from December 14, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Friday,
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 three 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 December 14, 2018:
1. John Kerry: Forget Trump. We All Must
Act on Climate Change.
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. 10 things you should know about the
lunatic Ayn Rand
3. Jared Kushner is now trying to take over as Trump's chief
4. Yes, Virginia, There Is a Deep State and Bob Parry Exposed
5. A World That Is the Property of the 1%: Wall Street, Banks,
Kerry: Forget Trump. We All Must Act on Climate Change.
This article is by John Kerry on The
New York Times. It starts as follows:
week is the third anniversary of the Paris climate agreement. The Trump
administration marked it by working with Russia and Gulf oil nations to
sideline science and undermine the accord at climate talks underway in
I was in New Delhi this week, where I met with solar energy advocates,
a comment made thousands of miles away by the journalist Bob Woodward
almost jumped off my iPad: The president, he said, “makes
decisions often without a factual basis.” This isn’t a mere personality
quirk of the leader of the free world. It is profoundly dangerous for
the entire planet.
tell us we must act now to avoid the ravages of climate change. The
collision of facts and alternative facts has hurt America’s efforts to
confront this existential crisis. Ever since Mr. Trump announced that
he would pull America out of the Paris accord, those of us in the fight
have worked to demonstrate that the American people are still in.
the test is not whether the nation’s cities and states can make up for
Mr. Trump’s rejection of reality. They can. The test is whether the
nations of the world will pull out of the mutual suicide pact that
we’ve all passively joined through an inadequate response to this
I picked this article to review mostly because of John
Kerry and ¨the climate¨. I did not know he is a lousy writer
(which he is if he wrote this article). Anyway... here are my comments
on the above quotation:
First paragraph: Yes - but I disagree with the Paris
agreement, as I did with the earlier Kyoto agreement,
for the simple
reason neither goes far enough. (And I have been following ¨the climate
Second paragraph: I agree Trump ¨is profoundly dangerous for the entire planet¨, but then again I think - as a
psychologist, which Kerry is not - that Trump is insane since the
beginning of 2016.
Third paragraph: Bullshit, for
the decisions of
governments are not the decisions ¨the people¨.
Fourth paragraph: Again bullshit. First, ¨the nation’s cities and states¨ cannot make up for a
governmental and legal decision. And second, I very much dislike
being accused by Kerry simply by being made one of ¨we¨ - and
no, I also did not ¨passively join¨.
Here is some more:
Well... one of the reasons I
disagree with the Paris agrement is that I think 1.5 degrees Celsius is
too much; one of the reasons I don´t believe in the
Paris agreement is
that ¨changes on a scale with “no
documented historic precedent”¨ are
required, but I see no reason whatsoever that
will be made (especially not with the American government being
latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change warned that the changes required to hold global warming to 2.7
degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius), as called for in the Paris
agreement, would require changes on a scale with “no documented
Every day we lose ground
debating alternative facts. It’s not a “he said/she said” — there’s
truth, and then there’s Mr. Trump.
Here is Kerry´s ending:
If we fail, future
generations will judge us all as failures, not just this president.
They will have no time for excuses. Facts matter. Act on them.
This means that I am a failure (on the
climate). Well - thank you. I think you are a liar as well.
things you should know about the lunatic Ayn Rand
This article is by
Jan Frel on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
In fact, I selected this
article to review mostly because I - who has excellent degrees in
philosophy and in psychology - agree that Ayn Rand probably
was a lunatic in some sense, although I have no idea in which
sense, but I do agree she vastly overestimated her own talents
"The reason I got involved
in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one
would be Ayn Rand." That's freshly minted GOP vice-presidential
candidate Paul Ryan talking -- statements
he would eventually recant -- at a party celebrating what
would have been the prolific author's 100th birthday,
Rand's books are a big driver
in the long-term right-wing campaign to delude millions of people into
believing that there's no such thing as society -- that everyone must
look out only for themselves. Lately, Rand's work has enjoyed a major
revival of interest.
Also, in fact I am thinking so since the beginning of the 1970ies,
I for the first time heard about her from some Americans I had
befriended, and then read some of her books, which I thought extremely
ill-written, and quite silly in so far as they were
I found later that most (real, academically employed) philosophers
thought the same, but it is true that Rand has gained some popularity
with the rise of neoliberalism (and on neoliberalism one of the
best sites I know is by Mike Huben: See his ¨Critiques
I still think the same about Rand, and I am pleased that AlterNet seems to agree. Here
is more from the article:
AlterNet has kept the pace
with Rand's resurgence, doing our best to educate people about what a
nutcase she was and how harmful her ideas are. These 10 articles,
previously published on AlterNet, shed light on why Rand's influence on
Ryan is so dangerous.
Ayn Rand Seduced Generations of Young Men and Helped Make the U.S. Into
a Selfish, Greedy Nation
"When I was a kid,"
AlterNet contribuer Bruce Levine writes, "my reading included comic
books and Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas
Shrugged. There wasn’t much difference between the comic books and
Rand’s novels in terms of the simplicity of the heroes. What was
different was that unlike Superman or Batman, Rand made selfishness
heroic, and she made caring about others weakness."
Bruce Levine's explanation
of how Rand has captured the minds of so many is a must-read. "While
Harriet Beecher Stowe shamed Americans about the United State’s
dehumanization of African Americans and slavery, Ayn Rand removed
Americans’ guilt for being selfish and uncaring about anyone except
themselves. Not only did Rand make it 'moral' for the wealthy not to
pay their fair share of taxes, she 'liberated' millions of other
Americans from caring about the suffering of others, even the suffering
of their own children."
I think that is more or
less correct, and indeed I will link all 10 articles on AlterNet
although I did not read them, mostly because I do
dislike Rand a lot and do not need any conviction she is
writer and a bad philosopher, both for lack of talent.
Here is some more:
Philosophy in a Nutshell
The bloggers at
ThinkProgress explain that the philosophy Ayn Rand laid out in her
novels and essays was, "a
frightful concoction of hyper-egotism, power-worship and
opposed all forms of welfare, unemployment insurance, support
for the poor and middle-class, regulation of industry and government
provision for roads or other infrastructure. She
also insisted that law enforcement, defense and the courts
were the only appropriate arenas for government, and that all taxation
should be purely voluntary. Her view of economics starkly divided the
world into a contest between 'moochers' and 'producers,' with the
small group making up the latter generally composed of the
spectacularly wealthy, the successful, and the titans of industry."
Yes, I more or less
agree. In fact, here are the other eight titles (all are links), this
time without texts, except for the last:
3. Ayn Rand Railed Against
Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She
Worked on a Movie Script Glorifying the Atomic Bomb
and Corporations Use Rand's Writings To
Brainwash College Students
6. How Rand Became the
Libertarians' Favorite Philosopher
7. Ayn Rand
in Real Life
'Parasites,' Blue-State Providers
Rand Was a Big Admirer of a Serial Killer
Already Had a Randian in High Office (Alan Greenspan), and It Was
Devastating to the Middle Class
"The most devoted member of
[Rand's] inner circle," George Monbiot writes, "was Alan Greenspan,
former head of the US Federal Reserve. Among the essays he wrote for
Rand were those published in a book he co-edited with her called Capitalism:
The Unknown Ideal. Here, starkly explained, you'll find the
philosophy he brought into government. There is no need for the
regulation of business – even builders or Big Pharma – he argued, as
'the "greed" of the businessman or, more appropriately, his
profit-seeking … is the unexcelled protector of the consumer.' As for
bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that
they will act with honour and integrity. Unregulated capitalism, he
maintains, is a 'superlatively moral system.'"
Again, I more or less
agree, and this is a recommended article.
Kushner is now trying to take over as Trump's chief of staff
is by Matthew Chapman on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
I say, which I do
because Kushner seems to be both quite talentless, does not have much
or any experience, and is family of the president.
Since the announcement that
John Kelly will be leaving the White House early
next year, President Donald Trump's search for a new chief of staff
has not been going well. Ever since Trump's first choice, Vice
President Mike Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers, declined
the position, the White House has been considering a series of
increasingly desperate options including former New Jersey Gov. Chris
Christie and House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark
to the Huffington Post, there could be one leading contender who
slipped under the radar: Trump's son-in-law:
Jared Kushner, the
husband of Trump's daughter Ivanka and already an official White House
adviser, met with Trump Wednesday about the job, a top Republican close
to the White House told HuffPost. He and two others close to Trump or
the White House who confirmed Kushner's interest in the position did so
on condition of anonymity to discuss the president's staffing
Here is the other bit from this article that I quote:
I think all of this is correct
and this is a recommended article.
Kushner taking over as
White House chief of staff would be problematic for several reasons.
First of all, Kushner is
not even qualified for the advisory position he
has right now, let alone the foremost managerial role over
day-to-day White House operations. Second of all, Trump giving his
son-in-law a major, paid role in his administration would seem to
violate the spirit of anti-nepotism laws, although Trump's Justice
Department has rather
narrowly defined these laws to only include people working in
"agencies." Third, Kushner has already shown himself rife with
conflicts of interest in his White House work, he and his wife having
aggressively pushed a policy in the GOP tax law that they stand
to make money from.
Virginia, There Is a Deep State and Bob Parry Exposed It
is by Ray McGovern
on Consortium News. It starts as follows:
A year ago
yesterday, it became fully clear what was behind the feverish attempt
by our intelligence agencies and their mainstream media accomplices to
emasculate President Donald Trump with the Russia-gate trope.
Yes, I think that is
fundamentally correct, but then I did read a lot by Robert
Parry, and about ¨Russia-gate¨, and also by Ray McGovern: See the crisis index.
It turned out that the
objective was not only to delegitimize Trump and make it impossible for
him to move toward a more decent relationship with Russia.
On December 12, 2017, it
became manifestly clear that it was not only the usual suspects — the
Think-Tank Complex, namely, the Boeings, Lockheeds, and Raytheons
profiteering on high tension with Russia; not only greedy members of
Congress upon whom defense contractors lavish some of their profits;
not only the TV corporations controlled by those same contractors; and
not only the Democrats desperately searching for a way to explain how
Hillary Clinton could have lost to the buffoon we now have in the White
No, it was deeper than that.
It turns out a huge part of the motivation behind Russia-gate was to
hide how the Department of Justice, FBI, and CIA (affectionately known
as the Deep State) — with their co-opted “assets” in the media —
interfered in the 2016 election in a gross attempt to make sure Trump
did not win.
And in fact, this article seems mainly to be - deserved -
praise for Robert
Parry, who started Consortiumnews and edited it till the beginning
of 2018, when he died.
Here is more:
Here’s what Bob,
clear-eyed, despite fuzzy eyesight, wrote:
Yes, I agree with the last
two paragraphs. As to the first: It seems Parry died from an
undiagnosed pancreatic cancer.
“On Christmas Eve, I suffered
a stroke that has affected my eyesight (especially my reading and thus
my writing) although apparently not much else. The doctors have also
been working to figure out exactly what happened since I have never had
high blood pressure, I never smoked, and my recent physical found
nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps my personal slogan that ‘every
day’s a work day’ had something to do with this.
“Perhaps, too, the unrelenting
ugliness that has become Official Washington and national journalism
was a factor. It seems that since I arrived in Washington in 1977 as a
correspondent for The Associated Press, the nastiness of American
democracy and journalism has gone from bad to worse. …
“More and more I would
encounter policymakers, activists and, yes, journalists who cared less
about a careful evaluation of the facts and logic and more about
achieving a pre-ordained geopolitical result –and this loss of
objective standards reached deeply into the most prestigious halls of
American media. This perversion of principles –twisting information to
fit a desired conclusion – became the modus vivendi of American
politics and journalism. And those of us who insisted on defending the
journalistic principles of skepticism and evenhandedness were increasingly shunned by our colleagues
… Everything became ‘information warfare.’ …
Here is more (by Parry):
now apparently see it as their patriotic duty to hide key facts that
otherwise would undermine the demonizing of Putin and Russia.
Ironically, many ‘liberals’ who cut their teeth on skepticism about the
Cold War and the bogus justifications for the Vietnam War now insist
that we must all accept whatever the U.S. intelligence community feeds
us, even if we’re told to accept the assertions on faith. …
Again I agree (and I
thought - and think - the ¨Resistance¨ bogus from the
“The hatred of Trump and Putin
was so intense that old-fashioned rules of journalism and fairness were
brushed aside. On a personal note, I faced harsh criticism even from
friends of many years for refusing to enlist in the anti-Trump
Here is the last bit (again by Parry) that I quote from this article:
including senior editors across the mainstream media, began to treat
the unproven Russia-gate allegations as flat fact. No skepticism was
tolerated and mentioning the obvious bias among the never-Trumpers
inside the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence community was
decried as an attack on the integrity of the U.S. government’s
institutions. Anti-Trump ‘progressives’ were posturing as the true
patriots because of their now unquestioning acceptance of the
evidence-free proclamations of the U.S. intelligence and law
Yes, I agree again (and am
very skeptical of most though not all American
journalism). This is a strongly recommended article.
“Hatred of Trump had become
like some invasion of the body snatchers –or perhaps many of my
journalistic colleagues had never believed in the principles of
journalism that I had embraced throughout my adult life. To me,
journalism wasn’t just a cover for political activism; it was a
commitment to the American people and the world to tell important news
stories as fully and fairly as I could; not to slant the ‘facts’ to
‘get’ some ‘bad’ political leader or ‘guide’ the public
in some desired direction.”
World That Is the Property of the 1%: Wall Street, Banks, and Angry
is by Nomi Prins
on Common Dreams and originally on TomDispatch. It starts as follows:
As we head into 2019,
leaving the chaos of this year behind, a major question remains
unanswered when it comes to the state of Main Street, not just here but
across the planet. If the global economy really is booming, as many
politicians claim, why are leaders and their parties around the world
continuing to get booted out of office in such a sweeping fashion?
One obvious answer: the
post-Great Recession economic “recovery” was largely reserved for the
few who could participate in the rising financial markets of those
years, not the majority who continued to work longer hours, sometimes
at multiple jobs, to stay afloat. In other words, the good times have
left out so many people, like those struggling to keep even a few
hundred dollars in their bank accounts to cover an emergency or the
of American workers who live paycheck to paycheck.
In today's global economy,
financial security is increasingly the property of the 1%. No surprise,
then, that, as a sense of economic instability continued to grow over
the past decade, angst turned to anger, a transition that -- from the
U.S. to the Philippines, Hungary to Brazil, Poland to Mexico -- has
provoked a plethora of voter upheavals. In the process, a 1930s-style
brew of rising nationalism and blaming the “other” -- whether that
other was an immigrant, a religious group, a country, or the rest of
the world -- emerged.
Yes, quite so - and I
(who am very poor) completely agree that ¨the post-Great Recession economic “recovery”
was largely reserved for the few who could participate in the rising
financial markets of those years, not the majority who continued to
work longer hours, sometimes at multiple jobs, to stay afloat.¨
In fact, this is why I
have been writing about the crisis since
2008 (and will continue). Here
is the second and last bit that I quote from this article, also from
Yes, I agree again. There is a lot
more in this article, which is strongly
recommended, but too long
to properly abstract and review here and now.
To understand how we got
here, let’s take a step back. Only a decade ago, the world experienced
a genuine global financial crisis, a meltdown of the first order.
Economic growth ended; shrinking economies threatened to collapse;
countless jobs were cut; homes were foreclosed upon and lives wrecked.
For regular people, access to credit suddenly disappeared. No wonder
fears rose. No wonder for so many a brighter tomorrow ceased to exist.
The details of just why the
Great Recession happened have since been glossed over by time and
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 (!!).