from May 21, 2018
B. One Extra Bit
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
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.
2. Crisis Files
These are five crisis files
that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 21, 2018:
1. The Coming Collapse
The 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:
2. Blacklisted Academic Norman Finkelstein on Gaza, “the
3. Trump Demands Inquiry Into Whether Justice Dept.
Surveilled’ His Campaign
4. Steve Bannon Tried to Suppress Black Vote: Cambridge
5. Hillary Clinton is Now a Victim of ‘Socialists’
article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell
from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of
political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed
democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a
functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around
him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the
next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is
not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and
the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don’t
count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the
corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil
disobedience, like that demonstrated
by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we
will enter a new dark age.
I mostly agree. I
date the radical changes that remade the USA into a paradise for
and from the few rich as arising from two important sources:
(i) the 1972 neofascistic program by Lewis
F. Powell Jr. who called on the few rich to organize themselves
against the many poor, and who succeeded, and (ii) the 1979 and
1980 elections of Thatcher and Reagan.
There are more reasons, but these two are the most important ones. Here
is more, on the Democratic Party:
Party, which helped build our system of inverted
totalitarianism, is once again held up by many on the left as the
savior. Yet the party steadfastly refuses to address the social
inequality that led to the election of Trump and the insurgency by
Bernie Sanders. It is deaf, dumb and blind to the very real economic
suffering that plagues over half the country. It will not fight to pay
workers a living wage. It will not defy the pharmaceutical and
insurance industries to provide Medicare for all. It will not curb the
voracious appetite of the military that is disemboweling the country
and promoting the prosecution of futile and costly foreign wars. It
will not restore our lost civil liberties, including the right to
privacy, freedom from government surveillance, and due process. It will
not get corporate and dark
money out of politics. It will not demilitarize our police and
reform a prison system that has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners
although the United States has only 5 percent of the world’s
population. It plays to the margins, especially in election seasons,
refusing to address substantive political and social problems and
instead focusing on narrow cultural issues like gay rights, abortion
and gun control in our peculiar species of anti-politics.
I think all this is quite
reasonable, and the link on inverted
totalitarianism that Chris Hedges gives is quite justified. Here is
also a link to a Nederlog I wrote
in the end of 2014, that links to the same series of interviews
that Hedges had with Sheldon Wolin
This is a fine series of interviews that is strongly
recommended. And here is more on the Democrats:
This is a doomed
tactic, but one that is understandable. The leadership of the party,
the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Tom Perez, are creations of
corporate America. In an open and democratic political process, one not
dominated by party elites and corporate money, these people would not
hold political power. They know this. They would rather implode the
entire system than give up their positions of privilege. And that, I
fear, is what will happen. The idea that the Democratic Party is in any
way a bulwark against despotism defies the last three decades of its
political activity. It is the guarantor of despotism.
Yes, I agree - and both
Clintons seem to have amassed $120 million, mostly from talks to
extremely rich bankers, and by selling their autobiographies. And yes,
this started with Bill Clinton´s corruptions, in the 1990ies, that continued
Here is some on Trump and Albright:
I mostly agree, although
Albright may have been more or less honest, indeed behind a
whole lot of falsity and posturing.
Trump, like all despots,
has no ethical core. He chooses his allies and appointees based on
their personal loyalty and fawning obsequiousness to him. He will sell
anyone out. He is corrupt, amassing money for himself—he made $40
million from his Washington, D.C., hotel alone last year—and his
corporate allies. He is dismantling government institutions that once
provided some regulation and oversight. He is an enemy of the open
society. This makes him dangerous. His turbocharged assault on the last
vestiges of democratic institutions and norms means there will soon be
nothing, even in name, to protect us from corporate totalitarianism.
But the warnings from the
architects of our failed democracy against creeping fascism, Madeleine
Albright among them, are risible. They show how disconnected the
elites have become from the zeitgeist. None of these elites have
There is considerably more, all well done, and it ends as follows:
As a foreign
correspondent I covered collapsed societies, including the former
Yugoslavia. It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how
fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the
eve of implosion. All the harbingers of collapse are visible: crumbling
infrastructure; chronic underemployment and unemployment; the
indiscriminate use of lethal force by police; political paralysis and
stagnation; an economy built on the scaffolding of debt; nihilistic
mass shootings in schools, universities, workplaces, malls, concert
venues and movie theaters; opioid overdoses that kill some 64,000
people a year; an epidemic of suicides; unsustainable military
expansion; gambling as a desperate tool of economic development and
government revenue; the capture of power by a tiny, corrupt clique;
censorship; the physical diminishing of public institutions ranging
from schools and libraries to courts and medical facilities; the
incessant bombardment by electronic hallucinations to divert us from
the depressing sight that has become America and keep us trapped in
illusions. We suffer the usual pathologies of impending death. I would
be happy to be wrong. But I have seen this before. I know the warning
signs. All I can say is get ready.
I more or less agree, with
First, I agree that the system - capitalism, as changed from
the 1970ies onwards in extreme capitalism for the rich only in
the USA - seems to be collapsing, but I do not know when (and
Hedges has warned of an impending collapse before).
And second, I also think a major collapse is necessary
to escape the fate of terroristic neofascism for
all but the few rich, in the style of the 1890s till 1930,
when the rich also had assembled most of the power, until the
depression of Wall Street in 1929.
The - very great - difference
is that this time both the few rich and the
states´ terrorists that assemble as ¨national securities¨ know everything about anyone,
while no one else does (and
not even know the real names of anonymous offenders). This is one
of the most dangerous developments in history, for it enables the very
few to have power forever.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Academic Norman Finkelstein on Gaza, “the World’s Largest Concentration
article is by Jeremy Scahill on The Intercept. It starts as follows -
and I will be quoting only from the introduction to this fine
Israel has once again
conducted a premeditated, full-scale massacre in broad daylight, in
front of the cameras of the world. Once again, it took place in Gaza.
On May 14, Israeli snipers
and other forces gunned down more than 60 Palestinians, and wounded
thousands of others, including civilians, journalists, and paramedics.
“You try nonlethal means and they don’t work,” said Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “So you’re left with bad choices. It’s a
bad deal. You know, you try and you go for below the knee, and
sometimes it doesn’t work, and unfortunately these things are
appears that the only way not to be killed, according to Netanyahu, is
to meekly accept imprisonment inside the prison of Gaza. Among those
killed by Israeli forces was an 8-month-old infant. Her name was Laila
al-Ghandour. They also killed at least seven other children and a man
in a wheelchair, and that man had lost his legs after they had to be
amputated following an earlier Israeli attack.
has made it clear that it believes that it has the right to
systematically murder Palestinians for the crime of continuing to
exist. There is no defense for what Israel has done. None.
indeed. I agree (and I totally give up on Israel under
there is this on the ambassador in the U.N. Nikki Haley:
Tuesday, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley brought plenty of blame to pass
around at the Security Council for the deaths of unarmed Palestinians.
She blamed Iran. She blamed Hamas. She blamed the Palestinians who
protested. But Nikki Haley placed no blame on Israel. “This is what is
endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake — Hamas is pleased with
the results,” she said. “No country in this chamber would act with more
restraint than Israel has.”
Nikki Haley blamed the Palestinians for murdering themselves with
Israeli snipers, she wouldn’t even listen to the Palestinian delegation
at the U.N. She walked out when they began speaking.
agree with Scahill. Here is the last bit that I quote from this
introduction to a fine interview with Norman Finkelstein:
in modern history has there been such a merciless, sustained campaign
of collective punishment like the one that Israel has meted out against
the people of Gaza. And that punishment is horrifying enough, just when
you consider the humanitarian consequences of the blockade and the
poisoning of the environment and the water supply. But then add to that
the regular massacres of people literally trapped between the sea and a
nuclear-armed nation-state, with the most advanced mass-killing
machinery on the planet and you have to ask: What does Israel really
want? And the answer, it seems, is submission and acceptance of
dehumanization by the Palestinians or they die.
I mostly agree,
and this is followed by a long and good interview with Finkelstein,
that I leave to your interests. This is a strongly recommended
Demands Inquiry Into Whether Justice Dept. ‘Infiltrated or Surveilled’
article is by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Adam Goldman on The New York
Times. It starts as follows:
President Trump on
Sunday demanded that the Justice Department investigate whether the
department or the F.B.I. “infiltrated or surveilled” his campaign at
the behest of the Obama administration, following through on his
frequent threats to intervene in the special counsel inquiry as he
targets those he views as political enemies.
Trump made the order on Twitter during a day of public venting about
the special counsel investigation, which he charged had turned up no
evidence of collusion with Russia and was now casting a worldwide net
so that it could harm Republicans’ chances in midterm congressional
elections this fall.
in ordering up a new inquiry, Mr. Trump went beyond his usual tactics
of suggesting wrongdoing and political bias by those investigating him,
and crossed over into applying overt presidential pressure on the
Justice Department to do his bidding, an extraordinary realm where past
presidents have hesitated to tread.
Trump who leads the neofascistic
getting more and more insane. In case you wonder about my
explanation, here it is from the article:
experts said such a presidential intervention had little precedent, and
could force a clash between the sitting president and his Justice
Department that would be reminiscent of the one surrounding Richard M.
Nixon during Watergate, when a string of top officials resigned rather
than carry out his order to fire a special prosecutor investigating him.
Yes indeed, but there were two major differences in
the case of Nixon:
First of all, there were
many more non-corrupted
Democrats then in the Senate and the House, and second, the
Republicans did not have the power in the Senate and the House.
I do not know what difference this makes
precisely, but it is no good for real democrats (of which there
are to my knowledge precisely two among the so-called
Warren and Bernie
Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
I agree with Vladeck and
this is a recommended article.
most presidents who have faced investigations have responded with
increased discretion to avoid being seen as trying to influence the
outcome, Mr. Trump has dispensed with any notion that he is not trying
to do so. He and his aides have branded the investigation a witch hunt
and a hoax, called for an end to it, and tried to set its boundaries,
and now the president has ordered a review of how it was handled.
can’t think of a prior example of a sitting president ordering the
Justice Department to conduct an investigation like this one,” said Stephen I. Vladeck, a professor at the University
of Texas School of Law. “That’s little more than a transparent effort
to undermine an ongoing investigation.”
Bannon Tried to Suppress Black Vote: Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower
article is by Rachel Leah on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It
starts as follows:
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower and a former employee of the firm,
told Congress Wednesday that the company ran voter suppression
campaigns, which targeted black Americans and other liberal demographic
groups. He said that those orders came from Steve Bannon, former
chief executive of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and later
Chief Strategist in the Trump White House.
"Mr. Bannon sees cultural
warfare as the means to create enduring change in American politics. It
was for this reason Mr. Bannon engaged SCL (Cambridge Analytica's
parent company), a foreign military contractor, to build an arsenal of
informational weapons he could deploy on the American population," Wylie told CNN after the hearing, adding that
"voter disengagement tactics" were used to "discourage or
demobilize certain types of people from voting" — specifically,
Yes indeed: quite so.
And in fact I agree with more than is stated in the above
quotation, for I think that the combination Cambridge Analytica +
Facebook + Bannon (who was Trump´s chief strategist during
the elections) is a credible
explanation for why
Clinton lost to Trump.
Here is more from this
consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was partly funded by
right-wing billionaire Robert Mercer; Bannon was the firm's vice
president until he joined the Donald Trump campaign, which then hired
the firm to help win the 2016 election. In March, Wylie came
forward and claimed that Cambridge Analytica improperly harvested personal information from some 50
million Facebook users to try to manipulate voters.
"We exploited Facebook to
harvest millions of people’s profiles," Wylie told the Observer. "And built models to
exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was
the basis the entire company was built on."
Quite so - except that
it seems Cambridge Analytica harvested over 80 million - mostlt
American - sets of personal information from Facebook. And this is a strongly
Clinton is Now a Victim of ‘Socialists’
article is by Paul Street on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
Clinton’s take on “what happened” in the 2016 election is a running
tale of victimization. She was the casualty of FBI Director James Comey
and of Vladimir Putin and WikiLeaks. She was unjustly loathed by that
“basket” of racist, sexist, nativist, and homophobic “deplorables” that
is supposedly the American “heartland,” white working-class and rural
population – people she recently painted (at an elite globalist
gathering in Mumbai, India) as a bunch of “pessimistic,” slow-witted
and retrograde losers. She was victimized by Bernie Sanders, who
(Hillary complained) wasn’t even a “real Democrat” but had the
unmitigated chutzpah to let his primary campaign challenge her
prearranged coronation as the Democratic Party’s presidential
think that is all quite correct, and I want to explain
something about there being no links in the extracts I made:
There are no links because it is copied from Consortiumnews to text
(which removes all links) and only then to html.
The reason is that Consortiumnews was by Robert Parry, who
recently died and was followed up by some family members - and these
plant spans everywhere in their html, which I am forced to
remove if I want to quote html, and I decided to stop being a
fool doing that: As long as the texts are abused on Consortiumnews,
I will quote only texts, and not html.
So here is the second and last bit I quote from this article:
Never mind the
series of stupid, arrogant, and largely unforced errors that crippled
her uninspiring and policy-bereft insider campaign that was under her
command. And never mind her own epic unpopularity before and during the
campaign – disapproval earned over her many years of functioning as a
cold and transparently elitist Establishment agent of the wealthy
corporate and financial Few.
agree all of this was utter bullshit by
Hilary Clinton. And yes, Street is quite right that Hilary +
Bill are ¨fabulously
for they seem to have collected around $120 million dollars, mostly
from selling their words to megarich bankers, or so it seems (for this
is of course carefully kept secret by the Clintons).
Now the endlessly put-upon
(yet fabulously wealthy) and eye-rolling Hillary has found some more
scapegoats for her epic fail: first, “socialists” in the activist
cadres and primary and caucus electorate of the Democratic Party, then
younger voters, and finally greedy corporate chieftains whose greed has
turned good Democrats into “socialists.” The “lying neoliberal
warmonger” says she was victimized because of her identification as a
“capitalist” after big business executives’ have sadly given capitalism
a bad name—especially with young people.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
B. One Extra Bit
an extra bit in the crisis series. I did so before a few times. Today
is another time and the reason is Maarten van
Rossem, who is Dutch, a
historian, and a - local, Dutch - ¨expert on the USA¨ (translated from
the Dutch). As regular readers probably noticed, I don´t write Dutch
anymore in Nederlog, mostly because I have given up on Holland.
But this is a good bit of Dutch, with which I mostly quite agree:
This is a strongly
recommended article for all readers of Dutch who want a decent
explanation for the collapse of democracy in the USA.
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 (!!).