from October 2, 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 October 2, 2018:
1. Lynching the Past
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. New “Dark Money” Documentary Shines Light Into the Shadows
3. Judge Brett Kavanaugh Has Lied Every Time He Has Testified
4. Noam Chomsky: Facebook and Google Pose a Manifest Danger
5. Why Kavanaugh Shouldn't Be Confirmed
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. This is from near the beginning, and reports
on ¨a history¨ that is popular in southern parts of the USA:
We listened to the
familiar story of the noble South and its “Lost Cause.” We heard about
the courage of the Confederate soldiers in Jonesboro who fought
gallantly on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, 1864, in a failed effort to block the
Union Army from entering Atlanta. We were told of the gentility and
charm of the Southern belles. We learned that the war was fought not to
protect the institution of slavery but the sanctity of states’ rights.
Finally, we were assured that the faithful slaves, the “mammies,”
“aunties” and “uncles,” loved their white owners, were loved in return
and did not welcome emancipation.
I think this is quite
true, but it also has an implication Hedges does not (quite) draw:
That this myth persists and
perhaps has grown as the country polarizes, often along racial lines,
means that whole segments of the American population can no longer
communicate. Once myth replaces history there is no way to have a
rational discussion rooted in verifiable fact. Myth allows people to
deny who they are and the crimes they committed and continue to commit.
In some circles in the South, this myth, that may be
described as ¨the blacks liked being slaves; the white liked having
slaves; and so everything was quite OK in the South, at least until
1864¨ never went away, and ruled the southern whites (some of
them) ever since
And I think that is correct, as it is also correct that (with my links
added) ¨Once myth replaces
history there is no way to
have a rational
discussion rooted in verifiable fact¨.
Here is more on the myth ¨of
the noble South and its “Lost Cause”¨:
The Civil War, as
portrayed in novels and films such as “Gone With the Wind,” histories
such as “The Civil War” by Shelby
Foote and television programs such as Ken Burns’ documentary series
on the conflict, is usually reduced to stories about the heroic
self-sacrifice and courage exhibited by the soldiers from the North and
the South who fought as brother against brother. The gruesome
suffering, widespread looting and rape and senseless slaughter are
romanticized. (For every three soldiers who died on a battlefield, five
more died of disease, and, overall, 620,000 Americans, 2 percent of the
country’s population, perished in the war.) Meanwhile, the far more
important struggle, the struggle of black people to rise from bondage
to be free, is effectively eclipsed in these narratives of white
self-pity and self-exaltation.
I have to admit that I did
see “Gone With the Wind”
over 50 years ago, and did not like it at all, but that
otherwise I have not seen any of the myths, while I did know,
also since 40 years at least, about the real facts about the
war that was fought between the North and the South in the 1860ies.
And here is yet more on
the myth ¨of the noble
South and its “Lost Cause”¨:
During my bus ride in
Georgia, a woman on the audio guide impersonated Scarlett O’Hara as
music from the 1939 movie played in the background: “Now y’all sit back
and enjoy this journey back into a time of cavaliers, ladies fair, and
cotton fields—called the Old South.”
The theme of the tour could
be summed up as “ ‘Gone With the Wind’ accurately portrays life in
the South during and after the Civil War.” Over and over, incidents and
characters in the novel and film were related to actual events and
people. Nowhere was this more pernicious than in the portrayals of
black men and women who were enslaved.
I think this is quite
correct, and I also have a partial explanation of it:
The vast majority
the southern whites who like ‘Gone With the Wind’ do not know any more or less
exposition of the facts that goes beyond ‘Gone With the Wind’ - ‘Gone
With the Wind’ is probably the only more or less systematic
they ever saw or read.
And the reasons they accepted
that myth as the truth are mostly
their lack of any real
education, which in considerable part is due to the stupidity and
of most - and as to that, here is a Latin proverb: Ignorantia
omnis malitiae fons est = Ignorance
the source of all evil.
Back to the article. Here is
the last bit that I quote from it:
In fact, I do not
understand Baldwin´s phrasing, but he was a reasonable man. But
last quoted paragraph is quite true, and this is a strongly recommended
The Southern tradition, as James
Baldwin pointed out, “is not a tradition at all.” It is “a legend
which contains an accusation. And that accusation, stated far more
simply than it should be, is that the North, in winning the war, left
the South only one means of asserting its identity and that means was
The ability to disregard the
horror of slavery, to physically erase its reality, and to build in its
place a white fantasy of goodness, courage and virtue speaks to the
deep sickness within American society.
2. New “Dark Money” Documentary Shines Light
Into the Shadows Cast by the Super-Rich
This article is by Jon
Schwarz on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
If you, like most
Americans, believe you’re being screwed by the U.S. political system,
and would like to know exactly how the screwing functions, tune into “Dark Money,” a new
documentary premiering Monday, October 1 on PBS. The film, directed by
Kimberly Reed, is one of the most expert dissections ever conducted of
the subterranean tentacles quietly strangling U.S. democracy. (“Dark
Money” was co-funded by Topic Studios, which is part of First Look
Media, along with The Intercept.)
The movie is largely about
the last decade of politics in Montana. This long-term,
close-to-the-ground focus is cinematically unique, and makes it
possible for “Dark Money” to illuminate three startling facts about how
America now works.
First, the corporate
hard-right is systematically investing in politics at an incredibly
granular level, down to state and local races.
Second, they’re not just
trying to crush Democrats. Leaked documents examined in the movie show
conspirators discussing a plan to “purge” all Republicans who don’t
share their worldview — an ideology so conservative that it hasn’t been
seen in full flower in the U.S. for 100 years. In fact, the politicians
who appear in the film are largely Republicans who’ve been successfully
targeted for the right-wing purge, who speak wistfully about Montana’s
evaporating history as a small-d democracy.
Third, dark money, while
just one tributary of the Mississippi of cash flowing through the U.S.
political system, is a key tool of the corporate right. It gets its
name from the fact that certain kinds of nonprofit corporations —
unlike political campaigns and even Super PACs — currently do not have
to disclose their donors.
As usual, I have not seen ¨Dark
Money¨, but I agree with the three points Schwartz makes,
although I did not know about the second point (which can be
quite naturally by pointing to the fact that these extreme
conservatives are nearly all totalitarians
- except that according to the intentionally falsified
Wikipedia on totalitarianism that cannot be true, for only
countries can be totalitarian, which makes the USA forever
Anyway. Here is a more systematic
exposition on money and politics:
Yes, I think that is quite
correct, although #1 and #3 will not last long - which seems to be the
case at present (and besides #3 seems to imply #2 since there are
Here are three possible
situations involving money and politics. Any country can have no more
than two of them simultaneously:
1. A functioning democracy
2. Glaring wealth inequality
3. No regulation of
political spending by the super-rich
As Ann Ravel, former chair
of the Federal Election Commission, points out in “Dark Money,”
Watergate was in some ways a campaign
finance scandal. In 1974, Congress responded by making sweeping
revisions to campaign finance law, placing strict limits both on
contributions to and expenditures by candidates.
This was an attempt to keep
#1 and #2 — i.e., democracy and yawning wealth inequality — while
getting rid of #3, total freedom to spend for the super-rich.
Ever since, the corporate
right has been patiently eroding this arrangement.
Here is more on money and politics (in the USA):
the following decades, other suits have stripped away
additional chunks of the 1970s reforms, culminating in 2010 with the
Citizens United decision. Citizens United and related rulings made it
possible for anyone, including corporations, to spend unlimited amounts
supporting a political campaign, on one vague condition: that the
spending could not formally be “coordinated” with the candidate. This
project has been an attempt to mold the U.S. into a country with
situations #2 and #3 — i.e., wealth inequality plus total freedom to
spend for the ultrawealthy — while getting rid of #1, a functioning
I think this is quite
correct as well, and I should add that the Citizens United decision
involved a total falsification of the First
Amendment to the Constitution, for it equated money and
more see Citizens
United v. FEC.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Americans could also
try to create a society that was a real democracy with few regulations
of political spending. But that would require getting rid of our
glaring wealth inequality. That’s certainly not on the table now, but
it’s a totally normal, mainstream idea — at least if you consider Aristotle,
Franklin, or John Adams to be normal and mainstream. As Adams wrote in
Philadelphia just before the
signing of the Declaration of Independence, “Power always follows
property. … The balance of power in a society accompanies the balance
of property.” Therefore, Adams said, if a country wants to be
self-governing, it should engage in massive property redistribution
from the rich to everyone else.
I say, for while I did read Aristotle and Franklin, I
did not know that John Adams - one
of the Founding
Fathers of the USA, and its second President - had similar
opinions. In fact, I argued rather similarly, although I doubt Adams
would have agreed with that: See my Crisis: On Socialism which may be said to be found on a similar
argument as John Adams seems to have put forward, namely
follows property. … The balance of power in a society accompanies the
balance of property.” Therefore, Adams said, if a country wants to be
self-governing, it should engage in massive property redistribution
from the rich to everyone else.
Then again, this never happened in the USA. And
this is a strongly recommended article.
Brett Kavanaugh Has Lied Every Time He Has Testified Under Oath
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
The FBI is investigating Supreme Court nominee Brett
Kavanaugh after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified last week that he
attempted to rape her in 1982. But Democrats say the FBI’s probe is too
limited, and critics claim that Kavanaugh has repeatedly committed
perjury by lying during his testimony about his drinking habits, the
content of his yearbook and a spate of other topics. We speak with Lisa
Graves, co-director of Documented, which investigates corporate
influence on democracy. She 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. Her recent
article for Slate is titled “I Wrote Some of the Stolen Memos That
Brett Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate About.”
I did not know this, and Linda
Graves seems to have quite good and strong evidence. Here she is:
Well, I think we’re seeing a lot of conflicting reports, but it’s very
troubling, what’s emerging.
Yes, I completely agree
(and for some more on this see item 5 below). Here
is more by Graves:
What we’re hearing is that the White House counsel, McGahn, has somehow
put limits on who the FBI can interview, and
made it a very small number of people. That’s ridiculous. That’s
absurd. That’s not the way these supplemental background investigations
proceed, and it’s not a real investigation. If it turns out that that’s
what’s happened, that they’ve tried to whitewash this by interviewing
only a couple of people, justice will not ne served, and this will be
basically a whitewash. Senator
Feinstein has requested more information about the scope of the
interviews. But, quite frankly, I don’t even think we should be having
that sort of debate. What happened on Friday was a recognition that
more needs to be known about Brett Kavanaugh before he is given this
sort of lifetime position. I think there is ample evidence that he lied.
What we saw was
compelling, consistent eyewitness testimony from Dr. Ford, that should
be fully credited. What Brett Kavanaugh offered was anger. Anger isn’t
evidence of innocence. It’s certainly not evidence that refutes the
consistent and compelling testimony of Dr. Ford. And, in fact, what you
saw Brett Kavanaugh do was dissemble yet again, about his history,
about his drinking history, about his yearbook
I agree, and for more see item 5.
And this is a recommended article.
But that’s not the only time
in which Brett Kavanaugh lied. He, I believe, lied in his earlier
testimony, in 2004, in 2006 and earlier this month, about a number of
matters, including his role in receiving stolen confidential
information, information that was stolen from the United States Senate
about judicial nominations, and lying about his role in those judicial
nominations. I think that this man, Brett Kavanaugh, tells lies big and
small. He is unfit for the bench. He is certainly unfit for the United
States Supreme Court. And I’ve called for him to be impeached —not
promoted, but actually impeached.
Chomsky: Facebook and Google Pose a Manifest Danger
This article is by
Jacob Sugarman on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media” (1988), authors
Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky identified what they called the “five
filters of editorial bias”: Size, Ownership and Profit Orientation;
the Advertising License to do Business; Sourcing Mass Media News; Flak
and the Enforcers; and Anti-Communism.
While the Soviet Union has
since been relegated to the dustbin of history, Herman and Chomsky’s
text has proved indispensable, with multinationals like Google, Amazon
and Facebook tightening their stranglehold on the news industry and the
economy at large. As Chomsky warns, these corporations’ eagerness to
appease their advertisers and manipulate their users’ behavior has
“very serious distorting effects” on the stories we consume. “I don’t
think that’s a healthy development, but it is happening,” he says. “And
that means essentially dividing much of the population … into cocoons
[or] bubbles, into which they receive the information conducive [only]
to their own interests and commitments.”
Yes indeed. Here is a
Last week, Chomsky explored
this topic and more in an exhaustive interview (“American
Dissident”) with The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill. What
follows are just a few of the activist author’s more trenchant
observations and digressions.
In fact, I have
interview (namely here) and in fact
Sugarman is doing what I am doing in my reviews, except that he
quotes bits of Chomsky without stating his own opinions.
In fact, I shall quote just
one other bit from this article, which is a quotation of Chomsky:
On the imminent
dangers of Big Tech
If you read a major
newspaper, say the New York Times, you get a certain range of opinion.
It’s narrow. It’s basically centrist to far right, but at least it’s a
range of opinion. Those who are more addicted to social media tend to
turn directly to what supports their own views, not to hear other
things, that’s not a good thing. Google, Facebook and the rest, those
are commercial institutions. Their constituency is basically
advertisers, and they would like to establish the kinds of controls
over their consumers that will be beneficial to [a] business model that
enabled them to get advertising. That has very serious distorting
effects. And we know that they provide massive information to the
corporate system, which they use in their own efforts to try to shape
and control behavior and opinion. All of these are dangerous
developments. The power of these private corporations to direct people
in particular [is] a serious problem which requires considerable
thought and attention.
Yes, and in fact this
confusion of Google, Facebook about what they really are: Providers
information to their readers, or providing their readers´
information to their advertisers, has been carefully
by Google and Facebook and still
persists - which allows them to switch from one role to another, as in ¨yes,
we provide information, but no, you cannot have anything to say
on what information we provide because we are private companies¨.
There is a lot more in this
article, which is strongly recommended.
Kavanaugh Shouldn't Be Confirmed
This article is by
John Atcheson on Common Dreams. This has a brief summary title:
Regardless of what
the FBI finds, he’s shown himself to be unfit
Yes, I totally agree.
more from the article - and yes, this was new information on
that I did not know before, and that in my eyes disqualifies
completely for any position in the Supreme Court:
Yes, I again totally
agree. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Throughout the day,
Kavanaugh came across as defensive, entitled, angry, and evasive. The
fact that he refused to embrace an investigation that might clear him
was particularly damning. This, despite his repeated assertions that
his name and reputation had been ruined and his family harmed. One
would think an innocent man facing such circumstances would demand
further investigations and the opportunity to clear him that they would
offer. The clear inference is that Kavanaugh doesn’t believe an
investigation would clear him – in fact, the anger and desperation he
demonstrated suggested that he saw this hearing as nothing more than a
threat to secure his coveted prize.
Those responses alone suggest
there is legitimate cause for disqualifying Kavanaugh from
So Kavanaugh’s ill-tempered
and petulant attempts to dodge questions, suggests he lacks the
character and temperament required for the job, and worse, that he has
no respect for the laws, principles and processes underpinning our
system of government. His entire demeanor reeks of an upper class,
white male privilege, angry at being frustrated in what he feels should
be his manifest destiny.
Yes, I agree and this is a
strongly recommended article.
It is quite possible the
FBI investigation will not result in any conclusive findings.
With only four witnesses being interviewed – one a man who was
Kavanaugh’s best friend and possible accomplice in a crime he’s accused
of -- that’s a likely outcome.
The Republicans will then say
the investigation exonerated Kavanaugh and move swiftly to approve him.
The fact is, Kavanaugh should
never have gotten this far, and by failing to confront his past lies
and allowing the debate to be framed in a “guilty vs not guilty”
context, Democrats may have failed to derail what is a monstrous threat
to an essential institution.
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 (!!).