November 12, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Sunday November 12,
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 12, 2017
Veterans Ron Kovic, Oliver Stone on the
2. Proof Trump's Supporters Will Stand Behind Him
No Matter What
3. Remote War And Public
4. That’s Not MY Greenhouse Gas!
5. The Ongoing Battle against Tax Havens
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:
Ron Kovic, Oliver Stone on the True Cost of War
This article is by Emma Niles on Truthdig. These are some
selections from a long interview on Truthdig, that is presented well
and also comes with a lot of linked in background material:
RS: So I
think that also is a pretty good introduction to Oliver. Let me just
say, Oliver was at Yale, growing up in a—father was a stockbroker, not
going to give his whole history, but he was in George W. Bush’s class
at Yale. And he can talk a little bit about it, but he left to join the
Merchant Marines. He was in Vietnam, among other places, and then he
ended up serving, he ended up being wounded, and Platoon is a story of
his experience, in part. So why don’t you tell us about the making Born
on the Fourth, and why Hollywood--let’s get to larger points here. How
does Hollywood deal with war, that’s the subject; how does the media
deal with war, and what has been your experience making three of, I
would argue the three best movies made about war, at least in this
I think these are all
good questions. To start with, here are the links to
the Wikipedia for
some background on Robert Scheer, Oliver Stone and
Here is part of Oliver Stone´s answer:
The problem, you saying to me, what is the obstacles for Hollywood and
war films—and that is a very important point. … You have to realize
that when it comes to war, killing people, shooting people, bombs,
people dying—it’s a very political thing. … it’s very difficult to ...
unless you’re some Third World country, to really tell it like it is.
Every country gets wrapped up in its own sense of self and its own
flag, and these things are so distorted through time, and the more you
see of war films, it’s really hard to get through. Even on Born on the
Fourth of July, and certainly on Platoon, I know of patriotic issues
that came up. And we had to thread the needle, in a sense.
I think that is quite right. Here is more, on selling out:
And so let me ask you why, how? What are the obstacles? Can you have a
meaningful life as an artist without selling out? What are the
pressures you faced?
I think that is also
right, and indeed Oliver Stone is one of the relatively few
who took these risks, indeed probably in part because he did
himself in Vietnam.
OS: To a degree, Bob,
I think everything is degree. You know, I can only go so far along my
path, and there is resistance everywhere, all along the way. And it’s
how you deal with it. Some people are very good with resistance, some
people get rigid, some people are flexible. I’ve had various reactions
to it. The resistance—I feel like consciousness, the older you get, the
more you figure out or know; maybe I’m wrong, maybe it goes the other
way. But in other words, the deeper into the shit you get, into the
swamp, you don’t get out that quick.
And here is Robert Scheer on power:
RS: And the
Constitution of the United States, which is what Donald Trump seems to
have missed here, but in Adams’ word, basically embodied the notion of
limited government, the sovereignty of the individual, the rights of
the individual, to hold and check power. Any power, OK? The power of
the good guys, because after all, the king of England had at one point
been thought to be the good. All right? And the argument was that
uncontrolled power, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Right? It
doesn’t matter what the society says, it doesn’t matter what its
pretenses are, and it doesn’t matter even what its claim is on
ideology, OK? Or religion. That if it’s unchecked power, and this power
gets into wars and imperial conquests, you will lose the republic.
here is Robert Scheer on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
And so that would be my
answer, is that when the United States decided that it had to reorder
the world, for this country, and get into the very foreign
entanglements that our founders won, they began to lose the idea of a
republic governed by the free. Because you can lie about war, you can
distort, you can frighten people, and so forth.
RS: And the
significance of dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, whatever
else you think about them, it’s the first time that we said, it is
legitimate—we reacted in World War II by bombing whole cities in
Germany and Japan to demoralize the civilian population, no question.
But with these bombs, we specifically said, we want to kill a large
number of innocent civilians. That’s called terrorism. These were not,
they cannot be used in a targeted way. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not
militarily significant targets. So we said, we have the right to kill
very large numbers of innocent people to make a political point. That’s
what every terrorist says.
think that is correct. There is considerably more in the original, that
Trump's Supporters Will Stand Behind Him No Matter What
This article is by
Jacob Sugarman on AlterNet. It starts as follows, after stating that
Trump has an approval rate of 33% (which seems the lowest for any
American president, ever, or at least in recent history):
Trump is the most unpopular
president in modern American history, that much is apparent. But
what these numbers obscure, or at least elide, is the seemingly endless
devotion of his voting bloc. A closer
look at the data reveals that Trump's level of support has mostly
held steady since August, before the collapse of his Obamacare
replacement bill, the introduction of a plutocratic new tax proposal
and the announcement of multiple indictments in Robert Mueller's
collusion probe. For tens of millions of Americans, the
president can do no wrong.
I should add that,
speaking for myself, I am not much worried by
this supposed fact, and
that basically for two reasons.
My first reason is
that this is for the most part a supposed fact. It may be true,
but it also seems to be the case that so far most of Trump´s supporters
have not been faced with considerable financial losses (if
they can pay
them) e.g. for health care.
And my second reason
is that (i) I know for over 50 years that I am more intelligent
the large majority, and that I also can prove this is so by an
B.A. and an excellent M.A., while (ii) I have mean- while also given up
on at least 50% of any electorate, for the simple reason that 50% of
any large unsorted human group has an IQ that is maximally 100,
me that means that at least 50% of any large
unsorted human group is
not able to properly - that is: rationally, with some
knowledge - think about political problems.
I am sorry, but these
are the facts for me, and I am not going to waste time and
trying to convert the stupid.
Here is some more:
Since Trump's election, mainstream
media alike have taken an
intense interest in his supporters. How could they punch their ticket
for someone so transparently unfit for office, and what would it take
for them to finally bail? Dispatches like Kruse's remind us the answers
to these questions have always been self-evident, even if they're only
now being made explicit. While a handful of rural Pennsylvanians can
never represent the whole of Trump nation, their intransigence in the
face of mounting catastrophe suggests the president's base will be
riding this train to the end of the line.
I say that most of
Trump´s supporters (not: all) who do support a man who is
¨transparently unfit for
office¨ do so because they
are too stupid
or too ignorant
to judge the man rationally.
Also, I admit to
being at least a bit angry because, while Sugarman does explicitly say
that ¨the answers to these
questions¨ - how can people
be so backward to believe Trump´s promises - ¨have always been self- evident¨, I haven´t seen them in Sugerman´s
(I am sorry to say so, but I am
neither and I am also not blind.)
War And Public Air
This article is by
Paul Rogers on Common Dreams and originally on OpenDemocracy.net. It
starts as follows:
Yes indeed - and this
war is in its seventeenth year, which itself is quite
crazy. But now a change is coming, although it is not the kind
change peaceful persons desire:
Afghanistan in 2016 saw
11,489 of its civilians killed in armed conflict, according to
international observers. This was the highest number since external recording
started in 2009. This year is expected to be at least as bad. The
fighting season from May-October was particularly intense, with
among Afghan security personnel.
In short, there is no end in
to the United States-led war in Afghanistan, even as its seventeenth
year arrives. In fact, the Taliban and other armed opposition groups
(AOGs) appear to be gaining ground.
That is to say: The war in
Afghanistan goes on, but under Trump the war will be committed mostly
secret, which incidentally was also helped a lot by Nixon´s removal
The emerging style of
can be measured by another valuable indicator: a subtle change in the
quality of data from Afghanistan being made public. This is owed to the
National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2008, which established
a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
This mouthful of a title disguises what has turned out to be an
independent observer of the Afghan scene, delivering detailed quarterly
reports for Congress and available online.
The data from SIGAR accommodates copious information about the status
of Afghan security – formally the Afghan National
Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) – not least in terms of casualties, the
rate of desertions and costs to the United States.
The portion of SIGAR's
coming from the US military organisation that trains ANDSF has recently
been classified, meaning it is no longer available to a wider audience.
Here is the probable outcome:
Thus, even as Trump is willing
to give the military more freedom of action and let the CIA undertake
direct if covert operations against the Taliban, information on the
actual state of Afghan security is closing up. That is yet another
example of the steady move towards remote
A secret war is far less
likely to be unpopular, the powers that be calculate. If the people
don’t know, they can't cause awkward problems.
And that is it: In
the USA you are supposedly living in a democracy, but the very rich
command most things, while the draft was killed, and especially since
9/11, the killings of non-Americans by Americans are getting more and
This is a recommended
Not MY Greenhouse Gas!
This article is by
Paul Keenlyside on NakedCapitalism.com. It starts as follows:
Picture the following: a
UK investor buys a coal mine in Africa. The coal is shipped to China
where it powers factories that produce goods which are shipped to the
UK for consumption. Citizens in the UK benefit financially from the
coal extraction, and materially from the goods produced.
So who’s responsible for
tackling the huge amounts of carbon dioxide dumped into the atmosphere
along that supply chain? According to UN rules, it’s not the UK.
Under the Paris Agreement
and the Kyoto Protocol before it, countries are only responsible for
the greenhouse gases physically emitted within their borders.
Unfortunately, this exclusive focus on ‘territorial’ emissions makes
little sense in a globalised economy in which capital and goods flow
across borders, and results in a completely misleading picture of where
responsibility actually lies.
Yes, quite so - and
this is one of many reasons why I didn´t believe in the
Kyoto Protocol and I don´t believe in the Paris Agreement, and while
Paris Agreement may be better than nothing, it will not stop
Here is one example
of why not, that I could not avoid to quote this bit on
morals and Dutch incomes:
The Dutch are not
climate leaders at all, and in fact make a lot of money selling
pollution, just as the Dutch never legalized marijuana: You can
as if it is legalized, but it is not. It is freely
sold by private
decisions by Dutch mayors, who decide that the drug laws do not apply
to their personal friends, for their personal reasons,
are rewarded by the dealers (I think) in terms I do not know (which is
a game that has been going on for thirty years now).
Take the Netherlands as
an example. Between 1990 and 2014, the Netherlands reduced its annual domestic emissions by around
15%. That’s not great, and the average emissions for Dutch citizens
are still far above the global average. But
it’s not a bad direction of travel compared to other countries, and
enough for the Dutch to enjoy a reputation of ‘climate leadership’ on the world
Yet dig a little deeper,
and you find that in 2014, Dutch investors were sat on interests in oil
and gas extraction outside the EU of over $400 billion, and earnt $37
billion from these investments. If realised, Dutch investments in oil
and gas would result in carbon dioxide emissions between 6.7 and 9.1
billion tonnes – up to fifty times the Netherlands’ annual domestic
emissions. Worse, Dutch investors are still increasing their positions
in oil and gas extraction abroad.
Back to the article:
Well, yes - but it
doesn´t happen. And in fact here is part of the reason:
That is why wealthy
countries should look beyond the border and take action to stop the
carbon intense development overseas driven by their own investors.
A first step would be to
require all large companies and investors to disclose their interests
in coal, oil and gas extraction overseas, and report on the carbon
dioxide emissions associated with the fossil fuels extracted each year,
as well as the potential carbon dioxide emissions associated with the
reserves under their control, if fully exploited.
In fact, there are
lots of simple, effective measures governments could adopt now. But for
that to happen, our governments need take an honest look at the
economic interests driving fossil fuel extraction, and not just fall
back on the arbitrary accounting principles of the UNFCCC, which are
more an exercise in blame absolution than an effort to stop climate
Ongoing Battle against Tax Havens
This article is by Christian Reiermann on Spiegel International. It
starts as follows:
Early this week, the
financial world was rocked by the latest revelations about tax tricks
used around the world by corporations and the super-rich. The leaks,
which included 13.4 million documents and were labeled the "Paradise
Papers," were the product of an international investigative consortium
including journalists from influential German daily Süddeutsche
The cases uncovered are
similar to those revealed in the previous leak, the Panama Papers,
which triggered global outrage last year. The data describes how the
rich and super-rich, international stars and companies try to avoid
paying taxes in their home countries. It is a game for the wealthy.
The players are usually
multinational corporations seeking to shrink their tax bill using
convoluted structures. Tech-giant Apple once again stands
accused of skullduggery, as does sporting-goods producer Nike. The
accomplices are also largely the same. The deals in question invariably
involve tax havens such as the Bermuda Islands, British dependencies
such as the Isle of Man or Jersey, and European member states like the
Yes indeed. Here is
some more, in fact on an important reason why tax loopholes will
probably continue to exist as long as capitalism exists:
And happily for criminal
frauds like Tim Cooke, another loophole was found, this time on the
tiny Channel Island of Jersey.
Making the battle against
tax loopholes even more difficult is the fact that the world's largest
economy, the U.S., is rather half-hearted when it comes to fighting tax
havens. The state of Delaware offers an anonymous home to hundreds of
thousands of shell
companies. The U.S. government - whether Democratic or Republican -
has also for years been rather indulgent when it comes to
multinationals dodging the taxman, despite the fact that it is the U.S.
itself that is shortchanged by the tricks employed by Google, Apple,
Amazon and co.
But for decades, U.S. tax law has maintained a loophole for American
companies. They are allowed to park their intellectual property - in
the form of patents, licenses or film rights, for example - with
subsidiaries based overseas, which means that those subsidiaries are
taxed in the countries where they are based. That is why Apple, as the
new document leak indicates, didn't decide to pay taxes on its profits
back home once an Irish loophole was closed. Instead, the company went
searching for tax havens that might offer it a new home.
There is considerably more in the article.
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. 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.
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 (!!).