from January 7, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five 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 will
continue with it.
moment and since more than two 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.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from January 7, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. Trump, Defending His Mental Fitness, Says He’s a ‘Very
2. Seriously, How Dumb is Trump?
3. Libraries Under Capitalism: The Enclosure of the Literary
4. The Fatal Flaw of Neoliberalism: It’s Bad Economics
5. Take It From the Insiders: Silicon Valley Is Eating Your
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:
Defending His Mental Fitness, Says He’s a ‘Very Stable Genius’
This article is by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman on the New York
Times. It starts as follows:
Trump, whose sometimes erratic behavior in office has generated an
unprecedented debate about his mental health, declared on Saturday that
he was perfectly sane and accused his critics of raising questions to
score political points.
Well... I am a psychologist who has been saying for nearly two years now
that I agree with a considerable group of psychologists
and psychiatrists that Trump
is an insane megalomaniac , or to put it in psychiatrese
malignant or grandiose narcissist, which is a personality
And now this madman asserts that he is a "very stable genius".
Well... there will undoubtedly be considerably more about "the
very stable genius" (?!?!) who now is POTUS, but the present article is
Here is Trump's own view, to start with:
a series of
Twitter posts that were extraordinary even by the standards of his
norm-shattering presidency, Mr. Trump insisted that his opponents and
the news media were attacking his capacity because they had failed to
prove his campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential
Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a
total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the
Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan
playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence,” he
wrote on Twitter even as a special counsel continues to investigate
the Russia matter.
I'd say: Not without reason, for - to speak only
about myself, but in a way most men will recognize - it is not
pleasant to live with the constant fear that the madman who now
commands the biggest nuclear arsenal there ever was may have started to
explode the world in a fit of pique.
Here is more on Trump's insane opinions about Trump:
believe that either your IQ is below 75 or else you are
the very stable genius Trump.
throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability
and being, like, really smart,” he
added. He said
he was a “VERY successful businessman” and television star who won the
presidency on his first try. “I think that would qualify as not smart,
but genius....and a very stable genius at that!”
And there is this on the opinions of others:
engagement on the issue is likely to fuel the long-simmering
argument about his state of mind that has roiled the political and
psychiatric worlds and thrust the country into uncharted territory.
Democrats in Congress have introduced legislation to force the
president to submit to psychological evaluation. Mental health
professionals have signed a petition
calling for his removal from office. Others call armchair diagnoses a
dangerous precedent or even a cover for partisan attacks.
I only deal
with the last statement in the above quote:
What kind of utter idiot wishes to deny listening to
the warnings of people who have studied psychology for many years
and say that the president of the USA is mad and may, in his madness,
start blowing up most the world with nuclear arms?! And who cares
about partisan attacks on the president of the USA?! He is a
politician and a partisan himself, indeed whether or not he is
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
boasted that his “nuclear
button” was bigger than Kim Jong-un’s in North Korea, Richard W.
Painter, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, described the
claim as proof that Mr. Trump is “psychologically
unfit” and should have his
powers transferred to Vice President Mike Pence under the Constitution’s 25th
Trump’s self-absorption, impulsiveness,
lack of empathy, obsessive focus on slights, tenuous grasp of facts and
penchant for sometimes far-fetched conspiracy theories have generated
endless op-ed columns, magazine articles, books, professional panel
discussions and cable television speculation.
Meanwhile, I have decided I will NOT believe
journalists whose educational status I cannot control: I have been
reading now nearly two years of baloney by deniers of the
arguments of psychologists and psychiatrists while most of them don't
know shit about either psychology or psychiatry, or else I
cannot find what they do know about it (which is bound to
be very little in nearly all cases of those who did not
But I will keep you informed about the
follow-up on Trump's declaration that he is "a very stable genius" and
about Michael Wolff's book "Fire and Fury".
In fact the next article does take up some of the
themes also treated by Michael Wolff:
2. Seriously, How Dumb is
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
For more than
now, I’ve been hearing from people in the inner circles of
official Washington – GOP lobbyists, Republican pundits, even a few
Republican members of Congress – that Donald Trump is remarkably stupid.
couldn’t be right because
really stupid people don’t become presidents of the United States. Even
George W. Bush was smart enough to hire smart people to run his
campaign and then his White House.
Ahem: stupidity has
at least two meanings or explanations.
is a considerable lack of intelligence,
that places one below a considerably majority of other human beings in
terms of one's abilities to reason and to solve problems. I more or
less agree with Reich that Trump is not stupid in that
sense (though indeed also not intelligent: see below).
second is a considerable lack of both specific and general knowledge
(that are required to solve most problems provided one has the
intelligence). I think it is very probable that Trump is stupid
in that sense: he simply knows very little about politics,
economics, or the environment, and most of what he knows seems to be very
Yes indeed -
and it seems as if most did use "stupid" (etc.) in the second
sense: Trump simply lacks nearly all knowledge that a
president of the USA should have (and be interested in as
Now comes “Fire
Fury,” a book by journalist Michael Wolff, who interviewed more
than 200 people who dealt with Trump as a candidate and president,
including senior White House
Advisor H.R. McMaster calls Trump a “dope.” Treasury
Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus both
refer to him as an “idiot.” Rupert Murdoch says Trump is a “f—king
Gary Cohn describes Trump as “dumb as sh-t,” explaining that “Trump
anything — not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He
halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored.”
When one of
campaign aides tried to educate him about the
Constitution, Trump couldn’t focus. “I got as far as the Fourth
Amendment,” the aide recalled,
"before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling
back in his head.”
stupid, of course.
There is this by Reich on the brightness Trump asserts of himself:
wasn’t exactly an
academic star. One of his professors at the University of
Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and Finance purportedly said that
he was “the dumbest
goddamn student I ever had.”
it seems to me as if Trump never went to any university, but
only to a college, but then I do not want to put too much
weight on that distinction, that is, beyond saying that Trump
definitely did not study mathematics, physics, chemistry or
computing: If he ever did study anything, it had to do with
business and finance.
Then again, as far as business and
finance are concerned, Reich also points out that while Trump did
receive $200 million from his father rather a long time ago, while at
present Trump seems to have about $8 billion, he would have had
about $12 billion if he had done precisely
nothing except get the interest at the end of the year:
Therefore, Trump is NOT a genius in business and finance, I'd
there is this:
But hold on.
It would be
dangerous to underestimate this man.
if Trump doesn’t read, can’t follow a logical argument, and
has the attention span of a fruit fly, it still doesn’t follow that
another form of
intelligence, called “emotional intelligence.”
I am sorry, but
I am a psychologist (that took six years of required university
study in Holland, in the 1980ies) and Reich isn't, and while I
would agree to Reich's first statement in the above quote, the rest
A person who
"doesn't read, can't follow a logical argument and has the attention of
a fruit fly", or indeed of Donald Trump as reported, is quite or very stupid. I am
sorry, but that is simple psychology. (And while I don't
say that Trump is quite or very stupid, he must be if Reich's
arguments apply to him.)
intelligence" is not another form
(which has been researched over 110 years now), but is an
inconsistent and flaky hotchpotch of ideas that mostly seem to suit
people who want to boast some form of intelligence, but lack
an excellent intellect themselves. And it certainly was neither
well researched nor long researched.
So both Reich's
points are mostly baloney
for this psychologist.
This is from
the ending of Reich's article:
But he’s been
a great political
conman. He conned 62,979,879 Americans to vote for him in November 2016
by getting them to believe his lies about Mexicans, Muslims,
African-Americans, Barack Obama, Hillary
Clinton, and all the “wonderful,” “beautiful” things he’d do for the
people who’d support him.
he’s still conning most of them.
conning is Trump’s
No, not really.
I agree that Trump is a conman, but I disagree he is a
genius in any sense. And besides, the success of Trump is far less due to Trump than it is due to
of a majority of American voters.
Under Capitalism: The Enclosure of the Literary Commons
This article is by Gus Bagakis on Truth-out and originally on Op-Ed. It
starts as follows:
libraries, our literary commons, are gradually being enclosed -- sealed
off to the public by a series of acts of our government -- local, state
and federal -- as it bows to the dictates and priorities of
corporations. The public library is one of the few settings where
people can enter for free, access materials for free and stay without
being expected to buy anything. The value of public libraries not only
exists in the materials they lend and the non-commercial model they
embody, but in the commons that they represent: A public
area that offers Americans liberated intellectual spaces, the potential
for community dialogues and organizing.
and I should add immediately that I like the present article a
lot, indeed not only because I am a great lover of books
myself (on paper, indeed), but simply because it is a well-written
and very clear article.
Here is the first bit that I quote:
seems that we
need more money to help libraries to survive, and we need to stop the
turning of our libraries from cultural, educational, community
institutions to commercial ventures. To get a clearer insight into
these problems, we need to look at how libraries were influenced
indeed. Here is some more:
look at the
rise and decline of public libraries, we will see that the changes are
often related to the prime directive of capitalism: profit. If
something goes wrong -- that is, if something endangers the possibility
of profit -- it will serve as a convenient scapegoat and be reduced or
eliminated in the budget of local, state and federal agencies. Public libraries, public education and public lands are three of the current victims
of a shift in capitalism, for they have become "unnecessary expenses" which hinder the need for increased profits.
And here is more:
capitalism is an economic system based on wage labor (working
for a wage), private ownership or control of the means of production
(things like factories, machinery, farms and offices), and the
production of commodities for profit, where a tiny corporate elite uses
its wealth and political power to generate the priorities, finances and
actions of Congress for their own benefit. The
agree with this brief but adequate analysis. Here is more:
variations of capitalism over the years
contain one constant: the struggle between the owners and workers for
wealth and power. Since corporate capitalists have the money and power,
they usually control the society.
end of the
1970s, training immigrant workers was no longer a concern for
capitalist corporations because the labor shortage ended. This was also a
time when public library funding began to decline. After 9/11, public
fear intensified, as did surveillance by the state.
think more factors were involved, but this is also adequate. Here is
business interests attacked the regulated capitalism of the New
Deal and introduced neoliberalism, a variation of
capitalism favoring free trade, privatization, minimal government
intervention in business, reduced public expenditure on social services
(libraries) and weakening the power of labor. Some followed
the Powell Memorandum (1971), a roadmap for the
conservative business interests to rise up and defend themselves
against the alleged assault on "freedom," led by activists like Ralph
Nader, Herbert Marcuse and others who had supposedly taken over the
universities, the media and the government.
an excellent brief analysis.
In fact, I'd say - and see the next bit - that the
old Keynesian capitalism that ruled the Western world from 1946 to 1979
was capitalism-with-a-human-face, whereas the new neoliberal
capitalist is capitalism-without-a-human-face that I also
translate these days as neofascism
(my own definition: check it
if you wish to diagree!)
But neither of these two additions is necessary. Here is the last bit
that I quote from this excellent article:
worker immigration in the '70s and the stress of
austerity due to the rise of neoliberalism led to the decline of
social services, including the public library system, and the drift towards the business model for some libraries, with a
focus on users as customers. They followed the model of corporations, using public relations,
information commodification, efficiency, branding and corporate
sponsorships to supplement their funding. The local, state and
federal tax revenue previously required to maintain public services
shifted to the pockets of corporations, the maintenance of the military-industrial-Congressional complex, or was
stashed in tax havens.
There is considerably more in the original, and this is a strongly
Fatal Flaw of Neoliberalism: It’s Bad Economics
This article is by Dani Rodrik on Rigged Game and originally
on The Guardian. It starts as follows:
indeed - and the very vagueness of the meaning of "neoliberal" is a
sure sign that the term itself is a propagandistic
term, that is, it is not a realist term.
its harshest critics
concede, neoliberalism is hard to pin down. In broad terms, it denotes
a preference for markets over government, economic incentives over
cultural norms, and private entrepreneurship over collective action. It
has been used to describe a wide range of phenomena – from Augusto
Pinochet to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, from the Clinton
Democrats and the UK’s New Labour to the economic opening in China and
the reform of the welfare state in Sweden.
The term is used
as a catchall
for anything that smacks of deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation
or fiscal austerity.
As to the realism: My own first reaction, already quite long
ago, when I first met the term in the 1990s, was to translate it as neoconservatism.
And while this term is a lot better than "neoliberal" I have
since then concluded that the best translation of neoliberalism is neofascism,
but indeed as this is understood according to my
Here is some more on the term:
use of the term
“neoliberal” exploded in the 1990s, when it became closely associated
with two developments, neither of which Peters’s article had mentioned.
One of these was financial deregulation, which would culminate in the
crash and in the still-lingering euro debacle.
The second was economic globalisation, which accelerated thanks to free
flows of finance and to a new, more ambitious type of trade agreement.
Financialisation and globalisation have become the most overt
manifestations of neoliberalism in today’s world.
indeed. And since "neoliberalism" is a propaganda
term, while its real essence consists of deregulations sold as
liberalisations, financialisation and globalisation, I think a less
propagandistic term for "neoliberalism" is "neofascism",
for politically it comes to this, indeed whatever the
economics behind it.
But briefly thereafter one
is led to the Blatcherist
Guardian which cannot even be copied (I am sorry, but The Guardian is
gone forever, I am afraid) and I give up. (I am sorry, but I
had not noticed this when I copied it.)
It From the Insiders: Silicon Valley Is Eating Your Soul
This article is by John Harris on AlterNet and originally on
source of angst
came close to being 2017’s
signature subject: how the internet and the tiny handful of companies
that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present
and future of the planet. The old idea of the online world as a
burgeoning utopia looks to have peaked around the time of the Arab
spring, and is in retreat.
believed in an internet utopia, but indeed I know a lot about both computers and politics.
Then again, this idea was not sold to the few like me, but to
the many with little or no interests in either, and these embraced it
for ten to fifteen years at least.
It may be true that the utopian nature of this idea (which
means it is impossible to realize) may have peaked during the Arab
spring, but I do not know, although I would like to know how
many Syrians, Iraqis etc. have been arrested by their secret
services because they published on internet. (In fact, I have
Here is more on Facebook (which
is an absolutely horrible piece of shit in my eyes):
has reached a
fascinating point in its evolution; it is as
replete with importance and interest as any political party. Facebook
is at once massively powerful and also suddenly defensive. Its deeply
questionable tax affairs are beinig altered; 1,000 new
employees have been hired to monitor its advertising. At the same time,
it still seems unable to provide any answers to worries about its
effects on the world beyond more and more Facebook.
not comment much, but I remark that more than
2,000,000,000 : 1000 = more than 2,000,000 - which
makes it utter baloney, I'd say.
What I selected this article for is news like this, from former
Zuckerberg and his
colleagues do ethical somersaults, there is rising noise from a group
of people who made headlines towards the year’s end: the former
insiders at tech giants who now loudly worry about what their
innovations are doing to us. The former Facebook president Sean
Parker warned in November that
its platform “literally changes your relationship with society, with
each other … God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
indeed. And what I also selected this article for is news like
this, from former Facebook associates:
around the same time, the
former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya held a public interview
at Stanford University in which he did not exactly mince his words.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created
are destroying how society works,” he said. “No civil
discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth … So we are in a
really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion.”
agree with Palihapitiya (but I add that I dislike Facebook so much since 2011
that I visited it at most five times since, and three times of
that were a mistake).
And besides, I also selected this article for its news like this,
this time not from former Facebook associates but from a former
high-up at Google:
there is Tristan Harris,
a former high-up at Google who is now hailed as “the closest thing
Silicon Valley has to a conscience”. Under the banner of a self-styled
“movement” called Time Well Spent, he and his allies are urging
software developers to tone down the compulsive elements of their
inventions, and the millions who find themselves hooked to change their
is a kind of overall conclusion about - especially - Facebook,
Google and Apple:
billion people actively
use Facebook; at least 3.5 billion are now reckoned to be online. Their
shared habits, compulsions and susceptibilities will clearly have a
huge influence on the world’s progress, or lack of it. So we ought to
listen to Tristan Harris and his campaign. “Religions and governments
don’t have that much influence over people’s daily thoughts,” he
recently told Wired magazine.
“But we have three technology companies” – he meant Facebook, Google
and Apple – “who have this system that frankly they don’t even have
control over … Right now, 2 billion people’s minds are already jacked
in to this automated system, and it’s steering people’s thoughts toward
either personalised paid advertising or misinformation or conspiracy
theories. And it’s all automated; the owners of the system can’t
possibly monitor everything that’s going on, and they can’t control it.”
think this is mostly correct, and this is also one of the reasons I am quite
There is little one can do when "2 billion people’s minds are
in to this" utter trash, for the most part also anonymously,
it seems, while all of these 2 billion people are very
consciously manipulated into "either personalised paid advertising or
misinformation or conspiracy
Anyway... this is a strongly recommended article.
have now been
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 (!!).
 One of the - meanwhile many
- reasons to dislike Wikipedia is that
"megalomania", that is a proper English word since 1890,
according to my Shorter Oxford Dictionary, and that was part of
Wikipedia till a few years ago, has been altogether deleted from
Wikipedia, and has been replaced by the awful psychiatrese malignant
or grandiose narcissist.