from September 20, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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 20, 2018:
1. Everyone Deserves Better Than This Senate Spectacle
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. Michael Moore Attempts Another Election Intervention With
3. Here's Why Setting a Maximum Wage for CEOs Would be Good
4. Alexander Hamilton Was Obsessed With the Threat a
Trump’s Poses for America
5. Plutocrats Are Planning a Stealth Coup
Deserves Better Than This Senate Spectacle
This article is by
The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
becomes of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the
Senate Judiciary Committee’s process for considering him has been a
mockery from the start — a mockery of lawmakers’ constitutional
responsibility and of the ideal that the court should be anything more
than a political trophy.
bulk of the blame lies with Senator Chuck Grassley, the committee
chairman, and his fellow Republicans, who have abused their power by
refusing to let their colleagues and the American people see over 90
percent of the documents relating to Judge Kavanaugh’s critical years
in the federal government.
Yes indeed, although I should point out at this point
that there are two different important arguments (or in fact three)
against Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court:
(1) the Republicans refuse to show over 90%
documents "relating to
Judge Kavanaugh’s critical years in the federal government"; (2) there has been credible
evidence that Kavanaugh, when in his late teens, tried to rape a girl
student; and also (3) - which is not listed in this article
- the fact that Supreme Court judges are nominated for life,
which is rather strange in that the USA is the only place where
Back to the article:
the committee has a chance to partly redeem itself, by allowing a
thorough investigation and then holding an open hearing to address
Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Judge Kavanaugh about a
night while they were in high school.
complain that this is nothing but a Democratic plot to derail Judge
Kavanaugh’s nomination by delaying any vote until after the midterm
elections. (If anyone knows about unjustly delaying Supreme Court
confirmations, it’s Senate Republicans.) Well, Democrats no doubt would
prefer to delay a vote.
now that that’s out of the way, can we please focus on what really
matters here? What matters is that Dr. Blasey has made a serious,
specific and credible allegation. Sure, Democrats may want to
investigate that claim fully. But so should anyone concerned about
protecting the Supreme Court’s integrity, not to mention the
reputations of both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey.
Yes, quite so - and yes: "anyone concerned about protecting the Supreme
Court’s integrity" should
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Quite so, again. And this
is a recommended article.
of unreliable memories, it’s laughable for Republicans to complain, as
some do, that Dr. Blasey’s claim is too old to be considered. The
Senate Judiciary Committee is not a court of law; it’s an arena of
politics. Remember that less than a decade ago, Republican senators were happy to grill
Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s first pick for the court,
about positions taken 30 years earlier by a legal-defense fund whose
board she had once sat on.
there’s no statute of limitations preventing the committee from
weighing allegations of attempted rape against a nominee to a lifetime
seat on the highest court in the land. Besides, since Judge Kavanaugh
has flatly denied the accusation, his honesty now — not as a teenager —
is at issue.
Moore Attempts Another Election Intervention With ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’
This article is by
Jordan Riefe on Truthdig. This is from near its beginning:
fits a pattern evident in most of his movies, from “Roger & Me” to
9/11.” While he assiduously builds arguments in his films,
presenting them with humor and panache, he routinely neglects to
address the opposition’s viewpoint, no matter how flimsy it may be.
It’s an unfortunate omission that lends credibility to his political
adversaries, even when they’re blatantly wrong.
In fact, this is a review
of Michael Moore's latest film. I don't think this review is
sympathetic to Moore, but - I think - this doesn't matter much (and I
did not see Moore's movie).
Then again, I disagree - I think - with Riefe's point that Moore "routinely neglects to address the
and that for (at least) two reasons: The film is a political
film, and a director can take various points of view
about those he opposes, and Moore's view is one of these, while also
Moore's opponents anyway get too much of the argument in my
the mainstream media + Fox News).
Here is more:
It might sound
ironic, but Moore’s new movie isn’t so much about our sitting
president, as the title would suggest. Instead, it’s about a number of
items that Moore finds vexing—Second Amendment rights, teacher strikes,
the failing Democratic Party, young social progressives—as well as
Trump. And the most potent sections in “Fahrenheit 11/9” address the water
crisis in Flint, Mich.
I don't see why
would suggest his new movie would be "about our sitting president". As to the rest of the quoted paragraph: Quite
possibly so, but I should remark that Moore was born in Flint, Mich, so
it is not odd if he gives considerable attention to his own
(former) home town.
Here is more:
In a typically
Moore-ish touch, we see Hitler giving a speech in grainy
black-and-white footage, with Trump’s voice dubbed over. It’s a puerile
ruse, but good for a laugh as Moore proceeds to liken the rise of
Hitler to the coming of Trump, a comparison that has become cliché.
Trump and Hitler are not the same, though Trump’s admiration for
political strongmen is evident in footage of his recent meeting with
Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, when the U.S. head of state shamed himself
and his country with his deferential treatment of the Russian president.
Well... I am not (not
all) aware of the supposed fact that a comparison between
Trump "has become cliché",
while I am quite aware of the fact that "Trump and Hitler are not the same". Who is not? Indeed, why
write that down?
Anyway, here is the last bit from this article that I quote:
I think myself that Moore is
right in these points. Anyway... I have not seen Moore's movie,
Riefe may be right for not being overtly fond of it.
The Flint crisis emphasizes
one of Moore’s larger points: the erosion
of democracy in America, with one subject speaking of American
democracy as an aspiration. While Democrats won the popular vote in six
of the last seven elections, and the majority of voters support
background checks when purchasing guns and are pro-choice
and for affordable
health care, none of these positions are under consideration by an
increasingly recalcitrant Republican-held government.
Moore lays the blame at the
feet of the Democratic Party for pursuing compromise positions rather
than fighting to win.
Why Setting a Maximum Wage for CEOs Would be Good for Everyone
article is by Mark Reiff on AlterNet and originally on The
Conversation. It starts as follows:
the argument goes, it’s every man for himself. Through the relentless
pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the
common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they
can, not only for their goods but also for their labour. Whatever the
market price is is, in turn, what the buyer should pay. Just like the
idea that there should be a minimum wage, the idea that there should be
a maximum wage seems to undermine the very freedom that the free market
is supposed to guarantee.
I am sorry, but this is an
argument that consists almost only of neoliberal/ neofascist
boloney. Then again, it may be that Reif sees this:
This view, however,
has some dramatic consequences. One is the explosion in economic inequality that almost all liberal capitalist
democracies have experienced over the past 30-40 years. The difference
between the top and the bottom of the income distribution now lies
about where it did in the Gilded Age and the
roaring 1920s, up until the Great Depression. Unlike these earlier
periods, however, this rise in economic inequality has not been driven
by returns on capital assets. This time, one of the most important
contributors to the rise has been the payment
of extraordinarily high levels of compensation to corporate executives.
In 2017, for example, the 200 highest-paid CEOs in US business each
received compensation of between $13.8 million and $103.2 million, well
above the cut-off for the top 0.01 per cent of the income distribution,
which currently lies at $8.3 million. More troubling still, while
the compensation for corporate executives has been almost continually rising
during this period, real (inflation-adjusted) wages for almost
everybody else have been stagnating.
Yes indeed - and keep in
mind that the millions that go to the very few rich have been going
the very few for the last forty years, where has the incomes of
very many non-rich (90%, at least) has not been increasing these last
forty years, but stagnated, and stagnated at very much lower
than the incomes of the rich.
Here is more:
But nothing in
capitalism actually says that such sky-high levels of compensation are
permissible. What capitalism says instead is that people need
incentives to be maximally productive. But will someone who makes $100
million a year really work harder than someone who makes $10 million?
Compensation, like everything else, has what economists call
‘diminishing marginal utility’. More of it has less and less of an
incentivising effect (...)
In fact, while I do
lot about capitalism, I do not know that "What capitalism says (..) is that people need
incentives to be maximally productive" although I do know that Milton Friedman
insisted that the rich need to answer no social norms whatsoever,
need to make the maximum profit.
Then again, Reif does seem aware of this (to an extent):
But a corporation’s
success depends on the contributions of many people. If we are going to
try to determine how much compensation the CEOs deserve given their
contribution to their companies, this should be the test all the way
down. When the company does well, everyone should get a similar
percentage of the profits. But
they don’t. More troubling still, when a company performs poorly,
CEO compensation should not go up, yet it often does. At least it often remains
disproportionately high in light of the company’s poor performance,
something that itself seems contrary to the logic of capitalism.
This is more or less
correct, although I'd say that "the logic of capitalism" amounts to making the rich as rich
as possible, while
making the poor as poor as possible - which finds strong support from
the last forty years of policies from the GOP.
But here is Reif's bullshit maximum wage:
Where should we set the maximum? We can
fine-tune this as we accumulate experience, but I propose we start with
a limit of $10 million in total compensation for a CEO of any company
doing business in the US, with no one in the company or its
subsidiaries permitted to earn more. This would put the CEO solidly
among the top 0.01 per cent of the US income distribution, and this
should be incentive enough to attract very good people, from anywhere
in the world.
Sorry, but for me this is
You don't reward the extremely rich by restricting their
incomes so that they keep belonging to "the top 0.01 per cent of the US income
Hamilton Was Obsessed With the Threat a Presidency Like Trump’s Poses
This article is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet and originally
on the Independent Media Institute. It starts as follows:
so. And in fact this is a good article that is too
summarize, so I will skip a fair amount.
economic adviser Larry Kudlow suggested
to the Economic Club of New York that, after the elections,
Republicans will target “spending” on Social Security, Medicare, and
Medicaid with “reforms” (cuts) to help pay for the massive deficits
created by Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut for billionaires.
Conservatives have controlled
our government for three definable periods in recent history
Each conservative era has led
to terrible suffering among working people, each ended in a wipeout
financial disaster, and this one will probably be no different.
Republicans have already radically cut long-term unemployment
insurance, killed “welfare as we know it” (with the help of Bill
Clinton), and cut the budgets of Social Security and Medicare to the
point where it’s hard to get anybody on the phone. They’ve deregulated
much of the fossil fuel industry, sold off public lands to mining and
drilling interests, and slashed away at the EPA.
But this time, there’s a
larger concern than the survival of the economy, the environment, and
the middle class. This time, democracy itself may well be at stake.
What I shall not skip is this comparison between president
president Trump, that is given by a quote from Mencken:
Mencken wrote [about
president Harding, in the 1920ies]:
Quite so. Next, there is
considerable amount about Alexander Hamilton, that I again completely
skip, to land in 1971 with Lewis
Harding prepares a speech he does not think of it in terms of an
educated reader locked up in jail, but in terms of a great horde of
stoneheads gathered around a stand. That is to say, the thing is always
a stump speech; it is conceived as a stump speech and written as a
stump speech. More, it is a stump speech addressed to the sort of
audience that the speaker has been used to all of his life, to wit, an
audience of small town yokels, of low political serfs, or morons
scarcely able to understand a word of more than two syllables, and
wholly able to pursue a logical idea for more than two centimeters.
do not want ideas—that is, new ideas, ideas that are unfamiliar, ideas
that challenge their attention. What they want is simply a gaudy series
of platitudes, of sonorous nonsense driven home with gestures. ... The
roll of incomprehensible polysyllables enchants them.”
always had wealthy people influencing politics to their own benefit,
what’s happening today is something altogether new, as documented by
Jane Mayer in Dark
Money and Nancy MacLean in Democracy
It mostly started
back in 1971, when Lewis Powell Jr. wrote a call to arms to his friend
and neighbor, Eugene Sydnor Jr., who was at the time a director of the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The “Powell memo”
called for wealthy industrialists and companies themselves to fund a
giant machine that could capture the U.S. government and turn it away
from the protections for citizens and the environment that were being
championed by Rachel Carson and Ralph Nader (named in the document) and
toward a system that was, essentially, an oligarchy.
Here is what happened to Powell
Richard Nixon put
Powell on the Supreme Court in 1972, and Powell then championed the
“right” of oligarchs to own politicians in the 1976 Buckley v Valeo
Supreme Court decision, blowing up campaign finance limits by ruling
that when billionaires want to spend their own money to elect or
destroy politicians, that spending of money was protected under the
First Amendment as “free speech.” (Citizens United vastly
expanded this power in 2010.)
so. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Most of the
original funders of Powell’s plan to turn America into an oligarchy are
dead, but their multigenerational plan continues to roll along. And now
many of the goals that Powell and the 1980 Libertarians first
articulated—and Hamilton had nightmares about—are near completion.
Now that the U.S.
Supreme Court, in a series of 5-4 decisions, has handed the power to
alter elections to a few hundred billionaires and well-funded
organizations (including foreign governments), and billionaire oligarch
Trump has taken the White House with the help of billionaire oligarch
Murdoch, Hamilton’s nightmare is nearly realized.
The question now is whether
enough Americans have awakened to this reality to show up in November
to defy the wealthy purveyors of fear and discontent who want complete
and final control over our
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Are Planning a Stealth Coup
article is by Leo Gerard on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Democracy is tough for 1
They’ve got all that money
but, hypothetically, no more voting power than their chauffeur or yacht
captain or nanny in a one-person, one-vote democracy.
In this one-person,
one-vote democracy, though, they’ve got a plan to fix all that for
themselves. They’re paying for it. And they’re
accomplishing it, even though that means stripping voting rights
from non-rich minority groups. Their goal is to make America more of a
one-dollar, one-vote plutocracy.
Their scheme is deeply
offensive to democratic ideals. In a perfect democracy, each citizen
possesses the same power of self-governance as all other individuals,
no matter how poor or rich, no matter their religion or skin color, no
matter their country of origin or ancestry.
This equity is unnerving to
some 1 percenters who believe their wealth proves their inherent higher
value than other human beings, which they feel gives them the right to
rule or, at least, the absolute right to choose who rules.
I agree, although I should
remark that if in "a perfect
democracy, each citizen possesses the same power of self-governance as
all other individuals, no matter how poor or rich, no matter their
religion or skin color, no matter their country of origin or ancestry" then there absolutely never was a
democracy, not even approximately.
Here is more:
In 2014, $8-billionaire
Perkins flat out said the rich should get more votes. Perkins
recommended the country be run like a corporation: “You pay a
million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes.”
That plan would deny the
right to vote in federal elections to millions of workers who labor at
low-wage jobs and pay local and state taxes but not federal income
taxes. Meanwhile, idle trust fund babies would receive millions of
votes for doing nothing but being born to the right parents.
Quite so. Here
last bit of this article that I quote:
The 1 percent have achieved
a great deal, including gerrymandered voting districts across the
country. These densely pack people of color, other working folks and
the poor into a small number of districts while placing the wealthy and
upper middle class in a greater number of districts containing fewer
people. The effect is to give the rich—usually Republicans—greater
representation in government than the rest. Effectively, that makes the
votes of the rich count more, just like the now-deceased Tom Perkins
Yes indeed. 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 (!!).