A. Selections from August 26, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
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 26, 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
Alfred McCoy on AlterNet and originally on TomDispatch. It starts as
In the wake of the 2001
terrorist attacks, Washington pursued its elusive enemies across the
landscapes of Asia and Africa, thanks in part to a massive expansion of
its intelligence infrastructure, particularly of the emerging
technologies for digital surveillance, agile drones, and biometric
identification. In 2010, almost a decade into this secret war with its
voracious appetite for information, the Washington Post reported that the national security state had
swelled into a “fourth branch” of the federal government -- with
854,000 vetted officials, 263 security organizations, and over 3,000
intelligence units, issuing 50,000 special reports every year.
Yes indeed. And note
that ¨security organizations¨ tend to be secret, that is, they are not
governed democractically or by a democracy. Here is more:
In fact, the so-called ¨security organizations¨ suffer from
the following principial difficulties for democracies and democratic
Though stunning, these
statistics only skimmed the visible surface of what had become
history’s largest and most lethal clandestine apparatus. According to
classified documents that Edward Snowden leaked in 2013, the nation’s 16 intelligence
agencies alone had 107,035 employees and a combined “black budget” of
$52.6 billion, the equivalent of 10% percent of the vast defense
By sweeping the skies and
probing the worldwide web’s undersea cables, the National Security
Agency (NSA) could surgically penetrate the confidential communications
of just about any leader on the planet, while
simultaneously sweeping up billions of ordinary messages.
(1) All so-called
organizations¨ are in fact secret organizations that are
paid from the taxes but that do
work that cannot be properly controlled by
parliaments or by democracies;
(2) The secret organizations that work for the government tend to work against
democratic wishes of the governed,
and are in fact part of the state´s terrorists (who terrorize
their possibly terrorist opponents);
(3) The secret
organizations that work for the government cannot be properly
controlled by parliaments or laws, work outside
their control, and in fact now collect everybody´s emails,
websites, bankaccounts, searches etc. etc.
And I am still in the beginning of the article, in which there also is
practiced a collective form of duck and cover as the Department of
Homeland Security’s colored alerts pulsed nervously from yellow
to red, few paused to ask the hard question: Was all this security
really directed solely at enemies beyond our borders? After half a
century of domestic security abuses -- from the “red scare” of the
1920s through the FBI’s illegal harassment of antiwar protesters in the
1960s and 1970s -- could we really be confident that there wasn’t a
hidden cost to all these secret measures right here at home? Maybe,
just maybe, all this security wasn’t really so benign when it came to
In fact, very much of
this security (i) was directed to getting all information
about everyone who uses the internet by means of the internet,
which - I must suppose, because these things are secret - almost completely
succeeded the last sixteen years, while (ii) getting all
this information about anyone and everyone that uses the internet is
part and parcel of setting up a new kind of government, namely government
of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich.
And there is a whole
lot more in the article, that is recommended.
the State Dept. Science Envoy Who Spelled Out "Impeach" in His
Resignation Letter to Trump
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
The science envoy for the
U.S. State Department Dan Kammen has resigned in protest of President
Trump’s refusal to quickly condemn the deadly white supremacist
violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. In his
resignation letter, Kammen, referring to Trump, wrote, "Your presence
in the White House harms the United States domestically and abroad and
threatens life on this planet." The first letter of each paragraph of
his resignation letter spells out the word: "Impeach." We speak with
Dan Kammen, professor of energy at University of California, Berkeley.
I say. And what do I think
about this? I have no idea about who Kammen is, but I do think
that in a real democracy an ordinary man like Dan Kammen should
be able to express his ideas that his president deserves to be
impeached directly, and indeed also without personal
And since Kammen doesn´t do
this, I think he speaks quite indirectly because he does believe there
are some risks involved, in which he may very well be quite correct.
Here is another quite similar case:
Well, you join a number of people and organizations that are quitting.
The entire President’s committee on the Arts and Humanities has
resigned. They resigned last week, becoming the first entire
presidential committee to resign in protest. In their resignation
letter, the artists spoke out against Trump’s failure to quickly
condemn the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville,
writing, "the administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally
condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish
America ill." They also called on Trump to step down. The first letter
of each paragraph of their letter spells out the word "resist."
You can take this as
a tribute to their courage or as a sign of the dangers they run. And I
tend to believe it is more a sign of the dangers these people think
Large Majority of America Is on the Same Negative Page About Trump,
Except for His Hardcore Republican Base
is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet. This starts as follows:
Voters who are standing
by Donald Trump, led by three-quarters of Republicans, are a defiant
but shrinking minority of a national electorate that increasingly sees
Trump as a failing political and moral leader, and an untrustworthy and
That’s the takeaway from
a national poll
of 1,514 people by Quinnipiac University taken after Trump’s embrace of
white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. The findings are a
stunning indictment of a president who cannot readily be removed from
office despite deep national misgivings.
“To sum up, the
overwhelming majority of Americans thinks he is a lying, divisive
hothead who is making race relations much worse,” Jennifer Rubin, a
conservative Washington Post columnist, wrote
about the survey’s findings. “Trump barely has majority support (52
percent) among his most loyal segment of the electorate (whites with no
college education). He has managed to turn off just about everyone
else. He knows how to feed his base red meat but not how to earn the
respect and confidence of everyone else. Several thousand people in an
auditorium in Phoenix [where he held a rally Tuesday], it turns out,
bear little resemblance to the country as a whole.”
In fact, here are the real
I think this is somewhat fairly summarized by saying that
around 2 out of 3 persons asked (1,514 people in all) disagreed with
Trump´s person or Trump´s decisions.
- Sixty percent of
voters disapprove of Trump’s response to Charlottesville.
- Fifty-nine percent say
his decisions and behavior have encouraged white supremacists.
(Sixty-four percent say white supremacists pose a threat to the
- Sixty-five percent say
the level of hatred and prejudice have increased under Trump.
- Sixty-three percent
disapprove of the way Trump is handling race relations.
- Sixty percent say he
doesn’t care about minorities (including 52 percent of whites).
- Sixty-one percent say
he is not honest.
- Sixty-one percent say
he does not have good leadership skills.
- Fifty-seven percent
say he does not care about average Americans.
- Sixty-eight percent
say he is not level headed.
- Sixty-three percent
say he does not share their values.
- Sixty-nine percent say
he should stop tweeting from his personal account.
Then again, I am also a bit skeptical because I am anyway a bit
skeptical about opinion polls and because I do not know how
representative this sample is for the American population.
But the ending of this article is reasonable:
Quinnipiac’s national snapshot and analyses like Rubin’s leave the
country? Speaking broadly, in volatile, uncharted waters. More
concretely, the U.S. is led by a president and a party that does not
have the support of a majority of Americans. And there’s no quick way
to remedy this situation, as Trump’s supporters circle their proverbial
wagons while the rest of America looks on with disgust and
Yes, that seems a fair
inference. And this
is a recommended article.
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. This is about Trump´s pretensions:
He did not drain the
swamp. After telling voters how he would
take control away from special interests, he has surrounded himself
very Wall Street players he decried. Now, those who gamed politicians
loopholes and laws that reward the rich don’t even have to sneak around
Precisely. And this
is about these Wall Street bankers:
They want to make it
easier for banks to once again gamble with your money and
repeat our financial crisis. They want to cut health care for millions
They want to lower taxes on corporations and the rich. They want to get
rules that stop corporations from harming your health or safety.
And this is about
Make America Great Again?
The Trump administration wants to
expand on policies that have kept American wages stagnant for almost
decades. Huge corporations and billionaires get the breaks, and hard
Americans once again get left waiting for the crumbs. That’s not the
I agree. And while I
have reported this before, I repeat it because I think it is true and
important (as indeed does Robert Reich).
to Redistribute Wealth': 1% Thriving While 78% Living Paycheck to
This article is by Jake
Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows and it is here to insist
that the 90% of the non-rich are still in crisis, as they have been
Here is some of the evidence:
this is a recommended article.
Top CEOs may be thriving,
but most American workers are drowning in debt, saving little, and
living paycheck to paycheck.
That's according to a new
report by CareerBuilder, which found that:
- 78 percent of American
workers are living paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year;
- 71 percent of workers
are in debt, up from 68 percent last year;
- 56 percent believe
their debt is unmanageable;
- 54 percent of
minimum-wage workers say they have to work more than one job to make
findings—based on a survey of more than 3,400 full-time workers across
various industries and income levels—suggest that the stock market boom
President Donald Trump has so frequently flaunted has
done little to help the workers he claims
As Michelle Styczynski
pointed out in an analysis
for the People Policy Project, "the stock market tells us about the
prospects of capital owners, but it certainly doesn't tell us much
about the average worker."
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 (!!).