from September 11, 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 September 11, 2018:
1. Conjuring Up the Next Depression
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. From Trump to Trade, the Financial Crisis Still Resonates
10 Years Later
3. Kavanaugh Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath About
4. What Will Donald Trump Be Remembered For?
5. Noam Chomsky on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Growing
Up the Next Depression
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
During the financial
crisis of 2008, the world’s central banks, including the Federal
Reserve, injected trillions of dollars of fabricated money into the
global financial system. This fabricated money has created a worldwide
debt of $325 trillion, more than three times global GDP. The fabricated
money was hoarded by banks and corporations, loaned by banks at
predatory interest rates, used to service interest on unpayable debt or
spent buying back stock, providing millions in compensation for elites.
The fabricated money was not invested in the real economy. Products
were not manufactured and sold. Workers were not reinstated into the
middle class with sustainable incomes, benefits and pensions.
Infrastructure projects were not undertaken. The fabricated money
reinflated massive financial bubbles built on debt and papered over a
fatally diseased financial system destined for collapse.
Yes, I think that is all
true. And the "trillions
of dollars of fabricated money" are "fabricated" - or so I suppose - because all
this money was merely paper, without being covered in any
sense by some standard, such as the gold standard, which was left by
Nixon, like the draft.
Also, as long as the economy is going well the fabricated dollars are
real money, but as soon as the economy starts
fabricated dollars will not be backed up by something that has
value (because of its scarcity), and will soon be less worth than the
paper they are made of.
Here is more:
What will trigger
the next crash? The $13.2 trillion in unsustainable U.S. household
debt? The $1.5 trillion in unsustainable student debt? The billions
Wall Street has invested in a fracking industry that has
spent $280 billion more than
it generated from its operations? Who knows. What is certain is that a
global financial crash, one that will dwarf the meltdown of 2008, is
inevitable. And this time, with interest rates near zero, the elites
have no escape plan. The financial structure will disintegrate. The
global economy will go into a death spiral. The rage of a betrayed and
impoverished population will, I fear, further empower right-wing
demagogues who promise vengeance on the global elites, moral renewal, a
nativist revival heralding a return to a mythical golden age when
immigrants, women and people of color knew their place, and a
I completely agree with
Hedges that (i) there will be a next crash, and (ii) it
be awful. Hedges also may be right that this will get mainly
and used by right-wing demagogues.
All I can say is that I hope he may be wrong on that. Here is more:
The 2008 financial
crisis, as the economist
Nomi Prins points out, “converted central banks into a new class of
power brokers.” They looted national treasuries and amassed trillions
in wealth to become politically and economically omnipotent. In her book
“Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World,” she writes that
central bankers and the world’s largest financial institutions
fraudulently manipulate global markets and use fabricated, or as she
writes, “fake money,” to inflate asset bubbles for short-term profit as
they drive us toward “a dangerous financial precipice.”
I guess Nomi Prins may be
right, although I think that at present all money is
"fabricated" or "fake".
Here are some of the things that might have been done with $29
dollars that were, in fact, handed to the banks:
The Federal Reserve
handed over an estimated $29 trillion of this fabricated money to
American banks, according to researchers at the
University of Missouri. Twenty-nine trillion dollars!
We could have provided free college tuition to every student or
universal health care, repaired our crumbling infrastructure,
transitioned to clean energy, forgiven student debt, raised wages,
bailed out underwater homeowners, formed public banks to invest at low
interest rates in our communities, provided a guaranteed minimum income
for everyone and organized a massive jobs program for the unemployed
I think that is right -
but the next global crash has not occurred yet. Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Instead, $29 trillion in
fabricated money was handed to financial gangsters who are about to
make most of it evaporate and plunge us into a depression that will
rival that of the global crash of
The global financial
system is a ticking time bomb. The question is not if it will
explode but when it will explode. And once it does, the
inability of the global speculators to use fabricated money with zero
interest to paper over the debacle will trigger massive unemployment,
high prices for imports and basic services, and a devaluation in which
the dollar will become nearly worthless as it is abandoned as the
currency. This manufactured financial tsunami will transform the
United States, already a failed democracy, into an authoritarian police
state. Life will become very cheap, especially for the vulnerable (...)
This seems - at least - a
fair expectation. I hope Hedges is mistaken about the arisal of "an authoritarian police state", but that is merely my hope.
a strongly recommended article.
Trump to Trade, the Financial Crisis Still Resonates 10 Years Later
article is by Andrew Ross Sorkin on The New York Times. It starts as
week is the 10th anniversary of the inflection point of the financial
crisis: the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the biggest bankruptcy in
history. To some, it feels like a long time ago.
its effects still echo in the way we live today — in the attitudes that
pervade our economy, our culture and our politics. It is hardly a
stretch to suggest that President Trump’s election was a direct result
of the financial crisis.
crisis was a moment that cleaved our country. It broke a social
contract between the plutocrats and everyone else. But it also broke a
sense of trust, not just in financial institutions and the government
that oversaw them, but in the very idea of experts and expertise. The
past 10 years have seen an open revolt against the intelligentsia.
Well... I think the first two paragraphs are mostly
correct, but I think the last is mistaken, and basically for two
First, "the very idea of
experts and expertise" has
been attacked the last 50 years, and indeed started around 50
in both the USA and Western Europe with a radical diminution in
qualities and difficulties in almost any academic education, and a
strong increase in demands of "equality" between the majority of
the stupid and ignorant, and the
few who denied that equality in law does correspond in an
Thus, for one example, nearly 50 years ago
started in Holland the introduction of studies, and notably of
medicine, with no more than a fixed number of yearly students,
which then was paired, notably by the Dutch social democrats,
with the denial of the rights
of the very few who got a 7
1/2 or better on their (then far more difficult) examinations to
The social democrats insisted this was unfair,
and forced everybody, including the few with a 7 1/2 or better,
part of a random selection of students from everyone who had
the right to enter a university.
Since then, the qualities of the universities in
Holland (and most other countries) have halved,
anyone sees this, while almost everyone is denying it.
And second, while "[t]he past 10 years have seen an open revolt against the
intelligentsia" this has mainly come from the over 2 billion new mostly
anonymous writers on Facebook and Twitter, who now all
can anonymously spout their hatred of anyone more intelligent than they
is some more from this article:
I think the U.S.
unemployment figures tend to be false or misleading, and for more on
the state of the economy see item 1, above: The
ten years of relative calmth for the U.S. rich were bought by
handing over to them $29 trillion, which they mostly spend on
enriching themselves and/or their corporations.
the United States, the crisis exposed an economy that had been a
charade — one that most Americans didn’t understand or appreciate. The
use of debt had masked the real problems underneath the surface: a
significant decrease in worker participation, automation that would
take jobs and stagnant wage growth.
issues long predated the crisis. But as Warren Buffett famously said,
“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.”
In truth, our economy today is
in much better shape than you might expect, with unemployment at 3.9
percent — lower than it was before the crisis.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
There is one
question I get more than any other: “Will we have another crisis?” The
answer, of course, is yes. But it’s not a Wall Street crisis similar to
2008 that concerns me. I’m worried about something far bigger.
I agree, but my reasons are much more like Chris Hedges
than like Andrew Sorokin.
Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath About Stolen Democratic Memos
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the
justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh is facing accusations of perjury
following his confirmation hearing last week. Democratic Senator
Patrick Leahy of Vermont has suggested Kavanaugh lied to the Senate
Judiciary Committee during his 2004 and 2006 hearings to become a
federal judge. During those hearings Kavanaugh denied seeing private
Democratic files that detailed strategies for opposing Republican
judicial nominees while he was associate counsel in the George W. Bush
White House. We speak with Lisa Graves, former top aide to Senator
Patrick Leahy, whose new piece is headlined “I Wrote Some of the Stolen
Memos That Brett Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate About.” Graves is the
former chief counsel for nominations for the ranking member of the
Senate Judiciary Committee and was deputy assistant attorney general in
the Department of Justice. She is now co-director of Documented, which
investigates corporate influence on democracy.
I say, for I did not know
this. Then again, I should add that (i) I have been an opponent of
Kavanaugh from the start, while (ii) I think his dishonesty - shown
below - when trying to become a federal judge should be
sufficient reason not to select him as a member of the Supreme
Court, but (iii) I also think that the majority of Republicans
Senate and the House are so uninterested in real law or rational
argument that Kavanaugh's appointment probably will pass.
Here are Orrin Hatch and Brett Kavanaugh back in 2004:
This is a clip from
Kavanaugh’s 2004 confirmation hearing when he was questioned by Utah
Senator Orrin Hatch.
Here is the present
Did Mr. Miranda ever share—share, reference or provide you with any
documents that appeared to you to have been drafted or prepared by
Democratic staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee?
No, I was not aware of that matter, ever, until I learned of it in the
media late last year.
Did Mr. Miranda ever share, reference or provide you with information
that you believe or were led to believe was obtained or derived from
No. Again, I was not aware of that matter in any way whatsoever until I
learned it in the media.
Do you know if any other associate White House counsels had access to
these type of materials that were improperly taken?
I don’t know of anyone who was aware of this matter, again, until the
media reports late last year.
But you were not?
I was not aware of it.
While Kavanaugh may not see a red flag, others definitely do. On
Friday, Demand Justice, MoveOn and NARAL
Pro-Choice America called for Democrats to seek a formal perjury
investigation of Kavanaugh based on his testimony before the Senate
And as I said, I think
that is the correct procedure, that should deny
appointment. But here are the facts:
(..) I think that what’s happening here is an extreme rush to try to
install Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court before the midterm
elections and to try to deny the American people and the Senate the
information it needs to evaluate this nominee. I know that from the
record, the procedural record, we’ve seen over the past month, the past
week, that Senator Grassley has—is trying to ram him through without
those documents before the Senate.
Yes indeed. And as I said,
my own fear is that this will go through, unfortunately. This
Will Donald Trump Be Remembered For?
is by Tom Engelhardt on Truthdig and originally on TomDispatch. It
starts as follows:
I know you won’t
believe me. Not now, not when everything Donald Trump does — any tweet,
any insult at any rally — is the news of the day, any day. But he
won’t be remembered for any of the things now in our headlines. No
human being, it’s true, has ever been covered the way he has, so what
an overwhelming record there should be. News about him and his
associates fills front pages daily in a way that only
something like a presidential assassination once did and he
has the talking heads of cable TV yakking about him as no one has ever
talked about anyone. And don’t even get me started on social media and
I don't see any
I wouldn't believe Engelhardt on the amount of attention that Donald
Trump gets, but then I also think that such an amount of attention is
justified for someone who is both the biggest liar
ever to become
grandiose megalomaniac; an anti-democrat who is also
against the free press; and someone who is quite obviously a
according to my
Donald Trump is, in the
most bizarre sense possible, a transformational figure, not to speak of
the man who makes the “fake news” fake, or at least grotesquely
overblown and over-focused. He has the uncanny ability to draw every
camera in the house, all attention, blocking out everything but
himself. Still, omnipresent as he is — or He is — take my word for it,
he won’t be remembered for any of this. It will all go down the media
drain with him one of these days. Don’t be fooled by newspapers or the
Internet. They are not history. They are anything but what will someday
Still, don’t for a second
imagine that Donald Trump won’t be remembered. He will — into the
distant future in a way that no other American president is likely to
These seem to be certainties
for Engelhardt, but not for me, and I have at least two reasons:
First, what is
history? I am following the daily papers, but I agree most of what they
contain is not what will be remembered later as history. Then again, I
have read a fair amount of academic histories, but I also know that
what I have read was almost only read by academics. Besides, of
fairly many histories I have read, only a very few get more or
So in brief: I do not
what history is, other than that its subject must be in the past, and
that the supposed facts that histories detail should indeed be mostly
Second, I also do not
whether Donald Trump will be remembered, because he may start a nuclear
war, or because environmental problems will explode, sooner or later.
After the above quotation,
Engelhardt expounds a fairly long and detailed list of things that
Engelhardt thinks Trump will not be remembered for. I will
quote none of it here.
Then there is this:
On that score, the record
is clear, in part because we are already beginning to live the very
future that will remember Donald Trump in only one way. It’s a future
that, at its core, has animated his presidency from its first days.
Whatever else he thinks, says, tweets, or does, President Trump and his
administration have been remarkably focused not just on denying that
humanity faces a potential future of environmental ruin — as in the
term “climate-change denial” so regularly
attached to a startling list of people in his administration —
but on aiding and abetting the disaster to come.
This makes him and his administration criminals of a historic sort.
After all, he and his cronies are aiming at what can only be thought of
the destruction of the environment of the planet that has sustained us
for thousands of years. That would be a literal crime against humanity
so vast that it has, until this moment, gone unnamed and, until
relatively recently, almost unimagined.
Well... I agree that
Trump is a climate-change denier; that most climate-change deniers both
seem liars and seem to be lying because they profit
from these lies;
and that people like Trump are bad or evil... but terracide,
that was unnamed presumably until Engelhardt named it, and that was "until relatively recently, almost unimagined"?
No, I don't
think so, and I state here just two reasons.
First of all, an
environmental disaster may be likely, but while it probably will
decimate humans, the earth will continue to exist, except that
it will be too warm for humans at most places.
And second, what is
"relatively recently"? I bought in 1981 a book of lectures that Aldous
Huxley had held originally in 1959. At that time, there were
between 2 and 3 billion human beings (and now more than 7 billion), but
Huxley ably discussed the environmental problems in 1959, and
also indicated many of the possible things that might
have stopped or
The main problem was
that few believed him, and that humanity kept multiplying and multiplying. And I think sixty years
(almost) is nearly a lifetime ago, and that ought to have been
sufficient, if mankind only had been slightly more rational
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I think this is too
simpleminded. And it was not just Trump and the executives of
the largest energy companies who did so. And while this is a
recommended article, I do not agree with it.
In other words, the one
thing Donald Trump will be remembered for — and what a thing it
will be! — is his desire to put us all on an escalator to hell; to,
that is, a future of fire and fury. It could make him and the
executives of the largest energy companies the greatest
criminals in history. If the emissions of greenhouse gases aren’t
significantly cut back and then halted in a reasonable period of time,
the crime he is now aiding and abetting with such enthusiasm is the
only one, other than a nuclear war, that could end history as we know
it, which might mean that Donald Trump won’t be remembered at all.
Chomsky on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Growing Split in Democratic
is by Amy Goodman on AlterNet and originally on Democracy Now! It
starts with the following introduction:
The 2018 midterm
election season has been roiled by the internal divisions between the
Democratic Party’s growing progressive base and the more conservative
party establishment. In New York City, this division came to a head
with the most shocking upset of the election season so far, when
28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez handily defeated 10-term incumbent
Representative Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House.
Ocasio-Cortez ran a progressive grassroots campaign as a Democratic
Socialist advocating for “Medicare for All” and the abolition of ICE.
For more on her victory and what it means for the Democratic Party, we
speak with Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist
This all quite correct,
and here is Chomsky:
Well, I think there’s—her victory was a quite spectacular and
significant event. I think what it points to is a split in the
Democratic Party between the—roughly speaking, between the popular base
and the party managers. The popular base is increasingly, essentially,
social democratic, following, pursuing the—concerned with the kinds of
progressive objectives that she outlined in those—in her remarks, which
should be directed not only to expanding the electorate but to the
general working-class, poor population of the world, of the
middle-class population of the country, for whom these ideals are quite
significant. They can be brought to that. That’s one part of the party.
The other part of the party is the donor-oriented, managerial part of
the New Democrats, so-called, the Clintonite Democrats, who are pretty
much what used to be called moderate Republicans. The Republican Party
itself has drifted so far to the right that they’re almost off the
spectrum. But the split within the Democratic Party is significant, and
it’s showing up in primary after primary. Will the party move in the
direction of its popular base, with a, essentially, social democratic,
New Deal-style programs, even beyond? Or will it continue to cater to
the donor class and be essentially a moderate wing—a more moderate wing
of the Republican Party? And unless that issue is resolved, I don’t
think they have a very good chance in the forthcoming elections.
I think all of that is
correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
The Republicans are
on a binge of pursuing the most savage form of class warfare. The tax
scam is a good example, the attacks on workers’ rights, on—Public
Citizen just came out with a report
on corporate impunity, which is almost comical when you read it. The
administration has simply cut back radically on any kind of dealing
with corporate crimes. And, of course, the EPA has practically stopped
working. It’s as if grab whatever you can, stuff it in your pocket,
before—while you have a chance.
I think this is also
correct, except for "class warfare", and here my objections probably
are too personal:
My father and mother were - intelligent, sincere, very courageous -
communists, as was my father's father, while my mother's parents were
anarchists. Also, my father survived over 3 years and 9 months as a
"political terrorist" in four German concentration camps, where his
father was murdered in 1943.
And I gave up on communism in 1970, when I was 20. There were many
reasons, for I had studied Marx (and Engels and Lenin) quite well, but
one prominent one was the incredible amount of nonsense I had
read about "the class struggle".
One of the many consequences was that I gave up on the existence of classes,
although I do believe - of course - in the existence of the rich and
Anyway... 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 (!!).