A. Selections from
October 24, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, October 24,
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.
moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) 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 24, 2017
Ralph Nader: Trump’s Anti-Consumer Agenda
Hurts His Voters
to End Crony Capitalism
Proposed Tax Overhaul Would Give
Billions to Trump & Cabinet
4. Russia-China Tandem Changes the World
5. Where the New York
Times Fails to Understand
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:
Nader: Trump’s Anti-Consumer Agenda Hurts His Voters
article is by Ralph Nader on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
As a candidate, Donald
Trump promised regular people, “I
will be your voice,” and attacked the drug industry for “getting away
with murder” in setting high prices for lifesaving medications. But as
president, he has
declared war on regulatory programs protecting the health, safety
and economic rights of consumers. He has done so in disregard of
evidence that such protections help the economy and financial
well-being of the working-class voters he claims to champion.
Yes indeed. Here is
This assault began with
Mr. Trump choosing
agency chiefs who are tested corporate
loyalists driven to
undermine the lifesaving, income-protecting institutions whose laws
they have sworn to uphold.
At the Food and Drug
Administration, Mr. Trump has installed Dr.
Scott Gottlieb, a former pharmaceutical industry consultant, who
supports weakening drug and medical device safety standards and has
shown no real commitment to reducing sky-high drug prices. At the
Department of Education, Betsy
DeVos, a billionaire investor in for-profit colleges, has weakened
enforcement policy on that predatory industry, hiring industry insiders
and abandoning protections for students and taxpayers.
And in fact this is just a small part of Trump´s
nominations of people in positions where they will destroy the public
rights rather than protect them.
Here is some more:
Draconian budget cuts,
new restrictions on health insurance, diminished privacy protections
and denying climate change while putting off fuel-efficiency deadlines
and auto safety standards will hurt all Americans, including Mr.
Trump’s most die-hard supporters.
The article ends as follows:
Championing a consumer
agenda should be a good way to win elections.
Perhaps, though I
must add that it did not work for Ralph Nader. Then again, two reasons
(from quite a few more) is that the ordinary candidates of both the
Republicans and the Democrats lie, whereas these are the only choices
that Americans can make that may win an election.
And this is a
to End Crony Capitalism
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
The largest corporations
and richest people in America – who donated billions of dollars to
Republican candidates the House and Senate in the 2106 election –
appear on the way to getting what they paid for: a giant tax cut.
The New York Times
reports that business groups are meeting frequently with key
Republicans in order to shape the tax bill, whose details remain
Speed and secrecy are
critical. The quicker Republicans get this done, and without hearings,
the less likely will the rest of the country discover how much it will
cost in foregone Medicaid and Medicare or ballooning budget deficits.
Well... I would say that
the main problem in American democracy is not whether the
Republicans can rob the poor and give to the rich with sufficient
¨[s]peed and secrecy¨, but is the fact that the American mainstream
media keep lying about it.
And in fact, as
Robert Reich points out, the American Democrats are almost as bad as
the American Republicans in robbing the many to pay the rich few:
conclude it’s only Republicans who have been pocketing big bucks in
for political favors, consider what Big Tech – the industry that’s
bankrolled Democrats – is up to.
It’s mobilizing an
army of lobbyists and lawyers – including senior advisors to
Hillary Clinton’s campaign – to help scuttle a proposed law requiring
Facebook, and other major Internet companies to disclose who is
their online political advertising.
Here is more by
have it, folks. Big money is buying giant tax cuts, allowing Russia to
interfere in future elections, and killing Americans. That’s just the
the corrupt iceberg that’s sinking our democracy.
Republicans may be taking
more big money, but both parties have been raking it in.
As I have said quite a few
times, I have not seen much good evidence at all that Russia
has been interfering in past elections, and certainly not that
it is interfering in future elections.
This article ends as
Democrats should be
fighting for commonsense steps to reclaim our democracy from the
moneyed interests – public financing of
elections, full disclosure of all sources of political funding, an end
door between government and business, and attempts to reverse the
bonkers Supreme Court decision “Citizens United
vs. the Federal Election Commission.”
matter, Republicans should be fighting for these, too.
Here´s a wild
idea. What if the
anti-establishment wings of both parties came together in a
to get big money out of politics?
Then it might actually
No, for this is mere wishful
thinking. And most of the Republicans like most of the Democrats
are simply enriching themselves and the rich, while lying about it.
thinking also is not the way to end crony capitalism.
Proposed Tax Overhaul Would Give Billions to Trump & Cabinet
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!. It starts with the
As the Senate narrowly
passes a budget bill that clears the path for a historic tax reform,
we’ll look at how President Trump’s proposed tax overhaul would shower
billions of dollars in tax cuts upon the wealthiest Americans—including
President Trump’s family and members of his administration. An analysis
by the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows President Trump’s
family and Trump’s Cabinet members would, combined, reap a $3.5 billion
windfall from the proposed repeal of the estate tax alone. Trump’s plan
would cap the tax rate on “pass-through income” at 25 percent—a move
that would also shower millions in savings upon millionaires and
billionaires. We speak with economist James Henry of the Tax Justice
Network and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, whose
latest piece is titled “Nine Reasons Trump’s Tax Plan Will Hurt You.”
This is from the
beginning of this article:
GOODMAN: We turn to
President Trump’s efforts to dramatically rewrite the U.S. tax code,
critics slamming the plan, saying it would massively redistribute
wealth to the richest 1 percent of Americans—including President Trump
and members of his administration. An analysis by the Center for
American Progress Action Fund shows President Trump’s family and
Trump’s Cabinet members would, combined, reap a $3.5 billion windfall
from the proposed repeal of the estate tax alone. The plan also calls
for slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent down to 20 percent.
Earlier this year, Trump proposed cutting the corporate tax rate to as
low as 15 percent.
This is Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Mr. President, this is not a bad
budget bill. It is an horrific budget bill, an extremely cruel bill and
the most unfair budget ever presented in the modern history of our
country. At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, this budget
provides $1.9 trillion in tax breaks for the top 1 percent. At a time
when millions of working families are struggling to keep their heads
above water, this budget cuts Medicaid by a trillion dollars. Fifteen
million Americans could lose their health insurance.
And here is David Cay
Johnston on the Trump tax plan:
Well, essentially, what the Trump tax plan, to the extent that we know
what it is, Amy, is a plan to give tiny little tax cuts to most
Americans, raise taxes on perhaps one in five families and shower
benefits on people who earn millions of dollars a year. If you make
$40,000 to $50,000, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy
estimates you’ll get a tax savings of about $8 a week. If you make an
income of $10 million, you’re going to save about a million-and-a-half
dollars a year. As much as two-thirds of the tax cuts will go to the 1
There is considerably
more in the article, that is recommended.
Tandem Changes the World
article is by Gilbert Doctorow on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
No, I don´t
think that the asserted blindness of ¨Western “experts”¨
is adequately explained by wishful
thinking: If they are ¨experts¨, and if they do not even admit some
of the most basic of facts, they are not misled by their own
wishful thinking, but they are acting as intentionally lying
¨experts" who are out to deceive their public.
what Western “experts” assert about Russia – especially its supposed
economic and political fragility and its allegedly unsustainable
partnership with China – is wrong, resulting not only from the limited
knowledge of the real situation on the ground but from a prejudicial
mindset that does not want to get at the facts, i.e. from wishful
Russia may not be
experiencing dynamic growth, but over the past two years it has
survived a crisis of circumstance in depressed oil prices and economic
warfare against it by the West that would have felled less competently
managed governments enjoying less robust popularity than is the case in
Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Moreover, as stagnant of Russia’s GNP has
been, the numbers have been on a par with Western Europe’s very slow
agriculture is booming, with the 2017 grain harvest the best in 100
years despite very adverse climatic conditions from early spring.
Here is some more:
The chief reason
many wrongheaded observations is not so hard to discover. The ongoing
rampant conformism in American and Western thinking about Russia has
taken control not only of our journalists and commentators but also of
our academic specialists who serve up to their students and to the
general public what is expected and demanded: proof of the viciousness
of the “Putin regime” (...)
Again I am sorry, but while
you can appeal to wishful thinking to explain considerable
parts of the blindness of many non-experts, the same reasons do not
hold for purported ¨experts¨ who are supposed to have spend years
of their lives to learn Russian and to learn about Russia: If
these lie, they lie very intentionally, and presumably because lying
and deceiving their public pays well.
Here is some more:
amounts of information are available about Russia in open sources,
meaning the Russian press and commercial as well as state television,
these are largely ignored. The sour grapes Russian opposition
personalities who have settled in the United States are instead given
the microphone to sound off about their former homeland. Meanwhile,
anyone taking care to read, hear and analyze the words of Vladimir
Putin becomes in these circles a “stooge.” All of this limits greatly
the accuracy and usefulness of what passes for expertise about Russia.
And again I say that if
educated experts on Russia lie, they lie not because they are
ignorant, but they lie very probably because they have been paid.
This is from near the
end (after a
lot more, that I leave to your interests) here is a sum-up that
corresponds to the title of the article:
In my view, the de
facto Russian-Chinese alliance matches the de jure US-West European
alliance. The net result of both is the partition of the world into two
camps. We now have, in effect, a bipolar world that broadly resembles
that of the Cold War, though still in a formative stage since many
countries have not signed on definitively to one side or another.
While in fact the previous
Russian-Chinese alliance (of the Seventies and Eighties) was based
on the socialism of Russia, that completely disappeared in the Nineties,
when Russia, with lots of help from the Americans, became a capitalist
nation like the USA...
I think this article is far too much for the ¨experts¨ on
Russia: If indeed these are experts, they are not being deceived by
wishful thinking, but it is far more probable that they deceive their
public because they have been paid to do so.
the New York Times Fails to Understand War
This article is by David Swanson on Washington´s
Blog. It criticized an article in The New York Times that I reviewed
yesterday, and it starts as follows:
Let’s read a New
York Times editorial from Monday:
“The United States has
been at war continuously since the attacks of 9/11 and now has just
over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries
and territories. While the number of men and women deployed overseas
has shrunk considerably over the past 60 years, the military’s reach
has not. American forces are actively engaged not only in the conflicts
in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen that have dominated the news, but
also in Niger and Somalia, both recently the scene of deadly attacks,
as well as Jordan, Thailand and elsewhere.”
That’s a big “elsewhere”
that includes Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, etc.
That is true. The criticism
continues as follows (and the beginning is a quote from the NYT):
There is considerably more
there. I am a bit halfway between: While I agree with some of the
criticisms of David Swanson, I also thought the reporting in the NYT
was less bad than it had been for quite a while.
The gratuitous claim that
what U.S. troops are doing halfway around the globe is defensive helps
explain why this extreme militarism is tolerated. This editorial will
go on to scratch its head in bewilderment, but the U.S. would not have
gotten into these wars without the hard work of the New York Times,
which has so normalized the mouthing of patent nonsense in defense of
permanent war that it goes unnoticed even in an editorial lamenting
“An additional 37,813
troops serve on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as
‘unknown.’ The Pentagon provided no further explanation. There are
traditional deployments in Japan (39,980 troops) and South Korea
(23,591) to defend against North Korea and China, if needed,”
 I have now been saying
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 (!!).