from January 15, 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, 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 15, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. You Don’t Need a Telescope to Find a ‘Shithole Country’
2. Martin Luther King’s Revolutionary Dream Deferred
3. Unstable East Antarctic Ice Sheet Could Spell Catastrophe
4. Why So Little Empathy and Compassion Within American
5. White House Denies Reality Yet Again
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:
Don’t Need a Telescope to Find a ‘Shithole Country’
This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts with memories of
Chris Hedges of his five years in El Salvador, and then proceeds as
follows (and I like it that this article spells "shithole"
correctly, and not as "sh_thole"):
But, far to the
north, was a shithole country ruled by a former B-list movie actor who
had starred in “Bedtime for
Bonzo” and who was in the early stages of dementia. This shithole
country, which saw the world in black and white, communist and
capitalist, was determined to thwart the aspirations of the poor and
the landless. It would not permit the profits of its companies, such as
United Fruit, or the power of the pliant oligarch class that did its
bidding in El Salvador, to be impeded. It had disdain for the
aspirations of the poor, especially the poor of Latin American or
Africa, the wretched of the earth, as writer
Frantz Fanon called them, people who in the eyes of those who ruled
the shithole country should toil in misery all their lives for the
oligarchs and the big American companies allied with them. Let the
poor, brown and black people go hungry, watch their children die of
sickness or be murdered. Power and wealth, those who ruled this
shithole country believed, was theirs by divine right. They, as the
lords of shithole-dom, were endowed with special attributes. God
blessed shithole countries.
Obviously, this is
directed at Trump's disqualifying remarks - and indeed I think Hedges
is quite right in saying that "Power and wealth, those who ruled this
believed, was theirs by divine right. They, as the lords of
shithole-dom, were endowed with special attributes."
The special attributes are that the leaders of the USA are white
rich (in vast majority), and do not have any real
values, but only have personal interests to get richer
Here is more on the local leaders that the shithole leaders of
nominated to rule for them:
It elevated the
imbecilic and the inept, men whose main attributes were brutality,
mendacity and thievery. They were uniformly unpleasant creatures.
Anastasio “Tachito” Somoza in Nicaragua. The Duvaliers in Haiti.
Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Efraín Ríos Montt in Guatemala. These flies
did the bidding of the shithole country. They would murder their own
people without compunction and, for hefty bribes, would allow the
corporations to exploit and pillage.
And here is more on the
military that the shithole
leaders of the USA effectively did give power:
The shithole country
poured $1 million a day in aid and weapons into the land. They sent
down their most ruthless killers, including Félix Rodríguez, the CIA
agent and Bay
of Pigs veteran who had overseen the hunt for Che Guevara in
Bolivia, presided over his execution and proudly wore the wristwatch he
had taken from the martyred revolutionary’s body. At night you could
see the killers sent to El Salvador by the shithole country, usually
with their Vietnamese wives, sitting around the pool at the Sheraton
Hotel. They had perfected the dark arts of infiltrating, torturing,
interrogating, disappearing and murdering through practice on the
people of Vietnam during the war there.
And here is a sum-up
It was an orgy of
militarism. By the time the shithole country was done, it had spent $4
billion to crush the uprising. And while it was orchestrating the
bloodbath in El Salvador it provided $1 billion to the thugs and
killers known as the Contras
in Nicaragua, where 50,000 people were murdered. It also quietly
assisted the killers of Guatemala, where 200,000 were slain. The poor
peasants did not stand a chance.
I think that
is quite correct, and this article is strongly recommended.
Luther King’s Revolutionary Dream Deferred
article is by Maj. Danny Sjursen on Truthdig. It is one of the articles
that marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's death (in
2018). It starts as follows:
We are now experiencing
the coming to the surface of a triple prong sickness … [that] has been
lurking within our body politic from its very beginning … the sickness
of racism, excessive materialism and militarism. … the plague of
—Martin Luther King, Aug. 31, 1967
We kill the most beautiful
among us—anyone, it seems, who reveals the nastier, brutish elements of
American society and has the audacity to imagine, demand even, a better
path: peace, unity and tolerance. Abraham Lincoln, Bobby Kennedy,
Martin Luther King and so many others.
This year marks the 50th
anniversary of King’s tragic assassination, and though countless
publications will brim with commemorations and retrospectives of this
misunderstood icon, most will miss the mark. Long ago co-opted and
sanitized by mainstream political figures, the King of memory bears
little resemblance to the radical, complex man himself.
He’s remembered by
Democrats and Republicans alike as the “good,” “peaceful” civil rights
leader—a useful foil for the “bad” activists of the black power
movement, the Stokely Carmichaels, Malcolm Xs and Huey Newtons of the
world. In reality, the categories were never so neat, the commonalities
I have already - in the
beginning of 2018 - seen several articles that commemorate the
that Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered on April 4, 1968 (which I can
still recall, as I was nearly 18 then).
And I picked Sjursen's
article, because he is a white heterosexual former teacher at West
Point, who thought for himself, and whose ideas I like, and because I
agree with his estimate that "the King of [officialized - MM] memory bears
resemblance to the radical, complex man himself".
I can't review all of
this article properly, but here is one good bit:
After 50 years, with the
United States again locked in racial conflict, culture wars, gaping
inequality and perpetual
global war, now seems as good a time as any to take stock of the
state of King’s “three evils”: racism, materialism and militarism.
Sure, there’s been the Brown v. Board ruling, Civil and Voting Rights
Acts, even a black president. Nevertheless, each of these historic
victories is being rolled back before our eyes. Schools are again
as segregated as they’ve been in two generations. Conservative
courts have dismantled
key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Heck, Jefferson Beauregard
Sessions—a man too
racist to serve as a federal district judge in the 1980s—heads
the Justice Department.
America resembles two armed camps, physically and intellectually
isolated from each other. Five decades into an unwinnable and racially
biased war on drugs, black men still fill
the prisons in this nation—which has by far the highest
rate of incarceration worldwide. In 2018 in the U.S., a black male
is nine times as likely
to serve time as a citizen of the next worst country: Cuba. We’ve
got a long way to go.
All of this is quite
true and also quite sad. Here is Maj. Sjursen on the present, or at
least the present as seen by the majority of the ordinary men
that form the majority of the U.S. population:
We inhabit a peculiar
moment, when most Americans hardly look up from their smartphones long
enough to realize they’re missing “Real Housewives.” The vacuous world
of celebrity worship and material preoccupation does not lend itself to
the impassioned activism King demanded. Unfettered, free-market
capitalism—enabled by neoliberal Democrats like the Clintons—has gutted
the American dream and rendered it an unattainable nightmare for many.
The empirical evidence is staggering.
Income inequality in the
(ostensibly) egalitarian United States has reached its worst
levels since the Gilded Age. Wages for the working class have been stagnant
for 40 years, while the superrich bask in an embarrassment
of riches. The federal minimum wage is worth
less in real dollars than it was 50 years ago.
Again I think this is quite
right, and it also lays the responsibility were it should be:
sick consumer world that most ordinary men now inhabit, voluntarily,
and because they either lack the intelligence or the knowledge to do
otherwise: they are too busy consuming (if they are not starving) and
trying to win a few cents by selecting the cheapest advertisement
are offered by their - in my eyes: insane - Facebooks.
And Sjursen is right that the
minimal wage (in real dollars) is worth less than 50 years
and would have been correct had he added that it was so all of
I skipped a lot, but the
article ends as follows:
I basically agree. (But I am not an optimist.)
Read, study, unearth
the real King, the radical King, and take up the torch of his
fight—a dream deferred—against the three evils still alive and well in
the United States: racism, materialism and militarism. The owners of
this country are counting on your apathy. Prove them wrong.
East Antarctic Ice Sheet Could Spell Catastrophe
This article is by Tim Radford on Truthdig and originally on
Climate News Network. It is here because I live in Amsterdam,
Holland, which is a bit more than 2 meters below the current
sea level. It starts as follows:
New research has confirmed
one of the worst nightmares of climate science: the instability of the
East Antarctic ice sheet.
This vast mass holds enough
water to raise sea levels by 53 metres worldwide. And researchers
have confirmed that one stretch of the southern polar coastline has
melted many times in the past: by enough to raise sea levels by three
to five metres.
A rise of just one metre
would render at least 100 million coast dwellers homeless.
I say. Of course, it
hasn't happened yet (if it had, I'd be dead), but one of
difficulties is that it may happen any time, and will
happen the sooner
as the worldwide temperatures keep rising:
“We are already seeing the
effects of rising seas caused by melting ice sheets and ocean warming.
There is enough ice in our study region alone to raise global sea level
by as much as 15 feet (5m). This, in isolation, would be catastrophic
But real estate investors
and citizens who put their money into Florida are not likely to get any
long-term certainty: nor are the hundreds of millions of people who
dwell in low-lying communities from Bangladesh to the Nile Delta, from
the coral atolls of Kiribati in the Pacific to the polders of the
Netherlands in Europe.
That is because a
second study, in the journal Earth’s Future, led by scientists from
New Jersey and Massachusetts, reports that estimates of future change
are likely to stay uncertain until around 2060.
Precisely. And I am one
of those who live in "the
polders of the Netherlands in Europe". What can I say, about Holland and myself? I think Holland
will probably (more than 50%) be destroyed, at least partially, but it
will probably not happen during my life, because I will be 68
in a few
indeed I do not have a good estimate for the
no decent estimate for when it will happen, it it does.
So Little Empathy and Compassion Within American Culture?
This article is by Gary Olson on Common Dreams. It starts as
The ideas of the
ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas; the class which is
the ruling material force in society is at the same time the ruling
— Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels
Setting aside the 3-4
percent of the U.S. population that can be classified as psychopaths
(‘snakes in suits’ at the highest levels of government, business and
the military) what can we say about an entire society that displays an
ane[s] thetized conscience towards the suffering of others and towards
the ecological commons itself?
We know that many hear the
“cry of the people” but the moral sound waves are muted as they pass
through powerful cultural baffles. I submit that neoliberal capitalist
culture in the U.S. deadens feelings of social solidarity, pathologizes
how we view ourselves and stunts our natural feelings of empathy and
And I mostly agree with
the thesis stated in the above third paragraph.
In fact, the reasons
for agreeing that "neoliberal
capitalist culture in the U.S. deadens feelings of social solidarity,
pathologizes how we view ourselves and stunts our natural feelings of
empathy and moral responsibility" may be best givem by Adam Curtis's "The
Century of the Self" that outlines (in four parts, of which the
best is part 1) how the majority of ordinary men
have been changed from citizens until the late
Twenties, into consumers
in the nearly 100 years that passed since then, and have been
made intentionally so by the propagandists
that fund all the advertisements
and propaganda, that these days probably makes up the most that
ordinary men read: There is propaganda and
there are advertisements virtually everywhere on can
look, in every city.
Here is more on this
Massive belief systems tend
to override our neurobiological, evolutionary heritage as our brain’s
plasticity conforms to corporate capitalist ideology. We come to
view our “selves,” our identities, as based primarily on market values,
especially “Only care about yourself and a few persons close to you.”
One advances in society via rugged self-reliance and individuals are
basically hypercompetitive, perpetual consumers.
There are also some things I
don't quite agree to in the article, and it ends as follows:
Of course, I don’t mean to
imply that the elite’s attempt at cultural hegemony is complete. If we
lived in such a hermetically sealed system, impervious to
challenge, we couldn’t be engaging in this dialogue. But the circle is
Well... one of the many
problems I have with the fact that the secret services (from
anywhere) now have virtually free access
to almost anyone's
computer, and can steal all information and all
privacy from them,
is that I have known for a very long time (50 years at least)
that most ordinary men rarely think creatively or originally,
while the truly intelligent (at most 2% of the population,
estimated by their IQs ) can think
creatively and originally, but they
will almost certainly be prevented from doing so by the -
unknown, anonymous, secret - workers for the secret
indeed may completely disappear (because they are arrested by
orders from secret courts, that prevent any communication or knowledge
- as happens these days in the USA).
As Zbigniew Brezinski
put it in 1969 (see here
- and the boldings are added):
'technotronic society' seems to be the exact
society of 'spontaneity' demanded by revolutionary
students, who Mr Brezezinskin evidently regards as
throw-backs, survivors of Romantic days, forlornly playing
soon be possible to assert almost continuous
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date,
containing even personal information about
personal behaviour of the citizen, in addition
customary data.' Moreover it will be possible
and plan to meet any uprisings in the future.
will even be able to forecast crises before the rioters
conscious of wanting them.
And therefore Gary
Olson may well be quite correct.
House Denies Reality Yet Again
This article is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. It starts as follows:
In his recent
interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Trump said
“I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North
Korea.” It was certainly a peculiar thing to say. Today, instead of
explaining it, the ever shameless Sarah Huckabee Sanders simply
insisted that the Journal was lying:
I should add at this point
that the two "(...)" markings indicate the places whence I removed
Tweets, simply because Tweets are most like self-advertising,
they also are very much disliked by me, because they very
stupid and the
ignorant by limiting the amount of characters (!!!)
one can tweet. (And I don't use it and never will.)
Unsurprisingly, it turns out
it’s Sanders who is lying:
Apart from that, Kevin Drum is quite right, and here is the ending of
his brief article:
Go ahead and play
the audio. It’s short, and there’s not much question about what Trump
said. I don’t doubt that Trump meant to say “I’d,” but he
Any normal White House
would have simply explained that Trump misspoke slightly and meant to
say “I’d.” Case closed. But this White House is the first in history to
routinely deny the documentary evidence of audio and video that we can
all see and hear for ourselves. It helps them keep up their faux war
with the media, and I guess that’s all that matters.
Yes indeed, and the
reason this review is here is this bit:
But this White House
is the first in history to routinely deny the documentary evidence of
audio and video that we can all see and hear for ourselves.
I think that is quite
correct, and very sick.
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 (!!).
 I know that IQs
are not a really good measure of intelligence, but it is the
best we have. (And my parents and myself did/do have IQs