A. Selections from October 1, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Sunday, October 1,
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:
Selections from October 1, 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:
the Republican Party Has Conned America for Over 30 Years
This article is by Thom
Hartmann on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
The Republican Party has
been running a long con on the American people, and Trump’s new tax cut
proposals are just the latest iteration on it. This con involves
getting Democrats to shoot Santa Claus (Clinton cutting welfare/Obama
proposing the chained CPI cut to Social Security) and using tax policy
to put a jolly old Saint Nick outfit on the Republicans.
As Bruce Bartlett – one
of the architects and major salespeople for Reagan’s tax cuts in the
‘80s – wrote in USA
Today this week: “Virtually everything Republicans say about taxes
today is a lie. Tax cuts and tax rate reductions will not pay for
themselves; they never have. Republicans don’t even believe they will,
they are just excuses to slash spending for the poor when revenues
collapse and deficits rise. There is no evidence that tax reform raises
growth, although it may improve fairness and tax administration.”
So how do Republicans get
away with this lie, and why does the press let them get away with it?
It’s a fascinating story.
There is much more that I
leave to your interests. But I do load one more bit of it, simply
because it is true:
Quite so - although it seems
the present GOP is mostly composed from persons that were in the
Fifties ¨a tiny splinter group¨. And this is a recommended article.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, had
been quite happy with a top income tax rate on multimillionaires of 91
percent. As he explained to his right-wing brother Edgar Eisenhower in
letter on November 8, 1954:
"[T]o attain any
success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or
escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe
should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are
such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will
lose everything--even to a possible and drastic change in the
Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon
'moderation' in government.
"Should any political
party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and
eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that
party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group,
of course, that believes you can do these things.
We Marched on the Pentagon
This article is by Bill
Zimmerman on Truthdig. It is about the something that happened 50 years
ago, but it is here because I think it is still somewhat important and
also because I recall some of it (for I was much interested in politics
in the Sixties, and I was 17 in 1967).
It starts as follows:
When Brooklyn College
anti-war leaders asked me to help recruit students for the Oct. 21,
1967, “March on the Pentagon,” I agreed. At 26, I was the youngest
member of the faculty, fresh from graduate school, where I had been
protesting the war in Vietnam for three years.
Chartered buses carried
some 300 of us to Washington, D.C. Aboard were other experienced
activists, but most of those present were going to their first protest.
During the four-hour drive from New York, we staged a mobile teach-in,
describing the history of the war and explaining how to handle arrests.
Since the march had been denied a permit, it was illegal, and local
authorities had promised to keep us from reaching the Pentagon.
By then, many Americans
had protested the war, but to no avail. The carnage in Vietnam was
killing thousands, and nearly every day, television footage showed
United States planes dropping bombs and napalm on tiny villages.
Pro-war adversaries infuriated us with mindless slogans like “My
Country, Right or Wrong.” But we were also impatient with our own side,
fed up with protests that had no impact on policy. Hundreds had already
burned their draft cards. Like them, we were ready to move from protest
Actually, quite a number of
protesters did reach the Pentagon, and here
is a bit on the Wikipedia about the March on the Pentagon.
Here is more about the
Pentagon (in 1967):
We marched toward what we
saw as the enemy—never mind that our “enemy” was a respected American
institution. To us, the Pentagon was the brain of an evil monster
wantonly killing innocent people half a world away and shipping young
Americans home in body bags and on wheelchairs. We burned with a desire
to confront this enemy but had no real plan for what to do when we
arrived at the building. Some wanted to stand in silent protest and
defiance. Others were determined to ransack it. A few planned to deface
its outer walls. The more whimsical spoke of “levitating” the building
and “exorcising” the evil spirits inside.
Yes, indeed. And there is
this on flower
power (<- Wikipedia):
There is considerably
more in the article, that is recommended.
Three months before,
reporters had described hippies at the “Summer of Love” in San
Francisco as “flower children.” Seeing the new picture from the
Pentagon, they talked of “flower power,” evoking the hippie/activist
alliance opposed to the war. They used the term derisively, as though
“flower” and “power” were inherently antithetical. But many of us
embraced the phrase, since it symbolized freeing men from outdated
norms of masculinity that emphasized control and domination. We did
want to “make love, not war,” but we also wanted to use long hair and
flowers to redefine manhood.
is by Daniel Herman on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
Anyone who watches
the news knows that Russian hackers gave Democratic National Committee
documents to WikiLeaks and hacked voter databases in 21 states.
Prominent Democrats call these shenanigans “a political Pearl Harbor.”
In fact, this is quite a long
article, that does start here with rather a lot of - useful - history that I all leave to your
interests. Then Herman arrives here:
On the blog Daily Kos,
one contributor cries “we were robbed!” (arguing that somehow Russian
meddling gave Trump a victory in North Carolina, where his margin was
180,000, and where no evidence whatsoever indicates a successful hack
of voter databases).
In a new video
propamentary, er, docuganda, or something like that, Morgan Freeman
declares “we have been attacked. We are at war. This is no movie
Before we hop on the Morgan
Freeman train, we might want to consider some history.
With all that
history in mind, we should be grateful that William Binney, the
National Security Agency’s former technical director, is shouting with
everything he can muster that the U.S. intelligence community has no
solid evidence that Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee.
The NSA, he says, would have a record of any overseas exfiltration and
could release that data without danger to national security; yet the
NSA hasn’t. Though Binney left the NSA 16 years ago, he should know: he
created the powerful cyber-vacuum that the NSA still uses.
Quite so, and I believe
Binney and the VIPS very much rather than the bland
assurances-without-evidence that are the standard on the mainstream
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), has produced a
report in which they argue that forensic evidence from documents
produced by Guccifer 2.0 (G2) suggests — strongly — that G2 was a
hoaxer. Skip Folden, a VIPS associate and a former elite tech executive
with IBM, has issued his own
report that buttresses the VIPS report. Adam
Carter (a pseudonymous investigator) and Forensicator
(another pseudonymous investigator) have also buttressed the VIPS
Report, as have cybersecurity expert Jeffrey
Carr and former U.N. weapons inspector Scott
Ritter (Ritter disagrees with VIPS in part but not on the basic
charge of insufficient evidence).
Then there is considerably more text that I leave again to your
interests, that is followed by this:
Thanks to our
government’s push against so-called fake news, both Google and Facebook
have already altered algorithms to such an extent that they have pushed
down readership for one old and revered progressive venue, AlterNet, by
40 percent (other progressive venues have seen similar declines),
thus starving them for ad revenue. Meanwhile neoconservative
researchers are trumpeting inch-deep investigations into supposed
Russian propagandizing that — thanks to vast funding — may get churned
out for years to come.
I think that Daniel
Herman (a professor of history at the Central Washington University) is
very probably quite right in that conclusion.
Let’s not kid ourselves;
this project isn’t about shutting down “fake news.” From the moment the
Washington Post ran its infamous PropOrNot
story in November 2016, the message has been clear: the real threat
isn’t Russians, it’s any media outlet that fuels anti-establishment
As I said, there is a lot more in this long article, which is
Irrelevance of President Trump
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
I don´t think it makes
much sense to say that the sitting president of the USA is ¨no
longer the president of the United States¨.
Trump is no
longer the president of the United States.
Oh sure, he has the title
has the bully pulpit – from which he’s bullying everyone from NBA
people protesting white supremacists to DACA kids.
But he’s not actively
United States. That work is happening elsewhere – in Congress, the
Fed, the career civil service, lobbyists, and in the states. Or it’s
not happening at all.
It’s not just that Trump
the epic battle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Trump
understood the Affordable Care Act to begin with, and played no part in
developing Republican alternatives.
The budget Trump submitted
Congress in March was dead on arrival.
It is true that Reich does give some evidence that seems to show that
both Trump and his government are considerably weaker than they
themselves thinnk, but I learned a whole lot of logic, and the position
with which Reich opens is simply contradictory.
There is also this:
Meanwhile, Trump has run
Obama executive orders he can declare void. Major regulations, such as
EPA’s Clean Power Plan, can’t just be repealed. They have to go through
process that could take years.
Trump doesn’t seem to be
this. He told a cheering crowd in Alabama recently that he had ended
Power Plan by executive order. “Did you see what I did to that? Boom,
I think Reich is
correct about that point. There is also this, that outlines an argument
of Reich that both
Trump and his government are considerably weaker than they
Perhaps. Then again,
even if he is, he is still the president, and the Republicans are very
much more likely to support Trump than the Democratic Party.
By the start of
September, more than a third of the leadership
positions at the Federal Emergency Management Agency were still vacant.
good way to begin hurricane season. Puerto Rico, anyone?
As of mid-September, out
of 599 key government positions that
require Senate confirmation, Trump had made only 159 nominations, according
to The Washington Post.
Trump had yet to submit nominations for 320 positions.
Trump’s political clout
is waning among Republicans.
This is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Hm. I wish Reich was
more consistent in how he judges Trump (for he has said quite a few
different things), and while I like Reich mostly, I think he may well
be indulging in some wishful
thinking in this article. And Trump is still president,
Don’t get me wrong. Trump
a dangerous showman and conman – tweeting condemnations of critics and
friendly crowds at his never-ending campaign rallies. He continues to
bigotry and meanness. He has reduced America’s standing in the world.
outbursts could start a nuclear war.
But when it comes to the
actual work of governing
America, Trump is becoming utterly and completely irrelevant.
Evans’ Photos Make Everyday America a Sight to See
This article is by Mark Murrmann on Mother Jones. It starts as follows:
retrospective for photographer Walker Evans at
Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the 400 photos and pieces of art
radiate with a warm sense of familiarity. Visitors may
recognize specific, iconic images, but the feeling
also comes from Evans’ fixation on the American vernacular, a driving
theme in the organization of this show. The two full galleries
that make up the exhibit create the sense that one is stepping
into a well-curated time-capsule of a faded but still thoroughly
I am reviewing this
article - that in the original has many worthwile pictures by Walker
Evans - mostly because of Walker Evans, James Agee, and
their book from
the 1930ies Let
Us Now Praise Famous Men, that I myself bought in the
Here is some on Agee and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men:
also a documentarian and a photographer for Fortune
magazine. In 1936, he and writer James Agee went to Alabama to document
the life of tenant farmers during the Dust Bowl, a project that became
the landmark book Let
Us Now Praise Famous Men. The mix of reportage and portraiture
by Evans, combined with Agee’s writing, set the tone for what the
entire documentary genre could and should be.
And this is a
recommended article, and indeed Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a
 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 (!!).