from October 9, 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 9, 2018:
1. Homeless America
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. Brazil’s Bolsonaro-Led Far Right Wins a Victory
3. Historian Howard Zinn Warned Us About the Supreme Court
4. Why elite men like Brett Kavanaugh lie and cheat without
5. Bias – The New Impartiality
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
It is 8 a.m. I am in
the small offices of Street
Roots, a weekly newspaper that prints 10,000 copies per edition.
Those who sell the newspaper on the streets—all of them victims of
extreme poverty and half of them homeless—have gathered before heading
out with their bundles to spend hours in the cold and rain.
I say, which I do because
I did not know most of the things mentioned in the above
quotation (and Street Roots looks OK to me).
The men and women, most
middle-aged or elderly, sit on folding chairs that hug the walls. They
are wrapped in layers of worn and tattered clothing. Some cradle small
dogs. Others cup their hands around disposable coffee cups and take
small sips. The weekly newspaper was founded in 1998. It focuses on
issues surrounding social and environmental justice as well as
homelessness. It also reprints poems and artwork by the 180 vendors,
who buy the paper for 25 cents a copy and sell it for a dollar.
The average age at death for a
man is 51 and for a woman 43. Nearly half succumb to alcohol or drugs,
28 percent are hit by vehicles and 9 percent commit suicide. Life
expectancy plummets once you become homeless. From 50 to 80 homeless
people die on the streets of Portland every year, and many more in its
Here is more from the article:
These men and women,
and increasingly children, are the collateral damage of the corporate
state, their dignity and lives destroyed by the massive transference of
wealth upward, deindustrialization
and the slashing of federal investment in affordable housing begun
during the Reagan administration. The lack of stable jobs that pay a
living wage in the
gig and temp economy, the collapse of mental health and medical
services for the poor, and gentrification are turning America into a
living hell for hundreds of thousands of its citizens. And this is just
Yes, I think that is quite
correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
As we barrel toward
another economic collapse, the suffering endured by those on the
streets will become ever more familiar, especially with the corporate
state intent on further reducing or eliminating social services in the
name of austerity. Nothing will halt the downward spiral other than
sustained civil disobedience. The two ruling political parties are
wedded to an economic system that serves the corporate rich and
punishes and criminalizes the poor and the working poor. Over half the
country is probably only a few paychecks away from being on the streets.
I think this is quite
correct as well - and to provide one comparison between my Dutch self,
who has been ill since nearly 40 years, whose illness was not
regarded as real until March of this year (2018), and who has always -
for 50+ years - earned less than the least possible legal
income in Holland (mostly because the dole pays less, and I have
been in the dole for 32 years):
I have been living very carefully indeed, but then I can - at
present, at least - survive for some five months without any pay
(thanks to my pension, that is also again lower than the lowest
pension, but more than the dole).
And I do not know how long this will last, and in Holland pensions have
been lessened as well.
Anyway... there is a lot more in this article, and most is
depressing, but is also strongly recommended.
Bolsonaro-Led Far Right Wins a Victory
This article is by
Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept. It starts as follows (and no, I do not
copy titles which are three lines in length):
For the past
thirty years, Congressman Jair Bolsonaro was a fringe extremist in
Brazilian politics, known mostly for outlandish,
deliberately inflammatory quotes
in which he paid
homage to the most notorious torturers of the 1964-1985 military
regime, constantly heralded the 1964 coup as a “defense of democracy,”
a female socialist colleague in Congress that she was too ugly to
“deserve” his rape, announced that he’d rather learn that his son died
in a car accident than was gay, and said he conceived a daughter after
having four sons only due to a “moment of weakness.” (Last September, he
used Google to translate a Brazilian epithet for LGBTs to, in
essence, call me a faggot on Twitter).
His policy prescriptions
were even more deranged. Western media has often referred to him as
“Brazil’s Trump” but that is wildly inaccurate, understating the case
by many magnitudes. In temperament, ideology, and personal history,
Bolsonaro – a former Army Captain during Brazil’s notorious 21-year
military dictatorship – is far closer to Philippines President
Rodrigo Duterte or Egyptian dictator General Abdel El-Sisi than Trump.
I say, and I did not
know most of the things mentioned in the above quotation. Here is more
He has criticized monsters
such as Chile’s Pinochet and Peru’s Fujimori – for not slaughtering
more domestic opponents. He had advocated that mainstream Brazilian
politicians be killed. He wants to chemically castrate sex
offenders. In all respects, the hideous Brazilian military dictatorship
that took over Brazil and ruled it for 21 years – torturing and
summarily executing dissidents, with the support of the US and UK in
the name of fighting Communists – is his model of governance.
As a result of last night’s
truly stunning national election in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro has been
instantly transformed from marginalized clown into the overwhelmingly
dominant force in the country’s political life. Bolsonaro himself
fell just short of winning the 50% needed to win the presidency without
Well... I conclude two
things from this quotation: First, Bolsonaro is a very dangerous total
idiot (not in the sense that he is without brains but in the sense he
is without any morality or ethics) and second, but with much
certainty, that either most of the Brazilians are utter idiots
(intellectually) who have been grossly deceived by their media or
that these elections have been frauded.
I do not know
the last two possibilities is more realistic, and my main reason is
that I do not know enough about Brazil.
Here is more from the
But given the margin of
victory, he is the
overwhelming favorite to win on October 28 against the second-place
candidate, ex-São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad. Haddad is the
previously unknown, hand-picked successor anointed by Lula, the
ex-two-term President who had been leading all polls until he was
convicted on dubious corruption charges and quickly imprisoned so as to
bar his candidacy, then silenced by Brazil’s right-wing judiciary with
a series of remarkable prior restraint censorship orders barring all
media outlets from interviewing him.
Bolsonaro won with most
demographic groups. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro
won a shocking 60% of all votes cast, winning every
neighborhood and district, most with more than 50% of the votes cast.
I must say that I find
that pretty suspect, as is the following:
What was most startling was
how wildly inaccurate Brazil’s typically reliable polling data turned
out to be, under-estimating the far-right wave by such a massive
quantity that it’s difficult to describe in words.
Well, one plausible
answer is that Bolsonaro won so much because the elections were
fraudulent. And no, as I said above, I do not
know how likely this was
for lack of information about Brazil.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I do not think I
with this, in part because I myself think that any halfway intelligent
person who likes democracy (and that should be the most) can and should
know that even a failing democracy is considerably better and safer
than a tyranny, which is what Brazil seems to get as its next
It’s all part of a global
trend, undermining liberal democracies, fueled by their own failures,
that has no end in sight. Quite the contrary: the trend seems to be
accelerating, with each country’s similar movement synergistically
feeding and strengthening one another.
And besides, if I were Glenn Greenwald (who is not only an
Bolsonaro, but also a homosexual who lives with his Brazilian friend in
would want to move out from Brazil. And this is a recommended article
in which there is considerably more.
Howard Zinn Warned Us About the Supreme Court
This article is by
Jacob Sugarman on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
These are the facts. The
Senate majority, which the Republican Party currently holds with 51
seats, presently represents 18
percent of the country’s population. Following Brett Kavanaugh’s
confirmation, four of the Supreme Court’s nine justices have been
appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote. Two of those
justices attended the same D.C.
area prep school.
If the United States
government faces a legitimacy crisis, it’s one that has been building
for 18 years, if not longer than that. In 2000’s Bush v. Gore
decision, five conservative justices determined that Florida could not
conduct a recount of its heavily disputed election results—a decision
that effectively handed the presidency to the Republican
candidate. “Although we may never know with complete certainty the
identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the
identity of the loser is perfectly clear,” John Paul Stevens, who was
appointed by Gerald Ford, wrote in his dissent. “It is the Nation’s
confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”
I more or less agree,
although I think I should remark that many judges and many prosecutors
are elected in the USA, which does not seem to me the
best way to select them, simply because most voters will not have
adequate ideas about the law.
Here is Howard Zinn:
“It would be naive to
depend on the Supreme Court to defend the rights of poor people, women,
people of color, dissenters of all kinds,” he wrote. “Those rights only
come alive when citizens organize, protest, demonstrate, strike,
boycott, rebel, and violate the law in order to uphold justice.”
“The Constitution gave no rights to working people: no right to work
less than twelve hours a day, no right to a living wage, no right to
safe working conditions,” he continued. “Workers had to organize, go on
strike, defy the law, the courts, the police, create a great movement
which won the eight-hour day, and caused such commotion that Congress
was forced to pass a minimum wage law, and Social Security, and
Actually, I do not
think it is naive to believe that it is the duty of the
Supreme Court to - also - ¨defend
the rights of poor people, women,
people of color, dissenters of all kinds¨ although I probably agree with Zinn that it is naive to
depend for this on the Supreme Court.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article (and it is by Zinn):
“No Supreme Court, liberal
or conservative, will stop the war in Iraq, or redistribute the wealth
of this country, or establish free medical care for every human being.
Such fundamental change will depend, the experience of the past
suggests, on the actions of an aroused citizenry, demanding that the
promise of the Declaration of Independence—an equal right to life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—be fulfilled.”
Well... yes and no:
Yes, I agree that ¨fundamental changes¨ probably do depend ¨on the actions of an aroused citizenry¨, but then again ¨equal rights¨ of any
kind are legal rights, so the law does get involved -
somehow - in any case. But this is a recommended article.
elite men like Brett Kavanaugh lie and cheat without consequences
This article is by
Chauncey DeVega on Salon. It starts as follows:
Brett Kavanaugh is now a
Supreme Court justice. The FBI's limited investigation of the
sexual assault accusations against him was clearly
inadequate. Numerous leads were ignored and dozens of potentially
important witnesses were not interviewed. Moving beyond a political
cover-up to a level of gross malfeasance, the FBI -- at the direction
of Donald Trump's White House -- did not interview either Christine Blasey Ford or Julie Swetnick, two
of Kavanaugh's three known accusers.
It was clear from the
beginning that this "reopened" background check was used by Donald
Trump's White House to provide a fig leaf and an excuse for those
Republicans whose consciences were "troubled" by the numerous and
credible allegations by multiple people that Brett Kavanaugh actively
participated in a culture of excessive drinking, sexual harassment,
violence and perhaps rape while a young man at Georgetown Preparatory
School and then Yale University.
This ploy worked. Like
Trump himself -- indeed more so -- Kavanaugh is a member of the white
male elite. As such he has been taught that he is entitled to power as
a birthright. The Supreme Court is his destiny. Like other elite white
men in America, Kavanaugh and Trump have also proven themselves to be
master liars for whom the rules of normal society do not apply. There
is to be no accountability for the rich and powerful in America.
I think this is more or less
correct, but I did not like the interview that follows with a
professor of education (which I am sorry, but is not a science)
and I totally skip that.
– The New Impartiality
This article is by
Kit on The Off-Guardian. It starts as follows:
Well... the ¨example¨
Preston gives is boloney, and he might as well have said that 2+2=5,
which also is not believed by anyone except by the near
brain dead. What Peston really seems to believe, if he is
honest, is this:
n. not partial or biased, treating or affecting
That’s the dictionary definition of the word
“Impartiality”. Up until very recently, it was not a complicated or
controversial concept in any way. But these days meanings are rather
more fluid than they used to be. Free speech doesn’t necessarily
involve being able to speak freely. Democracy doesn’t necessarily
And “impartial journalism”
doesn’t necessarily involve being impartial.
At least, according ITV’s
political editor Robert Peston. Speaking at the Cheltenham literature
festival, he’s quoted in the Guardian as saying:
Impartial journalism is
not giving equal airtime to two people one of whom says the world is
flat and the other one says the world is round. That is not balanced,
Well... in a solid sense I
agree with Kit, but I also think it is less nonsense than
(on which no one sane can believe the Wikipedia
anymore, which seems to grow worse every day) and it is totalitarianism
because deciding what the truth is is not
a function of
journalists, nor of editors, nor of those who pay these, but must
be done (correctly or incorrectly) by the readers or viewers of the
But that’s not TRUE
impartiality anymore, according to Robert.
[impartial journalism is
about] weighing the evidence and saying on the balance of
probabilities…this is the truth. It is the role of a journalist to say,
‘we’ve got these two contradictory arguments, I’m now going to advise
all of you which is likely to be closer to the truth.’”
Under Robert’s new and
improved version of “impartial journalism”, one side would get more air
time because they are probably right. The other side, the wrong
side, would get some time to make their case, but afterwards a
friendly (and “impartial”) servant of the state would tell all their
viewers to ignore it. That it had been declared officially wrong by the
powers that be, and all good citizens should disregard it entirely.
This is, of course,
Then there is this in the article:
Television news has a
simple task: Provide an unbiased, open and honest platform to supply
the public with information.
Robert’s words attack this
very idea, instead turning the news into a means to enforce
state-sanctioned consensus through emotional blackmail and manipulative
This follows a disturbing
trend, a direct flow from no-platforming on campuses, to calls to shut down RT or banning Alex Jones from social media.
It can all be read as one thing: a direct, media-driven push toward
state-backed censorship under the guise of protecting the public.
Enforcing a one-sided consensus under the false-flag of a sacred duty
to “truth” or a hallucinatory public virtue.
Whatever mask it wears –
whatever veneer is layered on its surface – the solid body of the issue
is still the same: censorship.
I agree mostly with Kit,
except that I do not think Preston´s journalism is either nonsense or
censorship, though I agree it probably entails these, but it is
and indeed quite explicitly so.
Here is the last quotation I
provide from this article and it occurs near its end:
Yes and no, and my point
is easily seen if you ask ¨how is the truth presented (in journalism,
or in any other instance)?" And the answer to that is - alas - that
even what seems to be the truth according to the vast majority of
scientists (as in climatology) may these days either be not
reported at all, or else gets often reported in a strongly biased way.
The truth doesn’t require a
shield. The truth isn’t fragile or vulnerable or soft. It doesn’t need
guards to protect it, a filter to clarify it or a marketing campaign to
promote it. The truth doesn’t need a bullhorn to blare it out or
censorship to prop it up. The truth is a lion, not a lamb.
Finally, there is also the point that there are several other
definitions of being impartial, two of which are these.
First, here is the definition from the Cambridge English Dictionary
(under ¨American English¨):
And second, this is from
(also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a
principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than
on the basis of bias, prejudice,
or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper
I think either definition
is better than the one offered by Kit, but her article is
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 (!!).