A. Selections from July 31, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Monday, July 31,
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.
explained, the crisis files will have a different
format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items
I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one
selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit
of a taste of the item linked.
So the new format is as follows:
Link to an item with its orginal title,
One selection from that item (indented)
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
July 31, 2017
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:
and the Denial of Truth: What Henry Wallace Can Teach Us About Trump
This article is by Thomas J. Scott on Truth-out, that turns back to
Vice President Henry
Wallace (<-Wikipedia) of 1944. The article starts as follows:
What is a fascist? How
many fascists have we? How dangerous are they? These are the questions
that the New York Times posed to Henry A. Wallace, Franklin Roosevelt's
vice president, in April 1944.
In response, Wallace
Danger of American Fascism," an essay in which he suggested
that the number of American fascists and the threat they posed were
directly connected to how fascism was defined. Wallace pointed out that
several personality traits characterized fascist belief, arguing that a
fascist is "one whose lust for money and power is combined with such an
intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes,
religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his
use of deceit or violence to attain his ends."
Wallace also claimed that
fascists "always and everywhere can be identified by their appeal to
prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of
different groups in order to gain power." Fascists are "easily
recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth
and fact" (my italics), he contended. Moreover, Wallace noted that
fascists "pay lip service to democracy and the common welfare" and they
"surreptitiously evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from
monopolistic extortion." Finally, Wallace identified that fascists'
primary objective was to "capture political power so that, using the
power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they
keep the common man in eternal subjection."
I say. But Wallace was rather
correct about fascism
(that I define under the last link), which these days tends to
manifest itself disguised as "neoliberalism" and "free marketism" -
Rich Ought To Be Able To Exploit Everyone Non-Rich Without Any
Restraints Whatsoever -but is in fact for the most part more or less
(as defined by me under the last link).
Incidentally, if you don't
check the links in the previous paragraph you will remain ignorant -
and I did do a reasonable amount of work on them. In fact, here
fine articles I wrote in 2016: Crisis: Approaching neofascism: Five major changes in the
USA since 1970 and also this
(that lists a small part of my research) On Fascism and
Neofascism: Definitions (this considers
no less than 21 definitions):
And in fact this is a quite good article. It ends as follows:
For Trump, facts mean
nothing. They are contrary to the desires of his political base.
Connecting to his base is visceral; intellectualism is the antithesis
of Trump's immediate political objectives. By denying the existence of
truth-based politics, Trump solidifies his populist vision and
perpetuates one of fascism's greatest mechanisms for acquiring absolute
power: the force of emotion conquering the force of reason. As Timothy Snyder states in his insightful book On
Tyranny, "To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is
true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon
which to do so."
This is a recommended
Emails Show UAE Building Close Relationship With D.C. Think Tanks That
Push Its Agenda
is by Zaid Jilani and Alex Emmons on The Intercept. This starts as
The United Arab
Emirates has one
of the most repressive governments in the world. The Gulf
dictatorship brutally cracks
down on internal dissent and enables abusive
conditions for its massive migrant labor force. It also
plays a key role in the bloody war in
Yemen, running a network of torture
prisons in the “liberated” parts of the country.
That makes it all the
more shocking that the UAE is so rarely criticized by leading U.S.
think tanks, who not only ignore the Gulf
dictatorship’s repression, but give
a privileged platform to its ambassador, Yousef Al-Otaiba.
Otaiba is a deeply influential voice in U.S. foreign policy
circles, and is known in Washington for using
his pocketbook to recruit allies.
The latest batch of hacked emails passed to The Intercept and
other outlets by “GlobalLeaks” provide insight into how Otaiba
manages to find — or buy — so many friends in D.C. think tanks.
The documents offer a glimpse into how a small, oil-rich monarchy can
obtain such an outsized influence on U.S. foreign policy, showing
the ambassador obtaining favors from Obama administration veterans
— including Hillary Clinton’s presumptive Defense Secretary — and
making large payments in return.
This is a fairly
interesting article, that also displays the truth about the so-called
"Think Tanks": These are not think tanks but propaganda
tanks, indeed from the start (often in the 1950ies or 1960ies) onwards
(so even their name is propaganda).
Republican Failure to Repeal Obamacare Is Hardly the End of the Story
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
The demise of the
Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is hardly the end
of the story. Donald Trump will not let this loss stand.
Since its inception in
2010, Republicans made the Affordable Care Act into a symbol of
Obama-Clinton overreach – part of a supposed plot by liberal elites to
expand government, burden the white working class, and transfer
benefits to poor blacks and Latinos.
Ever the political
opportunist, Trump poured his own poisonous salt into this festering
wound. Although he never really understood the Affordable Care Act, he
used it to prey upon resentments of class, race, ethnicity, and
religiosity that propelled him into the White House.
Now, having lost that fight, Trump will try to subvert the Act by
delaying subsidies so some insurance companies won’t be able to
participate, failing to enforce the individual mandate so funding won’t
be adequate, not informing those who are eligible about when to sign up
and how to do so, and looking the other way when states don’t comply.
In brief, Trump will
do his best to deny tens of millions of American citizens any
healthcare. There is more in the article, that is not very
happy, but seems quite justified to me: A recommended article.
Sanders on the Right-Wing Ideology that Rules Our Economy
This article is by Bernie Sanders and was originally published in 2009.
It starts as follows:
Well... (1) economy is not
a real science (and agrees with this diagnoses with psychology,
sociology and quite a few more), in part because (2) economy - strongly
- tends to be propaganda
for the rich (or their exploitative models). And as to Milton Friedman:
He was a gifted propagandist, who got his Nobel Prize
essentially by writing propaganda, that was sold as "science".
“THE FAILED PROPHET”
THE LATE MILTON FRIEDMAN
WAS A PROVOCATIVE TEACHER AT MY ALMA MATER, THE UNIVERSITY OF
CHICAGO. He got his students involved with their studies. He was a
gifted writer and communicator. And he received a Nobel Prize for his
contributions to economics.
But Friedman was more
than an academic. He was an advocate for, and popularizer of, a radical
right-wing economic ideology.
In today’s political and
social reality, the University of Chicago’s establishment of a $200
million Milton Friedman Institute (in the building that until now has
housed the renowned Chicago Theological Seminary) will not be perceived
as simply a sign of appreciation for a prominent former faculty member.
Instead, by founding such an institution, the university signals that
it is aligning itself with a reactionary political program supported by
the wealthiest, greediest, and most powerful people and institutions in
this country. Friedman’s ideology caused enormous damage to the
American middle class and to working families here and around the
world. It is not an ideology that a great institution like the
University of Chicago should be seeking to advance.
I do not think he was more or different. This article is well
worth reading and it ends as follows:
Precisely. And eight
years onwards - for this article was originally published in 2009 - the
situation is considerably worse, with a megalomaniac as
president, who in my - quite informed - opinion is best
described as a neofascist,
who is trying his best to ruin whatever remains from American democracy.
Now we have a case study
for what happens when the ideology of Milton Friedman becomes the
operating ideology of the government. Under Bush, the median family
income has declined by thousands of dollars. Millions of Americans have
entered the ranks of the poor. Some 7 million have lost their health
insurance. Some 3 million have lost their pensions. And the gap between
the very rich and everybody else has grown much wider.
Our country is due for a
transformation. We have endured years of right-wing ideology, and we
are eager to move in a different direction. I believe that we will see
a major reordering of social and economic priorities and that this last
general election represented a repudiation of right-wing economic
In the Bush era—a period
in which some of Friedman’s greatest admirers managed the U.S.
economy—the top 400 families in this country saw their wealth increase
by $670 billion.
Yet we have children in
this country who have no health care, children who are undernourished,
and children who sleep out on the streets. From an economic
perspective, from a moral perspective, and from a philosophical
perspective, the ideology of Milton Friedman is dead wrong.
And this is a recommended article.
Trump Find the ‘Great’ Path?
by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
On June 29, when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked John Podesta, the
chairman of Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, how they
had lost to Donald Trump, I expected the
usual excuse – “Russia! Russia! Russia!” – but was surprised when
“Even though 20 percent
of his voters believed he was unfit to be president, they wanted
radical change, they wanted to blow the system up. And that’s what he’s
given them, I guess.”
For those millions of
Americans who had watched their jobs vanish and their communities
decay, it was a bit like prisoners being loaded onto a truck for
transport to a killing field. As dangerous and deadly as a desperate
uprising might be, what did they have to lose?
In 2008, some of those
same Americans had voted for an unlikely candidate, first-term Sen.
Barack Obama, hoping for his promised “change you can believe in,” but
then saw Obama sucked into Official Washington’s Establishment with its
benign – if not malign – neglect for the average Joe and Jane.
In 2016, the Democratic
Party brushed aside the left-wing populist Sen. Bernie Sanders, who
might have retained the support of many blue-collar Americans.
part of this article is a sum-up, as indicated above. But it is well
worth reading and ends as follows, which gives Parry's views after his
sketch of what Trump might have done if he were a somewhat
honest or somewhat honorable president:
But do I think any of this will happen? Not really. Far more
likely, the Trump presidency will remain mired in its “reality-TV”
squabbles with the sort of coarse language that would normally be
bleeped out of network TV; the Democrats will continue substituting the
Russia-gate blame-game for any serious soul-searching; the Republicans
will press on with more tax cuts for the rich; and the Great American
Experiment with Democracy will continue to flounder into chaos.
although one major guilty party is missing: Most of this is possible
because the majority of the American electorate believes in
they are fed by the mainstream media.