A. Selections from July 18, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Tuesday, July 18,
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.
explained, the crisis files will have a different
format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items
I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one
selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit
of a taste of the item linked.
So the new format is as follows:
Link to an item with its orginal title,
One selection from that item (indented)
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
July 18, 2017
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:
What Can We Really Do About Trump? And What Is Trump Doing to Us?
This is by the editor
of AlterNet, Don Hazen. It starts as follows:
Many of us feel like
we’re in an unfamiliar and disorienting situation. We’ve never
imagined, much less experienced anything remotely like the behavior and
attitude of Donald Trump. In this new reality, we live in a state where
our leader—the most powerful person in the world—lies consistently, is
completely unreliable and cannot be trusted.
Initially, it seemed like
Trump's presidency would be a bad, but short and unfinished joke. He
couldn’t possibly last. He would be dispensed with, either by his own
self-destruction or his impeachment. But most of us have recognized by
now that won’t likely happen. The most conservative Congress in the
last 100 years wants to impose draconian changes on our society
directly inspired by Ayn Rand. For now it appears that Republicans have
decided keeping Trump in place is the best strategy for achieving their
goals. What’s more, even if Trump’s presidency ended today, Mike Pence
could be even worse, as Al
Trump’s incompetence and
GOP infighting have prevented conservatives from wreaking large-scale
devastation so far. But that could quickly change.
So what is to be done? We
at AlterNet have concluded that a vibrant, effective political
opposition requires that we grapple with what is needed, both
strategically and emotionally, without illusion. It is important to
make use of our anger and constantly push back. But we also need to be
realistic about what works and has a decent chance of success. At the
same time, we must be aware of the toll Trump may be taking on our
psyches and our souls.
To that end, AlterNet is
developing multiple new initiatives we hope together will provide a
source of needed information for the future. One effort, the Trump
Trauma Project, is launching today. More about that in a moment.
There is considerably
more and this is a recommended article.
Incredible Lost History of How “Civil Rights Plus Full Employment
This is by Jon
Schwarz on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Washington, D.C.’s think
tanks produce a tsunami of studies, reports and manifestos. Most of it
has a readership that, outside of wonks and reporters, could be counted
on the fingers of one hand.
It truly matters that
this not be the fate of a new
paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Fed Up, and
the Center for Popular Democracy.
Titled “The Full
Employment Mandate of the Federal Reserve: Its Origins and Importance”
– WAIT, don’t switch tabs and check Facebook! – it’s a history of the
economic policies of the civil rights movement, the movement’s focus on
capturing the Fed’s power to generate full employment, how they
partially succeeded, and why we have to fight right now to preserve
their accomplishments. It deserves to be discussed and carefully
studied by absolutely everyone on the left side of the political
spectrum — Democrats, Greens, Hillaryites, Berners, Autonomous
Collectives, and miscellaneous.
Before looking at what
the paper says in detail, I want to explain my own perspective on why
it’s so significant.
Ask yourself this: When
was the last time you sat around with your family and friends talking
about the Federal Reserve? By far the most likely answer is never,
because you are normal human beings.
But when was the last
time you all hashed over one of you needing a job, or your health care
coverage, or your asshole boss, or the chances you’ll get laid off? The
answer to that is, you never stop talking about it.
The combination of these
two things is truly bizarre, because the Fed has more power than any
institution over everything about work in America.
I agree and there is
considerably more in this recommended article.
3. How Social Media Is Dumbing Down Our Society
This is by Angelo Young on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Mister Young is far more
optimistic than I am, and he also gathers myself under his "our digital era of smartphones and social
In our digital era of
smartphones and social media, it seems nearly everyone suffers from
communication overload. Less than 15 years ago, most netizens had just
one or two email accounts, texting was tedious and costly, and mobile
phones were primarily used to make, well, phone calls.
Today, it’s common for
people to manage numerous social media accounts and email addresses.
One recent estimate claimed the average internet user has sevensocial media accounts — excluding email.
Chunky mobile phones have been replaced by pocket touchscreen computers
that constantly jingle and buzz notifications, pulling their owners
away from face-to-face encounters with other human beings into a
constantly churning social networking vortex.
Experts who look into
such things say that while social networking has its benefits —
professionally, personally, politically — it’s also dumbing down the
ways people communicate with each other. Having so many channels of
communication has overwhelmed our ability to thoughtfully interact
online, encouraging cheap and easy forms of communication.
Instead of taking the
time to formulate a thoughtful reply to an online friend’s social media
post, social media users tend to gravitate to using an emoji or firing
off a brief comment meant to convey little more than acknowledgment.
I do not like that, because I have come to the conclusion that "our
digital era" is the beginning of a planned neofascistic rule
that gives all powers to the secret services and the government;
that smartphones are computers that have been designed not to
help you but to control you by knowing everything about you
including where you are at any time; and that "social media" are
groups of the most stupid people who all exchanged
their privacies to allow spying on their persons, their values and
their ideas, for the benefit of receiving targeted advertisements
of things they like.
Besides, Twitter is one of the tools of the vast majority of
and thoroughly ignorant
people who at long last got a computer, generally in the form of a
smartphone, that allows them "to write" and "to communicate" at the
rate they - more or less - can afford: 140 characters a message,
but with their full generally false name and a connection to
their incredible selves.
I am sorry but this is neofascism,
and I am at present part of its beginning, and I very much
dislike it. I cannot do anything against it other than by writing the crisis series and by refusing to get a
smartphone or anything else than just one mail address and a - large -
site, and by refusing to be part of the a-social media of - eager,
willing, proud - slaves of Zuckerberg and Bezos and other billionaires
who exploit the billions of the stupid and ignorant as much as they can
by deceptions and destructions of their privacy.
And this is a recommended article but it is much too weak in my
opinion. Then again, I do definitely not belong to the
considerable "democratic majority" of the stupid and the ignorant with
an IQ of 115 or less who at present are the vast majority on
the internet, in the social media, and nearly everywhere else.
As far as I am concerned: I am glad I was born in 1950 and not later.
Soon - if Trump does not blow up the world - there will not be anyone
who remembers the days of relative freedom of the 1960ies and 1970ies
anymore, and the standard of communi- cation will be 140 characters
maximal, for ordinary
men and women.
For more on neofascism, the denial that truth exists, and the
extremely sick atmosphere in the neofascist
"University" of Amsterdam, see the notes
to July 15, 2017.
And neofascism (my definition) started in Holland
in 1978, with the official opening
of the academic year, when professor Brandt publicly pronounced in that
opening the incredible lie that (literally, but translated):
knows that truth does not exist."
This incredible lie,
that logically implies that everybody knows there never was any
fascism, that the Germans never killed any Jew, and that there never
were any concentration camps, neither in Germany nor in the Soviet
Union, was believed or at
least practised by 95% of the students and the staff in
the "University" of Amsterdam since 1978.
This was counted by the votes that my pro real science party
got, in 1982/83. And I was removed as "a fascist terrorist"
from the legal right to take my M.A. in philosophy in 1988,
since when neither the "University" of Amsterdam, nor the City of
Amsterdam ,that had me - literally - gassed in 1988 because I protested
the mayor's permission to illegal soft drugsdealers to deal from the
bottom floor of my house, have given any serious reply
to any of my letters and mail.
Much Is a Boss Worth?
This is by Lawrence
Wittner on Common Dreams. This is from the beginning:
I say. This is one of
why I say that in most cases neoliberalism = neofascism
(as I defined
that: see the last link). People who earn more than 300 times as much
as the people they themselves help exploit are one of the best
arguments that capitalism is an extremely sick
exploitative system of and for the few rich.
As a 2016 nationwide
survey reveals, 74 percent of Americans believe that top corporate
executives are overpaid. This public dismay with CEO compensation
exists despite the fact that Americans drastically underestimate what
top corporate executives are paid every year. In fact, the survey found
that CEO compensation at Fortune 500 companies was approximately ten
times what the typical American thought it was.
What are these CEOs
actually paid? According to a
study for the Associated Press by the executive data firm Equilar,
in 2016 the typical CEO at the S&P 500 companies received $11.5
million in salary, stock, and other compensation.
Of course, this was the
median CEO income. Some were paid a great deal more. Thomas Rutledge
(Charter Communications Inc.) received $98 million during 2016; Leslie
Moonves (CBS Corp.) $68.6 million; Robert Iger (Walt Disney Co.) $41
million; and David Zaslav (Discovery Communications Inc.) $37.2
million. A few CEOs didn’t make the list because, as fantastically
wealthy business owners (like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg,
collectively worth $146 billion), they didn’t bother taking a salary
from their companies.
CEO income during 2016
increases over the preceding year, with the typical CEO getting an
8.5 percent raise. Some, especially the best-paid, received far more.
Rutledge received a raise of 499 percent, while Moonves’s pay rose by
American workers haven’t
been doing nearly as well. According to the AFL-CIO
(which estimated average corporate CEO pay in 2016 at $13.1 million),
the average production or other nonsupervisory worker earned only
$37,632 that year. Thus, in 2016, there was a CEO-to-worker pay ratio
There is more in the article, which is recommended.
Search of the Lost Chord: Peace, Love and the Hippie Idea in 1967
This is by Danny Goldberg on Truthdig. It is a selection of the book of
the above title and it starts as follows:
There is considerably
more in the article, and since I was born in 1950 in Amsterdam
(Holland) I do remember the Sixties and the Seventies quite
well indeed, in part - perhaps - because I never used hard drugs, like
David Crosby and many others did, and in part because I never
considered myself a hippie in the Sixties or after: In the Sixties I
was a neomarxist of my own invention, and from 1971 onwards I am best
described as a philosophical
“There is a mysterious
cycle in human events,” my parents’ idol Franklin Delano Roosevelt
proclaimed in the speech in which he also said that their generation
had a “rendezvous with destiny.” The mystery that informed my own adult
life revolves around a different rendezvous several decades after
Roosevelt’s speech. I was sixteen and wide-eyed and there really was a
moment when “peace and love” was not meant or taken ironically. In
terms of mass popular American culture, that moment peaked in 1967.
Where did it come from? Where did it go?
Industry Veteran Danny Goldberg on Channeling the Idealism of the
Summer of Love
The hippie movement that
swept through the Western world was like a galloping horse in the wild.
A few dozen people were able to ride it for a while, some even steering
it for a brief period, but no one—no philosopher, no spiritual figure,
no dope dealer, no songwriter or artist, and certainly no political
leader—ever controlled it. It was the original “open source.” From the
influence of psychedelics to a widespread rebellious ethos that
resisted any kind of authority within various countercultures, the era
can only be understood through a collection of disparate, sometimes
David Crosby, Paul
Kantner, and Robin Williams are among those who have been credited with
the saying, “If you remember the sixties, then you weren’t really
there.” The quote is usually deployed as a laugh line, as if anyone
truly immersed in hippie culture would have been so stoned that they
would have forgotten it all.
Incidentally, since I do belong to the - quite - small
minority of people who are intelligent, learned, and honest, I
was called "a fascist" and "a terrorist" on the extremely sick
"University" of Amsterdan, that removed me as "a fascist" and "a
terrorist" very briefly before I could take my M.A. in philosophy,
specifically because I was not a Marxist, and was pro real science, and
also because I kept believing in truth:
These three attitudes could get you killed in the "University"
of Amsterdam between 1971 and 1995, when there were at most 5% of the
people studying there or teaching there who did believe in truth or in
science, and indeed I was nearly killed there. For some
more, see here.
And I liked this article: Goldberg is my age and I think he describes
the Sixties quite well (although I don't agree with everything he
said): It was - in my opinion, and seen not from the USA but from
Amsterdam, Holland - rather as he descibed it.
This is a recommended article. Also, this was an addition on Truthdig
to the following article that I picked up yesterday:
I found today that
Truthdig had the excellent idea of providing - some of - the text to
the audio. I may review that tomorrow. Meanwhile, the last link
is also recommended.
 I am a philosophical anarchist
mostly because I do not think anarchism as intended by
the - individual, liberal - anarchists is a real social possibility
without a considerable increase in the average intelligence.
(I am very sorry, but that is what I think, indeed also since 1971.)