from November 11, 2018
B. November 11,
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
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 November 11, 2018:
1. Billionaires, Not Voters, Are Deciding Elections
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. Behind Pentagon Efforts to Rewrite the Vietnam War
3. Can Racist and Sexist Philosophers Still Be Admirable?
4. WTF White Women?
5. 80 Years Since the Holocaust Began: Can We Stop Fascism
Not Voters, Are Deciding Elections
This article is by
Sonali Kolhatkar on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
The recent midterm
elections offered an opportunity for America’s moneyed elites to spend
their ridiculous wealth on a catalog of their favorite causes and
candidates. We are locked in a vicious cycle, where billionaires
continue to amass wealth due to policies their influence has bought,
which in turn enrich them with even more resources with which to shift
the American polity in their favor.
Part of the problem is that
billionaires’ control over our democracy is largely invisible. As a recent
study by The Guardian showed, high-profile wealthy elites like
Warren Buffett or Bill Gates are anomalies. To that point, “[M]ost of
the wealthiest US billionaires have made substantial financial
contributions—amounting to hundreds of thousands of reported dollars
annually, in addition to any undisclosed ‘dark money’ contributions—to
conservative Republican candidates and officials who favor the very
unpopular step of cutting rather than expanding social security
benefits,” write the report’s authors. “Yet, over the 10-year period we
have studied, 97% of the wealthiest billionaires have said nothing at
all about social security policy.”
Yes, I think all of
this is quite correct - and the Americans have been "locked in
vicious cycle" mostly because of (i) several successive decisions
the Supreme Court that effectively considered having money to be the
equivalent of votes (utterly falsifying the First Amendment to the
Constitution) and (ii) by the decision of Bill Clinton that he and
Democrats could and would be funded by the rich rather than by all.
There are more reasons, but I think the above two are the most
important ones. Also, I think that in effect the American
representatitves "of the American people" for the most part ceased to
be representatives of the American people, and became representatives
of the rich, who pay them.
In brief, most of the
politicians in the House and the Senate have been corrupted
although the last term is questionable simply because the Supreme Court
legalized - what I and others still consider - fraud
by giving the few
rich very much more power through effectively declaring their money
they equivalent of votes, and by declaring corporations to be
equivalents of persons
(except that corporations have more rights than
persons, and are impossible to kill).
And indeed also because
nearly all of the richest billionaires said nothing about
financial contributions to support their own interests.
Back to the article:
The midterm races in
California saw several examples of the insidious ways in which the
billionaire class made its mark on democracy, most notably in the
defeat of Proposition
10, the state ordinance that would have expanded local governments’
jurisdiction over rent control. Several years ago, Wall Street hedge
fund managers began scooping up rental properties and foreclosed homes
in Los Angeles. According to journalist David
Dayen, “Hedge funds, private equity firms and the biggest banks
have raised massive amounts of capital to buy distressed or foreclosed
single-family homes, often in bulk, at bargain prices.” He added, “It’s
the next Wall Street gold rush, with all the warning signs of a renewed
Yes, I think this is a
good example of how the rich succeed in manipulating the outcomes of
elections (and there is more in the article).
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Countless examples abound
around this nation, where billionaires have gotten what they wanted
simply because they had limitless wealth to throw at their favorite
causes. As voters, we need to become literate in the ways of the
moneyed class when it comes to elections. It’s very simple: Figure out
who has poured millions into an issue or candidate and ask whether that
person’s agenda might be less than noble. It may be that once in a
while, the values of ordinary Americans align with those of
billionaires. But that is the exception rather than the rule.
Wealthy people are swimming
in riches because the rest of us are not. Their wealth is relative—they
are the haves, we are the have-nots. And they clearly like having a lot
more than us—and are willing to spend some of their mountains of cash
to ensure they remain ensconced in power.
Quite so and this is a
strongly recommended article.
Pentagon Efforts to Rewrite the Vietnam War
This article is by
Arnold Isaacs on Truthdig and originally on TomDispatch. It starts as
Here’s a paradox of the
last few decades: as American military power has been less and less
effective in achieving Washington’s goals, the rhetoric surrounding
that power has grown more and more boastful.
The cliché that our armed
forces are the best and mightiest in the
world — even if the U.S. military hasn’t won any of its significant
wars in the last 50 years — resonates in President Trump’s promise to
make America great again. Many Americans, clearly including him,
associate that slogan with military power. And we don’t just want to be
greater again in the future; we also want to have been greater in the
past than we really were. To that end, we regularly forget some facts
and invent others that will make our history more comfortable to
I think the second
paragraph is quite true, but the first is hardly a paradox: American
military power got more and more money (they get now more than half
the taxes), and it is not at all strange that the military,
with the military-industrial
complex of corporations who work for the
military and make lots of profits, also got more money to advertise and
propagandize themselves - and they did.
Then again, their
consists of explicit lies
and explicit ommissions of facts
that should have been there if they had been reporting correctly:
Back in 2014, following a
critical TomDispatch article by Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real
American War in Vietnam, and pressure from other critics, officials did revise
a few items. Those included the My Lai massacre (though the
site still does not use the word “massacre” for the murder by U.S.
troops of more than 500 civilians, including women and children) and
the naval clashes in the Tonkin Gulf that led to the
first U.S. air strikes on North Vietnam. But no more corrections
followed, leaving a startling range of wrong or misleading statements
I trust this is
correct. This is about the Pentagon's website "vietnamwar50th.com" (and
there is more in the article):
In its most noticeable
distortion, the site virtually ignores the domestic debate on the war
and the divisions it caused in American society. As of this writing,
the 30-year (1945-1975) timeline still includes only terse
one-line entries for each of the
massive national antiwar protests of October and November 1969. The
wave of demonstrations in May 1970 following the U.S.
“incursion” in Cambodia gets a somewhat more
detailed entry, mentioning the deaths of
protesters killed by National Guard troops at Kent State University in
Ohio and by police gunfire at Jackson State College in Mississippi.
Aside from those, though,
most other important moments in the peace movement are missing from the
timeline altogether. The massive 1965 and 1967 protest marches outside the
Pentagon are nowhere mentioned. Nor are the chaotic protests the following year outside
the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
I think the above is
correct, and since I was 20 in 1970 and come from a very leftist
political family I do recall that the above facts, that either
mentioned at all, or were mentioned in "terse one-line entries", in
were massively reported in the European press - and certainly not
by the leftist press - of the late 1960ies and early 1970ies.
So yes, they definitely
were lying and propagandizing.
Here is more, about
Although the Vietnam
veterans’ experience is billed as the central theme of the
commemoration, veterans who came to oppose the war were also blanked
out of its story until just days ago, when officials at the
commemoration’s History and Legacy branch learned that I was working on
the present article. Only then did the site managers insert a new entry on the dramatic week-long protest in April 1971, when hundreds
of disillusioned vets threw away their decorations in front of the U.S.
Capitol — an event previously not mentioned in the timeline at all.
Again, I can report
that I knew of this at that time simply because these events were
reported in the ordinary Dutch and European press, though
indeed in a
lesser format than the large demonstrations of the late
60ies and early
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
The commemoration not only
tells us something about the Pentagon’s custodians of our Vietnam War
memories, it also reveals something much broader and deeper in American
political and popular culture: a powerful need to think of ourselves as
a righteous, just, and successful country that fights only righteous,
just, and successful wars.
The commemoration’s most recent corrections are a welcome but small
step toward greater accuracy. But the site is still far from showing
the true nature of what this country really did to itself and to many
millions of Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians in the tragic mistake
we call the Vietnam War. For that, far greater changes will be needed
than have been made so far.
I think all of this is
true and this is a recommended article.
Racist and Sexist Philosophers Still Be Admirable?
is by Julian Baggini on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Admiring the great thinkers
of the past has become morally hazardous. Praise Immanuel Kant, and you
might be reminded that he believed that ‘Humanity is at its greatest
perfection in the race of the whites,’ and ‘the yellow Indians do have
a meagre talent’. Laud Aristotle, and you’ll have to explain how a
genuine sage could have thought that ‘the male is by nature superior
and the female inferior, the male ruler and the female subject’. Write
a eulogy to David Hume, as I recently did here, and
you will be attacked for singing the praises of someone who wrote in
1753-54: ‘I am apt to suspect the Negroes, and in general all other
species of men … to be naturally inferior to the whites.’
We seem to be caught in a
dilemma. We can’t just dismiss the unacceptable prejudices of the past
as unimportant. But if we think that holding morally objectionable
views disqualifies anyone from being considered a great thinker or a
political leader, then there’s hardly anyone from history left.
Julian Baggini is a
British philosopher, and the above is correct. Then again, the dilemma
is false (as Baggini also explains) because of these reasons:
opinions, including those of the greatest geniuses, are mostly false,
and certainly partial, and (ii) even the greatest geniuses are
in one or at most two fields (which they specialize on), and are not
geniuses in all other fields, and perhaps also (iii) everyone's
personal opinions are far more local and limited - except perhaps
one or two fields - than they appear to be, and are colored by
ordinary widely shared prejudices of
the time in which one lives.
Here is more:
The problem does not go
away if you exclude dead white establishment males. Racism was common
in the women’s suffrage movement on both sides of the Atlantic. The
American suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt said that: ‘White supremacy
will be strengthened, not weakened, by women’s suffrage.’ Emmeline
Pankhurst, her British sister in the struggle, became a vociferous
supporter of colonialism, denying that it was ‘something to decry and
something to be ashamed of’ and insisting instead that ‘it is a great
thing to be the inheritors of an empire like ours’. Both sexism and
xenophobia have been common in the trade union movement, all in the
name of defending the rights of workers – male, non-immigrant workers
Yes indeed. Then there
The most troubling lesson
of the Third Reich is that it was supported largely by ordinary people
who would have led blameless lives had they not by chance lived through
particular toxic times. Any confidence we might have that we would not
have done the same is without foundation as we now know what people
then did not know. Going along with Nazism is unimaginable today
because we need no imagination to understand just what the consequences
I do not quite agree
this, and my reasons are personal: My mother, my father and my father's
father were in the Dutch resistance against the Nazis (and all three
were strongly though not solely moved by the treatment the Nazis gave
to the Jews), and my father and grandfather were arrested in August
1941, and convicted as "political terrorists" to concentration camp
punishments, which my grandfather did not survive.
Also, my father certainly
knew quite a lot about Nazism by 1935 and, more in general, there
minority of various persons from varying political beliefs, who did see
what Nazism was like back in the 1930ies.
Here is the ending of
the article, which is about present prejudices:
We just cannot afford to be
as understanding of present prejudices as we are of past ones. Changing
society requires making people see that it is possible to overcome the
prejudices they were brought up with. We are not responsible for
creating the distorted values that shaped us and our society but we can
learn to take responsibility for how we deal with them now.
The dead do not have such
an opportunity, and so to waste anger chastising them is pointless. We
are right to lament the iniquities of the past, but to blame
individuals for things they did in less enlightened times using the
standards of today is too harsh.
Yes, I agree and this is a
is by Laura
Flanders on Common Dreams. It starts as follows (and my guess is
that this article would cause a lot more protests if it were written by
2016 was bad. 2018 was
worse. While fifty-two percent of white women voted for Donald Trump
and Mike Pence in 2016, in 2018, seventy-six percent of white women
voted for Brian Kemp.
This Tuesday, seventy-six percent
of white female voters in Georgia cast their ballots against Stacey
Abrams becoming this nation’s first black female governor. Fifty-nine
percent in Texas voted for Republican Ted Cruz against Latino Democrat
Beto O’Rourke. Fifty-one percent opposed Andrew Gillum becoming the
first African American governor of the Sunshine State.
White women rained all over
that new day dawning. Did they vote on the issues? Statistically, there
aren’t enough anti-choice, anti-healthcare, anti-minimum wage, gun-mad
voters out there to blame just conservative women.
So white women are either
stupid or spoiled. I say spoiled.
I say, because I did
not know the above. Then again - and I am getting more
and more sick by
what seems to be the absolute refusal of "the press" to call people
most simply are, certainly from my point of view - I don't
think the majority of American white women voters are spoiled, but I do
think they are stupid
(and the vast majority is also far less well
educated than I am).
I do not deny
(although I would formulate them probably a bit different) but I would
argue that these relative advantages of white women makes the stupidity
of many of them more pronounced.
white women have, on average, 5 times more wealth than single black
women, and white households have a staggering 13 times more wealth than
life expectancy is above the national average, while the life
expectancy of black women falls below.
We’re more likely to be
cared for than killed when we’re having a mental health crisis and cops
come to our door.
We’re more likely to be
counseled than kicked out when we act up in school.
We’re way more likely to be
hired and way, way less likely to be incarcerated. That’s in no small
part because we’re more likely to be seen as beautiful and loved (in
advertising, magazines and Hollywood), and far less likely to be seen
as scary or a threat.
White supremacy spoils us,
white women. It’s undeniable.
Here is the ending of this article:
Well... once again I say
it is the stupidity
or the lack of relevant knowledge (that is: the
that makes so many American white women make stupid choices.
And this is a recommended article.
In 2016, I sought refuge in
my superior, smart, anti-capitalist, queer difference. LGBTQ, young,
non-christian, unmarried white women tend to know which end is up.
My sisters of color,
however, are made to account for every last messed-up, stupid thing men
of their same race do. (And yes, I know race is a phony concept, but
its impacts are real.)
for my screwed-up het, cis, married, white, christian sisters is the
least I can do in solidarity.
So what the hell, white
women? Talk. Not too loudly, or everywhere, all the time, or
remorsefully to your one girlfriend-of-color, but to me, or a white
woman like me.
We don’t want 2020 to roll
around and wish that one hundred years ago we’d never given white women
Years Since the Holocaust Began: Can We Stop Fascism Today?
is by Martin Winiecki on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
"November 9 this year
marks the 80th anniversary of what went down in history as
“Kristallnacht” or the “Night of Broken Glass.” On the night of
November 9, 1938, the Nazis burned down 1000 synagogues and 7000 Jewish
businesses all over Germany. This orchestrated attack marked the
beginning of the Holocaust, resulting in six million Jews killed in
less than seven years. From surging white-identity terrorism and
Trump's brutal response to the migrant caravan in the United States to
the atrocious “war on drugs” in the Philippines; from Israel's “nation
state law” to racist policies in Italy and Christian fascism in Brazil,
we currently see history reverberating in the far-right movements
rising to power at breakneck speed around the world. Is there still
something we can do to stop the fascist takeover?"
In fact, the above quotation
is not by Winiecki but by Dieter Duhm. It
seems factually correct.
Here is more:
Since the Brazilian
election on October 28, Bolsonaro and his followers haven't wasted any
time. The day after the election, his militant supporters begun
publicly denouncing leftist leaders and artists as “enemies of the
people,” military police raided schools and universities for antifascist
material and Indigenous groups in the Amazon were attacked
and torched. Already prior to the election, dissidents were
murdered and far-right mobs screamed countrywide that, “Bolsonaro
will kill all queers!”
Huge crowds gathered in all
major cities of Brazil to celebrate the victory of their leader.
Hailing a new era of honesty, people told the Workers' Party to “go
fuck themselves,” while they cheered for a man who has praised torture
and who openly states that the mistake of Brazil's military
dictatorship (1964–85) was that it didn't
kill enough people.
In one of his first
interviews after the election, the president-elect repeated his
intention to finish off activism in the country and to classify social
movements, like the Landless Workers' Movement, as “terrorism.”
The following day, far-right lawmakers, who are now
controlling the Brazilian senate, proposed a new law to criminalize
In fact, this looks
like it was inspired by my text of 2012 about corporate fascism and the surveillance
state (strongly recommended), but of course it wasn't. In
here is point 7 of my text from 2012:
And - we are back in 2018 - the
Bolsonaro seems to use all of these six priciples.
principle, corporate fascism
- defined as: the state is de facto owned and run by and for the
major international corporations, that are multinationals
and beyond state or judicial control [Note 1] -
in combination with the surveillance
state - defined as: the state's surveillance and recording
of the activities, interests, concerns, ideas, values, of its population
- means effective absolute power for a small corporate élite
plus their executives and effective slavery for the rest. [N.7]
Principles that one may see at work are like the following, that are
rather like the principles Stalin practised, except that the
beneficiaries are not the élites of the CO but the corporate élites: [N.7.bis]
- What or whoever cannot
be exploited for some corporate profit deserves not to be at all.
- Truth is what the
state organs state.
- Good is what the state
- Whoever does not
collaborate with state officials and state policies is - effectively -
- Whoever is a terrorist
deserves to die.
- Anything is permitted
against any terrorist (suspect).
Here is some of Bolsonaro's background:
While presenting himself as
the anti-establishment candidate, Bolsonaro has enjoyed the support of
big industry, multinationals and Wall Street throughout his campaign.
When the openly fascist ex-paratrooper won the election, Big Money
could hardly hide their jubilation. Brazilian stocks rose sharply in
response and the Canadian CBS News celebrated that Bolsonaro “leans
towards more open markets. This could mean fresh opportunities for
Canadian companies looking to invest in the
Paulo Guedes, Bolsonaro's
economic advisor and upcoming economy minister is a Chicago economist
of Milton Friedman's free market orthodoxy. His universal recipe is,
simply put, “privatize
Quite so. Then there is
Brazil, of course, isn't an
isolated case. We see similar things happening in the United States,
Colombia, India and much of Africa. We've reached a point where
capitalism ends its liaison with democracy and increasingly embraces
And I - once again -
insist that this is so on my definition of totalitarianism,
and is not
so according to the Wikipedia's definition of totalitarianism, that is
But since I have
outlined the above quite a few times in Nederlog, I move to the last
bit that I quote from this article:
The speedy rise of fascism
always seems to hit the world by surprise. Yet what we're witnessing
did not begin with the Bolsonaros, Trumps or Dutertes, just as German
fascism did not begin with Hitler. Why do far-right and openly fascist
ideologies resonate so strongly with large parts of humanity? How come
authoritarianism wins so easily, when the time is more than ripe for a
positive revolution? Why does such an emotional movement seem so
appealing to so many people?
This is all from the
beginning of this fairly large article. There is a lot more in
it is recommended, although I disagree with a number of things Wienicki
And as to the last three
"Why do far-right and
openly fascist ideologies resonate so strongly with large parts of
humanity?": Because a large part of humanity is stupid and ignorant,
and especially about politics
"How come authoritarianism
wins so easily, when the time is more than ripe for a positive
revolution?": Because a large
part of humanity is stupid and ignorant, and especially about politics
"Why does such an emotional
movement seem so appealing to so many people?": Because a large part of humanity is stupid and ignorant, and especially about politics
You may disagree but this is
what I think.
B. November 11, St Maarten: I own a site
since 22 years
I have both
given and failed to give attention to the fact that I got an
internet site in November 1996, which is today 22 years ago.
I do so today once again, and use the occasion to state that most
things I use and am familiar with are both considerably
more difficult and considerably more
expensive than they were 22 years ago.
This holds both for the internet (where I seem to have been one
of the few who, already in 1996, feared to be tracked and traced: I was
much more right than I feared in 1996) and for most
other things, including my shoppings.
But I do not want to pay much attention to this fact, and those who are
interested I refer to this files of precisely five years ago: me+ME: 17 years a site, that is
quite informative and ends like this about my site:
get the best idea of the whole site, that by now has the
size of some 100 to 200 books if it were printed, by browsing
through the items in the directories-index,
which is indeed only a list of directories, and quite long. Each
directory usually gives access to many files, through which you can
navigate by using the arrows on the top of the files, and sometimes
also at the bottom.
All I add is that in 2018
there is about 300 MB more on the two sites I have, nearly all in
Nederlog (but also in Hume,
for those interested in real philosophy).