from January 14, 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, but
since 2010 in English) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since more than 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 14, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. The Age of Fire and Fury
2. Why I Hate Michael Wolff's New Trump Book
3. 'Fire and Fury': Juicy Intrigue or Sobering Portrait of an
4. Progress for Merkel In Search for a Government
5. Challenging Trump's Language of Fascism
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:
Age of Fire and Fury
This article is by Susanne Beyer on Spiegel International. It starts as
follows - and I have left out the illustration (you can find it on
Spiegel's site), while the first three reviews of today are
about Wolff's "Fire and Fury":
"Fire and Fury" is
the title of the new exposť of Donald Trump's first year in the White
House. The tome has only been out for a few days, and yet it has
already established itself as one of the books of the year. Even we
journalists find ourselves describing the book's contents as
"indescribable" and "unfathomable." Can the world's most powerful man
really be dumb, senile and addicted to television as the book claims?
He spends his early evenings watching three televisions in his bedroom?
Eating a cheeseburger and tweeting all the while? An entire White House
teetering between hysteria and chaos? And yet, it's still the
journalist's job to describe the indescribable and fathom the
I say. And I do so because
- while I like the article because of the next part - I do not
think that "it's still the
journalist's job to describe the indescribable and fathom the
unfathomable". In fact,
that is quite impossible as stated, for it states two
But the next part is fairly interesting, because it indicates Spiegel
International's - Susanne Beyer is Deputy Editor-in-chief - assessment
of Donald Trump and his government, and the assessment is far from
optimistic, as is indeed my own:
Our latest cover
story explains how "Fire and Fury" came to be and whether, and the
extent to which, it approaches the truth. Most importantly, however, it
delves into the consequences for an America and a world that have been
confronted with a nuclear-armed fool who is likely to remain in office
for some time to come, who is neither mentally nor psychologically
suited for the job - apparently also not physically, either, given how
late he starts the working day and how early he ends it. That,
unfortunately, is precisely the point: Humanity as a whole is being set
back just because of one single person. The achievements of decades -
the fight against a climate disaster, against the nuclear threat, for
equality between men and women, between blacks and whites and so on and
so on. Where is the world supposed to start again if it manages to
survive Donald Trump?
And I quite agree
this characterization: The present president of the US is "a nuclear-armed fool who is likely to remain
in office for some time to come, who is neither mentally nor
psychologically suited for the job".
Quite so, and this is a recommended article. There is more of "Fire and
Fury" in the next article.
I Hate Michael Wolff's New Trump Book
This article is by William Rivers Pitt on Truth-out. It starts as
Along with a significant
segment of the planet, I downloaded Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,
Michael Wolff's ubiquitous new tell-all book, the first morning it was
available. I expected to love it, for no other reason than its very
existence motivated Trump into a paroxysm of cease-and-desist threats
and looming defamation suits. How is that not fun all by itself?
I plowed through it,
highlighting passages like a college kid working a thesis … then it was
over, and there I was, just absolutely hating it. I felt dull, dirty
and mean in its wake. It was as if the slime contained in the pages had
slithered under my fingernails and into my bloodstream. I felt
polluted. I felt like lice. I felt like the president of the United
I did not
"Fire and Fury" (and indeed do not pay by computer, except for a few
regular bills) and never will, but it does seem to be an important
book, and in
fact William Pitt agrees:
Don't get me wrong, it's a
fine read in the main. While Wolff's reporting in the book has taken a number of justified hits for being sloppy with the
details, the essence of what he describes has been confirmed time and
again by other reporters pursuing other stories. Since the very first
day of this administration, Donald Trump and his people have approached
their duties like kids dropping bricks off a highway overpass, and that
sort of behavior leaves a very visible mark.
And I agree with this,
basically because it agrees with many other assessments of
his government that I have read, while it also seems Pitt is correct in
saying that Michael Wolff is a bit "sloppy with the details".
Here is more:
This is how it is, and due
respect to the author, anyone who has been paying attention didn't
learn much of anything new from Wolff's book. The stories I'd never
heard before were only depressing, not revelatory.
In fact, this is one of
my reasons not even to try to download the book: I spent a lot
attention in Nederlog during the past two years on Trump and indeed
expect my self therefore not to learn much news from Wolff's
Here is more on Pitt's
assessment that was quoted in the beginning of this review:
Still, Fire and Fury
is a storyboard of the putrid place we occupy in history, for
everything that has gone sideways and down, for what we have become as
a nation. It is a collection of terrible people doing terrible things
for terrible reasons. It broke my heart to read it, and I didn't think
politics could do that to me anymore.
I say. My heart has not
been broken by Trump (and I am 67, meanwhile) but I have been and am disgusted.
Here is some more:
I hated reading it because
it not only encapsulates the reality TV show our government has become,
it expands upon it and in many ways, feeds it. Although there is merit
to the book's publication, we should remember while reading it that
there is no President Trump without the corporate news media's lavish
assistance throughout the 2016 campaign. Candidate Trump was great TV;
President Trump is even better. Throw a juicy scandal book onto the
pyre and the ratings pop like a knot in the bark.
Yes indeed: Pitt is quite
right in saying that "there
is no President Trump without the corporate news media's lavish
assistance throughout the 2016 campaign". He would very probably not have been chosen
without the lavish and free assistance of the mainstream
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I suppose I more or less
agree with this, and this is a recommended article.
I don't like Donald Trump.
The Wolff book doesn't like Donald Trump. I was predisposed to enjoy
it, and I did, because it is a peek at a wreck, and if some of the
facts have a case of the wobbles, it's still difficult to look away.
and Fury': Juicy Intrigue or Sobering Portrait of an Erratic White
This article is by Carlos Lozada on Truthdig. It is another
review of "Fire and Fury" and it starts as follows:
Yes indeed - and the
second quoted paragraph also is quite close to the judgements of
psychologists and psychiatrists, that are summarized here and here. (Both are from 2016.)
Dishy political books such
as Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” are typically assailed for centering
on palace machinations at the expense of policy substance, for
privileging White House turf battles over meaningful debates about
national challenges. In keeping with that tradition, the pages of
Wolff’s book are littered with insults and intrigue, backstabbing and
In this case, however, such
focus seems sadly appropriate. If there is one thing we’ve learned
during the first year of the Trump presidency—something that “Fire and
Fury” affirms—it is that in this White House, the intrigue is the
thing; substance is almost incidental, while policy is often just a
weapon wielded in the service of careerism, vanity, personal advantage
and brand management. The president himself appears driven by
insecurity, ego, and a constant fear of ridicule and failure more than
by any ideological conviction.
Here is some more on the incompetence
that is part of Trump's
priorities has not been, well, a priority for this White House. “The
president, while proposing the most radical departure from governing
and policy norms in several generations,” Wolff writes, “had few
specific ideas about how to turn his themes and vitriol into policy,
nor a team that could reasonably unite behind him.” Senior staffers
proposed conflicting ideas that might enhance their own power bases;
rather than flowing down from the president, policy bubbled up somewhat
And there is this on the
style and content of "Fire and Fury", that fairly well accords with the
Wolff’s prose is
lively and entertaining—“Fire and Fury” is at times a riveting read—but
the author has something of a mixed reputation as a faithful chronicler
There is also this:
Some of the juiciest
tidbits in “Fire and Fury” are also among the pettiest, with Wolff
listing pejoratives that various associates and staffers have
supposedly leveled toward the president (not to his face, of course).
McMaster called him a “dope.” Priebus, an “idiot.” Rupert Murdoch
upgraded that to “f—ing idiot,” while economic adviser Gary Cohn went
with “dumb as s—.”
Actually, I do not think
these are among the pettiest tidbits, precisely because the people
mentioned did know Trump personally and did closely collaborate
him. And in fact few people know Trump in these two respects, while
mental capacities of the most powerful man on earth certainly are quite
relevant: a mistake of his, and human civilization may be gone.
Here is more on Trump's mental capacity from the ending:
mental capacity has become a subject of public debate, and in this book
Wolff suggests Trump’s faculties are deteriorating. He describes the
president as “semiliterate,” unable to conduct a meaningful one-on-one
exchange with another person and prone to awkward repetitions in
speech. Wolff is not a mental health professional, and his concerns
seem to mix temperamental and cognitive fitness. But if it is true, as
he reports, that people close to Trump are seriously questioning
whether the president has “the wherewithal to adequately function in
his job,” that becomes a matter of national concern, especially when
the self-proclaimed “very stable genius” in the White House is bragging
about his big, powerful nuclear button.
Yes, I entirely agree and this
is a recommended article.
for Merkel In Search for a Government
This article is by Florian Gathmann on Spiegel International. It starts
This article is reviewed
here because Germany is important in the European Union; because it is
Sunday (in fact a very early morning for me); and because these
political negotiations between several parties to form a government are
quite common in Europe, though not in the USA,
basically because in
Europe there are traditionally more than two political parties that
draw a good part of the votes (and often quite a few more), unlike in
Not surprisingly, relief
was the dominant emotion. And that proved rather helpful as the trio of
party heads finally stepped up to the podium at the headquarters of the
center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin at 11 a.m. on
Friday, intent as they were on playing down the arduousness of the
overnight negotiations that had just ended.
It was a grueling night for
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) head Angela Merkel, Christian Social
Union (CSU) leader Horst Seehofer and SPD chair Martin Schulz. Indeed,
it seemed at times as though it would never end. The talks, aimed at
determining whether there was sufficient agreement among the three
parties to begin formal coalition negotiations, had begun 24 hours
earlier on Thursday morning. Some of those involved in the talks
ultimately spent more than 26 hours at SPD headquarters.
Here is the outcome of the negotations (a compromise between "the
conservatives" and "the socialists" - I put both names in quotes
because they are both correct and a bit misleading):
and this is a recommended article.
But from the perspectives
of the politicians involved, the marathon was ultimately worth it.
Merkel called the 28-page document a "paper of give and take, as it
should be." Seehofer, who leads the CDU's Bavarian sister party, said
he was "extremely satisfied." And Schulz, who hosted the talks, even
went so far as to speak of an "outstanding result." Germany still
doesn't have a
government -- the
talks that concluded on Friday morning were merely to determine if a
coalition was possible -- but the three party heads made it sound like
most of the hurdles had been cleared.
Trump's Language of Fascism
This article is by Henry A. Giroux on Truth-out and originally on News
Analysis. It starts as follows:
George Orwell warns us in
his dystopian novel 1984 that authoritarianism begins with
language. Words now operate as "Newspeak," in which language is twisted
in order to deceive, seduce and undermine the ability of people to
think critically and freely. As authoritarianism gains in strength, the
formative cultures that give rise to dissent become more embattled
along with the public spaces and institutions that make conscious
critical thought possible.
Words that speak to the
truth, reveal injustices and provide informed critical analysis begin
to disappear, making it all the more difficult, if not dangerous, to
hold dominant power accountable. Notions of virtue, honor, respect and
compassion are policed, and those who advocate them are punished.
I think it is fair to argue
that Orwell's nightmare vision of the future is no longer fiction.
Under the regime of Donald Trump, the Ministry of Truth has become the
Ministry of "Fake News," and the language of "Newspeak" has multiple
platforms and has morphed into a giant disimagination machinery of
propaganda, violence, bigotry, hatred and war.
I believe I do
not like Henry Giroux, but my reasons are probably quite personal:
I have met something like 25 years of supposedly "social democratic",
or "socialist" or "Marxist" "academic intellectuals" who all
in the Marxist
"University" of Amsterdam between 1977
and 2005 - which in fact was given to the students between 1971 and
1995, in all of Holland, which also introduced extremely
much "Leftish" academic posturing
there, and elsewhere in Holland during these years - and most of these
Dutchmen were paid a whole lot for everything they did and
everything they published, all of which was, at best, partially true
and often misleading.
And while I do not know
that Giroux is of the same kind as the very
academic liars that I met in Holland, I do know that he reminds me
a lot of them, which is why I normally skip Giroux's contributions.
In fact, the present
article - which is too long to properly review in Nederlog, for which
reason I only quote form the beginning - supports my
judgements: it is not
so much the language
has been or is being changed, as it is the totalitarianism
in the rightist ideology
that has been changed a lot (but I grant this - perfectly
logical - inference of mine is incompatible with the sick
of "totalitarianism" that was very recently added to Wikipedia).
Here is more on
With the advent of the
Trump presidency, language is undergoing a shift in the United
States: It now treats dissent, critical media and scientific evidence
as a species of "fake news." The administration also views the critical
media as the "enemy of the American people." In fact, Trump has
repeated this view of the press so often that almost a third of Americans believe it and support
government-imposed restrictions on the media, according to a Poynter
survey. Language has become unmoored from critical reason, informed
debate and the weight of scientific evidence, and is now being
reconfigured within new relations of power tied to pageantry, political
theater and a deep-seated anti-intellectualism, increasingly shaped by
the widespread banality of celebrity culture, the celebration of
ignorance over intelligence, a culture of rancid consumerism, and a
corporate-controlled media that revels in commodification, spectacles
of violence, the spirit of unchecked self-interest and a "survival of
the fittest" ethos.
It is not
"language" which takes a shift: it are always people
who make these changes, and more specifically people's ideology.
And one of the problems with Giroux's prose this intellectual has is
that it piles up no less than eleven or twelve
different specifications of what it is supposed to mean if "[l]anguage has become unmoored from critical
reason, informed debate and the weight of scientific evidence" (from "increasingly shaped" onwards).
Besides, it is not so
that is being changed, as people's thoughts,
and besides Giroux totally does not mention the fact that those
who are being deceived
by these changes in their ideologies
also tend to be the most stupid and/or
the most ignorant:
As Giroux has put it, it
is (bolding added) "language
has been emptied of substantive meaning and functions", while for me it
is mostly an increase in totalitarianism
- and indeed there is no "Ministry
of "Fake News"" that "works incessantly to set limits on what is
thinkable" and that claims "that reason, standards of evidence,
consistency and logic no longer serve the truth": These are - as yet - simply not true
and are exaggerations.
Under such circumstances,
language has been emptied of substantive meaning and functions
increasingly to lull large swaths of the American public into
acquiescence, if not a willingness to accommodate and support a rancid
"populism" and galloping authoritarianism. The language of civic
literacy and democracy has given way to the language of saviors,
decline, bigotry and hatred. One consequence is that matters of moral
and political responsibility disappear, injustices proliferate and
language functions as a tool of state repression. The Ministry of "Fake
News" works incessantly to set limits on what is thinkable, claiming
that reason, standards of evidence, consistency and logic no longer
serve the truth, because the latter are crooked ideological devices
used by enemies of the state. "Thought crimes" are now labeled as "fake
But I stop here
and leave the rest to your interests.
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 (!!).