from August 28, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
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 28, 2018:
1. The New Socialists
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. Obit Omit: What the Media Leaves Out of John McCain’s
Militarism and Misogyny
3. Can We Be Forgotten Anymore?
4. A Private Investigator on Living in a
5. 5 timely reminders that the media think you are an idiot…
This article is by Corey Robin on
The New York Times. It starts as follows:
most of American history, the idea of socialism has been a hopeless,
often vaguely defined dream. So distant were its prospects at
midcentury that the best definition Irving Howe and Lewis Coser,
editors of the socialist periodical Dissent, could come up with in 1954
was this: “Socialism is the name of our desire.”
may be changing. Public support for socialism is growing.
Self-identified socialists like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib are making inroads into the Democratic
Party, which the political analyst Kevin Phillips once called the
“second-most enthusiastic capitalist party” in the world. Membership in
the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist
organization in the country, is skyrocketing, especially among young people.
explains this irruption? And what do we mean, in 2018, when we talk
Well... I do think that socialism, which has
many different definitions, which does make it rather difficult
to make sense of without some sort of more specific definition, was a
lot better understood in the USA from around 1875 till 1925
(or so), simply because there were a lot of socialist movements and a
lot of socialist weeklies and monthlies.
But since then ¨socialism¨ has been associated often
with the ¨socialism¨ of the Soviet Union (and ¨socialism¨ is
between quotes because it was not socialism in any of
the senses I acknowledge) in the American mainstream media, and was
made mostly into a dirty word by them.
The rest of the above quoted bit is more or less
correct, and I also can answer the first of the last two questions:
I think it are mainly the economical policies of all
American governments since 1980, Democratic or Republican, that made the
differences in payments between the rich and non-rich much greater than they were before (CEOs
now earn more than 300 times as much as their workers, which was under
the Republican Eisenhower 20 times as much) together with the fact that
the non-rich (some 90% of the population) did not get a real increase in payments since 1980.
Here is more from the article:
the 1970s, American liberals have taken a right turn on the economy.
They used to champion workers and unions, high taxes, redistribution,
regulation and public services. Now they lionize billionaires like Bill
Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, deregulate wherever possible, steer clear of
unions except at election time and at least until recently, fight over
how much to cut most people’s taxes.
of course, argue that they are merely using market-friendly tools like
tax cuts and deregulation to achieve things like equitable growth,
expanded health care and social justice — the same ends they always
have pursued. For decades, left-leaning voters have gone along with
that answer, even if they didn’t like the results, for lack of an
took Mr. Sanders to convince them that if tax credits and insurance
exchanges are the best liberals have to offer to men and women
struggling to make stagnating wages pay for bills that skyrocket and
debt that never dissipates, maybe socialism is worth a try.
This is - vaguely, and with my criticisms left out -
more or less correct, although I do like to add that I don´t
think that Sanders - at least in his publicly stated opinions - is a
real socialist, though I agree that he is an American social
democrat (which is different and less radical than a socialist).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
means different things to different people. For some, it conjures the
Soviet Union and the gulag; for others, Scandinavia and guaranteed
income. But neither is the true vision of socialism. What the socialist
seeks is freedom.
capitalism, we’re forced to enter the market just to live. The
libertarian sees the market as synonymous with freedom. But socialists
hear “the market” and think of the anxious parent, desperate not to
offend the insurance representative on the phone, lest he decree that
the policy she paid for doesn’t cover her child’s appendectomy. Under
capitalism, we’re forced to submit to the boss. Terrified of getting on
his bad side, we bow and scrape, flatter and flirt, or worse — just to
get that raise or make sure we don’t get fired.
The socialist argument against
capitalism isn’t that it makes us poor. It’s that it makes us unfree.
When my well-being depends upon your whim, when the basic needs of life
compel submission to the market and subjugation at work, we live not in
freedom but in domination. Socialists want to end that domination: to
establish freedom from rule by the boss, from the need to smile for the
sake of a sale, from the obligation to sell for the sake of survival.
I think that there are
considerably better definitions of socialism (after all: socialism
is a system that differs from capitalism, politically, economically and
legally) but then again I agree with Robin that he did sketch the
different kinds of values and ends that characterize the socialist
(of many though not all kinds) from the kinds of values and ends that characterize
the pro-capitalists aka ¨libertarians¨ (who seek their own
freedom to exploit others, or so I think).
This is a recommended article.
Omit: What the Media Leaves Out of John McCain’s Record of Militarism
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
We host a roundtable
discussion on the life and legacy of John McCain, the Vietnam veteran
and former prisoner of war, six-term senator and two-time presidential
candidate, who died Saturday at the age of 81 of brain cancer. We speak
with Mehdi Hasan, columnist for The Intercept and host of their
“Deconstructed” podcast. He’s also host of “UpFront” at Al Jazeera
English. He’s been tweeting in response to McCain’s death and wrote a
piece last year headlined “Despite What the Press Says, 'Maverick'
McCain Has a Long and Distinguished Record of Horribleness.” We are
also joined by Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, which McCain
once referred to as “low-life scum,” and by Norman Solomon, national
coordinator of RootsAction, executive director of the Institute for
Public Accuracy and author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and
Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”
Of course, I was aware of
McCain´s death last Saturday, but I am too skeptical of all the praise
he was given - for example - in the New York Times, and waited for a
critical, informed and honest assessment of him, and this article is a
Here is some more:
It’s really natural to have a lot of empathy for someone who suffered
through brain cancer, admiration for people who withstood great
hardships with pride and determination. However, what we’ve seen is
really what could be called the phenomenon of obit omit—obituaries that
are flagrantly in conflict with the real historical record. And when
you stop and think about it, you know, journalism is supposed to be the
first draft of history. And when history is falsified in the way that
we’re getting in the last few couple of days now, several days, really,
in the lead-up to Senator McCain’s death, it’s really a kind of a
fraudulence on the part of the U.S. mass media. If John McCain was a
maverick, it’s only a high jump over very low standards. And while
there were certainly some, from a progressive standpoint, admirable
characteristics that he had, he also was a huge enthusiast for war,
which included after his return from being a prisoner in Vietnam.
Yes, I agree. Here is more:
Quite so. And this is the
last bit that I´ll quote from this article:
HASAN: I think Norman is
right to point to the obit-omit phenomenon. I think that’s one of the
things I’ve taken away from the past couple of days, just watching some
of the media coverage, which is less journalism and more hagiography.
We know what McCain was good at and what he was praised for, but we’re
not hearing about some of the darker sides of his political record. And
there’s nothing wrong with bringing some light to the darker parts of a
politician’s, a public figure’s record. This is not some sort of
dancing on his grave. This is talking about what he did.
And, you know, look at his
career. He was a man who was involved in a massive financial scandal in
the late 1980s. He was part of the Keating Five, the savings-and-loan
scandal. He agitated, as you mentioned, Amy, in your introduction, for
the illegal and catastrophic invasion and occupation of Iraq—never
apologized, never showed any regret for that. In 2008, he ran a nasty,
desperate and bigoted campaign for the presidency of the United States,
alongside Sarah Palin, which, as you pointed out, again, did pave the
way for the election of Donald Trump and for Trumpism in 2016. These
are things he should be held to account for.
GOODMAN: Medea Benjamin,
you had direct experience with Senator McCain, your organization.
You’re co-founder of CodePink.
BENJAMIN: Yes. We had
constantly been lobbying John McCain to not support all these wars.
Amy, I think it’s so horrible to be calling somebody a war hero because
he participated in the bombing of Vietnam. I just spent the last
weekend with Veterans for Peace, people who are atoning for their sins
in Vietnam by trying to stop new wars. John McCain hasn’t done that.
With his life, what he did was support wars from not only Iraq, but
also Libya. He called John Kerry delusional for trying to make a
nuclear deal with Iran, and threw his lot in with the MEK, the extremist group in Iran. He also was a
good friend of Mohammad bin Salman and the Saudis. There was a gala for
the Saudis in May when the crown prince was visiting, and they had a
special award for John McCain. He supported the Saudi bombing in Yemen
that has been so catastrophic. And I think we have to think that those
who have participated in war are really heroes if they spend the rest
of their lives trying to stop war, not like John McCain, who spent the
rest of his life supporting war.
Yes. And there is a lot more in the article,
which is strongly recommended.
We Be Forgotten Anymore?
This article - in
fact, a foreword - is by Tom Engelhardt on TomDispatch. It starts as
If I had to pick a
single moment when I grasped that we were on a new surveillance planet,
it would have been the release of the stunning revelations of Edward
Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor now
exile in Vladimir Putin’s Russia (and if there
isn’t irony in that, please tell me what your definition of irony is).
Those revelations seemed to fit all too well with the then-developing
picture of twenty-first-century America. You know, the country
with those black
sites spread around the planet; whose top government officials had
“enhanced interrogation techniques” (aka torture) demonstrated
to them in the White House (and then authorized their use on actual
human beings across that same planet); a country running a series
of global kidnapping
operations, placing its trust
courts, and thoroughly committed not just to the large-scale
surveillance of populations, its own included, but to pursuing
any whistleblower like Snowden who might want to tell us what was going
Yes indeed, although I think I should add that what I agree
were ¨the stunning revelations of
Edward Snowden¨ was strong
confirmation for the theory I had
first published in late 2012, (strongly recommended!) which was
totally independent of Snowden.
And I admit that the present foreword was selected because I realized
too late that I also had selected the article that it is the foreword
to, namely the next item. Then again, I decided to select this bit
because I like it as well.
Here is more:
Back in 2013, when
it came to Snowden, I began a piece I called “How
to Be a Rogue Superpower” this way: “It’s hard even to know how to
take it in. I mean, what’s really happening? An employee of a private
contractor working for the National Security Agency makes off with
unknown numbers of files about America’s developing global security
state on a thumb drive and four laptop computers, and jumps the nearest
plane to Hong Kong. His goal: to expose a vast surveillance structure
built in the shadows in the post-9/11 years and significantly aimed at
Americans. He leaks some of the documents to a columnist at the British
Guardian and to the Washington Post. The
response is unprecedented: an ‘international manhunt’ (or more politely
but less accurately, ‘a diplomatic full court press’) conducted not by
Interpol or the United Nations but by the planet’s sole superpower, the
very government whose practices the leaker was so intent on exposing.”
Yes indeed: quite so. Here
is the last bit I selected:
I concluded: “It’s
eerie that some aspects of the totalitarian governments that went down
for the count in the twentieth century are now being recreated in those
shadows. There, an increasingly ‘totalistic’ if not yet totalitarian
beast, its hour come round at last, is slouching toward Washington to
be born, while those who cared to shine a little light on the birth
process are in jail or being hounded across this planet.”
I have three remarks on
And keep in mind that this was
years before Donald Trump entered the Oval Office or any of us quite
realized that what TomDispatch
regular and private investigator Judith Coburn calls
“surveillance capitalism,” as well as a planet of hackers, would join
that government in creating an unprecedented surveillance culture, one
that leaves all of us exposed. Honestly, I’d like to see the novel that
George Orwell would write 34 years after 1984.
First, I quite agree with Engelhardt´s naming totalitarianism,
but I also insist that at least the present Wikipedia´s article on
totalitarianism is basically a lie that almost
only gives Brezinski´s false opinions on it, while I also think
totalitarianism is probably stronger in the USA than Engelhardt
thinks it is. And see the third point below.
Second, I do like Judith Coburn´s term ¨surveillance
capitalism¨ because it is quite adequate.
And third - having studied Orwell´s political and essayistic writings,
and his ¨Animal Farm¨ and ¨1984¨ for 50 years now - my own conclusion
on what Orwell would think had he lived now is that Orwell would be
totally horrified, and especially by the universal surveillance of
everybody with an internet computer.
This is a recommended article.
Private Investigator on Living in a Surveillance Culture
article is by Judith Coburn on Truthout and originally on TomDispatch.
It starts as follows:
Now that we know we are
surveilled 24/7 by the National Security Agency, the FBI,
local police, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, hackers, the
Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans, data brokers, private spyware
groups like Black Cube, and companies from
which we’ve ordered swag on the Internet, is there still any “right to
be forgotten,” as the Europeans call it? Is there any privacy left, let
alone a right to privacy?
In a world in which most
people reveal their intimate secrets voluntarily, posting them on
social media and ignoring the pleas of security experts to protect
their data with strong passwords — don’t use your birth date, your
telephone number, or your dog’s name — shouldn’t a private
investigator, or PI, like me be as happy as a pig in shit? Certainly,
the totalitarian rulers of the twentieth century would have been, if
such feckless openness had been theirs to abuse.
Yes indeed - I think
this is all true, especially the first paragraph, and my own reply to
its last two questions is that all privacy there was before
internet computers has been totally and
completely destroyed by internet computers, which also were designed and planned
by DARPA to do just that (in fact the plans were there already in 1968).
Israeli spyware can steal the
contacts off your phone just as LinkedIn did to market itself to your
friends. Google, the Associated Press reported recently, archives your location even
when you’ve turned off your phone. Huge online database brokers
like Tracers, TLO, and IRBsearch that
law enforcement and private eyes like me use can trace your address,
phone numbers, email addresses, social media accounts, family members,
neighbors, credit reports, the property you own, foreclosures or
bankruptcies you’ve experienced, court judgments or liens against you,
and criminal records you may have rolled up over the years.
Precisely - and this is
just a very small list from the very many things that all
the secret services, and Google, and Facebook, and Microsoft and Apple
know about you, that is also far more than you remember.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I especially select the
first statement: ¨The
authoritarian snoops of the last century would have drooled over the
surveillance uses of the smartphones that most of us now carry¨ and add: Precisely so - and all of this was carefully planned
by DARPA since 1968: They wanted a surveillance
state were a very few anonymous members of the secret services could
control everyone, even to the extent of being abled to arrest a person
for the plans he or she made.
The authoritarian snoops of
the last century would have drooled over the surveillance uses of the
smartphones that most of us now carry. Smartphones have, in fact,
become one of the primo law enforcement tools other than the Internet.
“Find my iPhone” can even find a dead body — if, that is, the victim
left her iPhone on while being murdered. And don’t get me started on
the proliferation of surveillance cameras in our world.
And this was settled already in 1968. This is a strongly
timely reminders that the media think you are an idiot…
article is by Kit on The Off-Guardian. It starts as follows:
The corporate media
think we are stupid. All of us. They have as much respect for our
intellect or ability to reason as they do for the truth. This is
displayed, in size 20 font, on the front page of every newspaper every
single day. They paint a picture of an absurd world, and expect us all
to nod along with it, blithely accepting their stories as true, no
matter what laws of reason – or even physics – they bend to suit their
The world in the newspaper
and on the television is not real in any true sense of the word. Merely
a crazy fun-house mirror reflection of the truth. Important features
shrunk to nothing, tiny flaws blown up out of proportion. Apparently
solid shapes that – on inspection – are nothing but strange plays of
light and shadow.
With that in mind, let’s
remind ourselves of the kind of completely bonkers things we’re all
expected to believe.
I more or less agree
with Kit - and she is talking about the corporate media (which indeed
may be a better term than ¨mainstream media¨).
In fact, here are my
personal experiences: I don´t have a TV since 1970 simply because I
thought it was very propagandistic, quite stupid, and I had learned
virtually nothing from it. Also, while I read the Dutch NRC-Handelsblad
- a paper that is mostly read by liberal academics - from 1970 till the
end of 2010, I stopped reading it then because of the many lies they
told me and their readers, also without ever correcting them. (I did not
lack information, since I have an internet computer since 1996.)
Next, Kit deals with 5
examples. I shall extract some, but it is too much text to review well
in Nederlog. Here is the first bit:
ISIS – the all-powerful
death cult, the existential threat to Western democracy, on the verge
of “regional dominance”. There was a map and everything – world domination by 2020.
Despite all this, ISIS –
the untouchable hydra of evil – completely fell apart as a force in the
region just months after Russia and Iran got involved in the Syrian war.
Why was this?
Could it be that ISIS were
just a media creation – the PR arm of the CIA’s jihadist proxy army –
and, in truth, barely existed as fighting force? Existing, rather, to
give Western powers an excuse to conduct air strikes on Syrian
I more or less agree,
mostly for the simple reason that I never could believe in the
asserted serious dangers that a few tenthousands of angry Muslims
could pose for the armies of the USA.
Also, I just don´t follow the corporate media on ISIS and other
subjects (which I do follow on the non-corporate media).
Here is more:
Several times, in the last
couple of years, Western leaders have made remarkably prescient
statements – something along the lines of “We will not tolerate the use
of chemical weapons on civilians”, or “We will act if chemical weapons
are used”. In fact, in just the last few days both the US and France have reissued these warnings.
Despite these warnings, and
though it offers him literally zero strategic advantages of any kind,
Assad keeps deploying his super-secret chemical weapons against
civilians…just because. He’s winning the war, it’s pretty much over,
the only thing that could swing it against him is NATO, and he keeps
deliberately inciting them to attack him.
There’s only 2 explanations
for that – either he, and his government, are low-key suicidal, or it
never happened, and the propagandists in the media truly believe we are
I take this mostly for
granted, although I do not know, again because I just don´t follow the
corporate media on Assad and other subjects.
Here is more:
Jeremy Corbyn is soft –
maybe, arguably – too soft for the job that history has violently
hoisted on to his shoulders, but soft none the less. He rides his bike
to work, wears cardigans, is a vegetarian. He has campaigned for peace
and against war his entire life. He was arrested for protesting
apartheid whilst Margaret Thatcher was calling Nelson Mandela a
terrorist, he spoke out against Pinochet while the General
was a darling on both sides of the Atlantic.
He has won two
international peace prizes.
The idea that, during a
public career dedicated to the socialist ideals of decency and
fairness, he was secretly thinking “Bloody jews!” the whole time is
completely absurd. Insultingly absurd, and there is not a single piece
of evidence to suggest otherwise. There is nothing more to be said on
With this I completely
Then there is this on
This is the big one,
currently. The grand-daddy of the nothingburgers. Russiagate never
happened. There was no collusion, no cheating or vote hacking or
pay-offs. They have found literally zero evidence anything ever took
place, seizing upon tiny anecdotal scraps and blaring them out in FULL
CAPS HEADLINES to make a case in the court of public opinion that would
never stand in an actual court.
Where “Russiagate” is
different from most invented media schlock however, is the sheer weight
of counter evidence. For most media fiction you can say “Well, there’s
very little evidence to support that” (see Corbyn = anti-Semite as a
classic example). With Russiagate you can go even further: There is a
ton – A TON – of evidence to the contrary, clear-cut evidence that
Russia (and Putin) have nothing to do with Trump being President. The
media refuse to acknowledge this evidence, directly and contemptuously
challenging the public’s ability to reason.
Yes, I think I entirely
agree again, and for - considerably - more on Russiagate see the
indexes to Nederlog.
Here is the ending of
Well... I don´t
really think that the journalists and editors of the corporate media
are ¨delusional morons¨: I think many are clever deceivers
and good propagandists,
who are in fact often doing public relations (for governments) rather
than supplying the honest facts.
They are either all
delusional morons, think WE are all delusional morons, or – most
probably – both.
The inmates are running the
asylum, declaring the rest of us insane because none of us are hearing
This is why the media is in
decline, why the BBC is losing its audience and the newspapers have
plummeting readership, because people are tired of being treated like
idiots and herded like cattle. We’ve made a collective decision to cut
the bullshit out of our lives. The world is heading towards a split,
two parallel universes running together – the real world, where
reasonable pragmatic people get on with the struggles of life, and the
media world, where fake people write about pretend events in newspapers
The media has become that
manipulative spouse who lies and cheats and tells you it’s all your
fault. A narcissistic gaslighter who just will not change.
It’s time to make a clean
And I do not know why the media is (are?) in decline, and I
certainly know other good reasons than Kit has mentioned.
Finally, as to ¨a clean break¨: How? I think that my own
case is - apart from refusing to use a computer - is a fairly clean
break (without TV, without iPhone, without Facebook, without Google,
without Microsoft, without Apple) while I rely for news mostly on the
non-corporate media. But I do still read the corporate media
(notably the New York Times and The Guardian) and I think one should,
simply to know what they write. And this is a recommended article.
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 (!!).