was never
anything quite so grandiose? Now that the Trump regime is beginning to
crack and crumble — one piece at a time, and without the satisfying,
cathartic crash so many people have longed for since the fall of 2016 —
it looks a lot like something more familiar: a second-rate mob drama.
Well... yes and no, and
my main difference is: Why not ¨and¨ and ¨and¨? (This is not
argued but merely asserted by O´Hehir.)
Here is more:
There’s nothing original
about this metaphor, which quite likely isn’t even a metaphor. It’s
been there all along: Pulitzer-winning reporter David Cay Johnston, who
has followed Donald Trump’s career for four decades, has written extensively about Trump’s longtime
connections to organized crime, as have numerous other journalists, including Salon's Heather Digby Parton. Those connections clearly go
back to Trump’s early days of doing shifty deals in the bottomed-out
market of 1970s Manhattan real estate (..)
Yes, I agree with this,
and indeed have repeatedly reviewed articles by Johnston and Parton.
Also, especially David Cay
Johnston is an interesting man who is very well informed
about Trump and his associates.
Here is more:
Of course the mob-boss
analogy exploded back into the headlines this week, after Paul
Manafort’s conviction on eight charges of financial fraud (entirely
unrelated to his work for Trump, in fairness) and Michael Cohen’s
plea-bargain admission that he had orchestrated payments to the
president’s alleged former lovers (or two of them, anyway), in a
blatant end-around of campaign finance laws. As the New York Times
observed in a front-page article — as usual, after everyone else
had said the same thing — Trump’s embittered responses about who had
been a “rat” and who hadn’t, and whether “flipping” to cooperate with
prosecutors ought to be illegal, seemed straight out of the mobbed-up
New York of 1980s Hollywood movies.
Yes indeed. Here is
The simpler way to say this
is that Donald Trump is a mobster, and he’s been a mobster
all his life. He’s sitting inside a vast palace of corruption, looking
down at the peasants gathered at the gates. How should he know what
non-mobsters think or believe? Why should he even be interested?
This isn’t an idle
observation. It might be a key to understanding this strange moment in
American history. I’ve devoted a lot of mental effort over the last
couple of years to making sense of the “Donald Trump era,” suggesting
that it inaugurated a new
age of revolutionary chaos, or marked the next stage of what Jean
Baudrillard called World
War IV, the post-9/11 internal conflict within the Western world. I
still believe those big-think questions have some salience, but in
terms of the current specific situation in American politics, it might
be a lot simpler than that. Maybe Trump is just a big old crook, and
the lawmen are now hunting him in classic fashion, by following the
I mostly agree, that
is: I think it is fair to describe Donald Trump as a mobster
especially David Cay
Johnston in this respect) but I also definitely think more
Thus, for one example, I think Donald Trump is (also, next to a
mobster) a neofascist,
for the simple reason that he satisfies all of the ten
criterions I define ¨neofascism¨ by (which was thus defined by me before
I knew of Trump).
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
media's many students of scandal-ology keep assuming, or hoping,
is that some huge and dramatic reveal is coming, the proverbial smoking
gun that will definitively prove that Donald Trump conspired with the
Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, spread lies on the internet
and “steal” the election. Trump will be hauled away in chains, every
elected Republican in the country will resign in disgrace and Nancy
Pelosi will unanimously be elected emperor for life. Or something. I
have a prediction to make: Nope. I am fairly well convinced that Robert
Mueller has concluded no such evidence exists, and that the 2016 Trump
campaign's collaboration with Russian agents — while dubious and sleazy
as all get-out — was pretty much a freelance or impromptu sideline
endeavor to the much larger criminal project of House Trump.
I mostly agree and this
is a recommended article.
Enough for You?
article is by David Suzuki on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
If you follow climate news
(and you should), you’ve likely heard of the global warming “hiatus.”
In attempts to keep the world hooked on diminishing reserves of
polluting fossil fuels, climate science deniers seized
on that phenomenon to claim the warming they once argued didn’t
exist stopped. Others took up the false claim out of ignorance and fear.
Global warming didn’t stop.
Quite the opposite: it accelerated. According to all legitimate
scientific agencies that study climate, the past
four years have been the warmest on record, and 2017 was the 41st
consecutive year with global average temperatures higher than in the
This year is also shaping
up to be a record-breaker. But as the old saying goes, “You ain’t seen
nothing yet!” That’s because warming didn’t stop. The rate slowed
slightly. And that’s over now.
Yes indeed: I completely
agree. Here is more:
We’re not alone. High
temperatures are breaking records worldwide. Deaths and injuries from
heat-related causes have been rising rapidly since 1980, according
to the World Meteorological Organization. Now, 30 per cent of the
world’s population lives “in climatic conditions that deliver prolonged
Extreme weather events,
including storms, droughts and floods, have compromised agriculture and
sparked refugee and health crises.
“We have witnessed
extraordinary weather, including temperatures topping 50 degrees
Celsius in Asia, record-breaking hurricanes in rapid succession in the
Caribbean and Atlantic reaching as far as Ireland, devastating monsoon
flooding affecting many millions of people and a relentless drought in
East Africa,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said. “Many of these
events … bear the tell-tale sign of climate change caused by increased
greenhouse gas concentrations from human activities.”
have been following ¨the climate¨ and/or ¨the environment¨ and/or
¨ecology¨ since the appearance of ¨The Limits
to Growth¨ in 1972.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
With scientists predicting
even hotter temperatures and more heat waves over the next few years,
we’re about to get a taste of what to expect if we fail to take every
measure possible to slow and eventually halt human-caused climate
disruption. There’s no shortage of solutions, only political will.
The question is, will we
learn from the evidence staring us in the face or will we continue to
frack, build pipelines for expanding oilsands, drill the oceans and
Arctic and revive the coal industry?
We don’t have much time to
Yes, I agree - and I
fear that as long as the rich are in power the rich will ¨continue to frack, build pipelines for
expanding oilsands, drill the oceans¨ etc. simply because it is profitable
to them (and besides, they have money enough to cool their houses etc.)
And I think so because
this was the attitude of most of the rich since 1980. This is a
Says Democratic Party Will Now Be 'More Open, Democratic and Responsive'
This article is by
Jon Queally on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
While his defeat by Hillary
Clinton in the Democratic Party's 2016 primary was the driving trigger
behind the fight that ensued over the way the party's establishment
appeared to exploit the power of superdelegates to tip the scales for
leadership's favored candidate (here,
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Saturday congratulated the DNC for approving
a measure that will greatly curtail that influence going forward.
In a vote by party
delegates at a meeting in Chicago that was described as a
victory for progressive reformers and a major advance for party unity
ahead of mid-terms and the 2020 presidential election, the Democratic
National Committee approved a series of reforms, including new rules
that govern superdelegates. In the future, superdelegates will no
longer be allowed to vote for their preferred candidate during the
first ballot at the party's national convention—a restriction that will
greatly, if not fully, reduce their influence on the outcome until all
primary voters have had their say.
Yes indeed (and I have
read some other articles on this). Here is some more:
by Our Revolution—which backs Bernie-style progressive candidates in
federal, state, and local races nationwide—the other reforms passed by
the DNC delegates on Saturday included:
- Electoral reforms and a
process for rewarding states that have same-day registration, same-day
party change, open primaries, other measures that increase civic
- The creation of an
Ombudsman Committee and strengthening the conflict of interest
- Improving financial
oversight of the DNC's finances and spending.
Take together, he said,
these reforms are "a huge step forward."
Yes, but I should add
that I have also read leftist criticism that said these changes
considerably less complete than would be desirable, and that this
outcome may well be a compromise between the leaders of the Democrats
and the voters for the Democrats.
We shall see, and this is a recommended article.
Democracy Needs Solidarity for Julian Assange's Freedom
article is by Nozomi Hayase on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
I agree with the first
paragraph, and did not know about the second paragraph, possibly
because I do not Tweet and do not belong to Facebook. In any case, my
own responses to ¨those
include prominent Trump’s supporters¨ are: (1) So what? And (2) This is a public action, so
you cannot exclude those you disagree with. Besides (3) Assange is for
free speech, and so am I.
WikiLeaks founder Julian
Assange remains in solitary confinement inside the Ecuadorian Embassy
in London, where he was granted asylum in 2012 against the threat of
extradition to the United States for his publishing activities. In
recent months, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno, under pressure from
the U.S. began threatening to evict this political refugee.
In response to this dire
situation, people across the political spectrum began to form
solidarity through #Unify4J, an online platform to organize a social
media movement in support of Assange. Among those include prominent
Here is more:
Strife around the
same issue arose from the former associate and early proponents of
WikiLeaks. Barrett Brown, an award-winning journalist, previously
imprisoned for charges relating to a Stratfor hack, has been one of the
strong voices in support of the whistleblowing site. He described
how he has long stood up for the organization’s mission of transparency
at great risk to himself, yet in recent months he became upset about
what he perceived to be Assange’s alliance with fascists and radical
right supremacist groups.
Well... in fact I rather
strongly doubt ¨Assange’s
alliance with fascists and radical right supremacist groups¨. What may be true is that
fascists and radical right groups, that may have liked - for example -
WikiLeaks´s publishing of Hillary Clinton´s emails may have tried to
suggest some alliance with Assange, but I think that is something
than the quoted bit.
Here is more:
that has grown among progressives around the advocacy of WikiLeaks
brings extreme alarm. It weakens any kind of efforts to resist
government and corporate oppression. Finding a way to overcome this
force becomes now important, not only for Assange’s freedom, but also
for creating a viable movement for democracy.
I agree (although I think
that ¨creating a viable
movement for democracy¨ is
a far larger project and should have been left out).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, precisely. And this
is a recommended article, in which there is considerably more than I
In the interview conducted
by an award winning filmmaker John Pilger, renowned political analyst
Noam Chomsky once said,
“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we
don’t believe in it at all.” Democracy dies when we deny speech of
those whom we oppose and our collective heart suffocates, with each
individual not being able to speak freely. The tyranny triumphs the
rule of law when we can’t breathe through diverse opinions and
perspectives to inspire one another to form a court of public opinion.
WikiLeaks enabled the true
function of the First Amendment. As a countenance of democracy, this
revolutionary journalism protects people against suppression of speech
by allowing all voices including views that are unpopular and
marginalized. This can illuminate what liberals consider WikiLeaks’
troubling appearance of associating with Trump Jr. and speaking up for
conspiracy theorists like a Infowar radio host Alex Jones, when he got
censored by Silicon Valley tech giants.
B. One Extra Bit
often, the extra bit is about ME/CFS,
that my ex and I now have for forty years minus four months.
This is an article about the recent decision of the Dutch
Gezondheidsraad (that also speaks for the Dutch government) that
¨ME/CFS is a serious and chronic disease¨:
The article is
by Frank Twisk and is concerned with something else that the
Gezondheidsraad is in favor of, that amounts in fact to renaming ME
and CFS (and ¨CFS¨ is essentially a nonsensical concept and
a very bad term introduced by psychiatrists, who have insisted
the last 40 years that ME/CFS is a psychiatric complaint, that
has little or nothing to do with a real though unknown disease, which
stopped virtually all medical research into ME the last 40 years) to
SEID, it seems on the ground that ¨ME c.q. Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis¨ is the wrong name for the - unknown -
chronic disease that is now admitted by the Gezondheidsraad
(since March 2018).
I agree with Twisk because the only
sensible research that
has been done since 1965 into ME/CFS went by one or both of these names,
and changing the name of the disease to SEID will very probably delete most or all of the
references to medical researches into ME/CFS.
Besides, I like to add that (1) many diseases have mistaken
names, when seen from the point of view of medical researchers and (2)
I am getting extremely sick of
medical researches who mostly
did not research ME/CFS now posture on a point of terminology,
as if the only thing they are good at is Dutch grammar
(which in fact may be true: I have seen very few competent
Dutch medical doctors).
Also, after 40
years of ME/CFS I grant that I am sick of most Dutch medical
My ex and I have spoken to around 30 medical specialists (for the most
part) looking for help. Medical people are supposed to
be foremost informed by the norm Not To Harm Patients.
Twenty-seven of the thirty medical specialist said we were
psychosomatizers (as students, studying on study loans), knowing full
well this utter medical nonsense would harm
us in the eyes of
bureaucrats - and indeed I have been forced to survive 32 years of
dole in which I was declared not to be ill (which caused many
problems for me).
I do not believe anymore that my ex and myself will be helped
with ME/CFS by almost any Dutch doctor simply because that is my
experience since 40 years. And I have essentially given up on Dutch
medicine and Dutch doctors (except for a very few: the others seem more
interested in money than in patients,
for that has been my experience for 40 years).
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 (!!).