in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from February 27, 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:
. Selections from February 27, 2019:
1. AOC, Sanders, and Warren Are the
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. Incarceration Is a Deadly Health Risk
Has Already Fired Trump
4. Time to
Get on Board With Bernie
of the Richest
Sanders, and Warren Are the Real Centrists
This article is by
Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
Well... yes, I know the
above rather well and also since a very long time, namely at least 10
or 20 years: Google often lies; Time often lies; CNN often lies; the
Washington Post often lies etc. etc.
Do you know what really
annoys me about the media’s coverage of U.S. politics, and especially
the Democratic Party?
Google the words “moderate”
or “centrist” and a small
group of names will instantly appear: Michael Bloomberg, Amy
Klobuchar, Joe Biden, and, yes, Howard Schultz.
Bloomberg is considered a
“centrist thought leader” (Vanity
Fair). Klobuchar is the “straight-shooting pragmatist” (Time).
Biden is the “quintessential centrist” (CNN) and the
“last hurrah for moderate Democrats” (New
York magazine). Shultz is gifted with high-profile
to make his “centrist
independent” pitch to voters.
Now Google the freshman
House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She’s been dubbed a member of
the “loony left” (Washington
Post), a “progressive firebrand” (Reuters),
and a “liberal bomb thrower” (New
Got that? Biden, Schultz
and Co., we are told, sit firmly in the middle of American politics;
Ocasio-Cortez stands far out on its fringes.
This is a brazen distortion
of reality, a shameless and demonstrable lie that is repeated day after
day in newspaper op-eds and cable news headlines.
And while I do not like these lies at all, they certainly are
well-known to me. But that is not Hasan's point. Hasan's point
“It’s easy to call what AOC
is doing as far-lefty, but nothing could be farther from the truth,”
Nick Hanauer, the venture capitalist and progressive activist, told
MSNBC in January. “When you advocate for economic policies
that benefit the broad majority of citizens, that’s true centrism. What
Howard Schultz represents, the centrism that he represents, is really
just trickle-down economics.”
“He is not the centrist,”
continued Hanauer. “AOC is the centrist.”
Hanauer is right. And
Bernie Sanders is centrist too — smeared as an “ideologue” (The
Economist) and “dangerously far left” (Chicago
Tribune). So too is Elizabeth Warren — dismissed as a “radical
Vegas Review-Journal) and a “class warrior” (Fox
The inconvenient truth that
our lazy media elites do so much to ignore is that Ocasio-Cortez,
Sanders, and Warren are much closer in their views to the vast majority
of ordinary Americans than the Bloombergs or the Bidens. They are the
true centrists, the real moderates; they represent the actual political
No, I think that
is both confused and confusing. I have two arguments, and the first
Even if "Ocasio-Cortez,
Sanders, and Warren are much closer in their views to the vast majority
of ordinary Americans than the Bloombergs or the Bidens", which quite possibly may be true, it
does not follow at all that therefore "Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders, and Warren" are centrists.
I think they themselves will say that they are leftists or liberals,
and not centrists.)
Second, when you find (as I did a very long time ago) that much of the
news is being written by people who are not honest, and use
of misleading, falsifying, or simply false terms to try to propagandize
their versions of things, you should not try to fix the
meanings of the
terms you use to counter these lies (namely by saying that real
leftists or real liberals are centrists).
Here is some more on Hasan's reasoning:
I say - but again (even if
this is true) this does not mean that the Green New Deal is
[H]ere is the reality:
Green New Deal is extremely popular and has massive bipartisan support.
survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and
George Mason University found that a whopping 81 percent of voters said
they either “strongly support” (40 percent) or “somewhat support” (41
percent) the Green New Deal, including 64 percent of Republicans
(and even 57 percent of conservative Republicans).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Once again: If you trust "the daily news coverage", you must be rather to very naive. And as to the
question of the second paragraph:
First of all "a majority of Americans" may be - in some sense -
leftist, rightist or neither for a while, but this does not mean that
what may be a momentary correct view of "a majority" therefore
should be redefined as "centrist". Why can't a majority be leftist
And secondly, the main reason why "labels like “centrist” and “moderate”" are falsely
applied is that large parts of "the media" are often lying. In brief, I disagree
with this article.
Is a Deadly Health Risk
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts as
The former chief medical
officer of New York City jails has just published a remarkable new book
about the health risks of incarceration. The book is titled “Life and
Death in Rikers Island.” Dr. Homer Venters offers unprecedented insight
into what happens inside prison walls to create new health risks for
incarcerated men and women, including neglect, blocked access to care,
physical and sexual violence, and brutality by corrections officers.
Venters further reveals that when prisoners become ill, are injured or
even die in custody, the facts of the incident are often obscured. We
speak to Dr. Venters and Jennifer Gonnerman, staff writer for The New
This is the beginning of a
rather long and interesting article, that is too long to properly
excerpt in Nederlog.
Here is some more on the
reason for this article:
The book is titled Life
and Death in Rikers Island. Its author, Dr. Homer Venters, the
former chief medical officer of New York City jails. He offers
unprecedented insight into what happens inside prison walls to create
new health risks for incarcerated men and women, including neglect,
blocked access to care, physical and sexual violence, and brutality by
corrections officers. Venters further reveals that when prisoners
become ill or injured, or even die in custody, the facts of the
incident are often obscured. He writes, quote, “[W]e work in settings
that are designed and operated to keep the truth hidden. Detainees are
beaten and threatened to prevent them from telling the truth about how
they are injured, health staff are pressured to lie or omit details in
their own documentation, and families experience systematic abuse and
humiliation during the visitation process,” unquote. The risks of jail
are disproportionately harmful for people with behavioral health
problems and for people of color, Venters explains. He concludes Rikers
Island must close, and suggests how that should be done.
I fear that Homer Venters is quite
correct. Here is some more:
DR. HOMER VENTERS:
I believe that
what—one of the things that shocked me the most was the high level of
injury and injury associated with violence. Certainly, all physicians
and healthcare people, we have experience taking care of injuries. But
so many of our patients were coming to us with injuries, and so many of
them were saying that these injuries were from things called slip and
falls. So, you know, patients that come with a fracture to the jaw, a
very—you know, very serious injury, or a fracture of the upper arm or
the leg, and then saying that they had slipped and fallen—things that
just did not—you know, we didn’t believe. But also, it was clear, when
you interacted with these patients, that they were terrified and that
they, actually, in that moment, were thinking very clearly about their
survival and their preservation.
I fear this is also quite
true. Here is some more:
GOODMAN: Why is there so
little transparency? Talk about the silent complicity you describe.
DR. HOMER VENTERS:
You know, these are paramilitary settings. And so, the health service,
in most of these places, even when we have an independent health
authority, we still rely on the correctional staff for our safety and
security. And so, as such, because there isn’t a lot of mandated
transparency about health outcomes, about the true characteristics of
injuries, for instance, at the time we were doing this work, most of
the system is designed to keep information on the inside, so that
anybody who wants to change the original account, whether it’s a
patient or a doctor or a nurse, faces a real gauntlet of challenges,
that not only are bureaucratic and administrative, but actually could
put their own personal safety at risk.
And I fear this is quite
true. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I agree with
There is considerably more in this article, which is strongly
GONNERMAN: I saw an early
copy of this book in December. And a lot of books come in. You know, as
a reporter, you get a lot of—often get a lot of books and people who
want publicity. I started reading this book, and I really couldn’t put
it down. I thought it was so important, crucially important. And I feel
like it covers one of the most overlooked aspects of mass
incarceration. I mean, mass incarceration has gotten a lot of attention
in recent years. But what—the health risks that folks endure when they
go inside is something that I feel needs much more attention. And I
think, as a society, we’ve sort of grown numb to these headlines, like
an individual died in prison or jail, and we don’t really follow up
with the necessary questions. And what Dr. Venters’ book does is really
pushes us to ask those harder questions, like: Did this death have to
happen? Was it preventable? Did something happen in the jail that led
to this individual’s death? And those are the kind of questions the
public—and journalists, in particular—really need to be asking.
3. America Has Already
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
I think this is fairly
unlikely. I concede that there lately has been some movement
towards the left in the USA, but I don't live there, and I am not
certain how much (which anyway is difficult to judge well).
Special counsel Robert
Mueller’s soon-to-be-delivered report will trigger months of
congressional investigations, subpoenas, court challenges, partisan
slugfests, media revelations and more desperate conspiracy claims by
Donald Trump, all against the backdrop of the burning questions: Will
he be impeached by the House? Will he be convicted by the Senate? Will
he pull a Richard Nixon and resign?
In other words, will
America fire Trump?
I have news for you.
America has already fired him.
When the public fires a
president before election day – as it did with Jimmy Carter, Richard
Nixon and Herbert Hoover – they don’t send him a letter telling him
he’s fired. They just make him irrelevant. Politics happens around him,
despite him. He’s not literally gone, but he might as well be.
Besides, I believe Trump is
dangerous as long as he is president of the USA: He certainly
is not "irrelevant".
Here is some more:
It’s happened to Trump.
Isolated in the White House, distrustful of aides, at odds with
intelligence agencies, distant from his Cabinet heads, Trump has no
system to make or implement decisions.
His tweets don’t create
headlines as before. His rallies are ignored. His lies have become old
Action and excitement have
shifted elsewhere, to Democratic challengers, even to a 29-year-old
freshman congresswoman too young to run for president.
Don’t get me wrong. He’s
still dangerous, like an old land mine buried in the mud. He could
start a nuclear war.
I agree that Trump is "still dangerous", and while I also agree with Reich that he is incompetent,
I do not think this makes him less dangerous.
And I think this is mostly wishful
thinking on Reich's part. Also, there is more in the article,
namely a letter "Americans" might write to the president, which may be
somewhat interesting to some, but I think since three years that Trump is
dangerous because he
is mad, and I will keep thinking so until he has disappeared and
has not blown up the world.
to Get on Board With Bernie
This article is by
Paul Street on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
On CNN last week, morning
Harlow interviewed liberal Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode
Island. Harlow aired a poll showing that socialism is now preferred
over capitalism by fully 57 percent of U.S. Democrats. Then she asked
Cicilline if this indicates that the Democratic Party is shifting in
the direction of socialism.
Cicilline denied any such
radical change. He declared all the Democratic presidential candidates
besides Bernie Sanders to be capitalists, and said, “I don’t see any
movement in the Democratic Party towards socialism at all. I know the
president is making that argument; I think it’s a silly one.”
It’s curious that a
five-term, liberal House Democrat insists that his party is still
true-blue capitalist and is making no “movement toward socialism at
all,” even as the percentage of Democratic voters who prefer
socialism over capitalism climbs up to 6 in 10.
Well... I am not
interested in Cicilline's opinions, and I also do not think
this is a strong argument, for the simple reason that at most 1%
of all Americans is capable of clearly defining what they think
"socialism" and "capitalism" stand for. Besides, while I have been
reading 35 papers, weeklies etc. for over 10 years now, I still
have to meet the first journalist who can do so.
Here is more by Street:
That might seem like a
paradox. It isn’t. The Democratic Party is mainly
about big corporate donors, who love capitalism, not its voter
base, which prefers socialism.
There is something for the
actual left to work with here. Think about it: Six in 10 voters aligned
with the political organization that former Nixon strategist Kevin
Phillips once rightly called “history’s second most
enthusiastic capitalist party” now say they prefer socialism over
capitalism. That is a momentous development.
Now, it strikes me, is not
the time to be beating up on Bernie Sanders from his radical port-side.
Yes, comrades, the Democratic Party is an inherently elitist, fatally
flawed vehicle for progressive change. It is a corporate and imperial
institution, owned and controlled by the nation’s interrelated and
unelected dictatorships of money and empire.
I would have been
considerably more impressed by the above argument if I had read some
journalists in the past 10 years (since the crisis) who were
able to define "socialism" reasonably well, but I never
one. (Here is an effort by me: Crisis:
Then again, I do agree with Street that the elected
Democratic representatives are - for the most part - far more
interested in protecting Wall Street or other corporations who pay them
than in helping their voters.
And I also agree with
Street that now "is not the time
to be beating up on Bernie Sanders".
I do not know whether I agree with Street on the reasons (there are
some below), but my reasons are that I trust Sanders;
that he is one of
the few representatives who definitely is a genuine
and also that he has a considerable amount of support.
Here is some of the
crititicisms of Sanders that Street seems to agree to:
Yes, Sanders is a fake
“independent” who is maddeningly
unwilling to confront the Pentagon system and the criminal
Pax Americana. And yes, he isn’t
really a socialist. He isn’t talking about workers’ control of
production or of the workplace (where working-age Americans spend most
of their waking hours) more broadly. He isn’t demanding the overdue
nationalization of the nation’s top, archparasitic financial
institutions. He isn’t calling for a general strike or a Gilets
Jaunes-style rebellion of the proletariat. He hasn’t joined
serious ecosocialists in calling for the Green New Deal he advocates to
be funded with massive, required reductions in the U.S. military budget
Actually, I do not
know whether Sanders "isn't really a socialist", and my main reason is
that Sanders does understand that there are differences
what those who may vote for him want and think, and what he himself
wants and thinks.
And while I do not
know what these differences are, they clearly exist, and one should not
confuse what Sanders really thinks (which I do not know) with the
political messages he is giving to his followers and potential voters.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article, which is a summary of six reasons Street gives
in support of Sanders - and I give all the reasons, but suppresed quite
a lot of text:
Fine, but here are six
for understandably angry and alienated leftists to keep in mind going
First, the U.S. electoral
system is a two-party regime by design.
Second, if you don’t think it’s a big deal that the word “socialism” is
now received favorably by majorities of Democrats and millennials, then
you are too damn cynical for your own and the common good. So what if
it lacks precise and fully radical definition in the national political
Third, as I have previously explained
here and elsewhere, Medicare-for-all (single-payer health care) is
a powerful and sweeping reform
Fourth, we have no choice but to get behind and then push to the left
the Green New Deal, even with its current insufficiently radical
formulation in the hands of welcome novices like Alexandria
Fifth, we on the actual left should look forward to the debate that a
robust new Sanders campaign can force on the Democratic Party.
Sixth, it will be very instructive to millions to watch the dismal,
demobilizing and dollar-drenched Democrats knife Sanders and rig the
game against his majority-backed, progressive-populist agenda all over
again in the 2020 primaries.
I think most of these
arguments are more or less correct, though I do not care for
most of the ideas of "angry
and alienated leftists"
because I am fairly certain most of them do not know much of
politics, history, philosophy and science, indeed like angry and
alienated rightists. (I agree with the leftists, but my agreements
are based on an agreement on basic values, such
as honesty, truth, equality and
science, and not on an agreement in factual
And as I said before: I
like Sanders without agreeing with him on quite a few things, and I
would strongly welcome him as the next president of the USA.
This is a strongly recommended article.
of the Richest
This article is
by Nomi Prins
on Common Dreams and originally on TomDispatch. It starts
I mostly agree with the above,
and I like Nomi Prins. Here is more on the present state of
inequality in the USA:
Like a gilded coating that
makes the dullest things glitter, today’s thin veneer of political
populism covers a grotesque underbelly of growing inequality that’s
hiding in plain sight. And this phenomenon of ever more concentrated
wealth and power has both Newtonian and Darwinian components to it.
In terms of Newton’s first
law of motion: those in power will remain in power unless acted
upon by an external force. Those who are wealthy will only gain in
wealth as long as nothing deflects them from their present course. As
for Darwin, in the world of financial evolution, those with wealth or
power will do what’s in their best interest to protect that wealth,
even if it’s in no one else’s interest at all.
In George Orwell’s iconic
1945 novel, Animal
Farm, the pigs who gain control in a rebellion against a human
farmer eventually impose a dictatorship on the other animals on the
basis of a single commandment:
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
In terms of the American republic, the modern equivalent would be: “All
citizens are equal, but the wealthy are so much more equal than anyone
else (and plan to remain that way).”
Certainly, inequality is
the economic great wall between those with power and those without it.
To put all this in
perspective, the top 1% of Americans now take home, on average, more
than 40 times the incomes of the bottom 90%. And if you head for the
top 0.1%, those figures only radically worsen. That tiny crew takes
than 198 times the income of the bottom 90% percent. They also
much wealth as the nation’s bottom 90%. “Wealth,” as Adam Smith so
classically noted almost two-and-a-half-centuries ago in The
Wealth of Nations, “is power,” an adage that seldom, sadly,
I entirely agree.
Here is the
last bit that I quote from this article:
America is great at minting
millionaires. It has the highest concentration of them, globally
speaking, at 41%. (Another 24% of that millionaires’ club can be found
in Europe.) And the top 1% of U.S. citizens earn 40 times the national
average and own
about 38.6% of the country’s total wealth. The highest figure in
any other developed country is “only” 28%.
However, while the U.S.
boasts of epic levels of inequality, it’s also a global trend. Consider
this: the world’s richest 1%
own 45% of total wealth on this planet. In contrast, 64% of the
population (with an average of $10,000 in wealth to their name) holds
less than 2%. And to widen the inequality picture a bit more, the
world’s richest 10%, those having at least $100,000 in assets, own 84%
of total global wealth.
The billionaires' club is
where it’s really at, though. According to Oxfam, the richest 42
billionaires have a combined wealth equal to that of the poorest
50% of humanity.
Again I entirely
There is a whole lot more in the article, which is strongly
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 (!!).