A. Selections from
November 8, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday November 8,
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 November 8, 2017
CIA Director Met Advocate of Disputed DNC
Theory — at Trump’s Request
2. Bernie Sanders Warns
of 'International Oligarchy'
After Paradise Papers Leak
3. Chomsky: High College
Tuition Is a Blunt
Instrument to Keep the Middle
4. A Year Witout A
5. Extreme Poverty Cut in
Half? Only in the Minds of
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:
Director Met Advocate of Disputed DNC Hack Theory — at Trump’s Request
article is by Duncan Campbell and James Risen on The Intercept. This
article starts as follows:
CIA Director Mike Pompeo
met late last month with a former U.S. intelligence official who has
become an advocate for a disputed theory that the theft of the
Democratic National Committee’s emails during the 2016 presidential
campaign was an inside job, rather than a hack by Russian intelligence.
Pompeo met on October 24
with William Binney, a former National Security Agency
official-turned-whistleblower who co-authored an
analysis published by a group of former intelligence officials that
challenges the U.S. intelligence community’s official assessment that
Russian intelligence was behind last year’s theft of data from DNC
computers. Binney and the other former officials argue that the DNC
data was “leaked,” not hacked, “by a person with physical access” to
the DNC’s computer system.
In an interview with The
Intercept, Binney said Pompeo told him that President Donald Trump had
urged the CIA director to meet with Binney to discuss his assessment
that the DNC data theft was an inside job. During their hour-long
meeting at CIA headquarters, Pompeo said Trump told him that if Pompeo
“want[ed] to know the facts, he should talk to me,” Binney said.
I think this is quite
interesting, and do so mostly for two reasons:
(1) I agree with William
Binney (and with Robert
Parry and others) that
the ¨evidence¨ given by some of the American secret services that
¨Russia pirated the American elections¨ etc. is not real
but is in fact propaganda,
(2) I agree with Binney that it is more likely that the DNC´s computer
data were not hacked but were most probably leaked.
I have written before about
this (check the index with
¨Russia-gate¨). Here is some more:
Yes, I think that is all
true, but it is also true that Trump is opposed by the secret services,
that may be a part from the military-industrial
complex or the Deep
State, and that Binney preferred Trump over Clinton in the last
Binney said that Pompeo
asked whether he would be willing to meet with NSA and FBI officials to
further discuss his analysis of the DNC data theft. Binney agreed and
said Pompeo said he would contact him when he had arranged the meetings.
It is highly unorthodox for
the CIA director to reach out to someone like Binney, a 74-year-old
ex-government employee who rose to prominence as an NSA whistleblower
wrongfully persecuted by the government, for help with fact-finding
related to the theft of the DNC emails.
As to how Trump knew about Binney, there is this:
It is possible
Trump learned about Binney and his analysis by watching Fox News, where
Binney has been a frequent guest, appearing at least 10 times since
September 2016. In August, Binney
appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox show to discuss his assessment
that the narrative of Russia hacking the DNC during the 2016 campaign
is untrue, stating that “many people are emotionally tied to this
agenda, to tie the Russians to President Trump.” Binney said he is not
sure how Trump found out about his analysis.
“I was willing to meet
Pompeo simply because it was clear to me the intelligence community
wasn’t being honest here,” Binney said, referring to their assessment
of the DNC email theft. “I am quite willing to help people who need the
truth to find the truth and not simply have deceptive statements from
the intelligence community.”
I completely agree
with Binney´s ¨I am quite
to help people who need the truth to find the truth and not simply have
deceptive statements from the intelligence community¨.
There is considerably
more in this article, that is recommended.
Sanders Warns of 'International Oligarchy' After Paradise Papers Leak
article is by Ed Pilkington on AlterNet and originally on The Guardian.
It starts as follows:
Bernie Sanders has warned
that the world is rapidly becoming an “international oligarchy”
controlled by a tiny number of billionaires, highlighted by the
revelations in the Paradise Papers.
In a statement to the
Guardian in the wake of the massive leak of documents exposing the
secrets of offshore investors, Sanders said that the enrichment of
wealthy individuals and companies in tax havens was “the major issue of
He said the Paradise
Papers opened the door on a “major problem not just for the US but for
governments throughout the world”.
“The major issue of our
time is the rapid movement toward international oligarchy in which a
handful of billionaires own and control a significant part of the
global economy. The Paradise Papers shows how these billionaires and
multinational corporations get richer by hiding their wealth and
profits and avoid paying their fair share of taxes,” the US senator
from Vermont said.
Yes indeed: I agree
with Bernie Sanders, although I would use other terms to
describe the same drift:
The rich and very
rich in the world have combined with the secret services and the mostly
corrupt (= bought by the rich) politicians who falsely claim to
represent (the interests) of the non-rich and the poor.
And I call this drift
(<- good definition) and have analysed it several times
since 2012, the last time here On The
Crisis: Robert Reich,
Socialism, 11 hypotheses about the causes of the crisis
This is strongly recommended, for it is
- by far - the most fundamental analysis I have given.
Here is some
Sanders’ intervention in
the debate sparked by the Paradise Papers marks the most prominent
political response to the leak in their opening 24 hours. The
investigation stems from the leak of some 13m files obtained by
Süddeutsche Zeitung in Germany and shared with almost 100 news
organisations around the world including the Guardian by the
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Yes indeed, but I
should add that if the Paradise Papers are developed and
as were the Panama Papers, I am rather doubtful whether the
developments will last longer than three to five months.
There is more in the
article, that is recommended.
High College Tuition Is a Blunt Instrument to Keep the Middle Class Down
article is by C.J. Polychroniou on AlterNet and originally on Truthout.
It starts as follows:
These are good
that I also have reviewed before. I can recommend them all and choose
from the present one four bits by Noam Chomsky, that are chosen from a
lot more text.
In an increasingly
unequal country, the stakes are high for debates over student debt and
the prospect of free higher education. Driven by neoliberal politics,
our current educational system is both a product of and a driver of
deep social inequities. In this interview, world-renowned public
intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin take on the question of
who should pay for education -- and how a radical reshaping of our
educational system could be undertaken in the US.
This is the third
part of a wide-ranging interview series with world-renowned public
intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin. Read part one here and part two here.
Here is the first bit:
Noam Chomsky: The
educational system was a highly predictable victim of the neoliberal
reaction, guided by the maxim of "private affluence and public
squalor." Funding for public education has sharply declined. Tuition
has exploded, leading to a plague of unpayable student debt. As higher
education is driven to a business model in accord with neoliberal
doctrine, administrative bureaucracy has sharply increased at the
expense of faculty and students, developments reviewed well by
sociologist Benjamin Ginsburg. Cost-cutting dictated by the revered
market principles naturally leads to hyper-exploitation of the more
vulnerable, creating a new precariat of graduate students and adjuncts
surviving on a bare pittance, replacing tenured faculty. All of this
happens to be a good disciplinary technique, for obvious reasons.
For those with eyes open,
much of what has happened was anticipated by the early '70s, at the
point of transition from regulated capitalism to incipient
neoliberalism. At the time, there was mounting elite concern about the
dangers posed by the democratizing and civilizing effects of 1960s
activism, and particularly the role of young people during "the time of
troubles." The concerns were forcefully expressed at both ends of the
I agree with
everything, but do like to say that in my experience the Powell
Holland was minister Cals, who - at least! - halved all
educations & examinations in 1965, one hundred year after these
quite good educations were instituted.
And I was there, and
was so much appalled by this that I gave up the Dutch
schools in 1967
(but I probably was the only one who did so).
And here is more on
the hero of the right, Lewis
F. Powell Jr., who organized a lot of the
revolt of the rich, which was instituted by the rich to retain and
extend their enormous advantages on the non-rich:
At the right end of the
spectrum, the "Powell memorandum" sent by corporate lobbyist (later
Supreme Court Justice) Lewis Powell to the Chamber of Commerce called
upon the business community to rise up to defend itself against the
assault on freedom led by Ralph Nader, Herbert Marcuse and other
miscreants who had taken over the universities, the media and the
government. The picture was, of course, ludicrous but it did reflect
the perceptions of Powell's audience, desperate about the slight
diminution in their overwhelming power.
Again I agree with
all of this, although I must add that I did not hear these
things - from the left - in the 1970ies and the 1980ies (apart -
perhaps - from Allan
There is also this
bit, that I think I must disagree with:
At the other end of the
spectrum, at about the same time, the liberal internationalists of the
Trilateral Commission published their lament over "The Crisis of
Democracy" that arose in the "terrible" '60s, when previously apathetic
and marginalized parts of the population -- the great majority -- began
to try to enter the political arena to pursue their interests. That
posed an intolerable burden on the state. Accordingly, the Trilateral
scholars called for more "moderation in democracy," a return to
passivity and obedience. The American rapporteur, Harvard professor
Samuel Huntington, reminisced nostalgically about the time when "Truman
had been able to govern the country with the cooperation of a
relatively small number of Wall Street lawyers and bankers," so that
true democracy flourished.
The reason I disagree is
that this is not ¨the
other end of the spectrum¨ but
merely another right-wing variant.
And here is one very
Student debt is
structured to be a burden for life. The indebted cannot declare
bankruptcy, unlike Trump. Current student debt is estimated to be over $1.45 trillion, [more
than] $600 billion more than total credit card debt. Most is unpayable,
and should be rescinded.
That is: People with
student debts will not revolt or protest, unless they are very
special persons. And precisely that was the main point
everyone with student debts, which only the large
proportion of the
non-rich will not be able to pay. Which shuts them up for life,
most cases. And that was the point.
There is considerably
more in the interview, that is strongly recommended.
A Year Witout A
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. This starts as follows:
It seems like forever,
but it was just one year ago that Donald Trump was elected president.
have we learned about the presidency and who is running the
1. The first big thing
we’ve learned is that Trump is not really the president of the United
because he’s not governing.
No, I think this is simply
considerably more misleading than not. I agree
Trump is a bad
president, and that his government is lousy, but these agreements do
not at all entail that Trump is ¨not
governing¨: Clearly, he is
governing, except that he does not do this at all as Reich (or
I) would desire.
Here is more on what Trump
Once again: I agree with
Reich that this is despicable, but unlike Reich my own
this despicable behavior is what Trump understands by
Instead of governing,
Donald Trump has been insulting, throwing tantrums, and getting even:
supremacists with people who protest against them. Questioning the
patriotism of NFL players who are peacefully protesting police violence
Making nasty remarks
about journalists, about his predecessor as president, his political
in the last election, national heroes like Congressman John Lewis and
John McCain, even the mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico.
Or he’s busy lying and
then covering up the lies.
Here is another point of Reich:
I think here Reich is
correct, and this is mildly hopeful. There is more in
2. The second thing
learned is that Trump’s influence is waning.
Since he lost the
popular vote, his approval ratings have dropped even further. One year
Trump is the least popular president in history with only 37 percent of
Americans behind him.
Most Republicans still
approve of him, but that may not be for long.
Poverty Cut in Half? Only in the Minds of the Capitalists
This article is by Paul Buchheit on Common Dreams. This is from near
Poverty Has INCREASED, in Terms of Wealth
I think this is quite true and
Buchheit uses these facts to contradict what he summarized in his
title: The rich capitalists are not beyond any lies, and now they
that extreme poverty was halved. Buchheit´s argument, as indicated
his numbers, is the opposite:
According to the Credit
Wealth Databook 2016, the median wealth of the world's adults
is $2,222, down from $3,248 at the end of 2007. While the rich
people of the world have taken more than their share of the $35
trillion wealth gain since the recession, the world median has
dropped by over $1,000!
Ordinary and poor people, worldwide, have
lost one-third of their
wealth to the richest of the rich.
Then here is this on ¨the poverty threshold¨ that is used by the World
Poverty Threshold is Absurdly Low
I agree: The ¨poverty threshold¨ is ridiculous, and should
be - at least - somewhere between $5 or $10 to be realistic. (As an
aside: I think Bill Gates´ gigantic riches, when spread out
equally over all living persons, would give each person around
The world poverty threshold
was recently increased by
the World Bank from $1.25 to $1.90 per day. Numerous sources have
recognized the absurdity of this dollar amount for day-to-day survival.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development argues for
minimum; ActionAid says
$10; even the World Bank admits that
the $1.90 poverty line is "too miserly for middle-income countries,"
than 50 percent of the population in IDA [the
world's poorest] countries live on less than US $6 a day and are
considered at high or moderate risk of relapsing into poverty."
Here is more:
$1 a Day, But Is It Worth It When You're Living in These
Quite so: What the Chinese
- who live much more in an extreme form of state-capitalism
by ¨the Chinese Communist Party¨ than in a state of socialism organized
by the same - was to increase the riches of the few rich Chinese,
at the costs of the more than a billion Chinese poor, who now may
contribute to Steve Jobs´ greedy dreams, and to Tim Cooke´s thefts of
billions from the American taxes, by working 60 hours a week for a
couple of dollars for Apple (etc.)
China may have pulled
millions "out of poverty," but in reality they've gained a few dollars
a day while the country has become increasingly unequal in
terms of wealth. The new Chinese "middle class" has in many ways gone
backwards. According to China Labor Watch,
weekly working hours in Apple's factories surpass 60 hours, much of it
This article ends as follows:
better? Only in the minds of capitalists who don't want their
comfortable lives disrupted by a rebellion among their billions of
Indeed. And this article
is strongly recommended.
I have now been saying since
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 (!!).