from November 19, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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 19, 2018:
1. The Dangerous Rush to Judgment Against Julian Assange
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. 'We Need New Leaders, Period'
3. Trump’s Diminishing Power and Rising Rage
4. Playing nice is not an option, Democrats: It never works.
5. The Alt-Right’s Favorite Meme Is 100 Years Old
Dangerous Rush to Judgment Against Julian Assange
is by Bill Blum on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
After years of speculation,
we now know that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been accused by
the Justice Department of committing crimes against the United States.
We know this because an assistant U.S. attorney named Kellen S. Dwyer
screwed up and inadvertently disclosed in
a motion filed on Aug. 22 in an unrelated case that Assange has
been secretly charged in an accusation that has been placed under seal.
What we don’t know about the prosecution of Assange is virtually
Incidentally, while I understand that not everything that "the
law" does can
be public: Why are these charges secret? (I
ask, but I do think they should be public.)
Here is more:
In brief, "the public"
does not know anything about the charges, other than that it
was inadvertently leaked that they exist.
More important, we don’t
know the nature of Assange’s alleged offenses, when they allegedly were
committed, or when the charges against him were filed.
Has he been charged under
Act of 1917 for publishing classified material? Has he been
accused of hacking in violation of the Computer
Fraud and Abuse Act in connection with the publication of
emails taken from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016
presidential election campaign, or for receiving and publishing
intelligence documents related to the
CIA last year? Does he stand accused as a principal (primary
actor), or is he viewed as an aider and abettor or a co-conspirator,
either of Chelsea Manning, who leaked national-defense material to
WikiLeaks in 2010, or the 12
Russian military officers who were indicted this July by
special counsel Robert Mueller for stealing the Democratic National
We also don’t know whether
Mueller’s office is responsible for going after Assange, or whether
former Attorney General Jeff Sessions can claim the credit.
Here is more:
Writing in The
Intercept last week, Glenn Greenwald decried the intensifying
support for Assange’s extradition, not only on the right, but also
among liberal Democrats who feel stung by Trump’s election and incensed
by the help he may have received from Russian intelligence in scoring
his improbable victory at the polls.
It’s important not to get swept up in the anti-Assange mania afoot
today, not only because the mania undercuts the presumption of
innocence, but because of the significant dangers posed to the First
Amendment. As the Congressional Research Service (CRS) noted in a 34-page analysis
published in 2017:
“While courts have held
that the Espionage Act and other relevant statutes allow for
convictions for leaks to the press, the government has never prosecuted
a traditional news organization for its receipt [and publication] of
classified or other protected information.”
In the trial of Assange,
the government no doubt will contend that WikiLeaks is not a legitimate
news organization. It is unlikely, however, the Trump Justice
Department will be able to draw a principled line between publishers
that merit First Amendment protection and those who do not.
Well... as to "Russian
intelligence": I have been following the story as it developed since
the end of 2016, and I do not think there is much - real -
support for it. Also, very much rather than unspecified "Russian
intelligence", there are far more
dangerous candidates: Cambridge
Analytica and Facebook.
And as to drawing "a principled line between publishers that
merit First Amendment protection and those who do not": I agree this may be quite
difficult, but I also think that Trump's government is out for a
conviction of Assange, and intends to use that conviction later for
This is at least honest. I
agree with the conclusion, but I don't agree with the premiss and will
briefly explain why:
I am not a fan of Assange.
Like many, I fear that he has gone over to the dark side in the global
battle against regressive nationalism. But I am not willing to
sacrifice or bend the First Amendment—not even a little—in an effort to
silence him or rush him to some kind of American justice.
I like Wikileaks, simply
because it does publish all
manner of things that I think are important for "the public" to know,
and in which I think it also is nearly always correct. Wikileaks is a
lot more than just Assange. Assange is one person who is in
serious trouble because he works for Wikileaks. I have been
following Assange since 2010 (more or less, since what I do follow in
fact is the crisis of 2008 and its consequences) and all I have learned
about him as a person is very little indeed.
The basic point is that while Assange is attacked as a person, in
Wikileaks and free publishing are under attack. I think you have to
defend all three, and besides, I think few persons have
sufficient information about Assange to have a rational
foundation for liking or disliking him as a person. I don't, for one
example. And this is a recommended article.
Need New Leaders, Period'
This article is by
Jon Queally on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
In a national
strategy call with progressives nationwide on Saturday evening, a
newly-elected member of Congress—and some of the top organizers who led
her successful campaign and others—committed to a strategy of holding
the Democratic Party's feet to the fire in order to "save the country"
by rejecting the corporate-friendly politics and submission to
right-wing talking points that have shackled the ability to forge bold
solutions to the most pressing crises.
Yes, I agree with
"All Americans know money in
politics is a huge problem, but unfortunately the way that we fix it is
by demanding that our incumbents give it up or by running fierce
campaigns ourselves," said
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the representative- elect from New York, on
the call organized by Justice
Democrats. "I don't think people who are taking money from
pharmaceutical companies should be drafting health care legislation. I
don't think people who are taking money from oil and gas companies
should be drafting climate legislation."
Then again, this also points to a serious difficulty with using
term "the Democratic Party" or "the Democrats" for the simple reason
that there are, at the very least,
three distinct groups of
First, the ordinary members who are not voted in on some
Democratic ticket, but who merely supply the votes. Second, the members
who are voted in on some Democratic ticket. There are quite a
few of them, and for the next distinction I will concentrate on the
Democrats elected to the House or the Senate: Third, elected
Democrats who get subsidized by the rich, which seem to be the
great majority, and the elected Democrats who do not get subsidized by the rich, which seems
to be a small minority.
I spelled it out (to an extent) because I can agree on most things only
with the small minority of elected Democrats who do not get
by the rich.
Here is more:
to Politico's report of the strategy session,
The group said they want
Democratic members of Congress to be representative of their diverse
communities and support liberal policies like Medicare for all,
abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department,
implementing a "Green New Deal," and rejecting corporate PAC donations.
On the campaign trail, Ocasio-Cortez talked about forming a
"corporate-free caucus" as a means to push for reform. That type of
group, if it forms, could turn out to be the left's counterpart to the
Freedom Caucus, which pushed Republican leadership to the right.
During his remarks, Saikat
Chakrabarti, a Justice Democrats co-founder and now Ocasio-Cortez's
chief of staff, told the more than 500 people on the national call that
the heart of their new
campaign will be this: if they feel their elected leaders in Congress
are not getting the job done, or going far enough, people should get
behind someone who will.
"We need new leaders,
period," Chakrabarti said. "We gotta primary folks."
I agree with
Chakrabarti: The Democrats need new leaders - and these new
leaders need to get their money from the
people, and not
from the rich.
Then again, this may be
more difficult than it seems, for the simple reason that all
Democrats may be corrupted by the rich, and it seems that most have been.
I think the last bit
that I will quote from this article is a bit too optimistic:
to Claire Sandberg, another key progressive campaign strategist and
veteran of Sanders' insurgent 2016 run, "Every Democratic politician
who has prioritized bank deregulation over responding to the threat of
catastrophic climate change deserves to worry that they might be next
to face a primary challenge from the left."
At this point in history,
added Sandberg, if "Democratic leaders won't advance policies to create
a safe future for all, they should expect a new generation of
candidates to stand up and take their places."
The wave of new progressive
candidates like Ocasio-Cortez, Bond added, "has been a breath of fresh
air for the entire country. We can demand so much more of the
Democratic Party, especially through primary challengers."
I more or less agree,
but as I said this is too optimistic in my opinion. And this is a
Diminishing Power and Rising Rage
is by Jeffrey
D. Sachs on Common Dreams. This starts as follows:
The drama of Donald Trump’s
presidency has centered around whether an extremist president would be
able to carry out an extremist policy agenda against the will of the
majority of Americans. So far the answer has been no, and the midterm
elections make it far less likely. Yet Trump’s rising frustrations
could push him over the edge psychologically, with potentially
harrowing consequences for American democracy and the world.
None of Trump’s extremist
policy ideas has received public support. The public opposed last
year’s Republican-backed corporate tax cut, Trump’s effort to repeal
the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), his proposed border wall with
Mexico, the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, and
the imposition of tariff increases on China, Europe, and others. At the
same time, contrary to Trump’s relentless promotion of fossil fuels
(coal, oil, and gas), the public favors investments in renewable energy
and remaining in the Paris climate agreement.
Yes, I agree with the
above. Also (and see below), I am a psychologist, and I have been
convinced in the beginning of 2016 that Trump has a narcissist
personality disorder, which is psychiatrese for saying he is a
madman who suffers from megalomania.
I will turn to that
below, and continue here with the
The reason that the
Republicans still hold a slight majority in the Senate is
mostly due to
the fact that large states with many votes, such as California, vote in
as many Congress people as small states with few votes, like Wyoming,
and is besides due to the fact that the strongest party in effect gets
all votes. (Incidentally, both facts do not hold for Holland,
which in these senses is considerably more democratic than the
In the midterm elections,
which Trump himself described as a referendum on his presidency, the
Democratic candidates for both the House and Senate vastly outpolled
their Republican opponents. In the House races, Democrats received
53,314,159 votes nationally, compared with 48,439,810 for Republicans.
In the Senate races, Democrats outpolled Republicans by 47,537,699
votes to 34,280,990.
Summing up votes by party for
the three recent election cycles (2014, 2016, and 2018), Democratic
Senate candidates outpolled Republican candidates by roughly 120
million to 100 million. Nonetheless, the Republicans hold a slight
majority in the Senate (...)
Here is the main point why the fact that the Democrats won the House is
Without control of
the House, however, Trump will no longer be able to enact any unpopular
legislation. Only policies with bipartisan support will have a chance
of passing both chambers.
Actually, yes and no:
"bipartisan support" is quite important and will stop quite a few bits
of "unpopular legislation", but many of the Democrats have been bought
by the rich, which means that there may be some bits of "unpopular legislation" that still will
pass - or so I expect.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
are three further reasons to believe that Trump’s hold on power will
weaken significantly in the coming months. First, Special Counsel
Robert Mueller may very well document serious malfeasance by Trump, his
family members, and/or his close advisers.
Second, the House Democrats
will begin to investigate Trump’s taxes and personal business dealings,
including through congressional subpoenas. There are strong reasons to
believe that Trump has committed serious tax evasion (as the New York
Times recently outlined) and has illegally enriched his family as
Third, and most important,
Trump is not merely an extremist politician. He suffers from what
author Ian Hughes has recently called “a disordered mind,” filled with
hate, paranoia, and narcissism. According to two close observers of
Trump, the president’s grip on reality “will likely continue to
diminish” in the face of growing political obstacles, investigations
into his taxes and business dealings, Mueller’s findings, and an
energized political opposition.
Yes, I completely agree
with these points.
agree that Trump has “a
disordered mind” because I think that he has megalomania
totally disappeared from the Wikipedia): He is insane; he has a
narcissistic personality disorder; and he is quite dangerous for these
Then again, I admit that
persons who are not psychologists or psychiatrists are probably
little convinced by them as I am - who is a psychologist, among
other things - with much of the bullshit that -
for example - economists spout. Anyway... this is a recommended article.
nice is not an option, Democrats: It never works.
is by Paul Rosenberg on Salon. It starts as follows:
In the wake of the midterm elections,
there's tremendous pressure from all directions for Democrats to play
nice with Donald Trump and the Republicans. That would be a huge mistake — for one thing, because Trump will
attack them with outrageous lies whatever they do. There’s no cheese
down the "playing nice" tunnel. No point going there. The only way to
“play nice” on Trump’s terms would be to roll over and play dead, to
let Trump be Putin, as he’s always yearned to be. Only a total
sacrifice of American democracy — checks and balances, rule of law,
consent of the governed, all of it — would be sufficiently nice in his
I mostly agree. Here is more:
I'm not saying that Democrats should
prioritize oversight of this administration's sins and crimes above
legislation: They need to do both. I see a lot to like in Ronald
Klain's post-election Washington Post op-ed, "The first five things
the Democrats should do with their House majority" — raising the minimum wage to $15,
strengthening the Affordable Care Act, restoring the Voting Rights Act,
passing a “non-porked-up” infrastructure bill, and granting legal
status to the Dreamers. Klain argues that House Democrats should leave
the investigations to Robert Mueller at first, and devote the first 100
days to passing those five pieces of legislation, and “then dare the
Senate and the Trump White House to follow suit or be called out for
their refusal to act.”
Great. But then what? What’s the big-picture
for Democrats moving forward, knowing that Trump will always be Trump
-- and that no one will stop him if they don’t?
I think I mostly agree again. Here is the last bit that I quote from
I mostly agree but I must
qualify especially the second point somewhat - and see item
2 - for most Democrats seem to have been bought by the rich. And
this is a recommended article.
To fully grasp the foolishness of the “play
nice” imperative, there are four points to consider:
- The past history of how Democrats' "play
nice" strategies have failed in the past.
- The asymmetry between Republicans' hardline
ideological approach to politics and Democrat’s consensus-seeking
pragmatism, and why Democrats can't keep doing that.
- The role of the press, punditry and
political class more broadly in empowering GOP destructiveness, even as
they convince themselves they're saviors of democracy.
- What Democrats can and should do instead of
"playing nice" — pushing broadly popular proposals, and taking fearless
principled stands, to define their own inclusive vision of what America
can and will be.
Alt-Right’s Favorite Meme Is 100 Years Old
is by Samuel Moyn on The New York Times. This is from near its
is “cultural Marxism”? (..)
of the kind actually exists. But it is increasingly popular to indict
cultural Marxism’s baleful effects on society — and to dream of its
violent extermination. With a spate of recent violence in the United
States and elsewhere, calling out the runaway alt-right imagination is
more urgent than ever.
contribution to the phantasmagoria of the alt-right, the fear of
“cultural Marxism” has been percolating for years through global sewers of
hatred. Increasingly, it has burst into the mainstream. Before
President Trump’s aide Rich Higgins was fired last year, he invoked the
threat of “cultural Marxism” in proposing a new national security strategy. In June, Ron Paul tweeted
out a racist meme that employed the phrase. On Twitter, the son of
Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s newly elected strongman, boasted of meeting
Steve Bannon and joining forces
to defeat “cultural Marxism.” Jordan Peterson, the self-help guru and
best-selling author, has railed against it too in
his YouTube ruminations.
I say - and my reason for doing so is that I
know about Marxism
and communism for at least 60 years now, mostly
because both of my parents were - real, intelligent, but not highly
educated - Marxists for 45 years of their lives, while I am not
since I was 20, but that was because I disagreed with Marx's theories,
which I did
know quite well, but far less with my parents, whose moral outlook
I still share.
And what does amaze me, a little at least, is that
still know a lot about Marxism and Marx, this is the first time
I read about “cultural
Marxism” - which means that Samuel Moyn is quite right.
is Moyn's explanation of what "cultural Marxism" means:
to their delirious foes, “cultural Marxists” are an unholy alliance of
abortionists, feminists, globalists, homosexuals, intellectuals and
socialists who have translated the far left’s old campaign to take away
people’s privileges from “class struggle” into “identity politics” and
indeed explains it to a considerable extent, and also suggests an
explanation for it:
fact, Marxism and communism (including communist parties)
mostly collapsed in 1991-1992 quite
quickly after the Soviet Union collapsed - but until then it was indeed
in several important ways the main opponent of capitalism,
mostly because the existence of the Soviet Union did seem to show an
alternative to capitalism.
also justified the opposition of pro-capitalists not only to the Soviet
Union but to its - purported - ideology.
my explanation for the arisal of (as Moyn says) "the phantasmagoria of the alt-right" is that they wish to criticize the left,
and have created "cultural Marxism" to accuse all of the left of still
being in some sense Marxists (which seems mostly false from my
informed, but European - view), and they do so because they hate Marx
think my explanation is mostly correct, but once again: Today is the
first time I heard about the supposed existence of
is a bit more:
number of the conspiracy theorists tracing the origins of “cultural
Marxism” assign outsize significance to the Frankfurt School, an
interwar German — and mostly Jewish — intellectual collective of
left-wing social theorists and philosophers. Many members of the
Frankfurt School fled Nazism and came to the United States, which is
where they supposedly uploaded the virus of cultural Marxism to America.
say again, this time because I have read quite a bit of quite a
members of "the Frankfurt School", and I can assure anyone that most of
that reading was - literally - quite difficult: Whatever you
about the Frankfurt School, it
certainly is and was for intellectuals only, which also means I
agree to Moyn's speaking of assigning an "outsize significance"
Here is Moyn's ending of his article:
Yes, I think I agree,
indeed especially because a man like myself, who is both a philosopher
and a psychologist, should have heard about "cultural Marxism"
were any more than an ideological creation of the alt right. Today was
the first time, and this is a recommended article.
“cultural Marxism” is a crude slander, referring to something that does
not exist, unfortunately does not mean actual people are not being set
up to pay the price, as scapegoats to appease a rising sense of anger
and anxiety. And for that reason, “cultural Marxism” is not only a sad
diversion from framing legitimate grievances but also a dangerous lure
in an increasingly unhinged moment.
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 (!!).