in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from March 18, 2019
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 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 March 18, 2019:
1. The global economy is a time
bomb waiting to explode
The items 1 - 5 are today's
selections from the 35 sites that I look at
everyorning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. Stop Joe McCarthy-ing the
3. Can Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Be Trusted
4. Parenting the Climate-Change Generation
5. Time to kill off the ghosts of the past
global economy is a time bomb waiting to explode
This article is by
Marshall Auerback on AlterNet and originally on the Independent Media
Institute. It starts as follows:
I quite agree to
paragraph, and indeed registered there was a crisis in 2008 on September 1, 2008 (in
Dutch) months before the Dutch government said
so, and indeed I think it still continues, at least for the poor, of which I
In the aftermath of the
greatest financial calamity since the Great Depression, then–chief of
staff for the Obama administration Rahm Emanuel made the call for
aggressive action to prevent a recurrence of the meltdown of 2008.
Although the U.S.
government’s system of checks and balances typically produces
incremental reform, Emanuel suggested that during times of financial
upheaval, the traditional levers of powers are often scrambled, thereby
creating unique conditions whereby legislators could be pushed in the
direction of more radical reform. That’s why he suggested
that we should never let a crisis go to waste. Ironically, that might
be the only pearl of wisdom we ever got from the soon-to-be ex-mayor of
Chicago, one of those figures who otherwise embodied the worst Wall
Street-centric instincts of the Democratic Party. But give Rahm props
for this one useful insight.
But we did let the crisis
of 2008 go to waste. Rather than reconstructing a new foundation out of
the wreckage, we simply restored the status quo ante, and left the
world’s elite financial engineers with a relatively free hand to create
a wide range of new destructive financial instruments.
Then again, for those who are not poor, the crisis was soon
indeed quite in the sense Auerback uses in his last paragraph.
Here is some more:
Quite so. Here is some
more (and a lot of skipping by me):
Rather than respond to
financial meltdown by seeking to curb the activities that led to the
crisis in the first place, the sheer ongoing dominance of our financial
sector has ensured that policy has merely worked to bail out the big
players, and do everything to keep the rigged casino of the economy in
their favor. Thus, financial institutions continue to concoct
increasingly esoteric and opaque financial instruments that they market
to less financially sophisticated counterparties.
Yes, I agree. This
last bit that I quote from this article:
If you thought the
near-breakdown of the global economy in 2008 was enough to make global
policymakers and regulators rethink their persistent accommodation of
financial innovation and deregulation, think again. Regulators have
continued to accommodate this complexity, rather than minimizing it.
Complex financial systems beget yet more complex (and ultimately
ineffective) regulation. It is better to simplify the system in order
to improve the quality of the regulation and the ease of oversight
(which the complexity is designed to avoid).
I agree and this
recommended article - and I skipped a large amount, because I did not
think it very interesting for most, and also because it was written in
abbreviations - LOBOs, CLOs, CDOs and more - that I think are far
more confusing then writing them out in proper English, but OK.
Absent any kind of
sanction for undertaking more systemically dangerous activities, our
policymakers have therefore made the same mistakes that were made in
the early 2000s: they are establishing perverse ongoing incentives that
increase risk, punishing the timid (prudent?) with low returns. It’s a
classic illustration of Gresham’s
Law, whereby bad money drives out good.
So here we go again. (..) The
crash gave us a chance to downsize finance and restrict its ability to
wreak comparable havoc on the economy going forward. Instead, we let
the crisis go to waste, which almost certainly means a nasty sequel to
2008 facing us in the near future.
Joe McCarthy-ing the 'Socialist' Bogeyman
article is by Will Bunch on Common Dreams and originally on Philly. I
abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed, though I think
I have to add that while I do not like this total nonsense
at all, it
may also be taken as a sign that the American rich have no real
arguments to defend their system or their choices.
President Trump actually
almost got something right the
other day. Americans should be worried about a return of “McCarthyism,” the
kind of list-waving, name-calling, career-destroying mass hysteria that
was pioneered in the 1950s by then-Wisconsin Sen. Joseph
McCarthy, over his invented claims that the U.S. government was
overrun with “card-carrying Communists.” But needless to say, the 45th
president is looking for his “witch hunt” in all the wrong places.
No, the place where I’m
getting the “Are
you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”
crazed vibe of the old House Un-American
Affairs Committee is not from the Bob Mueller probe but by watching
our elite (and elitist) Beltway pundits on cable TV or in the editorial
pages, determined to rid the 2020 presidential campaign of any scourge
of alleged “socialism” that might ruin the utopia that is modern
Also, I hope they fail but I am rather pessimistic for
quite a few
reasons, one of which is that in my ten years of more or less
systematic readings about the crisis (of 2008) I have not read a
journalist (in over tenthousand articles) who could define
¨fascism¨ or ¨socialism", or at least no one who did.
(See e.g. yesterday.)
Back to the article:
I more or less agree,
although I think that ¨the
world’s richest democracy¨
for ¨the USA¨ is much too flattering to the present USA.
[C]an you be “a proud
capitalist” knowing that — riding the top of this pyramid of
demoralized and occasionally suicidal workers — Amazon’s founder Jeff
Bezos has become the richest
man in the history of the planet, at $160 billion and counting,
with dreams of escaping
into outer space. And yet despite that, poverty-stricken cities
that struggle to deliver good schools and basic services to everyday
promised billions in tax breaks and other financial aid to attract
profitable firm’s second headquarters.
Can capitalism itself be
proud of its track record here in the world’s richest democracy — where death rates are
now rising from middle-class, middle-aged folks getting hooked on the
escape of opioids or turning to booze or killing themselves in despair,
where wages for all but the top sliver of corporate executives and
hedge-funders have been flat
for decades, where older people are one sickness away from
bankruptcy and young people are drowning
in college debt for the education that still didn’t help them get
a good job?
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I mostly agree,
although I also wish to point out that the main reason why the
percent may be able to reduce the 2020 presidential elections to
name-calling about socialism is that there are many Americans who are
But this is a recommended article.
I’m frightened that
America’s 1 Percent, their GOP
allies who are desperate to find a work-around for Trump’s majority
unpopularity, and brazen enablers like the third-party vanity (or maybe
to help Trump and his pro-billionaire policies) campaign of
ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz are so determined to make the 2020
election about name-calling and not about ideas to improve America.
That is the new McCarthyism
— using the bogeyman shouts of “Socialism!” to target baby boomers
raised in an era when “socialism” was a shocking taboo, and to slime
candidates without having to discuss equitable things like universal
health care or college affordability. (..) It threatens to taint to the
2020 race so badly that 2016′s ugly contest will soon be recalled as an
exercise in civility, in comparison.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Be Trusted
This article is by
Lambert Strether on Naked Capitalism. I abbreviated the title. This is
from near its beginning:
Yes indeed (and I agreed
with the British parliamentarians who called Zuckerberg a ¨digital
I’ll ask two questions:
can Zuckerberg be trusted? Second, can Facebook become
“privacy-focused,” as any normal human would understand the term?
Spoiler alert: No, and no.
Zuckerberg should not be
trusted, for three reasons.
First, Zuckerberg either
either lies or bullshits consistently and flagrantly. Hacker Noon reviewed Zuckerberg’s
I watched Mark
Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress this week (first to the Senate, then
to the House), I was shocked by how many patently false or misleading
statements he made…. feel it is important to already get some of the
obvious lies out there. I feel that we software engineers and machine
learning experts who actually understand Facebook’s technology have a
duty to spread the word that Mark is either lying or he doesn’t
actually know what Facebook does
The article reviews four of
Zuckerberg’s lies, in detail, and concludes:
For those who are US
citizens, I ask you to consider for a moment the gravity of the fact
that the CEO of one of the world’s most powerful companies is outright
lying to the Congress.
Here is some more from this article:
Yes indeed. In fact, there
is rather a lot more in this article. Here is its ending:
Second, Facebook the firm
lies strategically. From the British House of Commons, “Disinformation and ‘fake news’: Final
The management structure
of Facebook is opaque to those outside the business and this seemed to
be designed to conceal knowledge of and responsibility for specific
decisions. Facebook used the strategy of sending witnesses who they
said were the most appropriate representatives, yet had not been
properly briefed on crucial issues, and could not or chose not to
answer many of our questions. They then promised to follow up with
letters, which—unsurprisingly—failed to address all of our questions.
We are left in no doubt that this strategy was deliberate.
There’s no reason to think
that the strategy of Facebook’s Founder is any different.
Third, previous Zuckerberg
announcements have come to nothing. Consumer Reports:
The company hasn’t always
delivered on past promises. In the spring of 2018, for example,
Zuckerberg announced that a “Clear History”
setting would soon allow consumers to delete data Facebook had
collected off the site and from third parties. Nearly a year later, the
tool hasn’t appeared. It’s now promised for this spring, and it’s still
unclear exactly how it will work. Consumer Reports e-mailed Facebook
for more details about the rollout of “Clear History” but the company
has not yet responded.
Quite so, and this is a
Should Zuckerberg be
trusted? Of course not. Can Facebook Become “Privacy-Focused”? [hollow
the Climate-Change Generation
This article is by
Frida Berrigan on Tomdispatch. It starts as follows:
Well... I have to admit that I
am not much in favor of kids (under 16s, at least) doing politics,
and my reason is fairly normal: They are not yet
have not yet adult knowledge (unless they are quite to very
- and while I was very intelligent, I was also still mostly a
16); and you have to ask yourself whose ideas and values they really
stand for: Their own or their parents´ (and besides, how much they
of science and the rational approaches to the problems they are
Kids are taking over the
streets in other countries, rallying and chanting and refusing to go to
school one day a week.
Young people across the
world are striking
to draw attention to the ravages of climate change. They are demanding -- with their
bodies and their voices -- that the catastrophe each of them will
inherit be a priority for the grown-ups around them. They are insisting
that we adults make some sacrifices to keep their planet from becoming
“We are the voiceless
future of humanity... We will not accept a life in fear and
devastation. We have the right to live our dreams and hopes.” You know
who said that? A teenager. Actually, lots of them, since it’s part
of a letter, a call to action, from the organizers of Fridays for a
Future. I’m hearing them loud and clear and it’s driving me crazy!
Also, I admit that I do not like Greta Thunberg
much, though I more or less agree with her ideas. My reasons are that
she is part from a family of actors, and she also has Asperger
syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and selective mutism, and I
think none of these things are recommendations for anyone (apart
perhaps from expecting that a member from an actors family has an
increased likelihood of becoming an actor).
Anyway... this is about (i) how many Americans agree that there is
climate change, and about (ii) how much those who think there
climate change are willing to pay to stop it:
Yes, I fear that is quite
correct. Also, I think this shows at least in part the reason why
children have become politically active (because the grown-ups are
largely inert), and why I think the children will probably fail, at
least as long as large parts of the adults remain inert.
Seventy-three percent of
Americans now acknowledge
the reality of human-caused climate change -- by far the biggest number
since the question was first asked in 2008 -- but too few want to pay
to make it go away. Asked if they’d spend even $10
a month to address the crisis, 72% of Americans took a hard pass,
57% of them opting for $1 a month instead. Set that against the cost of
your favorite large iced latte with a shot of caramel, a Netflix
subscription, or the Uber ride you summoned when you could have walked.
Here is the last bit from this article that I quote:
Well... I am sorry, but I
do not believe in Monbiot´s ¨complete revision of our relationship with the living planet¨, and I add that though I would like
such a ¨complete revision¨, it almost never happened, and
never in 10 or 25 years. Anyway, this is a recommended article in which
there is much more than I quoted.
But the personal stuff --
driving, eating meat, or buying plastic crap -- won’t, of course, do
the trick. Collective action is needed. Frida Berrigan becoming a vegan
won’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45%. To get
there, we need a whole new set of relationships, as well as rules and
regulations. We need to live collectively, not just individually, as if
the planet matters. We need, as Guardian columnist George Monbiot has put
it, “a complete revision of our relationship with the living
to kill off the ghosts of the past
This article is
by Andrew O´Hehir on Salon. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
I more or less agree with
O´Hehir, but he does not discuss my own psychologist´s
conviction that Trump is both special and problematic
because he is insane.
Then again, I have meanwhile learned that few journalists know
about psychology (or socialism or fascism or many other scientific
subjects) and therefore (?) either do not write about
them at all, or else
reflect the ordinary prejudices ordinary
We may finally have arrived
at the point, at the end of the warm, wet winter of 2019, when even the
most cynical observers of American politics must admit that the
presidency of Donald Trump presents an urgent and unprecedented crisis.
I would count myself among
the cynical-observer camp, at least in the sense that I
have repeatedly argued that Trump was a symptom of the disease
eating away at American democracy, not the disease itself. That’s in
opposition to what we might call the “Stephen
Colbert hypothesis,” which is that Trump’s election was a fluke
anomaly, catalyzed by a uniquely polarizing and toxic figure, and once
we get rid of him things will go back to the so-called normal
conditions of 2015 and earlier.
I still believe this is an
important truth: There is no “normal” to go back to, and nothing about
that period was normal anyway.
Back to the article:
It has struck me all
along that both major political parties in the U.S. are collapsing or
imploding in generally similar ways, even if one of them is a whole lot
uglier than the other. In the last year or so, it has required willful
collective blindness among the media and political classes not to see
that the crisis
of democratic legitimacy has effectively spread worldwide,
infecting virtually every major Western nation and a bunch of others
besides. If the Brexit tragicomedy and the Yellow Vest protests in
France are the most obvious signs of that, they’re definitely not
alone. We stand at an inflection point in history, with the future
shrouded in darkness. Revolution, tyranny or collapse may lie ahead,
and in all likelihood some combination of the three.
Yes, I mostly agree, although
I think I like to add that most of the political and economical
there are, are there because (i) the political and
economical leaders are often both rich and corrupt, while (ii) the
non-leaders are often stupid or ignorant (and
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
It would be the most
Democratic Party thing ever to pick a nominee who is deeply distasteful
to the progressive base, win a narrow electoral victory by peeling off
a thin slice of Rust Belt white folks and marginally increasing
African-American turnout, attempt to rebuild the Bill Clinton
administration atop the smoldering ruins left by Trump, and
unconvincingly claim that the republic has been saved. It won't have
been, of course -- but that outcome strikes me as more likely than not.
Yes indeed: I agree,
and I also gave my reasons just before this last quotation.
This is a
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 3 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 (!!).