1. The Goldman Sachs Effect:
How a Bank Conquered Washington
Reich: Trump and Bannon Are Putting the World at Real
Risk of Nuclear War
3. Statisticians Fear Trump White House Will Manipulate
to Fit Narrative
4. "Let Them In": Thousands Descend on Nation's Airports to
Protest Trump's Refugee & Muslim Ban
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, January 31, 2017.
Summary: This is
a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1 is about a fine article by Nomi Prins on the mega-thieves and mega-frauds of Goldman Sachs; item 2 is an article by Robert Reich on Trump and Bannon; item 3 is a quite interesting article on statisticians' fears that the Trumpian government will manipulate the figures it puts out ("alternative figures"?) to fit its own narratives; and item 4 is about the last Trumpian effort: denying refugees and muslims from seven countries entry into the USA.
As for today
(January 31, 2017): I have
meanwhile attached a message to the openings
of both of my sites which points out that for something like a year
of my sites more
or less systematically, but unpredictably, show the wrong date
and the wrong files, indeed going so far back as 2015, and as
if I did not
write anything since then.
1. The Goldman
Sachs Effect: How a Bank Conquered Washington
Today my Dutch site again was not updated at all, and still stands at January 28, 2017 (for me: for you it might be March 1, 2016) , but the Danish
site was correct, and I have
uploading my site for quite a few years now and not even
properly shown now, since about a year, on both sites, also quite
Somebody really wants you not to read my sites.
I wrote about this yesterday, and will probably tomorrow change my site as indicated: I want the stuff that I write to be read, and not to be hidden, denied or destroyed
by sick degenerates (probably from the secret services, for they pride
themselves they can - in secret, of course - fuck up almost
And I have had it, after a year of stinking bullshit by both my providers or else by the secret services.
The first item today is by Nomi Prins (<- Wikipedia) on Common Dreams and originally
This starts as follows:
Irony isn’t a concept with which
President Donald J. Trump is familiar. In his Inaugural Address, having
nominated the wealthiest
cabinet in American history, he proclaimed, “For too long, a small
group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government
while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished -- but the
people did not share in its wealth.” Under Trump, an even smaller
group will flourish -- in particular, a cadre of former Goldman Sachs
executives. To put the matter bluntly, two of them (along with the
Federal Reserve) are likely to control
our economy and financial system in the years to come.Actually,
I don't see why Trump is not familiar with irony, but the rest of this
is quite true, while Nomi Prins (according to the Wikipedia)
"has worked as a managing director at Goldman-Sachs and as a Senior Managing Director at Bear Stearns, as well as having worked as a senior strategist at Lehman Brothers and analyst at the Chase Manhattan Bank. Prins is known for her book All the Presidents' Bankers
in which she explores over a century of close relationships between the
19 Presidents from Teddy Roosevelt through Barack Obama and the key
bankers of their day based on original archival documents."
And she also is one of the few who criticizes
the banks for plundering the people, which is happening in the USA, at
least since 2000, and probably since much before then.
Here is her general judgement on Trump and his cabinet:
Whether you voted for or against Donald
Trump, whether you’re gearing up for the revolution or waiting for his
next tweet to drop, rest assured that, in the years to come, the
ideology that matters most won’t be that of the “forgotten” Americans
of his Inaugural
Address. It will be that of Goldman Sachs and it will dominate the
domestic economy and, by extension, the global one.
Yes, I think that is very probably quite correct (and I think this means far more plunder by the rich of the non-rich).
Here starts a potted history of the history of the American banks and
especially of Goldman Sachs (and I think I should remind you this is
pronounced as "Goldman Sex").
I think it is quite interesting, but what follows in this review is a
small part of the article, which in turn is a small part of Nomi
Prins's books. I certainly recommend that
you read all of her articles. (I didn't read her books: They probably are also good, but I never read them).
She starts in the beginning of the 20th Century:
At the dawn of the twentieth century,
when President Teddy Roosevelt governed the country on a platform of
trust busting aimed at reducing
corporate power, even he could not bring himself to bust up the
banks. That was a mistake born of his collaboration with the
financier J.P. Morgan to mitigate the effects of the Bank Panic of
1907. Roosevelt feared that if he didn’t enlist the influence of the
country’s major banker, the crisis would be even longer and more
disastrous. It’s an error he might not have made had he foreseen
the effect that one particular investment bank would have on America’s
economy and political system.
There have been hundreds of articles
written about the “world’s most powerful investment bank,” or as
journalist Matt Taibbi famously called it back in 2010, the “great
vampire squid.” That squid is now about to wrap its tentacles
around our world in a way previously not imagined by Bill Clinton or
George W. Bush.
I think Nomi Prins is correct about
Roosevelt. As to the "great vampire squid": Yes indeed, and I should
add here that both Clinton and Bush Jr. did their very best
to please the rich bankers, who indeed made Bill Clinton a multi-millionaire between 2000 and 2010 by rewarding him many millions for speeches to them.
Then we get (after much that I skipped) to one of the most awful human beings I know of (amongst the living ones):
Now, let’s jump forward to the 1990s when Robert Rubin, co-chairman of Goldman Sachs,
took a page from Weinberg’s playbook. He recognized the potential
in a young, charismatic governor from Arkansas with a favorable
attitude toward banks.
And Rubin was right, and Bill Clinton soon
loved him, took him into his government (indeed after Goldman Sachs persons had
been advicing the former five presidents), very much liked and lauded
Rubin's economical opinions (which may be described fairly as: A USA of the rich, for the rich, and governed by the rich) and quickly promoted him:
In fact - after checking the "hustling"
link - I don't think Bill Clinton was hustled, though he did what he
did (betraying all non-rich Americans) rather carefully, and
It was then only a matter of time until he was elevated to Treasury
Secretary. In that position, he would accomplish something Ronald
Reagan -- the first president to appoint a Treasury Secretary directly
from Wall Street (former CEO
of Merrill Lynch Donald Regan) -- and George H.W. Bush failed to
do. He would get the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 repealed by hustling
President Clinton into backing such a move. FDR had signed the act in
order to separate investment banks from commercial banks, ensuring that
risky and speculative banking practices would not be funded with the
deposits of hard-working Americans. The act did what it was intended to
do. It inoculated the nation against the previously reckless
behavior of its biggest banks.
very late in his second presidency.
I also think myself he was verbally promised big rewards, which
he did receive in the next ten years from the very bankers whose
private fortunes he had so much helped, but I admit this is my
reconstruction of the most plausible story, and I have no
direct evidence. (But Clinton was paid around $150 million for a few speeches as ex- president to rich bankers.)
Then there is Hank Paulson (<- Wikipedia), who oversaw that the bankers got extremely
rich because of the crisis they themselves caused and created. Here are
some of his preparations for that feat (of 2008) from 2004:
2004, Paulson helped convince the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) to change its regulations so that investment banks
could operate as if they had the kind of collateral or backing for
their trades that goliaths like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase had. As a
result, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns, to name three
that would become notorious in the economic meltdown only four years
later (and all ones for which I once worked) promptly leveraged
themselves to the hilt.
There is this about one of Goldman Sach's staff who now works for Trump, and will probably add
additional billions to his private riches:
Cohn was one of the partners who ran the
Fixed Income, Currency and Commodity (FICC) division of Goldman. It was
the one that benefited the most from leverage, trading, and the
complexity of Wall Street’s financial concoctions like collateralized
debt obligations (CDOs) stuffed with derivatives attached to subprime
And this is about another of Trump's appointment from Goldman Sachs, Steve Mnuchin:
To transfer this version of over-amped 1%
opportunism to the halls of political power is certainly a new
definition of, in Trumpian terms, giving the government back to “the
people.” Perhaps what our new president meant was “the people at
Goldman Sachs.” Think of it, in any case, as the supercharging of a
vulture mentality in a designer suit, the very attitude that once
fueled the rise to power of Goldman Sachs.
As I started saying at the beginning of this
review, I don't think irony is beyond Trump's intellectual gifts (which
I agree are nothing special, but Trump is not stupid).
In any case, this is a strongly recommended article that also explains
(implicitly, for the most part) much about the policies Trump will
probably follow, that may be summarized as "More riches to the
rich, no riches to the non-rich" (for the non-rich are losers, and
losers are not entitled to anything).
For more on that political recipe, see my On socialism and also Orwell on socialism of 2015. (In fact, I am not
a socialist if this implies giving the ownership of firms "to the
state" or "to the party" or "to the government", for in the end this
implies a kind of state capitalism; I am a socialist if this
implies that firms are to be owned by everyone working in them. This is
probably more anarchistic than socialistic or communistic. )
Robert Reich: Trump and Bannon Are Putting the World at Real Risk of
The second item is by Robert Reich on AlterNet and originally on his
This starts as follows:
Donald Trump has reorganized the
National Security Council – elevating his chief political strategist
Steve Bannon, and demoting the Director of National Intelligence and
the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Bannon will join the NSC’s principals
committee, the top inter-agency group advising the President on
Meanwhile, the Director of National
Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will now
attend meetings only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities
and expertise are to be discussed,” according to the presidential
memorandum issued Saturday.
Political strategists have never before
participated in National Security Council principals meetings because
the NSC is supposed to give presidents nonpartisan, factual advice.
I have written about this earlier in Nederlog: See here.
In fact, I do not think that the National Security Council does "give presidents nonpartisan, factual advice": What worries me and what also seems to offer some hope of getting rid of Trump is that I think both the National Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are part of the Deep State that Trump seems to be antagonizing a lot.
For more on the Deep State, see my On The Deep State in the USA. Here is more about Bannon, who replaces both the National Security Council's official and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
In case you forgot, before joining
Donald Trump’s inner circle Bannon headed Breitbart News, a far-right
media outlet that has promoted conspiracy theories and is a platform
for the alt-right movement, which espouses white nationalism.
This is truly scary.
I agree. Here is why:
Here’s the big worry. Trump is unhinged
and ignorant. Bannon is nuts and malicious. If not supervised by the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, their decisions could endanger the world.
In Trump’s and Bannon’s view,
foreign relations is a zero-sum game. If another nation gains, we lose.
As Trump declared at his inaugural: “From this day forward, it’s going
to be only America First.”
Yes. I agree "Trump is unhinged" - that is: psychiatrically insane - and my best reasons are here, and that is a letter to Obama, late last year, by three professors of psychiatry.
About Bannon - "Bannon is nuts" - I do not know much, and being a psychologist my
criterions for saying a person is not sane (or "nuts") are probably a
bit different than Reich's. But I agree an alt righter is not the man for the job he was assigned to by Trump (who also never should have been president of the USA, because he, at least, is not sane).
Finally, there is this in Reich's article:
Not incidentally, “America First” was
the name of the pro-Nazi group led by Charles Lindbergh that bitterly
fought FDR before U.S. entry into World War II to keep America neutral
between Churchill’s Britain and Hitler’s Reich.
Trump’s and Bannon’s version of “America
First” is no less dangerous. It is alienating America from the rest of
the world, destroying our nation’s moral authority abroad, and risking
everything we love about our country.
Unsupervised by people who know what
they’re doing, Trump and Bannon could also bring the world closer to a
I mostly agree with the last statement, but I don't think they "could also bring": I think "they have already brought" is better, and indeed the scientists who set the Doomsday Clock (<-Wikipedia) did this (from Wikipedia):
As of January 2017, the Clock is set at two and a half minutes to midnight, due to a "rise of 'strident nationalism' worldwide, United States President Donald Trump's comments over nuclear weapons, and the disbelief in the scientific consensus over climate change by the Trump Administration."
As to "America First" and "destroying our nation’s moral authority abroad": I think the first may be a coincidence, while the second seems false for intelligent non-Americans like myself: I don't believe in America's "moral authority" ever since Vietnam (in the 1960ies).
But this is a recommended article.
3. Statisticians Fear Trump White House
Will Manipulate Figures to Fit Narrative
The third item is by Mona Chalabi on AlterNet and originally on The
This starts as follows, and is here because I think a real democracy must be based on a real public understanding of the real facts: if the real facts are not understood by a majority of the public, in basic outline at least, there is no democracy, and there probably is or soon will be a dictatorship:
US statisticians are concerned that Donald
Trump’s administration might suppress or manipulate public statistics
that don’t fit his narrative of the truth, the
Guardian has learned. In a series of interviews, individuals who have
recently left high-level positions at federal statistical agencies expressed
worry that the administration may stop collecting and publishing data
on subjects such as abortion, racial inequality and poverty.
These "US statisticians" were quite right, and here is why both respecting the facts and having the facts are both very important:
“We should all be starting from the same
numbers. I think that’s a fear that many of us have at this point -
it’s that picking and choosing your numbers to suit your politics is
not the way that we ought to be doing it,” said Katherine Wallman,
chief statistician of the United States from 1992 to 3 January of this
Wallman, like other statisticians the
Guardian spoke to, believes that a number system which consists of
accurate, publicly available government data is currently under threat.
In fact, Trump seems to agree thay some governmental numbers are "phoney", which he might be right in (I don't quite trust Obama's numbers for people without work either ), but this just the ordinary Trumpian bullshit:
In August, the then presidential candidate himself described the Bureau
of Labor Statistics (BLS) numbers as “phoney”, claiming: “The 5% figure is
one of the biggest hoaxes in American modern politics.” In the same
speech, Trump suggested alternative data, adding: “The number’s
probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42%”
Yes, 4 out of 10 (or 3 out of 10) of all Americans doesn't work, according to Trump: Utter bullshit. Here is more about how not having - more or less - correct data about what is going on will silence activists:
Defunding public data is also an effective tool in silencing activists.
As a former Census Bureau employee explained: “You can’t talk about
discrimination if there’s no data there to support it.” The employee,
like most of the statisticians the Guardian spoke with, asked not to be
named for fear that they would not be able to work for federal agencies
in the future.
Precisely: If there are no data on discrimination, who can protest discrimination? 
Funding isn’t the only concern, though. One economist who worked at a
federal statistical agency from 2009 until 2016, and who also asked not
to be named, explained: “The administration can and probably will start
adding onerous requirements for vetting before information is released
to the public.”
And here is Ken Prewitt, a former director of the US Census Bureau:
According to Prewitt, there are simple
ways to make adjustments to the way data is calculated that affects the
“What people do not understand,” he
explains: “If you control the denominator, you control everything”.
Denominators are used in virtually every
single public statistic. For example, the Census Bureau publishes data which shows that
one in four US Hispanics lives in poverty (specifically, 11.2 million
of the out of 48.2 million Hispanics in the US). To change that
statistic, you can either change people’s lives or, more simply, you
can change the way that you count who is and who is not Hispanic –
then, the statistic can become one in three, one in ten, one in
As a former Census Bureau statistician
explained, once you change the statistics, “you can write your own
narrative. You can tell people how sick they are or how safe they are”.
Indeed, and this does seem one
of the ways in which Trump wants to advertise His Greatest
Improvements: He will first change the statistics, possibly several
times, e.g. making out that there are not 1 in 4 but 1 in 10 poor
Hispanics living in the USA, and then Trump will claim that their vast
improvements are His Great Work (starting with capitals because Trump is a megalomaniac).
I think this well may be a basic way for spreading Trumpian propaganda: without adequate statistics, no one knows what is the real case about very many kinds of general facts (that need some sort of statistical representation).
4. "Let Them In": Thousands Descend on Nation's Airports to Protest Trump's Refugee & Muslim Ban
The fourth item is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!:
This starts with the following introduction:
Thousands of protesters flooded airports across the United States over
the weekend after President Donald Trump signed an executive order
Friday temporarily banning all refugees from entering the country, and
barring access for 90 days to nationals from seven majority-Muslim
nations. The draconian measure instantly cut off access to the U.S. to
218 million people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and
Yemen. It indefinitely suspended the admission of Syrian refugees.
Across the world, travelers were left stranded, while scores were
detained by customs officials after landing at U.S. airports. As news of
the order spread on Saturday, thousands gathered at John F. Kennedy
airport in New York City for an impromptu protest. On Saturday,
Democracy Now! spoke to protesters at JFK.
In fact, this is a widely shared story. Here is some more:
Then again, it seems as if Trump's government officials simply pretended that Judge Donelly's rule did not exist or did not apply to them. And there is this:
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Protests
spread to other airports—in Boston, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Atlanta,
San Francisco. President Trump’s order also drew immediate legal
challenges. On Saturday, the ACLU asked a federal judge to intervene in the case of two Iraqis detained at JFK
airport. At Saturday night, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in
Brooklyn ordered the men released as part of a nationwide stay on part
of Trump’s executive order. Her ruling temporarily blocked the
deportation of valid visa holders, including those from countries listed
in Trump’s ban.
Judges in California, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington quickly
followed with similar rulings, and the Department of Homeland Security
said Sunday it would comply with the orders. But some lawmakers report
Customs and Border Protection officers are defying the courts.
Yes, precisely. There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended.
In my case it just doesn't correctly upload, doesn't say that it
doesn't correctly upload and probably is stuck at the last time you
visited the site: This was the case for
me most of last year.
Another thing I totally distrust is that I have since 2009 -
when I got fast internet - received hardly any mail about my site,
while I got a reasonable amount of mail (and a lot of spam) between
2000 and 2009, when I also had, according to the good statistics I had
for one site till 2015 (i) over 1,000,000 hits (on just one site) (ii)
viewing over 800,000 pages, by more than 170,000 visitors. (These were
the numbers for 2012.)
I got something like 10 mails since 2009 (!!), almost all about
philosophy. I am sorry, but with that many visitors, views, and hits
the number of mails I receive are totally incredible.
So fundamentally - and within a year - I don't know anything about my two very large sites, I get no more statistics of any sound kind, and I get almost no mail by anyone about any aspect of my site since 2009 (while I have had millions of hits and over 500,000 visitors, at the very least).
This is why I will change my site tomorrow, so that anyone who visits at least gets a link to my Nederlog. This again might not be recent - what do I know about my site?! - but at least you get the link and can start from there. (It still may mean a lot of reloading, but I don't know what to do about that. And I am very sorry, but it is also
true that we are now living in neofascistic times.)
 I think it is mostly anarchistic, and probably liberal anarchism
(<-Wikipedia - and incidentally: I am not an individual anarchist,
to which the previously existing liberal anarchism now links, and I
think that with Wikipedia's rise in popularity, there also is a rise in
lying, in propaganda and in bullshit).
Then again, while I know a lot about communism, Marxism, socialism and
social democracy, I know less about anarchism, in which there also are
many different kinds of views.
If my health is sufficient, I may write an article in Nederlog about
liberal anarchism (since it was removed from Wikipedia), but I make no
 More specifically, I - also - do not trust Obama's labor statistics, but I do not think they were statistically
manipulated. I think they were too rosy, because people who were
without work were not counted because of laws or regulations that
somehow excluded them. (And these manipulations never had anything close to the size Trump suggested, but they may have been several percentage points.)
 Of course, you can protest whatever you like and whatever you know and don't know. My point is rather: If there are no reliable data
available about discrimination, it may be difficult to convince many
people there is discrimination, and indeed the same for any other
subject than discrimination, such as poverty.
And in an enormous country with over 300 million persons, you need a lot of good statistics to know about many things that simply cannot be known without these good statistics.