A. Selections from September 3, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
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 (usually) from that item
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
September 3, 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:
This article is by Neil Gabler on Truthdig and originally on Moyers
& Company. It starts as follows:
It has been another rough
patch in the pothole-pocked presidency of Donald Trump, beginning with
his tone-deaf remarks on the Charlottesville tragedy, in which he
demonstrated, yet again, that he lacks even the barest shred of human
decency; then continuing with his rant in Phoenix, in which he
demonstrated, yet again, that he may very well be, in the favorite word
of the day, “unhinged;” and ending with the pardon of Sheriff Joe
Arpaio, whose crime was nothing less than the violation of basic
You have to give the
media credit for calling Trump out on each of these. But here is where
many in the media get it wrong, I think. They have treated these
eruptions as a Trump crisis — what The New
Yorker’s John Cassidy called “Trump’s crisis of legitimacy”
— and while there has been a lot spoken or written about the blow
Charlottesville delivered to Trump’s so-called moral authority, there
has been very little in the media that views this as a national moral
crisis, one which tests this nation no less than war or economic
disaster. Google “Charlottesville” and “moral crisis” and you get
exactly two direct hits — one from a blogger.
I say, which I do because
this amazes me, at least for a bit. Here are my main two
reasons why I
First, I am a
psychologist (with an excellent M.A.) and I have been saying
effectively since February 2016 (when I - who never lived in
the USA -
first did get a decent amount of information about Donald Trump) that
Donald Trump is not
sane. Then again,
by now I am getting rather tired reading the bullshit of the
and stupid a-social
media that he is ¨unhinged¨ etc. etc.:
If Trump does
satisfy all nine criterions for being a megalomaniac aka
grandiose narcissist, and he does, one should
that, unless one wants to insist that one knows more
than psychologists do.
I am sorry, but this
systematic mislabeling of a
clear megalomaniac has been going on for
more than one and half years now, and I think Neil Gabler should use
the terms experts on human psychology do.
Second, I also believe that
it is more justified to speak of “Trump’s crisis of legitimacy” than it is to speak of a ¨national moral crisis¨, mostly because Trump does seem to
illegitmate things, while morality is - in
the end - a matter of
personal taste, and besides, I think considerably fewer persons
capable of speaking rationally about morality than
there are persons
who are capable of speaking rationally about the crisis in
that Trump´s actions induced.
So I disagree with Neil
Gabler on both counts, and can also say in other terms why I disagree:
¨unhinged¨ is by far too vague a term for Trump´s sick mind,
and especially so as no less than 53,000 psychologists seem to
agreed that he
is a grandiose narcissist, with which I agree (although
I happen to think that ¨megalomaniac¨ is the better - more
English, less psychiatrese -
term), while a ¨national moral crisis¨ seems to presume, quite falsely, that moral
judgements are based on facts and/or can be decided by
facts: no, they cannot.
Here is a second bit of
Gabler, that seems also mistaken to me:
So the best way to damage
Trump may not be politically, but morally — attacking him where he is
most vulnerable: his lack of values. The Trump presidency, which has
set our moral compass spinning, demands moral debate as a context for
Trump and his allies. It demands self-examination, not just a few
toothless remarks about the scourge of racism, or a few questions about
the president’s mental competence or his moral authority.
No, for this presumes quite
falsely that Trump has no values. Of course he does
have values, and
indeed he also has a political program, and the values and the program
are best defined as neofascism, by which I mean the following (and
Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions if you really want to know more
And this seems also
Here is what I think: We
should be having a national conversation on morality generally — on
what morality means, on how it applies to politics and on how it
applies to our daily lives, even on how it has been misused and abused.
I am also a
who did not get an - undoubtedly excellent - M.A. in philosophy,
because I had the courage to criticize the utterly incompetent
parasites who were supposed to teach me, and the extremely sick
climate that ruled the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam for 10 years,
having been ruled by quasi-Marxism the previous
So I can judge
and morality, and what I say is that the vast majority of
people do not
have strong rational judgements about their morality ot others´
morality, while those who do have tend to be philosophers, who again -
as a rule, though not always - express themselves horribly.
And thirdly, it simply is a
mistake to say that those you strongly disagree with have no
values. They do, as follows from the last bit that I´ll quote:
Again, I know a lot of
liberals may shudder at the thought of connecting morality on the left
to politics the way conservatives have connected their morality to
politics on the right. The danger is more self-righteousness. But that
doesn’t necessarily follow. We talk a great deal about identity
politics and interest politics. Why not a morally driven politics — a
politics that looks to tolerance, kindness, charity, compassion and
community in nondogmatic and expansive ways, not, as conservatives
would have it, to buy off constituencies, but as liberals should have
it, to do what is right and good.
The politics of Trump
and/or the GOP are also based on morals, though I grant that
morals tend to be based on intolerance, lack of kindness,
charity, and lack of compassion for anyone who does not
belong to the
1% or the 5% of the richest.
But these are
moral values just as well as the moral values of the left.
So all in all I
simply disagree with Neil Gabler, but not because I am not a
progressive, but on grounds of factual personal competence.
Put Eric Holder, Best Friend of Wall Street Banks, in Charge of Winning
Back Main Street America
This article is by
Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Party has put a man who favors Wall Street over Main Street in charge
of overseeing its plan to retake red state America and a U.S. House
Eric Holder, the former
U.S. Attorney General, is the chair of the National Democratic
Redistricting Committee, which promises to unfurl “a targeted,
state-by-state strategy that ensures Democrats can fight back” when the
political maps are drawn for U.S. House and state legislative races for
the decade of the 2020s.
But Holder’s tenure at
the Justice Department did little to help millions of Americans who
lost their homes in the 2008 financial crash, when a speculative bubble
fueled by the real estate industry and mortgage banks resulted in waves
of foreclosures across the U.S. His prosecutors never
put a single bank executive in jail. His touted financial fines
ended up becoming
corporate tax write-offs. The payments to those who never should have
lost their homes amounted to two
months rent, if they were received at all.
In the aftermath of an
election where Hillary Clinton, rightly or wrongly, was pilloried for
her connections to Wall Street titans, the Democrats have put a much
more deeply entwined friend of big banks in charge of winning elections
across middle America.
“Holder just completed [a
run] as one of history’s great double agents,” wrote
Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone this July. “For six years, while
brilliantly disguised as attorney general of the United States, he was
actually working deep undercover, DiCaprio in The Departed-style,
as the best defense lawyer Wall Street ever had.”
In fact, I think this
decision to reemploy the sick fraud who destroyed American justice
totally refusing to prosecute any of the major
thieves that caused the
crisis of 2008 is totally and utterly sick.
And yes, I completely
agree with Taibbi as quoted above, and also below:
Precisely. And I
conclude myself from this that it is nonsense to try to reform the
Democratic Party: A new party is needed, that is not
sold for 90 or 95% to the rich bankers of Wall Street, indeed precisely
as the Republicans are.
“He was a revolutionary,”
Taibbi wrote. “He institutionalized a radical dualistic approach to
criminal justice, essentially creating a system of indulgences wherein
the world’s richest companies paid cash for their sins and escaped the
sterner punishments the law dictated.”
article is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
It is a basic rule from Journalism 101 that when an
allegation is in serious doubt – or hasn’t been established as fact –
you should convey that uncertainty to your reader by using words like
“alleged” or “purportedly.” But The New York Times and pretty much the
entire U.S. news media have abandoned that principle in their avid
pursuit of Russia-gate.
When Russia is the target
of an article, the Times typically casts aside all uncertainty about
Russia’s guilt, a pattern that we’ve seen in the Times in earlier
sloppy reporting about other “enemy” countries, such as Iraq or Syria,
as well Russia’s involvement in Ukraine’s civil war. Again and again,
the Times regurgitates highly tendentious claims by the U.S. government
as undeniable truth.
So, despite the lack of
publicly provided evidence that the Russian government did “hack”
Democratic emails and slip them to WikiLeaks to damage Hillary Clinton
and help Donald Trump, the Times continues to treat those allegations
as flat fact.
Yes, indeed: I agree.
And in fact I also agree with Parry on whom I can trust (or so
seems): The VIPS
(<-Wikipedia), who did work in high
positions in American intelligence and security, but who bowed out
or were forced out because they disagreed with the propaganda
they read, as opposed to mainstream media, that do
engage in spreading propaganda, that indeed has been widely
up precisely because most people know little about intelligence and
security, and also tend to disbelieve that they are not
Here is a summary of what I
just said by Parry:
The Times seems to have
forgotten what one of its own journalists observed immediately after
reading the Jan. 6 report. Scott Shane wrote:
“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. … Instead, the
message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’”
However, if that was the
calculation of Obama’s intelligence chiefs – that proof would not be
required – they got that right, since the Times and pretty much every
other major U.S. news outlet has chosen to trust, not verify, on
Yes indeed. And here
is - what I agree - seems to be the valid position:
In story after story, the
Times doesn’t even bother to attribute the claims of Russian guilt.
That guilt is just presented as flat fact even though the Russian
government denies it and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he did
not get the emails from Russia or any other government.
Of course, it is possible
the Russian government is lying and that some cut-outs were used to
hide from Assange the real source of the emails. But the point is that
we don’t know the truth and neither does The New York Times – and
likely neither does the U.S. government (although it talks boldly about
its “high confidence” in the evidence-lite conclusions of those
Precisely: Those who do not
belong to the intelligence or the security services of the USA simply got
no evidence that what they claim is real, while those who do
belong to the intelligence or
the security services of the USA mostly spread propaganda or
Here is the ending of
What is playing out here
– both at The New York Times and across the American media landscape –
is a totalitarian-style approach toward any challenge to the groupthink
Even though the Obama
administration’s intelligence chiefs presented no public evidence to
support their “assessments,” anyone who questions their certainty can
expect to be smeared and ridiculed. We must all treat unverified
opinions as flat fact.
I quite agree, and this is
a recommended article.
Everything I Do, I Aim to Strengthen Democracy'
This article is by Klaus
Brinkbäumer and René Pfister on Spiegel International. It starts with a
Merkel is running for a fourth term in office. DER SPIEGEL speaks with
the chancellor about the addiction of power, the influence on
politics of Germany's automobile industry and her attempts to win back
voters on the right.
I have to admit that I
like Merkel better than previous rightist German chancellors,
mainly for three reasons: (i) she is - or was for quite a long while -
a real scientist, and (ii) she knows the German Democratic
Republic from living there, and (iii) she seems a bit more realistic
and sensible than many other politicians.
But the present interview seems mere propaganda.
Here is the first bit
that I´ĺl quote:
former government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm became chairman of the
public broadcaster BR shortly after leaving the Chancellery. Your media
advisor Eva Christiansen was a longtime member of a ZDF advisory board.
Your spokesman Steffen Seibert came from ZDF and has a guaranteed right
of return. Everyone talks about the critical distance that state
broadcasters allegedly maintain from the state. Does it really exist?
Merkel: There are
many examples of politicians moving into business
and of people moving
between journalism and politics. Former SPIEGEL journalists, for
example, have advised German foreign ministers - something that should
actually fill you with pleasure because it shows the degree of respect
we have for quality journalism. Guaranteed rights of return also exist
in public service, it's nothing special.
return¨ very strongly helps the very few who do
getting popular with the public to keep their anyway excellent
It is new; it arose
- as widely as it is now - since 2001, and it limits the doings
politics to professors and journalists and managers,
who do get a ¨right of return¨
to some of the best
positions they had, and may exchange their two very well-paid careers
several times; and it is a fundamentally sick and anti-democratic
degeneracy of ¨politics¨.
Here is in fact more of the
continue on the subject of nepotism for just a moment. Matthias
Wissmann, with whom you once served in Helmut Kohl's cabinet, is
president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry. Eckart
von Klaeden, who used to serve in the Chancellery as a state minister,
is now Daimler's chief lobbyist. Your former head of strategic planning
in CDU party headquarters, Joachim Koschnicke, became head lobbyist for
Opel for a time and is now once again managing your campaign. Another
top party official, Michael Jansen, is now a lobbyist for VW ...
Merkel: ... and
don't forget: Thomas Steg, former deputy government spokesman and a
member of the SPD, is also working for VW.
Are you surprised that the German automobile industry has the feeling
that it exerts significant control over German politics?
In fact, this is just
an instance of the schema I criticized (and no doubt all these
can shift their top economical jobs for top governmental jobs a few
Merkel, in the U.S., the president shows disdain for the judiciary and
for the media - and, more broadly, for democratic values. Is democracy losing momentum
around the world?
Merkel: I hope not.
For my part, in everything I do, I aim to strengthen democracy in
Germany and beyond. The United States is also a strong democracy.
And this is also
quite dishonest: The USA stopped being genuinely
democratic a long time
ago, while the leader of the right and the rich in Germany, although I
am willing to agree she still is a whole lot better than the
madman Trump, is simply lying
when she says (as the title also has it)
¨In everything I do, I
aim to strengthen democracy¨.
No, for that is just propaganda,
as is the whole interview.
Incognita: ‘Demistifying’ the Fog of War
This article is by Sean Stinson on the Off-Guardian. This starts with
three quotes, that are quite repeatable:
I like all three quotes,
and would also like to add to the first quote that it seems to me also
the case that personal computing was invented by US
intelligence so as to be able to spy on absolutely everyone
with an internet computer, and thus control them by predicting
their behavior and by feeding them propaganda (or arresting them).
“The Muslim terrorist apparatus was created
by US intelligence as a political weapon” – National security
adviser to the Carter administration, Zbigniew Brzezinski
“The truth is, there is no Islamic army or
terrorist group called Al-Qaeda, and any informed intelligence officer
knows this. But, there is a propaganda campaign to make the public
believe in the presence of an intensified entity representing the
‘devil’ only in order to drive TV watchers to accept a unified
international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country
behind this propaganda is the United States.” – Former British
Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook
“The whole aim of practical politics is to
keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by
menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them
imaginary.” – H.L. Mencken
You may not believe this or disagree with it, but in case you
do, I strongly
recommend that you read Crisis: Propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968 which strongly does suggest
this (for no one can foresee technology of 30 years later without
planning it, and Brezezinski did foresee it quite well, in
Here is more on the real facts:
propaganda is flying so thick and fast lately it’s dizzying just
keeping up with it. For regular readers of the New York Times, the
Washington Post and the Guardian, Vladimir Putin is the new Fuhrer of
American Nazism, while Kim Jong Un is the secret architect of
a newly revamped Syrian ‘chemical weapons program’. Chinese
hackers are suspected responsible for recent collisions involving
American war ships, Venezuela has become an international pariah under
the corrupt leadership of bus driver-cum-dictator Nicholas Maduro, and
Russia is accused of trying to ‘redraw international borders’.
Meanwhile troop deployment to Afghanistan has doubled and the mission
of America’s 16 year long war has been re-defined from ‘nation
building’ to simply ‘killing terrorists’.
I agree - and indeed
until ¨troop deployment to
Afghanistan has doubled¨ this seems mere propaganda to
me, but I do
agree it is very widespread.
(...) the US
administration is now firmly under military control and US military
presence is escalating across multiple theatres. A $600bn defence
budget representing an 18% increase in military spending was
passed in July, approved by 60% of house Democrats. The latter tidbit
is by the way of course – it makes little difference on which side of
the aisle you sit in American politics. The US barely wears a fig leaf
of democracy. The dismissal of the fraud case brought against the DNC
for stealing the presidential nomination from Sanders last year is
ample evidence of this. Leaders are chosen over cigars in back rooms.
It’s been that way since the uniquely underqualified Harry Truman
secured the Democratic vice presidential nomination ahead of Henry
Wallace in 1944, long before the advent of the internet or
so-called ‘Russian hackers’.
I mostly agree, and also
infer from the above that it seems to me as if Trump is
preparing for a major war.
Then there is this, which also seems mostly true to me:
“The rich and
powerful piss on us and the media tells us it’s raining”, so the saying
goes. But it doesn’t take much to draw back the curtain and see the
real machinations at work, most of which are really
I agree that ¨it doesn’t take much to draw back the curtain
and see the
real machinations at work¨,
but I also think this is in fact only true of a
namely of the more intelligent and better educated ones, who also
to read more than the mainstream media have to offer.
And while I agree ¨it doesn’t take much¨ it seems too much
the average (and 50% of all does not have an IQ higher than
100, unfortunately, which is the main explanation for Trump´s
electoral successes: Millions upon millions of ignorant people
who believe almost anything without any rational evidence,
simply because their paper or the news say so).
There is also this:
made” we are told. “We went to war based on faulty ‘intelligence’.” No,
we went to war based on a DELIBERATE LIE. The US military presence in
Iraq between 2003 and 2011 comprised 191 camps, 174 forward bases
and 74 combat outposts. How is it then that ISIS headchoppers were able
to take over 70% of the country? The question is
rhetorical. The War on Terror is nothing less
than a call for bellum romanum, all-out war without
restraint as the Romans practiced against groups they considered
barbarians. Depicting the enemy as sub-human savages feeds directly
into the neocons ‘clash of civilisations’ wet dream.
And again I agree for
the most part. (And yes, the whole war in Iraq was ¨based on a DELIBERATE LIE¨ (and one of the
main liars was Colin
Then there is this, with a quotation of Hermann Göring
(as he was
called) that I have given quite a few times in Nederlog simply because
it is realistic (and I am sorry it is, while Göring was thankful):
I agree again (but a major
problem is that more than half of the people simply seem not
read and think in a rational way for themselves).
Listen to Herman Goring
invoke Plato’s idea of the noble lie at his
“Of course, the people do not want war. But it is the
leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a
simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, a
fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of
the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are
being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and
exposing the country to greater danger.”
To its target audience, the
US portrays its mission in the world as safeguarding globalisation and
promoting democracy in countries which are ‘disconnected from the
global economy’. To those who’ve read more widely than JK Rowling and
Dr Seuss, it’s called practicing imperialism. To be fair when we speak
of imperium we don’t refer to the US alone. Suffice it to say
capital has no borders, and the current class of financial elites
aren’t patriotic to any nation state.
Here is the last bit that I´ll quote from this article:
How long will we
lies of empire to justify its wars of aggression? They lied about
Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo, they lied about
Afghanistan, they lied about Iraq, they lied about
Libya, they lied about Syria, and now they are lying
about North Korea, Venezuela, Ukraine, Iran, Russia, China and Pakistan.
Well... I agree with Sean
Stinson and hope - but do not know - that Sagan was mistaken.
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve
been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the
bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The
bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even
to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power
over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan
 I have now been saying since the 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.
They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
The only 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 (!!).