1. Thomas Frank on Why
Hillary Clinton Won’t Protect
Americans From Wall Street
Avalanche of Nonsense From Donald Trump Will
Leave You Absolutely Speechless
3. AT&T, Time Warner and the Death of Privacy
4. Snowden: 'Journalists Are a Threatened Class' in Era of
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, October 27, 2016.
is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1
is about a quite interesting conversation between Scheer and Frank,
that dates back to July: I liked it; item 2
is about an article that well exposes the very many fantasies Trump
indulges in and presents as "facts": it is quite funny (and underneat
it rather sad); item 3 is about the merger of
AT&T and Times Warner and the death of privacy, and I fear it is
correct; and item 4 is about recent warnings of
Snowden that "journalists are a threatened class" (now that the secret services may know all
that the journalists know and did and
part, for the moment --
In case you visit my
Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need
to click/reload twice or more
to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for
possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my
computer. (It was OK on October 22, but not before.)
In any case, I am now (again) updating
the opening of my site with the last day it was updated.
(And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times
last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. 
C. In case you visit my Danish site: It now
works again (!), but I do not know how long it will keep working. The
Dutch site still is a mess.
I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I
am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that
also went well for 20 or for 12 years.
I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!)
in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that
for many months now.
Thomas Frank on
Why Hillary Clinton Won’t Protect Americans From Wall Street
The first item today
is by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as follows, and I
should say that the video was originally published on July 26, 2016
(when I missed it):
On Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention,
Truthdig once again went live on our Facebook page. This time,
Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer sat down for a discussion with
author and Guardian columnist Thomas Frank. Truthdig Associate Editor Alexander Kelly, also in Philly, filmed
the conversation. Frank’s new book, “Listen, Liberal,” analyzes how the
Democratic Party abandoned working Americans.
In their discussion, Scheer and Frank discuss how
the Democratic Party has crumbled and what the future of the
establishment looks like. Frank explains how for years, working-class
Americans made up the voter base of the Democratic Party because they
“had nowhere else to go.” But this year, Frank explains, they’ve found
a new home in the Republican Party led by Donald Trump. “[Democrats]
have not only permitted this to happen,” he says, “they’ve made it
almost inevitable in some ways.”
Yes. I don't quite agree, but Frank seems
right to me in saying or implying that (i) the top of the Democrats
come from "the professional class" (basically: university-educated
people who earn well), while (ii) there also are considerably
less genuine blue collar workers, who also have far less power,
because the trade unions are far less powerful.
Here is some more on it:
Robert Scheer: (..) And my question, the
reason I wanted to talk to you, you’re here at the Democratic
Convention; Bernie Sanders has been defeated. The machine is back in
power. Hillary Clinton is being hailed as the second coming. And are
they listening, these liberals?
Thomas Frank: Are the liberals listening?
RS: Are they listening to you?
TF: No. The short answer is no. The longer
answer, I think, is that the criticism of the Democratic Party that I
make in “Listen, Liberal” is, you know, it’s that what we have today is
a liberalism of the rich. That it is a liberalism of the professional
classes, these sort of affluent people who have developed a whole kind
of pseudo-Marxist theory of why they’re affluent and why they deserve
to be affluent, and why those who, you know, their former supporters in
the working class don’t deserve to be affluent. And this is a really
ugly ideology, but it’s not something that they are prepared to change
their tune on.
Yes, although I believe this is less
"pseudo-Marxism" as part of the Democratic adoption of considerable
amounts of "neoliberalism". Frank is right (in my opinion) this is "a
really ugly ideology", for in effect it says you are
human like we are only if you earn an income like we do.
There is this on Hillary Clinton and her kind of
people (the "professionals" i.e. the well off Democrats who rule the
TF: I don’t think Hillary Clinton can
change. She was criticized so much during the primaries for taking all
this money from Wall Street banks for the speeches and stuff like that,
and what I would always say is that it’s not just the money; that’s who
she is. That’s her philosophy of the world is that these, the financial
institutions in New York have this kind of—what’s the French word—mission
civilisatrice, right? That the Wall Street banks are in fact run by
fine, upstanding individuals who are opening up the doors of
possibility for the poor people of the world, or something like this.
She really believes in what they’re doing. Democrats look at Wall
Street and they see people like themselves. It’s not that they’re
bribed to like these guys; it’s that they have an ideological kinship
Mostly yes. I think Hillary Clinton can
"change", at least in the types of things she will affirm before she is
elected, but I think Frank is right in assuming this
is mostly to get elected, while Hillary herself probably believes
that "the Wall Street banks are in fact run by fine,
upstanding individuals", and indeed she does so because
she and many leading Democrats "have an ideological
kinship with them".
Here is Frank's diagnosis of what the Democrats did
and did wrongly:
TF: When you talk about, you want to talk
about inequality, you want to talk about what’s gone wrong in this
country, the sinking of the middle class—everything that’s gone wrong,
and I would include in my bill of complaints, my bill of grievances,
the rise of Donald Trump—all of these things are attributable to the
Democrats’ abandonment of their traditional constituency and their
traditional sort of Rooseveltian identity.
Yes, but - is my answer, and the but
resides in the fact that there simply are considerably fewer
traditional blue collar workers, and their trade unions are
My opinion is backed up by Robert Scheer:
RS: I’ve been covering Democratic
conventions since 1956. I was there when Kefauver was going against
Kennedy, and Stevenson and so forth. And I’ve never seen a convention
quite like this, because in the old days you did have a strong labor
union constituency in the Democratic Party. They were there, and they
were real. There were big unions, Ford local itself had 600,000 in
Detroit and all that. It wasn’t pathetically scratching around with the
small unions you have now. And they demanded accountability, and there
were other constituencies that were involved; you know, civil
libertarians, what have you. But that’s sort of gone.
Yes, indeed. Here is more Frank:
TF: And here’s Hillary—and by the way,
this is the perfect, I was saying just this morning—Hillary Clinton is
the only Democrat that Donald Trump could possibly beat, and
vice-versa. Right? Donald Trump is the only Republican that Hillary
Clinton could possibly beat; they’re both, two of the least popular
politicians ever to run for this office. But had it been any other
Republican, Hillary would be in big trouble; had it been any other
Democrat, i.e. Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump would be in enormous
I think this is somewhat exaggerated, although I
agree that both presidential candidates are weaker than others who
might have become presidential candidates instead. (Sanders instead of
Clinton, almost anyone instead of Trump.)
Here is Scheer addressing - correctly I
think, but I do have my own understanding of both neofascism
and "neoliberalism"  - neofascism:
RS: The reason I use the neofascist
label—and I didn’t do it lightly; I don’t want to just denigrate
someone—is that, basically, the misery that Trump is addressing is the
same that Bernie Sanders addressed. The system is not working, and the
statistic that he came out with last night, I would have thought,
that’s a show-stopper and don’t tell me anything else. If the top
one-tenth of 1 percent has more wealth than the bottom 90 percent,
what, what are we, what are we, in fact, talking about? This is absurd.
And then for Michelle Obama to say it’s the greatest country in the
world, now we’re in fantasy land.
And this is some of what Bill Clinton did to
RS: Well, what was Bill Clinton’s last
TF: He deregulated Wall Street, he
There is this on the crisis (and Frank correctly
insists that "the vast majority of people in this country"
are still suffering from this, in 2016) and on who has the main
responsibility for the crisis of 2008:
TF: Wait, the vast majority of people in
this country still haven’t recovered from that recession that was
brought about by those toxic derivatives. And the derivatives were
explicitly deregulated by Bill Clinton. But it goes on and on and
on—it’s like NAFTA, it’s—when I was listening to the speeches
yesterday, it was like they’re promising, they’re running on a promise
to reverse all the things that Hillary Clinton did the first time
around, or that her husband did, I should say.
Yes indeed: Bill Clinton laid the foundations
for the crisis by deregulating
the banks. (He also got very well paid for this.)
And here is Robert Scheer on the very intimate
relation between "neo- liberalism" (a propaganda
term) and neofascism  - and he sees this mostly
as I do:
RS: And the reason one has to think about
it, and the reason I want to get people to read your book and listen to
you, is that I think the neoliberals have created, made the ground
fertile for the people I do consider neofascists. And by “neofascist,”
I’m referring very specifically to blaming “the other” for the problem
that you have [noted]. That’s what I mean, and it’s the scapegoating,
it’s the jingoism, it’s the racism. And that’s traditionally what we
mean by fascism.
And also because the "neoliberals" are very
strongly for "the free trade pacts" which are again deceptively
and falsely named: The TTP, the TTIP, the CETA and the TISA are
all ways to "legally" - by "convincing" a majority of the politicians who
have been bought - change into neofascism, which is defined
(in principle ) by (i) the dominance of
profit as the only moral
norm (which is what Milton Friedman said as well) and by (ii) the
dominance of the CEOs of multi-national corporations over states,
governments, parliaments, judiciaries and people:
Every measure taken by
states, governments, parliaments, judiciaries and people to protect
themselves and to maintain democracy can be turned back
by the totally new "legal" ISDSs which only look at profits,
and who side with the CEOs whenever their profits turn out to be less
than they themselves expected.
That is the end of democracy, the end of even a
very minimal fairness, and it is the total dominance of the
multi-nationals over everything a society might
have done if the society had managed to remain democratic and
Here is Thomas Frank, which is the last bit that
I'll quote from this article:
TF: This is going to get worse and worse
and worse. You’re going to continue to see the recovery or whatever,
all the gains, all the economic gains going into the banking accounts
of the top 10 percent or so. The Dow might continue to go up, but who
benefits from that? It’s the people at the top, of course. Four years
of this, inequality’s going to continue. That’s always what it comes
back to, is that word “inequality.” And that’s going to get worse. The
Appalachification is going to keep going. And four years from now,
you’re going to have another Trump. And a Trump who’s not a fool, a
Trump who’s not an imbecile, who’s not a buffoon, who’s not an open
racist, is a Trump that can win.
Yes, I think that is the likely outcome. And indeed
a good part of the reason is that both the Democrats and the
Republicans are headed by persons who come from the richest 10%,
and these have arranged it so that only they and those who are
richer than they are will take nearly all the riches that the whole
society produces. And this has been happening already for
35 years now.
2. This Avalanche of Nonsense From Donald Trump Will Leave
You Absolutely Speechless
This is a recommended article.
The second item is by Katie Herzog on Mother Jones:
This starts as follows - and I give only one
bit, but there is more there with many more "False"s:
We fact-checked Donald Trump's latest
comments on renewable energy. Turns out, they're not all true.
The Republican presidential nominee
appeared on Herman Cain's radio show on Tuesday, and he had quite
a bit to say about wind and solar power, and birds too. Here's part of
the transcript, courtesy of the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution, with our fact-checking notes added in
TRUMP: Our energy companies are a
disaster right now. Coal. The coal business is—you know, there is such
a thing as clean coal [False].
Our miners are out of work—now they're just attacking energy companies
like I've never seen them attack anything before.
They want everything to be wind and
solar. Unfortunately, it's not working on large-scale [False].
It's just not working [False].
Solar is very, very expensive [False].
Wind is very, very expensive [False],
and it only works when it's windy [False].
As I have been saying since March: A man like Donald Trump,
who mistakes his fantasies
and who probably cannot really think he is mistaken
because He Knows
is in fact not sane.
In case you doubt this or need a good and
amazed laugh, read all of the article. It is recommended.
Time Warner and the Death of Privacy
The third item is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
The company he started grew into a massive
monopoly, AT&T. The federal government eventually deemed it too
powerful, and broke up the telecom giant in 1982. Well, AT&T is
back and some would say on track to become bigger and more powerful
than before, announcing plans to acquire Time Warner, the media
company, to create one of the largest entertainment and communications
conglomerates on the planet. Beyond the threat to competition, the
proposed merger—which still must pass regulatory scrutiny—poses
significant threats to privacy and the basic freedom to communicate.
Yes, indeed - and for the proposed merger by
AT&T and Times Warner and the extremely dangerous (illegal)
searches AT&T does, see (e.g.) here.
Here is more on the danger of the merger:
Free Press, the national media policy and
activism group, is mobilizing the public to oppose the deal. “This
merger would create a media powerhouse unlike anything we’ve ever seen
before. AT&T would control mobile and wired internet access, cable
channels, movie franchises, a film studio and more,” Candace Clement of
Free Press wrote. “That means AT&T would control internet access
for hundreds of millions of people and the content they view, enabling
it to prioritize its own offerings and use sneaky tricks to undermine
That was about the dangers of the merger. This is
about the danger of the (illegal) searches that AT&T
does and sells:
I agree that this horrific future - where private
firms know absolutely everything about you and anyone else, and
can sell their information or their programs to find such information
to anyone with sufficient riches - "is fast
approaching, unless people rise up and stop this merger".
Another problem that AT&T presents, that
would only be exacerbated by the merger, is the potential to invade the
privacy of its millions of customers.
In “Project Hemisphere,” AT&T sells metadata to law enforcement,
under the aegis of the so-called war on drugs. A police agency sends in
a request for all the data related to a particular person or telephone
number, and, for a major fee and without a subpoena, AT&T delivers
a sophisticated data set, that can, according to The Daily Beast,
“determine where a target is located, with whom he speaks, and
Where you go, what you watch, text and share, with whom you speak, all
your internet searches and preferences, all gathered and “vertically
integrated,” sold to police and perhaps, in the future, to any number
of AT&T’s corporate customers. We can’t know if Alexander Graham
Bell envisioned this brave new digital world when he invented the
telephone. But this is the future that is fast approaching, unless
people rise up and stop this merger.
And - as I explained yesterday
- I am very much afraid this merger will not be stopped, and
indeed also that the Fourth Amendment  will be
made totally inapplicable through vast amounts of bullshit, such
as that mail that is sent electronically for that
reason is and ought to be open to inspection by anyone with
the riches to pay for it - for this is what is now
the case: see this article.
4. Snowden: 'Journalists Are a Threatened Class' in Era of Mass
The fourth and last item is
by Nika Knight on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Whistleblower Edward Snowden
warned a group of European reporters Wednesday that in the era of mass
surveillance, journalists are increasingly a threatened class.
And Snowden is quite right, but my own sad guess is
that he is too late, and besides, journalism has changed very
much over the last 15 years, where the old papers lost most of
their advertisements and most of their powers.
"Journalists are increasingly a threatened class
when we think about the right to privacy," Snowden said. "Yes, I can
give you tips on how to protect your communications, but you are going
to be engaging in an arms race that you simply cannot win. You must
fight this on the front pages and you must win, if you want to be able
to report in the same way that you've been able to do in the previous
Here is more by Snowden:
We have technologies that can protect
communications in an unbreakable format when they're in transit.
Governments have reacted to this as if we've thrown them in a pool of
acid, saying you know, "you're shutting us out, you're going dark."
This is false. Any government official who claims we're going dark is
lying. We know this because we have classified documents from inside
governments and we have reportage from journalists who have been in
private sessions with these officials. Things are pretty bad for our
side. For the government's side, it's never been easier.
Yes, the governments lied, lied
and lied from the very beginning,
and they lied
because they knew computers and cellphones give access to absolutely
everything that anyone thinks, values, wants, knows and does,
and because governments and secret services love to control
everyone in everything. 
Nobody shut the governent out: It was shut out by the perfectly
fair and reasonable Fourth Amendment. What the
governments wanted extremely much was to know everything
anyone thought and wanted, and the very few who govern
everybody got these powers through computers. 
And Snowden is quite correct when he says that "Things
are pretty bad for our side. For the government's side, it's never been
easier." And it has never been easier for the
government, because effectively they know almost everything about
almost everybody, after 15 years of dedicated data-gathering
with no holds barred and all laws and regulations off.
Here is Snowden's estimate:
In our current state of the art, offense
is easier than defense. This is an unfortunate artifact of the fact
that governments around the world have prioritized offensive
capabilities for the benefit of spying on people so much more strongly
than they have defensive capabilities, preventing our countries from
I agree and I also agree that "this pressure"
will not come "from newspapers".
But unfortunately we don't have this pressure—that
should be simply blistering—coming from newspapers, going, "We are the
most advanced societies in the world, we are the most connected
societies in the world, and in some sort of computer-based
conflict[...] we have more to lose."
It's too late for that, and they have lost most of their
powers, and also have been very much redesigned to
relay mostly propaganda
from the sides of the government and the multi-national corporations.
this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for
months now. I
do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of
"xs4all" (really: the
KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from
2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control
myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because
"you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which
is the perfect excuse never to do anything
 Maybe I should start by insisting
that I am both academically and personally qualified to know a whole
lot more about fascism than most people (my
father and grandfather were in the communist resistance against the
Nazis, and were arrested and locked up in concentration camps as
"political terrorists"; I have studied philosophy and psychology,
with excellent marks and degrees also).
Then here is my understanding and my definition of neofascism:
is a. A social system that is
marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where
the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that
propounds an ethics which has profit as
its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist,
anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist,
and that has a corporative
organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are
stronger than a national government or state, b. A political philosophy or
movement based on or advocating such a social system.
And here is
my understanding of "neoliberalism":
This is itself a very dishonest propaganda
term, and it also covers almost only (i) propaganda for the noble intentions of the rich
(ii) propaganda for the need for profit as the
only relevant criterion to judge corporations (and people) by, and
(iii) propaganda for the rule of the multi-national
That is, if you take away all the propaganda, "neoliberalism" is in
fact the neofascism of the very rich. It may not be obvious, but then
that is the effect of all the propaganda.
 I have given my definition of
neofascism in the previous note. It is true that (in that definition) the
desire for profit as the only moral/ethical criterion and the
desire to be ruled by multi-national corporations (rather than
democratically elected parliaments and governments) are the main
Here is the text of the Fourth
Amendment (with notes deleted):
The right of the people to be
secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no
Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and
the persons or things to be seized.
This protected the privacy of the Americans from
1789 till 2001, and then was "put aside", completely illegally, by
the utterly false insistence that this does not apply
tot anything sent by a computer.
The only reason for this utterly false insistence was to
enable the NSA to gather everything anyone does with a computer.
You may think differently about the intentions and ends of governors
and spies, but all I have been saying about them is what some 2500
years of history told about them:
These are very often the morally/ethically worst
people there are. (There are exceptions, but these are exceptions.)
 The main point of this
paragraph is that the governments and the secret services, after 15
years of dedicated and heavily funded (totally illegal)
have dossiers on everybody. (You may doubt
because nearly everything all secret services do is secret,
but in case you doubt this check out Private
Eyes and The Path to Total Dicatorship.)