A. Selections from August 20, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Sunday, August 20,
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 (usually) from that item
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
August 20, 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:
This article is by
Ryan Grim on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
There is no one left in
the White House who has any idea what they’re doing. At least nobody
President Donald Trump
never tires of reminding audiences that he is not a politician, and he
proves it on an hourly basis. He is by turns a nationalist, a populist,
and a demagogue — but rarely acts as a traditional conservative.
As the previous occupant
of the White House once said, a president’s “success is determined by
an intersection in policy and politics.” With the far-right White House
strategist Steve Bannon gone, the team left behind appears to be
ill-equipped to maneuver the political challenges needed to turn the
administration’s ambitious policy goals into successes. The chasm
between Trump’s approach and that of his nominal allies in the
Republican-controlled Congress is about to be sharpened in relief — and
the resumes of his remaining staffers are ill-suited to overcome the
I say. In fact, I do
not think that "there is
no one left in the White House who has any idea what they’re doing" - or at least I do not think
that those left in the White House think so.
Besides, many of the
appointments that Trump's government made were in fact appointing
people who do not believe that the American government
should play an important role (De Vos, Carson and quite a few more) and
indeed are destroying parts of the government, or so it seems
(and in fact this is quite like what Reagan tried to do in the
So I don't
know how this will work out, but I agree with Grim that "the
White House" seems more and more filled with incompetents
(although they may think themselves otherwise).
Bannon’s Apocalyptic ‘Unravelling’
This is by
Alistair Crooke on Consortiumnews. In fact, it is a repeat of March 9,
2017, that I reviewed on March 10. I'll
repeat my review:
This starts as follows:
Steve Bannon is
accustomed to start many of his talks to
activists and Tea Party gatherings in the following way: “At 11 o’clock
on 18 September 2008, Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke told the U.S.
President that they had already stove-piped $500 billions of liquidity
into the financial system during the previous 24 hours – but needed a
further one Trillion dollars, that same day.
I say. I do so because I did not
know this, although I recognized there was an economical crisis
happening on September 1, 2008,
when I first wrote about it (in Dutch). Of course, the Dutch government
did not believe so, until some months later, for that
is how accurate and truthlike Dutch governments are normally.
“The pair said that
if they did not get it immediately, the U.S. financial system would
implode within 72 hours; the world’s financial system, within three
weeks; and that social unrest and political chaos could ensue within
the month.” (In the end, Bannon notes, it was more like $5 trillion
that was required, though no one really knows how much, as there has
been no accounting for all these trillions).
In case you want to know what I wrote about the financial crisis nearly
10 years ago, you need to be able to read Dutch, but it is quite
interesting and starts here. And
on September 18, 2008 (when the above-mentioned scandal happened) I was writing about Keynes.
Incidentally - back to the last quote - I suppose that the
explanation for "it was more like
$5 trillion that was required, though no one really knows how much, as
there has been no accounting for all these trillions" is that this amount of money was simply
printed (and the connection of money
and gold (<- Wikipedia) has been cut by Richard Nixon in 1971).
But this is a supposition I make: I don't know. Here is
more on Bannon:
But, Bannon says — in
spite of all these esoteric, unimaginable numbers wafting about — the
Tea Party women (and it is mainly led by women, he points out) get it.
They know a different reality: they know what groceries now
cost, they know their kids have $50,000 in college debt, are still
living at home, and see no jobs in prospect: “The reason I called the
film Generation Zero is because this generation, the guys in
their 20s and 30s: We’ve wiped them out.”
And it’s not just Bannon.
A decade earlier, in 2000, Donald Trump was writing in
a very similar vein in a pamphlet that marked his first toying with the
prospect of becoming a Presidential candidate: “My third reason for
wanting to speak out is that I see not only incredible prosperity … but
also the possibility of economic and social upheaval … Look towards the
future, and if you are like me, you will see storm clouds brewing. Big
Trouble. I hope I am wrong, but I think we may be facing an economic
crash like we’ve never seen before.”
Well... firstly, Bannon is only
speaking metaphorically when he says "the guys in their 20s and 30s: We’ve wiped
them out": No, he (or they) have
not: They merely took all the money they could get from them,
and then left them with huge debts for their education at the homes of
And secondly, here is a
link to a Wikipedia lemma about Generation Zero, which I link to because it mentions a crisis
theory (that appears nonsense to me )
that seems to occupy Bannon's mind a lot. This is from the last linked
Historian David Kaiser, who was consulted for the
film said that it focused on a key aspect of Strauss and Howe's theory:
"the idea that every 80 years American history has been marked by a
crisis, or 'fourth turning', that destroyed an old order and created a
new one”. Bannon, Kaiser states, was "very familiar with Strauss and
Howe’s theory of crisis, and has been thinking about how to use it to
achieve particular goals for quite a while.”
There also are supposed to
earlier turnings, which I point out because Alastair Crooke also seems
to take them seriously, whereas I don't. I will come to that in a
moment, after quoting the last bit of Crooke from this article, and
commenting on it:
And here, precisely, is
the paradox: Why — if Trump and Bannon view the economy as already
over-leveraged, excess-bubbled, and far too fragile to accommodate even
a small interest rate rise — has Trump (in Mike Whitney’s words)
“promised … more treats and less rules for Wall Street … tax
cuts, massive government spending, and fewer regulations … $1 trillion
in fiscal stimulus to rev up consumer spending and beef up corporate
profits … to slash corporate tax rates and fatten the bottom line for
America’s biggest businesses. And he’s going to gut Dodd-Frank, the
‘onerous’ regulations that were put in place following the 2008
financial implosion, to prevent another economy-decimating cataclysm.”
The obvious answer to "the
paradox" Crooke raises is that it is not a paradox, and it all
is easily explained by noting that Trump and his billionaire
friends have one rule and one motive that caps all
other rules and all other motives: Profit. They will
try to realize every profit they can, also if this is supposed to be
silly in the longer term, and they do so because they know that wealth
So for me this is not
paradoxical at all, but not so for Alastaire Crooke, who proceeds to
unfold Bannon's crisis theory. I will leave that to your interests. For
me it is nonsense , although I
suppose it might clarify Bannon's mind a little.
Bazaar: Needs Wars, Eats lives
This article is by Paul
Rogers on Common Dreams. This is from near the beginning:
Yes indeed. There is
more in the article, that is recommended. I refer my readers - once
again - to Eisenhower's "military-industrial
complex" (<-Wikipedia), that explains rather a lot rather well.
Such wars and rumors of
wars require constant supplies, and this is where that perennial of
human activity, the arms bazaar, comes in. The informative journal Defense News sums it up
neatly with a report on military industries under the headline “A
return to prosperity? Defense revenues climb for the first time in 5
The report lists the top
hundred military companies, and in a helpful way. While highlighting
businesses that may have many other interests, Defense
News in this case focuses solely on their military-related
activities. The results are most revealing. Take, for example, the top
seven corporations with their country of origin and their defence
revenues in 2016:
1. Lockheed Martin,
United States: $43,468 billion
2. Boeing, United States: $29,500bn
3. BAE Systems, United Kingdom: $23,621bn
4. Raytheon, United States: $22,394bn
5. Northrop Grumman, United States: $20,200bn
6. General Dynamics, United States: $19,696bn
7. Airbus, Netherlands/France: $12,321bn
Even from such bare
details, several important truths can be extracted or inferred. The
first is the American dominance of
which is even more pronounced in that much of BAE Systems’s revenue
comes from the company's US-based activities. This leads to a second
point, that all seven are transnational to
varying extents. Airbus, for example, is active across western Europe,
which allows it to use its clout with more governments. A third element
is that these are very large outfits. Lockheed and Boeing each has
annual military revenues larger than the entire GDP of Uganda, whose
population is 39 million.
A fourth point is that this
sheer wealth enables huge operations.
Is the Perfect Answer to Neo-Nazis
This article is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. This is from the - short
The truth is that white
supremacist groups are pretty small. Their views are so obviously vile
that they just don’t appeal to very many people. Generally speaking,
then, the answer isn’t to fight them, it’s to outnumber them. If they
announce a rally, liberals should mount a vastly larger counter-rally
and…do nothing. Just surround them peaceably and make sure the police
are there to do their job if the neo-Nazi types become violent. If
antifa folks show up with counter-violence in mind, surround them too.
Nonviolence isn’t the
answer to everything, but it is here. The best way to fight these
creeps is to take their oxygen away and suffocate them. Fighting and
bloodshed get headlines, which is what they want. So shut them down
with lots of people but no violence. Eventually they’ll go back to
their caves and the press will get bored.
Of course, all of this
depends on our president not doing anything further to support their
cause. If that happens, I reserve the right to revise and extend my
I more or less agree,
but (and I wrote about this before: see here)
I really dislike the
term "antifas" ("Are they against tones, as in 'do re mi
fa'?!?!") when you mean (or seem to mean) anti-fascists.
International on Trump
My title is motivated by
the fact that this section reviews two articles by Spiegel
International. The articles seem to be causes by a change of
standards in - at least - Spiegel International after
Here they are, in the order
in which they were published:
This article is a Spiegel
Editorial by Spiegel's editor Klaus Brinkbaumer. It starts under a
large picture of hooded Ku Klux Klan members gathering around a burning
cross in 1939. This is from near its beginning:
Trump is a racist.
He is a preacher of hate. Those who pretend he is not, those who
portray him as merely being an unpolished, somewhat chaotic old man, as
a person who explicitly sought to avoid becoming a slick politician,
are merely enabling him. "Trump tests ideas on Twitter and then he
repeats and repeats them so often to the point that they have been
learned," says German cognitive scientist and linguist Elisabeth
Wehling, who is currently at the University of California in Berkeley.
Many Americans, she says, see the world as a fundamentally aggressive
place, as a dichotomy between good and evil. Trump, she says, precisely
articulates these people's reality. In an uncertain time of change, the
president has identified the scapegoats: immigrants and the elite. And
just in case there is another terrorist attack in the U.S. in the
future, Trump has already identified who is to blame -- namely the
liberal judges who are now allowing refugees into the country. The
White House is supposed to be home to America's moral compass. Instead,
though, it currently houses the country's chauvinist-in-chief.
Yes, I think that is correct.
The other article is by Christoph Scheuermann:
This has the following not
far from the beginning, that summarizes events in Charlottesville:
Those who may still have
doubts as to how fanatic, how potentially violent the right wing has
become in the United States should take the time to watch the Vice
News piece. It shows white nationalists with torches on the eve of
the demonstration: private militias in camouflage, apparently armed
with automatic weapons, men waving swastika flags, anti-Semites,
homophobes and fascists from across the country. They all swarmed into
the liberal university town in rural Virginia.
It was a bellowing,
braying mob of 500 right wingers, the largest collection of
nationalists the U.S. had seen in years. A demonstration of hate, so
obviously full of hostility and resentment that there could be no
doubts about who was marching through the streets of Charlottesville.
And then a car sped into a group of counterdemonstrators, driven by a
right-wing supporter. One woman died, a 32-year-old legal assistant
from Charlottesville named Heather Heyer, and 19 others were injured.
The fanaticism and violence was so evident that it should have been
clear to every politician that the only possible response was a clear
condemnation of right-wing horror.
And this is from near the
Former CIA head John
Brennan said Trump's words were "a national disgrace," calling them
"ugly and dangerous." Scott Taylor, a Republican member of the House of
Representatives, spoke of "a failure of leadership, which starts at the
top, with him." Republican Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina said
Trump's "moral authority is compromised."
television journalists reacted with disbelief. "Wow," gasped CNN anchor
Jake Tapper immediately after airing the Trump press conference. Chuck
Todd of MSNBC said: "What I just saw gave me the wrong kind of chills."
Even on Fox News, Trump's favorite broadcaster, there was talk of
Trump is the first president
to offer his protection to right-wing extremists, and he has lost the
ability to distinguish between good and evil -- if he ever possessed it
in the first place.
I say. I think this
selection from Spiegel International shows that something
Spiegel and possibly in parts of Europe after Charlottesville.
I have now been saying since the 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.
They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
The only 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.