from January 2, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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 January 2, 2019:
1. Noam Chomsky on Brazil’s New Far-Right
President Jair Bolsonaro
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. The Future of Organized Human Life
Is At Risk Thanks to GOP’s Climate
3. Brazil's Bolsonaro Assumes Presidency, Promises Big Changes
4. A Bold, Progressive Agenda for a Happier and Healthier New
5. The War for the Democratic Party Continues
Chomsky on Brazil’s New Far-Right President Jair Bolsonaro
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! It starts with the
President-elect Jair Bolsonaro prepares to take office on Tuesday, we
return to our conversation with world-renowned political dissident,
linguist and author Noam Chomsky shortly after the election.
Bolsonaro’s impending presidency marks the most radical political shift
Brazil since military rule ended more than 30 years ago. Bolsonaro is a
former Army officer who has praised Brazil’s former military
dictatorship, spoken in favor of torture and threatened to destroy,
imprison or banish his political opponents. Bolsonaro has also
encouraged the police to kill suspected drug dealers, and once told a
female lawmaker she was too ugly to rape. Noam Chomsky calls Bolsonaro
a “disaster for Brazil.”
Yes, and I agree with Chomsky
- and bear in mind that Brazil is much larger and much
more populous than Hitler's Germany.
Here is more:
CHOMSKY: Well, it’s
entirely natural for Bolton to welcome Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro is
definitely his kind of guy. He’s vicious, brutal, a strong supporter,
enthusiastic supporter of torture. He was a little bit critical of the
military dictatorship—because it didn’t kill enough people. He thought
it should have killed 30,000 people, like the Argentine dictatorship,
which was the worst of the U.S.-backed dictatorships in Latin America.
He wants to throw the country open to investors, turn Brazil into a
kind of a caricature of a country. This includes opening up the Amazon
to his agribusiness supporters. It’s a serious blow, if not even a
death knell to the species. It means virtual genocide for the
indigenous population. According to Bolsonaro, they don’t deserve a
square centimeter. But, by and large, just the kind of guy that Bolton
would greatly admire.
Yes, I agree, although -
while I think the human species is very seriously threatening
getting itself extincted, I do not know whether the election of
Bolsonaro is sufficient for that. Then again, I am also not quite sure
what Chomsky means.
Here is more:
SHAIKH: Among the Cabinet
ministers that Bolsonaro is likely to appoint is Paulo Guedes. Could
you say something about his background? He’s going to be Bolsonaro’s
chief financial adviser, the head of the so-called super ministry
combining the current planning, finance and industry ministries. What
is this person’s background?
CHOMSKY: Well, Guedes is a
ultra-right-wing Chicago economist. He’s spent time in Pinochet’s
Chile. He’s been very frank and open in interviews in the Brazilian
press about his plans. It’s very simple: As he puts it, privatize
everything—everything, infrastructure, anything you can think of. The
reason, the motive, is to pay off the debt which is owned by the
predatory financial institutions that have been robbing the country
blind. This will give away the resources of the country for the future.
And as I mentioned, one part of it is Bolsonaro’s favorite program of
opening the Amazon to agribusiness. So, he’s exactly the kind of person
who succeeded in driving Chile’s economy to utter disaster within only
a few years.
Yes, I quite agree
with Chomsky. Incidentally, "privatize everything" = short for
"give everything to the few rich".
Here is more:
So, this is the man who’s
of their great admirers, is now taking over the Brazilian economy. And
it will be a heyday for investors. Stock market loves it. They think
they’ll be able to rob freely. Brazil does have enormous wealth and
resources, which they’re glad to get their hands on. For the future of
Brazil, it’s a disaster, I think; for the region, quite harmful. One of
the things that Guedes has already said is that they may pull Brazil
out of Mercosur, the South American trade system that had been
established and, in fact, Lula had pushed forward. And for the world,
it will also be a potential disaster. Destroying—if they proceed to
destroy the Amazon, that is a very serious attack on the environment.
Yes, I totally agree.
Here is the ending of this article:
I mostly agree, although I think
at least one or two items are missing: Not only did the PT make
mistakes, but I also think it seriously underestimated the grip
have on large sections of Brazil's population. There is more in this
article, which is also strongly recommended.
Elites in Latin America
have no responsibility for the welfare of the country. They don’t pay
taxes, export capital, import luxury goods—radically different, say,
from East Asia, which has developed with much less resources. The PT
did nothing to change this. They also did nothing to open up more
possibilities for a less monopolized media which would have other
voices. And, very unfortunately, they fell prey to the corruption which
is endemic in the Brazilian political class, bad enough, not to the
extent of their accusers, but bad enough. And all of that has given an
opportunity for the far right to carry out this process that I just
described, which led to the election of the most malicious and vicious
creatures of the current range of pretty ugly characters that we see
around the world.
Future of Organized Human Life Is At Risk Thanks to GOP’s Climate
This article is by Amy Goodman
on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
As the death toll from
climate change-fueled Camp Fire in California continues to rise and
hundreds remain missing, we rebroadcast our conversation about climate
change with world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author
Noam Chomsky from October. He says Republican Party leaders are
dedicated to “enriching themselves and their friends” at the cost of
the planet, and warns: “We have to make decisions now which will
literally determine whether organized human life can survive in any
Yes, I agree
with Chomsky. I also assume that I did review the present article in
October, but am not quite sure. In any case, the matter discussed is
serious enough to review it again:
CHOMSKY: A couple of weeks
ago, the IPCC, the international group of
scientists monitoring climate change, came out with a very ominous
report warning that the world has maybe a decade or two to basically
end its reliance on fossil fuels if we’re to have any hope of
controlling global warming below the level of utter disaster. And that,
incidentally, is a conservative estimate. It’s a consensus view. There
are—repeatedly, over the years, it has been shown that the IPCC analyses are much less alarmist than they
Yes indeed, this is quite
correct. Here is more (and Chomsky is speaking):
I should—at the same time,
the Trump administration, right now, is opening up new areas of the
West for fracking, for increasing the use of fossil fuels. You’ve
probably seen maybe discussed one of the most amazing documents I have
ever seen. The Trump department of highway standards, whatever it’s
called, just issued a long report, hundred-page report, urging that all
regulations on automotive emissions should be ended. And they had a
very logical argument. They said if we extrapolate current trends by
the end of the century, the climate will have warmed several degrees
centigrade, meaning a huge rise in sea level, which they underestimate.
So, basically, we’re going over the cliff anyway, and automotive
emissions really don’t add much to this, so there’s no point cutting
them back. The assumption of the department is that everyone in the
world is as criminally insane as we are, and isn’t going to do anything
I fear this is also
mostly correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
We have to make decisions
which will literally determine whether organized human life can survive
in any decent form. You can just imagine what the world would be like
if the sea level rises, say, 10 or 20 feet or even higher, which is
within the range—easily within the range of predictions. I mean, the
consequences are unimaginable. But it’s as if we’re kind of like the
proverbial lemmings just happily marching off the cliff, led by leaders
who understand very well what they’re doing, but are so dedicated to
enriching themselves and their friends in the near future that it
simply doesn’t matter what happens to the human species. There’s
nothing like this in all of human history. There have been plenty of
monsters in the past, plenty of them. But you can’t find one who was
dedicated, with passion, to destroying the prospects for organized
human life. Hitler was horrible enough, but not that.
Again I think this is mostly
correct. There is more in the article, which is strongly
Bolsonaro Assumes Presidency, Promises Big Changes
is by Yesica Fisch, Mauricio Savarese and Peter Frengaman on Truthdig
and originally on The Associated Press. It starts as follows:
Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in
as Brazil’s president Tuesday, taking the reins of Latin America’s
largest and most populous nation with promises to overhaul myriad
aspects of daily life and put an end to business-as-usual governing.
For the far-right former
army captain, the New Year’s Day inauguration was the culmination of a
journey from a marginalized and even ridiculed congressman to a leader
who many Brazilians hope can combat endemic corruption as well as
violence that routinely gives the nation the dubious distinction of
being the world leader in total homicides.
A fan of U.S. President
Donald Trump, the 63-year-old longtime congressman rose to power on an
anti-corruption and pro-gun agenda that has energized conservatives and
hard-right supporters after four consecutive presidential election wins
by the left-leaning Workers’ Party.
Well... I cannot
say this is what I would call "factually correct" - and see Chomsky in item 1 on precisely the same man. Here is some
Once inside Congress,
Bolsonaro and his vice president, retired Gen. Hamilton Mourao, took
the oath of office. Bolsonaro then read a short speech that included
many of the far-right positions he staked out during the campaign.
He promised to combat the
“ideology of gender” teaching in schools, “respect our Judeo-Christian
tradition” and “prepare children for the job market, not political
“I call on all congressmen
to help me rescue Brazil from corruption, criminality and ideological
submission,” he said.
A short time later,
Bolsonaro spoke to thousands of supporters outside, promising to “free
Brazil” from socialism and political correctness.
At least here the term
"far-right" is used - which often means, and certainly in the present
Brazilian context: Fascist
Besides, the last two paragraphs differ little from propaganda.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
This would mean, in my opinion,
that the Brazilian police will stand like Supermen - Ȕbermensche, in
German - above the population they control (and torture and kill, all
according to Bolsonaro). And this is a strongly recommended
“We are counting on
Congress to provide the judicial support so police can do their jobs,”
Bolsonaro said, signaling that he may soon submit legislation that
would allow police to be tried outside the criminal system.
Human rights groups fear
that defense of police violence could shield officers from
investigations of misconduct and lead to more extrajudicial killings.
Bold, Progressive Agenda for a Happier and Healthier New Year
is by Bernie Sanders on Common Dreams (and I am quite glad that
Dreams managed to continue to exist: it is one of the two best
magazines that I can get these days in English).
It starts as follows:
Well... I like Bernie
Sanders, but I would have put this differently. Then again, he is a
politician and I am not.
Jane and I want to take
this opportunity to wish you and yours a very healthy and happy new
It goes without saying that
2019 will be a pivotal and momentous time for our country and the
entire planet. As you know, there is a monumental clash now taking
place between two very different political visions. Not to get you too
nervous, but the future of our country and the world is dependent upon
which side wins that struggle.
The bad news is that in the
United States and other parts of the world, the foundations of
democracy are under severe attack as demagogues, supported by
billionaire oligarchs, work to establish authoritarian type regimes.
That is true in Russia. That is true in Saudi Arabia. That is true in
the United States. While the very rich get much richer these demagogues
seek to move us toward tribalism and set one group against another,
deflecting attention from the real crises we face.
The good news is that,
across this country, people are getting politically involved and are
fighting back. They are standing up for economic, political, social and
Here is more:
In fact, I have been
saying since 2016 that Trump is a neofascist in
my sense of the word (which I think is clearer than any
other definition I have read), which means that I agree with
As we enter 2019, it
me that we must mount a two-pronged offensive. First, we must
vigorously take on the lies, bigotry and kleptocratic behavior of the
most irresponsible president in the modern history of our country. In
every way possible, we must stand up to the racism, sexism, homophobia,
xenophobia and religious intolerance of the Trump administration.
Here is more:
Quite so. Here is
While the rich get
million live in poverty, millions of workers are forced to work two or
three jobs to pay the bills, 30 million have no health insurance, one
in five cannot afford their prescription drugs, almost half of older
workers have nothing saved for retirement, young people cannot afford
college or leave school deeply in debt, affordable housing is
increasingly scarce, and many seniors cut back on basic needs as they
live on inadequate Social Security checks.
And this leads to the following
list, all of which comes with text, that I have suppressed in this
review. If you want to read the texts, click here:
Politics in a democracy
not be complicated. Government must work for all of the people, not
just the wealthy and the powerful. As a new House and Senate convene
next week, it is imperative that the American people stand up and
demand real solutions to the major economic, social, racial and
environmental crises that we face. In the richest country in the
history of the world, here are some (far from all) of the issues that I
will be focusing on this year. What do you think? How can we best work
I do think this is a good
list, and this article is strongly recommended.
Take on the
Make health care a
Jobs for All:
A new foreign
War for the Democratic Party Continues
is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes, I agree. Here
Elizabeth Warren just threw
her hat in the ring for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. If
the Democrats were smart, they’d get in line behind her, or Bernie
Schumer and Hoyer are doing everything in their power to keep the
progressive insurgency in check, and keep their neoliberal/corporate
money machine in power. Beyond the many moral and ethical
problems with this, it’s just plain stupid politics. About the
only way Democrats could lose their 2018 momentum in 2020 is to return
to the same old neoliberal, corporate-friendly policies that lost them
the election in 2016.
Well... I hope this is
correct, but do not know. Here is more:
If the shock of 2016
enough to convince the neoliberals that they were on the wrong side of
history, the lessons from 2018 should have. Specifically, turnout is
critical for Democrats, and a progressive platform is critical for
getting a good turnout.
But the neoliberal
establishment is still marching, lemming-like, for the cliff. The
names being proffered for the 2020 election include Joe Biden, Bet
O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, and an
assortment of other neoliberals. Most of them are feigning left since
2018, but the other lesson from 2016 is that folks are tired of the
Democrats’ tendency to spout progressive rhetoric around election time,
then spring back into the neoliberal corporate party that has left most
of America behind. Since the days of the DLC and triangulation,
Democrats have consistently backed policies that favored the rich at
the expense of the rest of us, and people are wise to it.
Meanwhile, the party and
neoliberal enablers are gathering against the two genuine
progressives—Sanders and Warren—in a confederacy of dunces, just
as they did in 2016. The result of these efforts, should they
successfully block a real progressive from winning the nomination, is
likely to be another November defeat to the GOP.
Yes, and if the
Democrats may win, it may be with a figure like Joe Biden. Here is more:
The fact is, on an
issue-by-issue basis, Americans overwhelmingly poll progressive.
They favor a living minimum wage, aggressive action on climate,
Medicare for All, marijuana reform, more regulation on Wall Street and
big banks, a fairer tax code, a more tolerant foreign policy, prison
reform, gun control … on and on it goes. And this is true even in
This poses a
conundrum. Why don’t people who back progressive issues consider
themselves progressives? The answer is that a decades-long coup
has successfully wielded hate, fear, jingoism, money and skilled
rhetoric to brand “liberal” and government as negative things.
Well... I agree with
the first of the above two quoted paragraphs, but I do have a different
answer than Acheson to the conundrum he answers in the second
paragraph: I am sorry, but none of that would have been
possible if Americans had been considerably less stupid and less
Here is more:
The resulting government
by and for the rich and corporations left the vast majority of
Americans out of the economic growth we’ve enjoyed since 1980. Between 1980
and 2015, the top .01 percent saw their income rise by 322 percent,
while income for the bottom 90 percent rose by just .03 percent. No
wonder people are angry.
Precisely. Here is the final
bit from this article that I quote:
Yes, I think this is
correct - and the rich neoliberals in the Democratic Party (the vast
majority) did what they did the last 40 years because they got
personally a lot richer by doing what they did. They were corrupt, and
since corruption pays, they will very probably continue until
they are ousted from power. And this is a strongly recommended
The thing about power, is
that it is relinquished reluctantly, it becomes an end in and of
itself, and it builds an infrastructure that is often impervious to the
public will. The neoliberals controlling the Democratic Party
have done just that. Their network of donors, their not-for-profits,
their press and media and pundits, will continue to back the neoliberal
tenets they’ve been embracing for decades now – not because it’s
worked. The free market/small government prescription has failed
utterly and miserably for all the but the wealthiest and most powerful.
But this system is their ticket to their elite status, and they won’t
abandon it willingly.
What’s needed is a people’s
revolution and a radical insurgency that restores government to the
governed. Nothing short of that will prevent future Trumps, or
solve our very real problems.
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 (!!).