from October 23, 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 23, 2018:
1. The Rule of the Uber-Rich Means Tyranny or Revolution
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. Donald Trump Is Lyin’ Up a Storm
3. Nuclear Arms Race Feared as U.S. Quits Key Treaty with
4. Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro Is the Fascist Face of Neoliberalism
5. Democrats: Don’t Go High or Low. Go Big and Bold
Rule of the Uber-Rich Means Tyranny or Revolution
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I copied this because this bit
is rather essential to
understand Chris Hedges in what follows, and also because I had a
somewhat opposite experience:
At the age of 10 I was sent
as a scholarship student to a boarding school for the uber-rich in
Massachusetts. I lived among the wealthiest Americans for the next
eight years. I listened to their prejudices and saw their cloying sense
of entitlement. They insisted they were privileged and wealthy because
they were smarter and more talented. They had a sneering disdain for
those ranked below them in material and social status, even the merely
rich. Most of the uber-rich lacked the capacity for empathy and
compassion. They formed elite cliques that hazed, bullied and taunted
any nonconformist who defied or did not fit into their self-adulatory
It was impossible to build
a friendship with most of the sons of the uber-rich. Friendship for
them was defined by “what’s in it for me?” They were surrounded from
the moment they came out of the womb by people catering to their
desires and needs. They were incapable of reaching out to others in
distress—whatever petty whim or problem they had at the moment
dominated their universe and took precedence over the suffering of
others, even those within their own families. They knew only how to
take. They could not give. They were deformed and deeply unhappy people
in the grip of an unquenchable narcissism.
It is essential to understand
the pathologies of the uber-rich. They have seized total political
power. These pathologies inform Donald Trump, his children, the Brett
Kavanaughs, and the billionaires who run his administration.
I did an entrance examination to a school that was essentially for the
children of those who were better-off than most, which I did pass and
which put me in that school as a quite poor boy who also did not speak
(then) proper middle class or higher class Dutch (like everybody else
And I also wasn´t happy there, but the reasons were more or less the
opposite of Hedges´ experiences, though they were also less extreme
than his experiences.
Then again, I did learn, between 12 and 15, more or less
the same as
Hedges seems to have learned: The rich, that is those who belong to
top 10%, in majority seem to think that they are qualitatively and
humanly better than the 90% non-rich, and that different norms
them because of that.
I agree to that and move back to Hedges:
The uber-rich are
almost always amoral. Right. Wrong. Truth. Lies. Justice. Injustice.
These concepts are beyond them. Whatever benefits or pleases them is
good. What does not must be destroyed.
Well... I certainly have far less experience with
the uber-rich than Hedges does have, but I think this is a bit
misleading: The rich and uber-rich do have moral norms, such as
solidarity with the rich, but their moral norms are indeed not
those of the non-rich.
Here is an elucidation by Hedges:
The rule of the
uber-rich, for this reason, is terrifying. They know no limits. They
have never abided by the norms of society and never will. We pay
taxes—they don’t. We work hard to get into an elite university or get a
job—they don’t. We have to pay for our failures—they don’t. We are
prosecuted for our crimes—they are not.
This is more or less
correct, but with a restriction I formulated below the previous
quotation: The rich have moral (and legal) norms, but these
apply to those who are rich and
not to those who are not.
Here is more:
from Aristotle and Karl Marx to Sheldon
Wolin, have warned against the rule of the uber-rich. Once the
uber-rich take over, Aristotle writes, the only options are tyranny and
revolution. They do not know how to nurture or build. They know only
how to feed their bottomless greed. It’s a funny thing about the
uber-rich: No matter how many billions they possess, they never have
I think Hedges is correct
have liked a reference. He certainly is correct about Sheldon Wolin,
and I have my own list of references to a series of
interviews Hedges had with Wolin. It is here and strongly recommended.
Also, I think Hedges is correct about his more comprehensive
theme: ¨Once the
uber-rich take over, Aristotle writes, the only options are tyranny and
revolution¨. I think that
is the most probable future (the one or the other) and
the revolution I favor is
a socialist revolution, in
which it will be illegal to own or earn more than twenty times than
poorest earn (who should be able to live decently on what they
In fact, my motivations are quite simple: (i) without such
a rule, the
rich will rapidly re-establish the rich as those in power, while
such a rule is in fact little else than the rule against
capitalism, although I grant it is more comprehensive.
For more, see what I wrote about
socialism, and consider that I think
Hedges is quite right in saying ¨No matter how many billions [the uber-rich]
enough¨. (One psychological
reason is that power = wealth under capitalism, at least
so, and that in the end all power that is non-institutional is
Then there is this:
I really like C. Wright Mills,
who wrote the above in the early 1950ies, and who died in 1962, aged
45. Here is a link to a site
about him by his family. Also, I agree
on “The Power Elite”
but I think anybody interested in good sociology should also
read his The
C. Wright Mills in “The Power Elite,”
one of the finest studies of the pathologies of the uber-rich, wrote:
They exploited national
resources, waged economic wars among themselves, entered into
combinations, made private capital out of the public domain, and used
any and every method to achieve their ends. They made agreements with
railroads for rebates; they purchased newspapers and bought editors;
they killed off competing and independent businesses and employed
lawyers of skill and statesmen of repute to sustain their rights and
secure their privileges. There is something demonic about these lords
of creation; it is not merely rhetoric to call them robber barons.
Here is more on corporate capitalism:
capitalism, which has destroyed our democracy, has given unchecked
power to the uber-rich. And once we understand the pathologies of these
oligarchic elites, it is easy to chart our future. The state apparatus
the uber-rich controls now exclusively serves their interests. They are
deaf to the cries of the dispossessed. They empower those institutions
that keep us oppressed—the security and surveillance systems of
domestic control, militarized police, Homeland Security and the
military—and gut or degrade those institutions or programs that blunt
social, economic and political inequality, among them public education,
health care, welfare, Social Security, an equitable tax system, food
stamps, public transportation and infrastructure, and the courts. The
uber-rich extract greater and greater sums of money from those they
steadily impoverish. And when citizens object or resist, they crush or
Yes, I think this is
fundamentally correct - and for those interested, here is a link to my
own longest analysis of corporate capitalism, which was written in
(before knowing anything about Edward Snowden).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine article:
The uber-rich, as Karl Polanyi
wrote, celebrate the worst kind of freedom—the freedom “to exploit
one’s fellows, or the freedom to make inordinate gains without
commensurable service to the community, the freedom to keep
technological inventions from being used for public benefit, or the
freedom to profit from public calamities secretly engineered for
private advantage.” At the same time, as Polanyi noted, the uber-rich
make war on the “freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of
meeting, freedom of association, freedom to choose one’s own job.”
Yes indeed - and I am for
socialism (which does require a revolution, because I agree
Aristotle that the alternative is indeed tyranny, and the tyranny
face us based on the internet´s capacity to know or find out everything
about anyone, that is, for the very few who have a sufficiently large
amount of money, and my socialism is in the end based on an
of the only means to keep people in hand: the law, and the
alteration is that it should be legally impossible for anyone to
earn more than 20 times what the poor earn.
And this is a very strongly recommended article.
Trump Is Lyin’ Up a Storm
This article is by
The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
Yes, and there is more in this article about ¨Mr.
Trump is not letting reality interfere with his performance¨. And while I agree this is characteristic
of Trump, I would like - also as a psychologist - some reference to the
fact that according to thousands of psychologists and psychiatrists
Trump is mad (and
I quite agree, since nearly three years now). But such a
reference is missing.
he goes again.
Republicans struggling to keep their grip on Congress, President Trump
is dialing up the demagogy. At campaign rallies and on social media,
he’s spewing dark warnings about a Democratic mob clamoring to usher in
an era of open borders, rampant crime, social chaos and economic
As is so often the case, Mr.
Trump is not letting reality interfere with his performance. At a rally
in Nevada this weekend, the president told the crowd that Californians were rioting to “get out of their sanctuary cities.”
(They aren’t.) He also suggested that Democrats will soon be looking to
hand out free luxury cars
to illegal immigrants. (They won’t.)
Here is more:
Trump plays the polarization game because he enjoys it — he does love a
brawl — and because he doesn’t appear to care about much beyond his
political and personal fortunes. And, more practically speaking, these
days he doesn’t have much else to talk about.
not that this president has failed to achieve anything in his first
couple of years in office. The economy is chugging along right now, and
many Republican candidates would be happy for him to play that up on
the campaign trail.
his most notable achievements do not resonate beyond Mr. Trump’s base.
He has overseen a conservative overhaul of the federal judiciary,
seating a record number of judges, including two Supreme Court
justices. And he has been an aggressive deregulator in areas ranging
from education to transportation to health care to the environment.
Yes - and as to deregulations (about which the
NYT is correct), see here.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article,
which is about Trump´s lies (and in effect also his madness):
Yes. This is a recommended
is notable if not surprising that two of the widely popular policy
issues Mr. Trump has been talking up — his commitment to protecting
health care coverage for people with pre-existing
conditions and his promise to put forward “a very major tax cut”
for middle-income people in the next few weeks — have no basis in
reality. This administration has specifically declined to defend
pre-existing conditions against pending legal challenges. And with
Congress out of session until after the elections, there can be no
serious movement on tax policy until the lame-duck session.
Arms Race Feared as U.S. Quits Key Treaty with Russia
is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! It starts with
the following introduction:
President Trump has
announced plans to pull the United States out of a landmark nuclear
arms pact with Russia, in a move that could spark a new arms race.
President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF)
Treaty in 1987. The INF banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles
with short and medium ranges. The treaty helped to eliminate thousands
of land-based missiles. On Saturday, Trump vowed to build new nuclear
weapons. We speak with Daryl Kimball, director of the Arms Control
Association. He previously led the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers.
He has been advocating for the U.S. and Russia to preserve the Treaty.
Quite so. Here is more:
SHAIKH: President Trump
did not offer details on how Russia was violating the INF Treaty. Over the years, Russia has also
accused the United States of violating the agreement by deploying a
missile defense shield in Romania. National Security Adviser John
Bolton, who has advocated against the treaty, is now in Moscow for
talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President
Vladimir Putin. Bolton has also opposed the extension of the 2010 New START agreement with Russia, which limited the
number of deployed nuclear warheads on either side to 1,550.
GOODMAN: President Trump’s
plan to pull out of the nuclear arms deal has been criticized around
the globe. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who co-signed the
deal in 1987, said, quote, “Do they really not understand in Washington
what this could lead to? Quitting the INF is
a mistake,” Gorbachev said. China and France spoke out against the
move, with the Chinese Foreign Ministry saying, “The document has an
important role in developing international relations, in nuclear
disarmament, and in maintaining global strategic balance and
Again quite so. Here is
KIMBALL: Well, I was not
shocked, because this appears to be a John Bolton-inspired decision by
Donald Trump to pull out of this very important agreement, which has
eliminated, as you said, an entire class of intermediate- range
that once threatened Europe; 2,692 U.S. and Soviet missiles were
verifiably eliminated as a result of this treaty.
And what Trump has done is, I think, he has very prematurely, at best,
to put a kind interpretation on it, pulled the United States out of the
treaty, shifting blame from Russia to President Trump for blowing up
this very important agreement, that’s important for U.S. and European
and Russian security. And it does absolutely nothing to bring Russia
back into compliance with the treaty, and it opens the door for Russia
to deploy, in greater numbers, this missile of concern, which is known
as the 9M729, if Russia wants to. If this treaty is gone, all the
constraints on the testing, the production and the deployment of these
missiles in Europe and elsewhere will be gone.
So, for a number of reasons, this is counterproductive, it’s dangerous,
and it does open the door to the possibility of renewed nuclear
competition in this area. And it could threaten another important
treaty, the New Strategic Arms Treaty, the main treaty limiting the two
sides’ strategic arsenals, which is due to expire in 2021 if Trump and
Putin don’t extend it.
And again quite so -
and please observe that ¨If
this treaty is gone, all the
constraints on the testing, the production and the deployment of these
missiles in Europe and elsewhere will be gone¨ - which is quite true.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
KIMBALL: (..) You know,
even though the Cold War is over, so to speak, the weapons that were
created during the Cold War still exist. And the nuclear strategies
that the United States and Russia had at that time are still very much
in place. So, as we sit here this morning chatting about this, the
United States deploys about 1,400 warheads on long-range bombers and
missiles on land and on sea. The Russians have equivalent numbers.
About 800 of those could be launched on an order from the president
within about 20 minutes. So that means that both sides remain on
hair-trigger. If there is a warning of an attack, the nuclear
strategies call for the immediate launch of 800 or more nuclear
warheads in retaliation. So, that creates the chance for miscalculation.
So, we have massive overkill.
We have a situation in which the fate of literally hundreds of millions
of people rests in the hands of a small number of people—specifically
two gentlemen, Trump and Putin.
Quite so - and my own
conclusion about any nuclear war is that it almost certainly will
kill human civilization, precisely because there more than enough
nuclear bombs to blow up absolutely everyone. And this is a strongly
Jair Bolsonaro Is the Fascist Face of Neoliberalism
is by Luísa Abbott Galvão on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
In less than a week,
Brazil will vote to elect its
next president in what’s widely considered the most consequential
election in Brazil’s history.
On one side is Fernando
Haddad — a soft-spoken academic,
former Minister of Education for the Workers Party (PT), and recent
mayor of São Paulo most remembered for painting bike lanes across
Brazil’s economic capital. Haddad faces Jair Bolsonaro — a former
military man and long-time member of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies
representing Rio de Janeiro. Bolsonaro’s extreme far-right overtures
have earned him the distinction of being compared to Trump, Duterte,
Yes indeed, and given
the sayings of Bolsonaro, he is most like a Duterte
or a Hitler
- and please note that Brazil has far more inhabitants than
Hitler´s Germany had.
Here is more:
Bolsonaro, whose running
mate is a retired army general, has built a campaign on his disdain for
democracy and glorification of authoritarianism. He’s gained infamy
worldwide for past comments praising torturers and for asserting during
a 1999 televised appearance that the Brazilian dictatorship should have
executed “at least 30,000” people. As a presidential candidate,
Bolsonaro has called for political opponents to be shot,
promised to deny the legitimacy of
any election results that don’t declare him the winner, and refused to
partake in debates ahead of the general elections.
Quite so. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this article:
Recent surveys have found
percent of Brazilians wouldn’t mind a non-democratic form
of government if it “solved problems.” And Brazilians have legitimate
problems, among which healthcare, citizen security, corruption,
unemployment, and education have ranked as highly important in recent
Bolsonaro’s campaign recipe
has not only been to promote — through no shortage of lies
and misinformation — shortcuts to democratic and civic
processes. He’s also aligned himself with corporate and financial
interests, attracting support from moderates willing to
overlook, understate, and ultimately masque his fascist nature by
leaning into his recently-adopted free-market agenda.
Yes again, though I
should remark that I think that if Bolsonaro is elected, he will be
elected because of the stupidity and ignorance of
his voters. And this is a strongly recommended article.
5. Democrats: Don’t Go
High or Low. Go Big and Bold
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump says the
midterm elections are a “referendum about me.” Of course they are.
Everything is about him.
Anyone who still believes
the political divide runs between Republicans and Democrats hasn’t been
paying attention. There’s no longer a Republican Party. The GOP is now
Meanwhile Trump is doing
all he can to make the Democratic Party the anti-Trump Party.
“Democrats,” he declares, are “too dangerous to govern.” They’re “an
angry left-wing mob,”leading an “assault on our country.”
Never before has a
president of the United States been so determined not to be president
of all Americans. He’s president of his supporters.
Tyrants create cults of
personality. Trump is beyond that. He equates America with himself, and
disloyalty to him with insufficient patriotism. In his mind, a giant
“Trump” sign hangs over the nation. “We” are his supporters,
acolytes, and toadies. “They” are the rest of us.
When everything and
everyone is either pro- or anti-Trump, there’s no room for neutral
expertise, professional norms, good public policy, or the rule of law.
This is more or less
correct, although I do have a remark about ¨Tyrants create cults of personality. Trump is
beyond that. He equates America with himself, and disloyalty to him
with insufficient patriotism.¨:
Yes, he does, but I think - and I am a psychologist -
that one important reason for Trump to do so is that he has megalomania aka a
narcissistic personality disorder.
Here is more about
He believes the nation’s
press is either for him or against him. Fox News is indubitably for him
– now a virtual propaganda arm of the White House. The rest are against
him even when they merely report the news.
We’re all being taken in by
this Trumpian dichotomy – even those of us in the anti-Trump camp.
When Trump is the defining
issue in America, he gets to set the national agenda. All major debate
in this country revolves around him, his goals, and the objects of his
The Trumpification of
America hardly ends if Democrats take over the House or possibly the
Senate. Trump will blame them for everything that goes wrong. He’ll
make up problems they’re supposedly responsible for. He’ll ridicule
them and call them traitors.
He’ll do the same to anyone
who shows serious interest in running for president against him in 2020.
I don´t think this is
cogent. In fact, I am one of those who does not believe
dichotomy into everyone-for-him vs. the-rest-against him, but then
again he is the president of the USA, and therefore one has
with his suppositions somehow.
This is the ending of this
Of course Democrats have to
fight him. But they also have to lift America beyond him.
The central question
shouldn’t be whether we’re pro- or anti-Trump, or whether we go low or
high in fighting him.
The question is where America
should go – and what we, together, can become.
Well... one problem is that
the Democrats are divided between the rich (led by Clinton, Pelosi and
Perez) and the non-rich, and another is that while I recommend voting a
Democrat in any case, I do not like the leading rich
Democrats. 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 (!!).