from January 9, 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 9, 2019:
1. Extraordinary Popular Delusions
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. Everything That is Wrong with
3. Dems Introduce Sweeping Voting Rights Bill
4. The Silver Bullet to Stop the Corporate
5. A Look Back at Clapper’s Jan. 2017 ‘Assessment’ on
This article is by Mike Lofgren on
Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
previous column, I described how the Republican Party’s Bad
Ideas-Industrial Complex churns out an endless stream of pernicious
But that invites a
question: how did these ideas get so much traction among ordinary
Americans who are being harmed by them?
As Kurt Andersen
exhaustively describes in his book Fantasyland:
How America Went Haywire, America has always been fertile soil for
silly or crank beliefs. And given the whole “common man” rigmarole that
has become an integral part of the national creed, every manner of
unfounded belief that wouldn’t survive three seconds’ analysis has
become folk wisdom or bogus “common sense.”
First this. In case you don´t know who Mike Lofgren is, you can check
the link to Wikipedia. Also, I reviewed the previous
column Lofgren refers
to on December 28, 2018. I think that review is interesting, and I
quote a brief bit from it to explain why I like Lofgren (whom I
do not know at all):
think he is interesting and likeable person - interesting, because he
worked for decades for Republicans, and likeable because he has been
reflecting publicly on this since 2011, and I agree with many of his
And that is still the
Second, there is my own general explanation why (in Lofgren´s words) ¨every manner of unfounded belief that
wouldn’t survive three seconds’ analysis has become folk wisdom or
bogus “common sense”¨ in
the present-day USA.
My own general explanation (which I have not read a single
journalist copy or think of for himself or herself - or that is what
appears to be the case) is quite simply this, and consists of two point:
(1) A considerable amount of Americans - more than 50%,
in my opinion (which might be supported by my high IQ and excellent
academic degrees - is simply quite stupid, and
considerable amount of Americans - more than 50%, in my opinion, again
- is quite ignorant
of most of the basic facts about things they are judging
I also think that both points are obviously true for the more
intelligent academically qualified persons. The reason that I do not
read them from anyone but myself must be that either the journalists
themselves or their editors censor articles in which quite a
few of their readers are disqualified.
Anyway - Lofgren comes close my own opinions, and here is more:
In the three decades
demise of the
Fairness Doctrine, intellectual laziness and foolish beliefs have
carefully been exploited to promote a political agenda. What once were
the foibles, crank notions, and misinformation of disconnected
individuals now have been ideologically weaponized in a way that has
become a danger to the preservation of self-government. Some of the
more common delusions follow.
Yes, I agree and I add
to my above two general reasons two more particular ones, namely
(3) Foxnews and other similar mostly propagandistic
TV, radio or written press, and also
(4) many governmental institutions, who mostly propagandize
rather than inform.
Both points could be
made with more precision, but I - again - think that most persons with
a decent academically trained intelligence will agree with me
(regardless of their own politicial convictions also, I think).
Next, there is a fairly
long list ¨of the more
common delusions¨ that I do
not quote for reasons of space. You can read it by clicking on the above link.
But here is first a
general conclusion of Lofgren:
In practice, a
common sense means attacking public education, arts and humanities,
academics – and, ultimately, undermining empirically-based thinking
itself. Einstein is supposed
to have said that “common sense is nothing more than a deposit of
prejudices laid down in the mind before age eighteen.” Come to think of
it, are his general and special theories of relativity obvious common
Yes, I quite
agree - and in case you need an answer abour real science: No, real
science is not based on common sense; it often is too
mathematical, too technical or too difficult to be followed (with
anything like a genuine understanding) by the majority; and the
ideas of real scientists again are not tested by their
accordance with common sense but by their accordance with -
genuine, careful - scientific experiments.
Also, here is one
I voted for X
he’s likeable/I voted against Y because she’s not likeable.
Does it occur to people that they’re not choosing a college dorm mate?
They’re choosing someone to legislate or administer policy. Like many
other platitudes, this is a frequent media narrative amplifying an
existing prejudice in popular psychology that presumably originated in
selecting high school class presidents.
Now Politico, the Beltway’s TMZ, is
road-testing the unlikability meme with Elizabeth Warren’s
candidacy. Journalists don’t think consumer protection or financial
fraud are subjects that citizens need to worry their little heads about
compared to Warren’s purported lack of barroom bonhomie.
Quite so: Politicians
are not film stars and should not be judged by the
criterions by which film stars are judged.
Here is the ending of this
Liberals often tut-tut
about “ignorance,” meaning obliviousness to facts. It is certainly
that, but it is also something more deeply troubling and less amenable
to correction: a systematic corruption of the power of reason and a
renunciation of critical and analytical thinking. There is no need to
belabor the point about which interests in our society benefit from
this intellectual deformation.
Yes again - and here
Lofgren does mention ignorance, with
which I completely agree. Then again, I think native stupidity
explains much of the rest. And this is a strongly recommended
That is Wrong with Mainstream Feminism
This article is by
Caitlin Johnstone on Consortium News. It starts as follows:
like MSNBC and Politico have been excitedly running headlines titled
“The military-industrial complex is now run by women” and “How women
took over the military-industrial complex“. Apparently four of
America’s five top defense contractors are now women, whose names I
will not bother to learn or report on because I do not care.
I say, for I did not
And in fact I agree with Johnstone about what she will call
(and does in her title) ¨mainstream feminism¨: I met with it in the
early seventies, mostly but not solely in Holland, and for me
(with a genuinely feminist mother; a communist father and mother; and
communist and anarchist grandparents) the feminism I saw
arise around 1970 was - for the most part - not proper feminism.
I still think so. Here is more by Johnstone:
of men (and the occasional cultishly servile woman) like to bitch about
the problem with modern feminism as though it is something that hurts
men, threatens men, demonizes men, or robs men of their place in
society or anything else they feel entitled to. This is all dopey
nonsense which amounts to nothing other than a childish temper tantrum
over men losing control over women that they never should have had in
the first place; it’s people whining about losing their slaves. That
imaginary piffle is not what is wrong with mainstream feminism. What is
wrong with mainstream feminism is exemplified perfectly in a mass media
parade celebrating the rise of women to the top of the most depraved
industry on earth.
not agree with everything she says, but I agree with the ending of the
above quoted paragraph, although that is not the only thing that is
wrong with ¨mainstream feminism¨.
Here is more:
problem that true feminism seeks to address is not that there aren’t
enough women at the top of the corporate ladder, or that Americans
refused to elect a woman to do the bombing, exploiting and oppressing
in 2016. The problem has always been that we’re trying to value women
with a value system created by a few very powerful men. By leaving in
place the value system created by patriarchy (i.e. capitalism), we are
now valuing women but only for their ability to play men’s games.
this is not how I would formulate the point, but I agree
that ¨mainstream feminism¨ is mostly valuing women ¨for their ability to play men’s
- and in fact, this is also how for
feminism¨ did succeed in making very many women
wage slaves (rather than being paid for the work they did in their
own houses, and giving birth to children, and mostly raising them).
Here is more:
men will knee-jerk argue that they too are slaves to the
corporatocracy, and that’s true. That’s what you get when you don’t
change a valuing system that was created by slave-owners to distract
their slaves from killing them and to keep them working anyway. That’s
what you get when you insist everyone change to suit a system that was
created by power to keep power in place. We laugh about how indigenous
people were fooled into handing over vast swathes of their land for
handfuls of shiny shells, while we hand over our labor, our land, our
rights and our freedoms for paper rectangles, today.
And this is again not
how I would formulate similar points, but I mostly agree. Then again, I
also disagree with something: I think there are fundamental differences
between being a wage slave and being a slave.
But I will not try to articulate the differences here and now. Here is
the last bit that I quote from this article:
feminism doesn’t hold that the world would be better off if women ran
things; shifting control from one gender to the other would change very
little as long as the current valuing system remains in place. True
feminism holds that all of humanity needs to change its valuing system
to one which rewards feminine work as much as masculine, instead of
only rewarding women when they succeed at climbing the ladder of the
basically agree, and this is a strongly recommended article.
controlling the military-industrial complex is not feminism, it’s toxic
masculinity. It’s the fruit of the sick valuing system that is
blackening our air, poisoning our water, filling the oceans with
plastic, bulldozing the rainforests, and marching us toward the brink
of nuclear Armageddon. True feminism means turning away from the toxic
valuing system which elevates the most ambitious sociopaths and toward
one which values empathy, collaboration, nurturing and peace instead.
Introduce Sweeping Voting Rights Bill
is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts
with the following introduction:
think this is all true, but I must add that I have strong
reservations about Mother Jones, that I also recently stopped
reading. My reasons are that Mother Jones - without any comment
that I saw - suddenly turned uncopyable (which I think is
an utter shame) and at the same time started gilding the
signatures of their leaders and publishing highly artificial
film star portraits of them.
Voting rights activists
hailing a new House bill that aims to restore voting rights to
millions, crack down on the influence of dark money in politics,
restore the landmark Voting Rights Act, establish automatic and
same-day voter registration and other measures. The bill has been
dubbed the For the People Act. It is the first piece of legislation
introduced by the new Democratic majority in the House. We speak with
Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones, reporting fellow at The
Nation Institute and author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle
for Voting Rights in America.” His latest piece is titled “Democrats’
First Order of Business: Making It Easier to Vote and Harder to Buy
In fact, I think that is pretty sick: If this goes on, soon everyone
has to pay for everything there is on the internet. And because I think
so, I totally stopped reading Mother Jones. Also, I say so here
and now because it does seem to me somewhat relevant.
Here is more:
GOODMAN: Voting rights
advocates are hailing a new House bill that aims to restore voting
rights to millions, crack down on the influence of dark money in
politics, restore the landmark Voting Rights Act, establish automatic
and same-day voter registration, and other measures. On Friday,
Democratic Congressmember John Sarbanes of Maryland introduced the bill.
We heard loud and clear from the American people that they feel left
out and locked out too often from their own democracy, that they want
us to fight the culture of corruption. They want us to clean up
Washington, fix the system and give them their voice back. They want to
be able to get to the ballot box without having to run an obstacle
course. They want it to be easy, not hard, to register and vote in
America. And HR 1 will address that concern.
I probably agree with the
proposed new bill (but have not read it). Here is more:
GOODMAN: Explain this
first act in the Democratic House.
BERMAN: It’s a huge bill.
It basically includes so many things that democracy reform advocates
have been arguing for decades are necessary. It really is the most
important democracy reform bill introduced since the Watergate era.
On voting rights, it would
include things like automatic voter registration, Election Day
registration, restoring voting rights to ex-felons, making Election Day
a federal holiday. This is the most significant voting rights bill,
probably, since the introduction of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
On money in politics, it
would include public financing of congressional elections, which would
be huge, to try to counteract the amount of dark money that we see in
the system right now, the huge amount of corporate money that we see in
the system right now.
And on ethics and lobbying
reform, one of the things it does is say that any sitting president and
vice president has to release their tax returns, which, of course, is
so important, because Donald Trump was the first candidate and the
first president in 40 years not to release his taxes.
So, taken together—massive
expansion of voting rights, a crackdown on dark money, huge lobbying
and ethics reform—it’s incredibly significant this was the first thing
that House Democrats said they wanted to do out of the gate.
I agree with all of
the above. But there is a question: Will the bill be passed?
GOODMAN: And what are its
chances of not just passing in the House, but, of course, being
enacted, because it’s President Trump who has to sign off on it?
BERMAN: Well, it has no
chance right now. I mean, all the things I just talked about are
anathema to President Trump and to Mitch McConnell, who controls the
Senate. I think it has a very good chance of passing in the House. But
when it comes to the Senate, when it comes to President Trump, this is
as much a political document as a legislative document.
What House Democrats want
to do is they want to say, “This is what we stand for. This is what we
believe in. And this is what our democracy needs.”
I appreciate that Berman
concedes that the bill ¨has no
chance right now¨, but I think he
should have added something about ¨the Democrats¨, who seem to me far
less unified than they are presented here.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
GOODMAN: Talk about what’s
happening in Florida. Tomorrow is a major deadline.
BERMAN: Huge day. So, in
the last election, Florida voters restored voting rights to ex-felons.
There was an amendment called Amendment 4; 64.5 percent of the public
approved it, which was a huge number, basically saying that people that
have paid their debt to society should get their voting rights back.
That could lead to up to 1.4 million people getting their right to vote
back. And tomorrow is the day in which ex-felons in Florida can
register to vote for the first time. This is a huge day for democracy
I think this has been passed,
and this is a recommended article.
Silver Bullet to Stop the Corporate State Pillage
is by Lee Camp on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Yes, I basically agree and
I add two explanations in case some readers may not know them.
Every year a certain number
of our soldiers decide they’d rather not be involved in shooting people
they don’t know so that ExxonMobil can have more oil or Lockheed Martin
can make more cash or MSNBC / Fox News can give their hosts topics for
their upcoming poetry books. Basically, these soldiers do something
horrifying, something terrible, something often called “treasonous” …
They — wait for it — think for themselves!
(Glass shatters. Woman
screams. Baby cries.)
Nothing is more frightening
for our endless war machine than a military grunt who thinks for him or
herself. They’re supposed to do nothing more than follow
orders. They’re supposed to ask a superior officer for
permission to wear a different color pair of socks. That’s right — the
biggest, toughest gladiators in our society have to get authorization
to switch from boxers to briefs.
I’ll get to what this has
to do with our inverted totalitarian corporate pillaging in a moment.
First, Richard Nixon changed the American army from an army that was drafted
from the whole - male - population (which risked that the sons of the
rich could get drafted) to something that is sometimes called ¨a
I think - from a democratic point of view - that this was a bad
And second, in case you don´t know what inverted
totalitarianism means, there is the last link, and also a series
of fine interviews Chris Hedges made with Sheldon Wolin
(who originated the term) in 2014, which is summarized and linked in my
Nederlog of November 8, 2014.
Here is more from the article:
I think this is slightly
misleading, in part because war is - in some situations - supported
by many persons, and in part because the whole - psychiatric - term
¨sociopathy¨ is utter bullshit
(in my psychologist´s opinions), for all it means that you are ill
(which is what ¨pathy¨ means) according to psychiatrists if you
disagree with the current norms in your society.
Why is it they would need
a war? Oh, I know — because it’s completely unjustifiable. For
activities people naturally agree with or enjoy doing, you don’t have
to advertise them. Like you don’t see ads saying, “Hey, feed
your kids. … Don’t forget.” Or a commercial saying, “Try having sex
some time. It’s fun!” That stuff comes pretty naturally. But you do
need promotion (Read: media propaganda) for our endless war games
because it does not come naturally to most of us. War comes
naturally to sociopaths, and then it’s sold to the rest of
us, much like a used car or an ill-advised timeshare in Cleveland.
That is not sound science, but is sound totalitarianism,
Back to the article:
show up in the grand hallways of the famously lockstep mainstream media
outlets. Just last week, veteran national security journalist William
Arkin left his job at NBC and MSNBC and basically blasted them
in an open letter “… for becoming captive and subservient to
the national security state, reflexively pro-war… and now the prime
propaganda instrument of the War Machine’s promotion of militarism and
imperialism.” Of course, anyone who regularly reads independent outlets
like Truthdig would probably say Mr. Arkin is roughly 30 years late to
this realization. Yet it still takes nerve, gonads and a spine to turn
against your employer while calling them out for manufacturing consent
for hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths.
I think this is
mostly correct, although I am less inclined than Lee Camp seems to be
to say that he was ¨roughly
30 years late to this realization¨, indeed in part because I do not know of many
such conversions among journalists or other persons.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Well... in one sense I
agree, and indeed think similar things since over 50 years, but in
another sense I disagree, for the fairly simple reasons that (i) the
majority of persons is neither quite or very intelligent nor educated
by parents who disagree with the norms of the society in which they live,
while also (ii) there is rather a lot of pressure and propaganda
imposed on everyone just so that they behave (in public) as if they are
The truth is, we the people
may not have that much power. We don’t control our democracy anymore
now that every decision is based on money. We can’t instantly change
the entire system. But we have one very powerful tool — we have the
power of our labor.
Millions of Americans, and
hundreds of millions worldwide, work for corporations or organizations
that do evil every single day. This list includes:
- People at the big banks
that fund the destruction of our world
- Officials sent to steal
children from their mothers and fathers
- People working at big
oil companies, pushing papers while knowing we only have 11
years left to completely change our behavior
- Soldiers told to drone
bomb a guy they’ve never met before
- Merchants in charge of
selling Kid Rock T-shirts
The list is endless, and
ALL of these people have the ability to say “I object. I will not help
with your villainy.”
If they all objected — we
would see a different world overnight.
But this is a recommended article, although I do not think it
will make many ordinary
persons less ordinary.
Look Back at Clapper’s Jan. 2017 ‘Assessment’ on Russia-gate
is by Ray McGovern
on Consortium News. It has a subtitle:
On the 2nd
anniversary of the “assessment” blaming Russia for “collusion” with
Trump there is still no evidence other than showing the media
“colluded” with the spooks, says Ray McGovern.
I quote this because I
agree with it, and do since two years as well, and in
fact wrote quite a few reviews in Nederlog which said the same. (And if
you do not know who Ray McGovern is, check out the link.)
Here is more:
The banner headline
atop page one of The New York Times print edition two years ago today,
on January 7, 2017, set the tone for two years of Dick Cheney-like
chicanery: “Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says.”
Yes indeed. And here is
Under a media drumbeat of
anti-Russian hysteria, credulous Americans were led to believe that
Donald Trump owed his election victory to the president of Russia,
whose “influence campaign” according to the Times quoting the
intelligence report, helped “President-elect Trump’s election chances
when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton.”
Hard evidence supporting the
media and political rhetoric has been as elusive as proof of weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq in 2002-2003. This time, though, an alarming
increase in the possibility of war with nuclear-armed Russia has ensued
— whether by design, hubris, or rank stupidity. The possible
consequences for the world are even more dire than 16 years of war and
destruction in the Middle East.
Buried in an inside
page of the Times on Jan. 7, 2017 was a cautionary paragraph in an
analysis by reporter Scott Shane. It seems he had read the ICA all the
way through, and had taken due note of the derriere-protecting caveats
included in the strangely cobbled together report. Shane had to wade
through nine pages of drivel about “Russia’s Propaganda Efforts” to
reach Annex B with its curious disclaimer:
“Assessments are based on collected information, which is often
incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and
precedents. … High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the
assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”
Small wonder, then, that Shane
noted: “What is missing from the public report is what many Americans
most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims
that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a
Since then, Shane has
evidently realized what side his bread is buttered on and has joined
the ranks of Russia-gate aficionados.
Yes again. There is
rather a lot more in the article that I skip, in considerable part
because I did write a fair amount about what I tend to call
Russia-gate already. (See the indexes.)
This is from the ending:
Clapper and the
directors of the CIA, FBI, and NSA briefed President Obama on the ICA
on Jan. 5, 2007, the day before they briefed President-elect Trump. At
Carnegie, I asked Clapper to explain why President Obama still had
serious doubts. On Jan. 18, 2017, at his final press conference,
Obama saw fit to use lawyerly language to cover his own derriere,
saying: “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to
the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was
witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the
DNC e-mails that were leaked.”
I am rather sure that the first
¨2007¨ above must in fact be a typo for ¨2017¨, but I agree with the
rest and this is a recommended article.
So we end up with
“inconclusive conclusions” on that admittedly crucial point. In other
words, U.S. intelligence does not know how the DNC emails got to
WikiLeaks. In the absence of any evidence from NSA (or from its foreign
partners) of an Internet hack of the DNC emails the claim that “the
Russians gave the DNC emails to WikiLeaks” rests on thin gruel. After
all, these agencies collect everything that goes over the Internet.
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 (!!).