A. Selections from September 28, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
This is a crisis
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 will
continue with it.
On the moment I have problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
September 28, 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:
Latest Outbreak of Drug Gang Violence Highlights the Real Culprit: the
War on Drugs
This article is by
Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda on The Intercept. It starts as
On July 1, 2001, Portugal
enacted a law to decriminalize all drugs. Under that law, nobody who is
found possessing or using narcotics is arrested in Portugal, nor are
they turned into a criminal. Indeed, neither drug use nor possession is
considered a crime at all. Instead, those found doing it are sent
to speak with a panel of drug counsellors and therapists, where they
are offered treatment options.
Seven years after the law was enacted, in 2008, we traveled
to Lisbon to study the effects of that law for one of the first
comprehensive reports on this policy, the findings of which
were published in
a report for the Cato Institute. The results were clear and
stunning: This radical change in drug laws was a fundamental and
While Portugal throughout the 1990s was (like most Western
countries) drowning in drug overdoses along with drug-related violence
and diseases, the country rose to the top of the charts in virtually
all categories after it stopped prosecuting drug users and treating
them like criminals. This stood in stark contrast to countries that
continued to follow a harsh criminalization approach: the more they
arrested addicts and waged a “war on drugs,” the more their drug
With all the money that had been wasted in Portugal to
prosecute and imprison drug users now freed up for treatment programs,
and the government viewed with trust rather than fear, previously
hopeless addicts transformed into success stories of stability and
health, and the government’s anti-drug messages were heeded. The
predicted rise in drug usage rates never happened; in some key
demographic categories, usage actually declined. As the 2009 study
concluded: “The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the
Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success.”
Yes indeed. This is
all true - to the best of my knowledge - and one of the main questions
this inspires is this: Why did no other country (since
2001, or indeed earlier) take the same road? For in
fact all of the above also was true in the
Seventies, the Eighties and the Nineties.
I think there are
three underlying reasons: (i) ¨The War on Drugs¨
(<-Wikipedia) that has been going on for a long time, and
that has locked up very many Americans, often for many years for
possessinng one joint; (ii) the enormous amounts of propaganda
connected to ¨The
War on Drugs¨ that the mainstream media have been spreading ever since Nixon
started the ¨War on Drugs¨ in the early 1970ies; and also (iii) there
is an extremely tight connection between various secret
services like the CIA, that has financed quite a few of its
operations by drugsmoney, and illegal drugsdealers. 
Here is one bit from
the War on Drugs
lemma on Wikipedia:
"The Nixon campaign in
1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the
antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew
we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but
by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and
blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could
disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their
homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on
the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course
– John Ehrlichman, to Dan Baum for Harper's Magazine in 1994, about
President Richard Nixon's war on drugs, declared in
And one expression is
the mock ¨toleration¨ of soft drugs the Dutch engage in: These
are still completely forbidden in Holland, while the Dutch
politicians have since the 1980ies pretended to liberalize the sales, while
keeping it illegal, which enormously increases the profits
The Dutch have -
according to their own (one and only) parliamentary report on
drugs, the Van Traa Report that dates from 1997 - in
the last 30 years turned over 300 billion
euros worth of - just - soft drugs (and much more if
the hard drugs are also counted), and my own very
strongly based impression is that the Dutch politicians, the Dutch
secret services, and the softdrugs dealers made a - secret - deal,
already in the 1980ies, that profits all of these groups, and
that is paid by those who use drugs.
Indeed, otherwise I cannot
explain why I had to live for three and half years
above illegal softdrugs dealers that threatened to murder me
and kept me out of sleep, that were defended by absolutely everyone
who worked for the City of Amsterdam or the Dutch government, all
the time also, who also said that I was lying, and that still
are doing so, for I now have been waiting for
29 years on any reply why I have been gassed by these dealers and
threatened with murder by them (which went on and on for 3 1/2
years, when I at long last succeeded in escaping from thence, and as I
said, the softdrugs dealers are still there, nearly 30 years
Here is some more (still from the beginning of this article):
Over the weekend, New York Times columnist Nicholas
Kristof, writing from Lisbon, re-visited
this data, now even more ample and conclusive than it was back in
2009. His conclusions were even more stark than the Cato report of
eight years ago: namely, Portugal has definitively won the
argument on how ineffective, irrational, and counterproductive
drug prohibition is.
The basis for this conclusion: Portugal’s clear success
with decriminalization, compared to the tragic failures of countries,
such as the U.S. (and Brazil), which continue to treat addiction as a
criminal and moral problem rather than a health problem. Kristof writes:
After more than 15 years, it’s clear which approach worked
better. The United States drug policy failed spectacularly, with about
as many Americans dying last year of overdoses — around 64,000 — as
were killed in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars combined.
I say! And mind that
the 64,000 that die from overdoses in the USA are dying in just one
year (and not in nearly fifty years in American wars).
Here is some more on Portugal:
succinctly identified one key reason for this success: “It’s
incomparably cheaper to treat people than to jail them.” But there are
other vital reasons, including the key fact that when it comes to
efforts to persuade addicts to obtain counseling, “decriminalization
makes all this easier, because people no longer fear arrest.”
the most compelling evidence highlighting Portugal’s success is not the
empirical data but the political reality: Whereas the law was quite
controversial when first enacted 16 years ago, there are now no
significant political factions agitating for its repeal or for a
return to drug prohibition.
indeed. (Holland is a country, in contrast, where it is very
probable that recreational drugs will be the last to be
legalized in Europe, simply because - I think that - the Dutch
politicians and bureaucrats are profiting enormously,
in secret, from the illegal situation they have maintained for
30 years now.)
the last bit that I´ll quote from this fine article:
Quite so. And there is a lot more in this strongly
recommended article about the drugs situation in Brazil.
cause of all drug-related pathologies — particularly gang violence of
the type now suffocating Rocinha — is not drugs themselves, but rather
the policy of criminalizing drugs and the war waged in its name.
Tax Plan Benefits Wealthy, Including Trump
article is by Benyamin Appelbaum on The New York Times. It starts as
The tax plan that the
Trump administration outlined on Wednesday is a potentially huge
windfall for the wealthiest Americans. It would not directly benefit
the bottom third of the population. As for the middle class, the
benefits appear to be modest.The administration and its congressional
allies are proposing to sharply reduce taxation of business income,
primarily benefiting the small share of the population that owns the
vast majority of corporate equity.
This seems to be
quite true, although I should add immediately that ¨the tax plan¨ is
not so much a plan as - at best - the outline of a
plan, for the details have not been published.
Here is some more:
The plan would also
benefit Mr. Trump and other affluent Americans by eliminating the
estate tax, which affects just a few thousand uber-wealthy families
each year, and the alternative minimum tax, a safety net designed to
prevent tax avoidance.
These two measures
are in ¨the plan¨, and would benefit the richest of the rich, like
The rest is quite
uncertain, as Benyamin Appelbaum explains, because Trump´s government
provided no data:
Mr. Trump has also pledged repeatedly that
the plan would reduce the taxes paid by middle-class families, but he
has not provided enough details to evaluate that claim. While some
households would probably get tax cuts, others could end up paying more.
The plan would not benefit lower-income
households that do not pay federal income taxes. The president is not
proposing measures like a reduction in payroll taxes, which are paid by
a much larger share of workers, nor an increase in the earned-income
tax credit, which would expand wage support for the working poor.
Indeed, to call the plan “tax reform” seems like a stretch —
Trump himself told conservative and evangelical leaders on Monday that
it was more apt to refer to his plan as “tax cuts.” Mr. Trump’s
proposal echoes the large tax cuts that President Ronald Reagan, in
1981, and President George W. Bush, in 2001, passed in the first year
of their terms, not the 1986 overhaul of the tax code that he often
cites. Like his Republican predecessors, Mr. Trump says cutting taxes
will increase economic growth.
fact this ¨plan¨ seems to be directed at increasing the wealth of
the top 20% of incomes, and to do absolutely nothing for the
bottom 35% of the poor - or so it seems to me.
more in the article, that ends as follows:
“I don’t think there’s any way to justify this as a
progressive proposal,” said Lily Batchelder, a law professor at New
York University who served as deputy director of Mr. Obama’s National
Economic Council. “In broad brush strokes, they’re doing nothing for
the bottom 35 percent, they’re doing very little and possibly raising
taxes on the middle class, and they’ve specified tax cuts for the
Yes indeed: What is
known of the plan is that it significantly will add to the riches of
the very rich, which - of course - comes with the utterly false promise
that ¨this will trickle down¨. Otherwise little is known, except that
the 35% of the poorest will get no relief whatsoever.
This is a recommended
'Failed Dogmas of Neoliberalism,' Corbyn Charts Bold New Vision for UK
This article is by Jake Johnson on Common
Dreams. It starts as follows:
In a rousing speech
at the Labour Party's annual conference in Brighton, England on
Wednesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took aim at the "callous and
calculating" austerity agenda of Prime Minister Theresa May, slammed
the "failed dogmas of neoliberalism" that produced the deadly Grenfell
Tower fire, and argued that his party—bolstered by its ambitious "for
the many, not the few" manifesto—is now at the "threshold of power."
"We are now the political
mainstream," Corbyn declared to a packed auditorium. "Our manifesto and
our policies are popular because that is what most people in our
country actually want, not what they're told they should want."
I like Jeremy Corbyn,
especially when compared to Blair or May, but this seems to me to be a
bit too positive, although I can imagine why he said so.
There is also this:
Incidentally, it is
¨unveiled¨, but OK. Again I think this is a little enthusiastic, but I
say OK to that as well, because I do hope that Labour wins the
next British elections. And here is my reason why:
the world in June when he far surpassed expectations in the snap
election called by May, who believed—along with much of the U.K. media
and political class—that she would win in a landslide. But Labour's
fortunes shifted when the party unvieled its explicitly left-wing "manifesto for
a better, fairer Britain," which was enormously
with the British
Now, Corbyn is attempting
to ride the wave of enthusiasm sparked by the election, in which his
campaign won "the largest increase in the Labour vote since 1945 and
achieved Labour's best vote for a generation."
"Yes, we didn't do quite
well enough and we remain in opposition for now, but we have become a
government-in-waiting," Corbyn said on Wednesday. "And our
message to the country could not be clearer—Labour is ready."
"Ten years after
financial crash the Tories still believe in the same dogmatic
mantra—deregulate, privatize, cut taxes for the wealthy, weaken rights
at work, delivering profits for a few, and debt for the many. Nothing
I agree, but until
Labour really has won the elections, these words will remain
The only way forward, Corbyn
argued, is to replace this failed status quo with a "new consensus"
that seeks not merely to "redistribute within a system that isn't
delivering for most people, but to transform that system."
Yunus on Achieving a World with Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment &
This article is by Amy
Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
As a series of
destructive hurricanes hit the United States, devastating floods in
South Asia have killed more than 1,300 people. "[Bangladesh] is the
most densely populated country in the world. … It’s becoming a
situation where we will have have hundreds of thousands of climate
refugees," says Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and recipient
of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. His new book is titled "A World of Three
Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero
Net Carbon Emissions."
I say! Well... I
would very much like to see a new economics with zero poverty,
zero unemployment, and zero carbon emmissions, but I see no factual basis for it
of any kind.
Here is some more:
I agree with Mohammed
Yunus that Bangla Desh - very probably - has to achieve these
most of these things if most of its inhabitants are to survive.
And I agree (I think) with his criticism of capitalism. But I also
still see no
factual basis for changes of the kind that
Yumus proposes, that - I agree - would do much for Bangla Desh.
GOODMAN: This book comes
out at a time, what—Oxfam came out with that report, the eight richest
men in the world own more wealth than half the world’s population, more
than three-and-a-half billion people. But talk about zero net carbon
emissions, zero poverty.
YUNUS: All this, we have
to achieve. There is no option for us. And I just lay down that this is
something. But the system which we have been practicing, the capitalist
system—I said capitalist system is not working towards it. It’s a
system which, as you mentioned, eight people owning more wealth than
the bottom 50 percent of the people. It’s a system which is like a
machine which is sucking up wealth from the bottom and transporting it
to the top. So the top is becoming a big mushroom of wealth. And then,
99 percent of the people is like the stem from the mushroom hanging
there. And that stem is becoming thinner and thinner. The portion of
the wealth devoted to bottom 99—or, the 99 percent—we don’t say
"bottom" anymore—becoming smaller and, regrettably, the top becoming
bigger and bigger.
So this is a ticking time
bomb. Anytime it can explode—politically, socially, economically and so
on. We are not paying attention to it. Wealth concentration was going
on ever since we introduced capitalist system, but this was not very
visible. Today, it’s becoming worse and worse.
Here is the last bit that I´ll quote from this paper:
of wealth takes place, it’s also the concentration of power. Wealth and
power go together. So you control the government, you control the
politics, you control the media, you control businesses, everything. So
that’s the kind of situation coming.
I agree, and I also
add that ¨we¨ do live in a world were wealth and power are more
concentrated than ever. But unfortunately I have seen no
factual basis for changes of the kind that Yumus proposes, and I also
could not find Part 2 of the interview.
a War of Words Become a World of War?
This article is by Bill Moyers
Bacevich (<-Wikipedia) on
Common Dreams and originally on BillMoyers.com.
This is from near the beginning:
Yes, I agree. Here is more on
the risks Trump poses for North Korea:
Bill Moyers: The
rhetoric between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un gets hotter and more
belligerent — it’s incendiary and personal. When’s the last time you
heard this kind of vitriolic, threatening rhetoric between a US
president and a head of another country?
I don’t believe that we’ve ever had a president who has used this kind
of language. Certainly not in my lifetime. One of the things that
strikes me about President Trump is that his capacity to use the
English language is so stunted. He simply has no ability to adapt the
language he uses to a particular circumstance. In the past when
presidents are out campaigning, they use one kind of language, a
different kind of language when they’re speaking to a joint session of
Congress, [and] a different kind of language when they’re meeting with
a foreign dignitary. But [with] Trump, it’s all the same. It’s all
crude. It’s all unsophisticated. And with regard to our current
standoff with North Korea, it’s that crudeness that makes it so
Moyers: Given the
nature of his rhetoric, given his known temperament, does North Korea
have to worry that Trump just might order an attack for whatever reason?
If I were a North Korean who was advising Kim Jong Un — I’d be
counseling my boss that we’re dealing with somebody who could easily
fly off the handle and make an impulsive decision. Kim Jong Un might
say to me, “Well, why do you think that?” and I’d say, well, let’s
consider the attack on Syria that followed the allegations, probably
true allegations, of Syrians using chemical weapons. That was a
decision made off the cuff, impulsively, with no particular connection
to larger policy purposes. From a North Korean perspective, I would
take that episode quite seriously.
I more or less agree, but I
should add that my own estimate of Trump is that of a
psychologist who currently finds himself in accord with at least 53,000
other psychologists and also quite a few
psychiatrists: Trump is
insane (and this is a link to something I wrote in the end of 2016
- and no: I would wish myself that I could see it differently,
but I can´t).
Here is some more by Andrew
I’m in the camp that
believes we cannot know for certain how the North Koreans think, and we
cannot know for certain what their purposes are. But I’m in the camp
that believes that as vicious, as oppressive as that regime is,
nonetheless there is a rational basis for the things that they do, and
that Kim Jong Un’s ultimate objective is to maintain his regime, and by
extension, to maintain himself. I also believe that they are likely to
appreciate that they are in a position of extraordinary weakness
relative to us, relative to almost any other nation in the world. Weak
economically, weak militarily, weak in terms of their capacity to
innovate, to adjust, to improve their situation. And it makes sense
from that perspective to see nuclear weapons, particularly nuclear
weapons along with some kind of a long-range ballistic missile
capability as a lifeline.
I mostly agree, but I have no
fact-based ideas about Kim Jong Un´s sanity.
Here is more about the
chances on a nuclear war:
dreadful as it is to even ask it, what might lead either Trump or Kim
Jong Un over the tipping point — to start a war?
If one side takes the other side’s rhetoric as literally true. If on
either side, the central figures get up in the morning and say, “We
believe that the other side is going to attack within the next 24
hours,” that can then lead to a decision, “Well, I guess then we should
pre-empt.” I think that’s the great danger. Meaning not so much war by
calculation, but war by miscalculation and misunderstanding.
I agree. Here is more by
Bacevich on the language Trump indulged in:
That language is so over
the top that it seemed to suggest that at that moment, either he didn’t
have any understanding of what the use of nuclear weapons would produce
or simply didn’t care. I think that’s why so many of us were taken
aback by that kind of language. And the way you asked the question,
does he understand — even if it is possible to make an argument that a
fairly precise nuclear attack could eliminate the regime in Pyongyang —
does he have any understanding of the secondary implications? Does he
understand that we would have once more taken the nuclear genie out of
the bottle and reintroduced it as an actual instrument of international
politics? Does he have any understanding of the effects on neighboring
countries — including our ally South Korea, and China, which is
somewhere between trading partner and adversary, but certainly a
country of enormous importance to our own well-being and to the
well-being of the world? You don’t get a sense that he’s able to think
through the subsequent effects and that’s disturbing.
Again I agree - and I
would also be rather amazed if Trump does have ¨any understanding of the secondary
implications¨ of using
nuclear arms (and yes, that is disquieting).
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this fine article:
attention is paid to it by the press or by the public, right?
Why don’t we pay attention to the fact that we’re permanently at war?
Well, at the present moment, US casualties are down because we’ve
learned to use contractors and proxies and rely on airpower. The amount
of money that we are spending, and I think wasting, gets little
attention. I recall a speech by President Eisenhower — I think it was
in 1953 or 1954, when he was making the point about opportunity costs.
He said in effect, every dollar we spend on our military means one less
dollar that goes to education, that goes to health care, that goes to
other things that the country needs. There’s no awareness of
opportunity costs today with regard to our military spending. (...)
There’s no accountability. There’s no scrutiny. There’s no serious
debate. I think it’s one more indicator of how bankrupt our politics
have become. These are things that aren’t even considered worth
I completely agree, and
this is a strongly recommended article.
 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.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
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).
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 (!!).
fact, an article by Noam Chomsky attended me to this fact.