from January 8, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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 8, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. Corpses of Souls
2. ‘Like, Really Smart’
3. Trump Is Now Dangerous—That Makes His Mental Health a
4. Time to Overthrow Our Rulers
5. The Rapid Rise of a Digital-Corporate Neo-Feudalist
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:
1. Corpses of
This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Percy in his 1971 dystopian novel “Love in the Ruins” paints a
picture of a morally degenerate America consumed by hedonism, wallowing
in ignorance, led by kleptocrats and fools, fragmented into warring and
often violent cultural extremes and on the cusp of a nuclear war. It is
a country cursed by its failure to address or atone for its original
sins of genocide and slavery. The ethos of ceaseless capitalist
expansion, white supremacy and American
exceptionalism, perpetuated overseas in the country’s imperial
wars, eventually consumes the nation itself.
heard of Walker
Percy (American, 1916-1990) before today, but indeed in spite of my
massive reading there is very much more that I did not
read than I did (as is the case for everyone). And Percy seems
to have seen some things quite correctly, as shown by the above
Also, Percy and his wife converted to Catholicism in 1947, and Percy
started as ¨a Catholic writer¨ in 1956 - which makes him probably a bit
more interesting to the Protestant minister Chris Hedges. I cannot
judge this very well (but indeed I am a philosopher and an atheist).
Here is more about Percy´s ideas (in his “Love in the
echoing the Christian existentialist Søren Kierkegaard, argues
that the capitalist, rationalist ethic that crushed empathy and
understanding and replaced it with the primacy of personal gain,
cruelty and profit doomed Western civilization. The basest lusts are
celebrated by capitalism. Success is defined by material advancement,
power and the attainment of celebrity. Those, like Donald Trump, who
amass enormous wealth, often by cheating, abusing and defrauding their
employees and associates, are treated like pagan idols.
think that is quite correct. Here is more:
capitalist elites have used propaganda, money and the marginalizing of
their critics to erase the first three of philosopher John Locke’s
elements of the perfect state: liberty, equality and freedom. They
exclusively empower the fourth, property. Liberty and freedom in the
corporate state mean the liberty and freedom of corporations and the
rich to exploit and pillage without government interference or
regulatory oversight. And the single most important characteristic of
government is its willingness to use force, at home and abroad, to
protect the interests of the property classes. This abject surrender of
the state to the rich is expressed at this moment in the United States
in the new tax code and the dismantling of environmental regulations.
this also seems correct to me.
In fact, I also have something like ¨a solution¨ (in principle:
it will be very difficult to realize it), namely the legal
restrictions of property and power and the introduction of a
kind of socialism, where the state does not control or own the
means of production.
There is some more in my ¨On
that I recommend that you read if you have not, but I think none of it
be realized without a foregoing deep economical crisis - and
even if there is a deep economical crisis, it still may turn
or feudalism rather than socialism: I do not
believe in the necessity of moral progress.
Back to Percy or in fact Hedges:
our institutions are corrupted by a neoliberal ideology.
It has contaminated the press, the academy, the arts, the courts and
religious institutions. (..) The liberal church, like the bankrupt
liberal class, holds up multiculturalism and identity politics as an
ethical imperative and ignores the primacy of economic justice.
indeed, but I have two rather general but pertinent remarks on
First, I think ¨neoliberalism¨ is and was a propaganda
term. In fact most though not all neoliberals are a kind of neofascists
(in my sense: read my definition!). I have explained
this quite a few times before, and here will only insist on it: Milton Friedman
(and others of similar convictions) was not so much an
economist as an ideologist,
and his ideology was for profit and for the rich, and
indeed it strongly assisted the growth of neofascism in Chili,
after the murder of Salvador Allende.
Second, in my experience ¨multiculturalism¨ and ¨identity politics¨, that
incidentally always were combined (in my experience) with political
correctness, started in Holland in the Dutch universities in
the later 1970ies, indeed propelled by early forms of postmodernism.
And Hedges is also correct that in fact from the later 1970ies
onwards, these corruptions of real leftism were presented
by many (in the universities) as if they were the Real Left, which they
were not at all. 
Here is Hedges on ¨today´s secularists¨, which I think he should have
widened to something like ¨today´s ordinary men¨
or ¨today´s typical ¨civilization¨ in the West¨:
secularists have their own forms of hedonism, self-worship and
idolatry. Spirituality is framed by puerile questions: How is it with
me? Am I in touch with myself? Have I achieved happiness and inner
peace? Have I, along with my life coach, ensured that I have reached my
full career potential? Am I still young-looking?
indeed - but as I said, this does not apply merely to
secularists, but simply to the majority anywhere in the West:
They are hedonistic, they worship themselves, and they are only
interested in their own welfare, their own incomes, and
- at best - some of their own family and friends.
It is a culture
based on self-absorption, a vain quest for eternal youth, and
narcissism. Any form of suffering, which is always part of
self-sacrifice, is to be avoided. The plight of our neighbor is
In fact, this is why I referred to ¨Sick Souls¨ in the title of today´s
Nederlog: I agree with Hedges, but not just about secularists, but
simply about the majority of persons alive in the West.
But I don´t quite agree with Hedges about this judgement:
single-minded pursuit of happiness, with happiness equated with wealth
and power, creates a population consumed by anxiety and self-loathing.
Few achieve the imagined pinnacle of success, and those who do are
reasons are mostly philosophical: Happiness - in some sense, that is
usually not well-defined - is supposed to be the main end by very many,
and indeed for quite a few happiness seems to be identified with wealth
I disagree with that identification, as does Chris Hedges, but it is
quite common. Then again, Hedges is quite corrrect in
saying that ¨[f]ew achieve the imagined pinnacle of success¨ for the very
simple reason that only a small percentage of everyone can be really
rich, as things are set up politically, economically and legally: At
least 90% of everyone will not owe much or anything, and will have to
work in order to live (somewhat tolerably).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article (and it is well to
remember that it seems Percy in fact descrined the universities in the
USA from the late 1960ies):
in the universities, radical multiculturalists and moral purists “are a
shaky dogmatic lot,” Percy writes. “And the ‘freer’ they are, the more
dogmatic. At heart they’re totalitarians: they want either total
dogmatic freedom or total dogmatic unfreedom, and the one thing that
makes them unhappy is something in between.”
fact I quite agree with Percy on totalitarianism,
though I should add that Percy, and Orwell, and Arendt, and very
many other persons who did write on totalitarianism since
the early 1940ies are quite mistaken according to the anonymous
falsifiers Wikipedia employs these days, for these falsifiers insist
that no person, no ideology, no political
party, no book, no plan, no proposal, no
attitude, and no mode of thinking, of valueing or of feeling
can ever be totalitarian, for the only thing that can
be totalitatian, according to the utterly lying or totally ignorant
falsifiers of Wikipedia, are states.
Also, I did meet very many of these totalitarians in the
¨University¨ of Amsterdam, where it seems many also were - until ca.
1984 - members of the Dutch Communist Party (and nowadays all are
¨neoconservatives¨, according to themselves).
Ah well... this is a strongly recommended article (even though
Hedges must be an obscurantist - who knows, a fascist, like I was
depicted falsely in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam  - according to
the anonymous figures who are destroying the Wikipedia, for these
insist only states can be totalitarian).
This article is by Charles M. Blow on The New York Times. It starts as
follows - and you should understand that this article continues Trump´s assessment of Trump as ¨a very
applying clinical diagnoses to people, and that includes Donald Trump.
I’m not a doctor, and a proper diagnosis would require a personal
But I would be
basking in false virtue if I simply pretended that I’m not aware that
some of the behaviors displayed by this man line up with the symptoms
of certain personality disorders.
So I must couch
my concerns this way: There is no way for me to know for sure, but all
indications lead me to believe that Donald Trump struggles to fit into
the frame of what we call normal behavior, and he often fails at it in
And it is not
only you and I worried about the president’s mental stability.
According to Michael Wolff’s “Fire
and Fury,” the book that has so gotten under the president’s skin
and into his mind, those closest to him also worry about his mental
am not a doctor either, but I am a psychologist (and a
philosopher). And since ¨clinical diagnoses¨ are made by
clinicians, who are normally - in case of mental diagnoses -
psychiatrists or psychologists, it is not merely a matter of
personal resistance but a mere matter of logic that Blow cannot
clinically diagnose other
again, and in various good senses, everybody diagnoses
a great lot of things in some ways, that may be
rational or reasonable or not, and such diagnoses indeed are
the right of everybody (and may be quite mistaken).
fact, psychologists and psychiatrists (some, not all) have been
warning that either Trump is not
mentally sane for a rather long time (and now know he
regards himself as ¨a very stable genius¨) or else that they are - at
least - seriously worried about his mental health.
more about Trump´s diagnosis of Trump:
Trump was so
bothered by the book that he took to Twitter over the weekend to defend
himself against the damaging portrait it contains: that of a mentally
Trump wrote that “throughout my life, my two greatest assets
have been mental stability and being, like, really smart” and then
upped the self-accolades by writing that being elected would “qualify
as not smart, but genius … and a very stable genius at that!”
So Trump´s opinion of Trump is that Trump is ¨a very stable genius¨. He also seems to be one of the comparatively few who
thinks so, for those who know him generally disagree that he is a
genius in any sense (quite correctly so), while those who do not
him and agree that he is a genius will in majority be quite ignorant
and very probably have a low average IQ.
Here is more Blow, in fact on diagnosing:
As I said above, in
various good senses everybody diagnoses very many things, and
justified in doing so, though very probably less justified in the
validities they attribute to their own diagnoses, for these tend to
depend mostly on specific relevant knowledge and intelligence,
these differ rather a lot, while no one knows everything or indeed most
But can I also
have legitimate, nonpartisan, nonpolitical concern about Trump’s
stability, fitness and basic intellectual capacity? Of course I can,
and so should everyone else.
here: From everything I have ever read about the man, he is not
particularly smart. This is sometimes hard for people to understand.
They equate financial gain with intellectual gifts, but the two are
Being gifted at exploitation
is not the same as intellectualism. It is a skill, but one separate
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I think the question is
justified, but I also think that Blow is too much concerned
with the -
quite idiotic - Goldwater Rule that was adopted by the APA to protect
their own psychiatric incomes by outlawing most discussions
instability — whether a diagnosable disorder or just a combination of
crippling character traits — is a problem of another magnitude. That
goes to basic competence and substantially raises the stakes.
This is the
problem we face: We have a person occupying the presidency who is
impetuous, fragile, hostile, irrational, intentionally uninformed,
information-averse and semiliterate.
The question we
have to put to the elected officials protecting this president, and
indeed to all those being paid a taxpayer-funded salary and then
concealing, distorting or denying the truth to make this man look
competent, is: Don’t you have an obligation, either moral, ethical,
patriotic or otherwise, to level with America that you, too, are
concerned by Trump’s erratic behavior?
My own opinion (as a psychologist) is simply that everyone has
right to diagnose anything whatsoever, and that the sole
the correctness of the diagnosis are the rational knowledge one has
the thing diagnosed and/or its factual truth.
And I think the case of Trump is or should be fairly evident to any
intelligent person: He is unfit for president of the USA, and the
sooner he leaves the better it is.
Is Now Dangerous—That Makes His Mental Health a Matter of Public
This article is by Bandy Lee on AlterNet and originally on
The Guardian. It starts as follows:
explained several times in Nederlog, I am a psychologist (and
not a psychiatrist) who rejects the Goldwater rule, if only
because virtually no political leader
will give his or her consent
to examine them psychiatrically while they have power over many
or indeed, as is the case for Trump, over seven billions of men
(by his Enormous Nuclear Button, that is so much Greater than that of
ago, a group of us put our concerns into a book, The Dangerous
Case of Donald Trump:
27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. It
became an instant bestseller, depleting bookstores within days. We thus
discovered that our endeavours resonated with the public.
While we keep
within the letter of the Goldwater rule –
which prohibits psychiatrists from diagnosing public figures without a
personal examination and without consent – there is still a lot that
mental health professionals can tell before the public reaches
awareness. These come from observations of a person’s patterns of
responses, of media appearances over time, and from reports of those
close to him.
Here is more, in fact on the vagaries of the term ¨diagnosis¨:
make a diagnosis one needs all the relevant information – including, I
believe, a personal interview. But to assess dangerousness,
one only needs enough information to raise alarms. It is about the
situation rather than the person. The same person may not be a danger
in a different situation, while a diagnosis stays with the person.
fact, as stated this means hardly anyone can make any
diagnosis of hardly anything, for the simple reason that it
is quite rare that anyone knows (bolding added) ¨all the relevant
information¨, and indeed also it is extremely rare that
knows he or she knows all of this.
Also, this is again mostly directed against the not very sane Goldwater
Here is some more:
Trump in the office of the presidency that poses a danger. Why? Past
violence is the best predictor of future violence, and he has shown:
verbal aggressiveness, boasting about sexual assaults, inciting
violence in others, an attraction to violence and powerful weapons and
the continual taunting of a hostile nation with nuclear power. Specific
traits that are highly associated with violence include: impulsivity,
recklessness, paranoia, a loose grip on reality with a poor
understanding of consequences, rage reactions, a lack of empathy,
belligerence towards others and a constant need to demonstrate power.
is all both factually correct and personally relevant
for judging - maybe we should speak of judging
rather than of
¨diagnosing¨? - Trump.
Here is more:
is another pattern by which he is dangerous. His cognitive function, or
his ability to process knowledge and thoughts, has begun to be widely
questioned. Many have noted a distinct decline in his outward ability
to form complete sentences, to stay with a thought, to use complex
words and not to make loose associations. This is dangerous because of
the critical importance of decision-making capacity in the office that
is also correct in my assessment, but it is considerably less
(in my mind) than his lack of sanity.
Then there is this:
at no other time in US history has a group of mental health
professionals been so collectively concerned about a sitting
president’s dangerousness. This is not because he is an unusual person
– many of his symptoms are very common – but it is highly unusual to
find a person with such signs of danger in the office of presidency.
For the US, it may be unprecedented; for parts of the world where this
has happened before, the outcome has been uniformly devastating.
is mostly correct, although I am one of those who says that real
disorders - which Trump is suffering from, in my
opinions - are relatively rare (and who also totally rejects
claims of modern psychiatrists that ¨78
% of the British are not sane¨).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
does not take a mental health professional to see that a person of
Trump’s impairments, in the office of the presidency, is a danger to us
all. What mental health experts can offer is affirmation that these
signs are real, that they may be worse than the untrained person
suspects, and that there are more productive ways of handling them than
deflection or denial.
indeed. And this is a recommended article.
to Overthrow Our Rulers
article is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet. This is from near the
this seems to me to be a quite good sum-up of the political
situation in the USA. And I should add that this kind of
sum-up is - so far, at least - rather rare, though I expect
that - if
publishing and speech remain more or less uncensored in the USA
will be considerably more similar analyses in the American
Here’s where we are right
- A billionaire oligarch
programs his very own entire television news network to promote the
interests of the billionaire class, with such effectiveness that
average working people are repeating billionaire-helpful memes like
“cut regulations,” “shrink government,” and “cut taxes” – policies that
will cause more working people and their children to get sick and/or
die, will transfer more money and power from “we the people” to a few
oligarchs, and will lower
working-class wages over time.
- A small group of
billionaires have funneled so much money into our political sphere that
“normal” Republicans like Jeff Flake and Bob Corker point out that they
couldn’t get elected in today’s environment because they’d face
rightwing-billionaire-funded primary challengers.
- The corporate media
(including online media), heavily influenced by the roughly billion
dollars the Koch Network, Adelson, Mercers, etc. poured through their
advertising coffers and into their profits in the last election, won’t
even mention in their “news” reporting that billionaire oligarchs are
mainly calling the tunes in American politics, particularly in the
- Former President Jimmy
out on my radio show that the US “is now an oligarchy, with
unlimited political bribery,” in part as a result of the right-wing
Supreme Court decision in Citizens United.
- Nobody in corporate
media, even on the “corporate left,” is willing to explicitly point out
how billionaires and the companies that made them rich control and
define the boundaries of “acceptable” political debate in our
- Thus, there’s no honest
discussion in American media of why the GOP denies climate change (to
profit petro-billionaires), no discussion of the daily damage being
done to our consumer and workplace protections (..)
Here is more - and Hartmann is, I think quite correctly, seeing the
present political situation in the USA in terms of a fight between
opponents of Roosevelt´s New Deal, who are mostly rich and
Republicans, and the proponents of Roosevelt´s New Deal,
nowadays - after nearly 40 years
directed against them in the name of
¨neoliberalism¨ - seem to be in a minority.
Indeed Hartmann quotes Roosevelt:
Roosevelt, then the
president of the United States, even explicitly called for the
“overthrow of this kind of power”:
“These economic royalists
complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What
they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.
“Our allegiance to
American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of
“In vain they seek to
hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they
forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for.
“Now, as always, they
stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and
against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.”
The American people
overwhelmingly agreed with FDR, particularly after they’d seen how
badly “dictatorship by the over-privileged” worked out for us in 1929.
The result was that from 1932 until 1980 American politicians knew how
important it was for government, representing the best interests of
both our nation and all of its people, to hold back the
political power that the morbidly rich could marshal with their great
I think that is mostly
correct, although I think that John Maynard
Keynes also played an
important role in partially taming the role of the very rich:
Big corporations and
wealthy businesspeople largely stayed away from politics from the 1930s
onward, not wanting to draw the ire of the American people.
Until 1971. In August of
that year, Lewis Powell, a lawyer who largely defended tobacco and the
interests of the Virginia’s upper classes, wrote an apocalyptic memo
to his neighbor and friend who was the head of the US Chamber of
Commerce. In it, he suggested that America itself was under attack from
“leftists” and people on “college campuses.”
The solution, Powell
proposed, was for a small group of very, very wealthy people to reshape
American public opinion through think tanks, funding of universities
and schools, and an all-out assault on the media. Take over the courts
and at least one of the political parties, he suggested, and wrest
control of our economy away from government regulation.
Yes, quite so. And
this is followed by a fairly lengthy but good
analysis of Powell
that I leave to your interests.
Here is more on how the rich
acquired vastly more powers
than they had between 1932
and 1972, namely by legal changes (often driven through by bought
And Lewis Powell’s
contribution to today’s problems is easily found in the 1976 Buckley
v Valeo decision, which struck down many of the campaign finance
laws that had been passed in the wake of the Nixon scandals. Money
transferred from billionaires to politicians, he and his conservative
friends on the court ruled, wasn’t “money” – instead, it was
Constitutionally-protected First Amendment Free Speech.
Just in time for the Reagan
Revolution, the morbidly rich could again own individual politicians,
and with the 2013 McCutcheon case, the Court ruled that morbidly rich
individuals could own a virtually unlimited number of politicians.
Citizens United, in 2010, radically expanded corporate personhood and
the rights of billionaires and corporations to influence politics.
And this is from the ending
of this article:
To save our republic, we
must acknowledge that the American aristocracy of the morbidly rich is
destroying our country. And then overturn (via constitutional amendment) the
twin policies of right-wingers on our Supreme Court that say that
billionaires can own their own personal politicians, and that
corporations are “persons” with human rights.
Once we reject America’s
new self-appointed royalty, with their billionaire and corporate money
fouling our system, our elected officials can restore protections for
working people – and we can once again see our wages begin to rise like
they did for 40 straight years before the advent of Reaganism.
Again quite so, and this also
is a strongly recommended article.
Rapid Rise of a Digital-Corporate Neo-Feudalist Dystopia
This article is by Frank Pasquale on Rigged Game and
originally on openDemocracy. It starts as follows:
Economists tend to
characterize the scope of regulation as a simple matter of expanding or contracting state power.
But a political economy perspective emphasizes that social relations
abhor a power vacuum. When state authority contracts, private parties
fill the gap. That power can feel just as oppressive, and have effects
just as pervasive, as garden variety administrative agency enforcement
of civil law. As Robert Lee Hale stated, “There is
government whenever one person or group can tell others what they must
do and when those others have to obey or suffer a penalty.”
We are familiar with that
power in employer-employee relationships,
or when a massive firm extracts concessions from suppliers. But what
about when a firm presumes to exercise juridical power,
not as a party to a conflict, but the authority deciding it? I worry
that such scenarios will become all the more common as massive digital platforms exercise
more power over our commercial lives.
I don´t quite agree
with the first paragraph, which also is not very clearly written, and
one of my objections is to Hale´s definition of government: He
seems to confuse it with power.
But I more or less
agree with the second paragraph, and indeed have done so for quite a
long time now.
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
Yes indeed - and this is
rather narrowly connected with my definition of neofascism.
My answer focused on the
identity and aspirations of major digital firms. They are no longer
market participants. Rather, in their fields, they are market makers,
able to exert regulatory control over the terms on which others can
sell goods and services. Moreover, they aspire to displace more
government roles over time, replacing the logic of territorial
sovereignty with functional sovereignty. In functional arenas from
room-letting to transportation to commerce, persons will be
increasingly subject to corporate, rather than democratic, control.
considerably more in the article, but I skip reviewing the rest of it
because I think it is not very well written, and because the present
Nederlog is already more than 53 Kb.
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 (!!).
 In fact, I comprised a whole
lot in the previous two paragraphs. I will not expand on
this here - see Nederlog - but I will say
something about my Real Leftness, especially because I
have been scolded as ¨a fascist¨, ¨a dirty fascist¨ and ¨a terrorist¨
by very many sick liars of the ASVA:
I think I have the best and most leftist background
absolutely anybody who studied in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam since
1970 or earlier:
Both of my parents were members of the Dutch
Communist Party for 45 years; both of my parents were in
the communist resistance against the Nazis between 1940 and 1945; my
father was arrested in August of 1941, and was put - by
collaborating Dutch judges - as a ¨political terrorist¨ in German
concentration camps of which he survived over three years and nine
months; his father (one of my grandfathers) was a member of the
Dutch Communist Party and was also arrested in August of 1941, and
murdered in a German concentration camp; while I myself read more
of Marx and Engels than any
student I ever met in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam, which also
led to my refutations of Marx and Engels in 1970, after which I became a
philosophical anarchist. And my mother´s parents were both
anarchists for 45 years.
But I was persecuted from 1977 till 1988 by
utter idiots (and sadists)
from the ASVA, who just ¨knew¨ that I
was ¨a dirty fascist¨ and ¨a terrorist¨ because I had said that
I did not believe in Marx but did believe in science and truth.
So I am not nor ever was ¨a fascist¨ or ¨a terrorist¨,
but it seems everybody in the ASVA between 1977 and 1988 did
think so, and many said or screamed so (at me).
Who were the real
fascists in the ¨University¨ of