from May 24, 2018
B. One Extra Bit
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
I have been
writing about the crisis since September
1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) 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 more than two years
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
I shall continue.
2. Crisis Files
These are five crisis files
that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 24, 2018:
1. “We Are Lurching Toward Plutocracy”
The 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:
2. Mike Pompeo’s 12-Step Plan for Disaster With Iran
Beyond Trump: Why We Need A Federal Jobs Guarantee
4. Democracy Is Dying in America — We're Now Under the Rule
5. Amazon Teams Up With Law Enforcement to Deploy Dangerous
Facial Recognition Technology
Are Lurching Toward Plutocracy”
article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! I made
the title a bit shorter. It starts with the following introduction:
In a rare bipartisan
effort Tuesday, House lawmakers voted 258 to 159 to exempt banks with
less than $250 billion in assets from many of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act
regulations, even though banks’ profits are soaring. The Dodd-Frank Act
was passed after the 2008 economic crisis, which was provoked by years
of risky lending by Wall Street banks. Thirty-three Democrats joined
their Republican counterparts in voting for the financial regulation
rollback, which, if signed into law, would leave less than 10 banks in
the U.S. subject to stricter federal oversight. For more, we speak with
Minnesota Democratic Congressmember Keith Ellison. He is the first
Muslim member of Congress and the deputy chair of the Democratic
National Committee, or DNC.
I say. Well... I think
that these thirty-three Democrats are neofascists
who only work
for money for themselves, as does the whole Republican party.
They totally betrayed everything they ever said about fairness,
democracy, honesty etc. etc.
Here is more:
GONZÁLEZ: On Capitol Hill, Congress passed sweeping
legislation to exempt thousands of banks from key regulations in the
2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, meaning
the vast majority of banks will no longer have to follow the
regulations aimed at preventing another financial meltdown. The
Dodd-Frank Act was passed after the 2008 economic crisis, which was
provoked by years of risky lending by Wall Street banks. Yet, in a rare
bipartisan effort on Tuesday, House lawmakers voted 258 to 159 to
exempt banks with less than $250 billion in assets from many of these
regulations, even though banks’ profits are soaring.
GOODMAN: A report issued
Tuesday from the FDIC, the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation, said the net income of banks and savings
institutions hit $56 billion in the first quarter this year, a 27
percent increase from a year ago. Thirty-three Democrats joined their
Republican counterparts in voting for the financial regulation
rollback, which, if signed into law, would leave less than 10 banks in
the U.S. subject to stricter federal oversight.
And that is also the
whole point: Give the rich men who rule the big banks all the power
they want to enrich themselves (at the cost of everybody else).
This now has
I am very much against it, although it also has one consequence I like:
The next crisis is going to happen and is going to be a lot
than the crisis of 2008.
Here is more by Ellison:
Ellison, there’s a hashtag going on there that says #resistance or
#assistance. Talk about the significance of this bill and the more than
a score of Democrats who joined with the Republicans in rolling back
This was a very bad bill for the American consumer, for investors, for
just everyday citizens, homeowners, people who want to keep their jobs.
I mean, it’s like people forgot all of the financial and economic
devastation of the 2008 collapse. And so, no, 10 years later, we’re
rolling it all back again, setting ourselves up for another
catastrophe, which, of course, the big bankers are going to ask the
American people to bail them out of, as they go about just
consolidating wealth and income. You know, not only are banks highly
profitable, they’re consolidating and becoming more monopolistic. This
bank bill will allow them to do even more. You know, it was sold to
people as a community bank bill. I think it’s an anti-community bank
bill because what it will do is amass and accumulate more money in the
hands of the biggest banks, which they will then use to buy smaller
banks and thereby deprive community banks of, you know, their market
share and take people and deprive people of those banks, those regional
banks, community banks, that they rely on to meet their financial
needs. I think it will consolidate profits, consolidate markets, and it
will be to the detriment of everybody.
Ellison is right, of
course, but he does not explain why thirty-three of his fellow
Democrats either could
see this or else chose not to see it to increase their own
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Again Ellison is right,
except that plutocracy has
arrived in the USA, where thirty-three Democrats sold out to big
money. This is a recommended article.
GONZÁLEZ: —and so it’s now—regulations governing it have been
loosened. How do you—where do you see this ending? Because this is only
the beginning of attempts to roll back completely all of Dodd-Frank
that the Trump administration has been touting.
True. As you know, Juan, they’ve already tried to attack the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau and make it not an agent of real assistance
for consumers. But also, don’t forget this: Just last December, they
passed a massive tax bill that gave all kinds of advantages to big
companies and wealthy individuals. So, they’re rolling back the banking
bill now. They cut the taxes of the richest, biggest companies a few
months back. We are full-on lurching toward plutocracy. We are full-on
lurching toward oligopoly.
Pompeo’s 12-Step Plan for Disaster With Iran
article is by Scott Ritter on Truthdug. This is from near its beginning:
In what The Washington
Post—no friend of Iran—has labeled “a
silly speech,” Donald Trump’s new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo,
provided an American answer to the charge made by French President
Emmanuel Macron during his State visit last month that, when it came to
the Iranian nuclear agreement (officially known as the Joint
Comprehensive Program of Action, or JCPOA), there was “no
Plan B.” Macron’s observations were made in the context of
President Trump’s threat to withdraw from that agreement, even though
Iran had been determined by all parties (including the United States)
to be in full compliance.
his decision to withdraw official on May 8, and since then the
United States has been struggling to articulate a strategy to deal with
the consequences of that action. Pompeo’s speech—titled “After
the Deal: A New Iran Strategy” —was intended to provide America’s
“Plan B.” Upon reflection, however, Pompeo’s speech failed to
accomplish this. Worse, the unrealistic demands made upon Iran in
Pompeo’s address, coupled by the absolute detachment from reality and
historical fact and/or context these demands were made, made Pompeo’s
speech far more dangerous than silly.
Yes, I agree with
Ritter. Here is more:
I say. Here is the last
bit I quote from this article:
In his speech, Pompeo
promised that, in the aftermath of the American decision to withdraw
from the JCPOA, the United States would be seeking to impose
“unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime” to compel
change in its behavior. “Iran,” Pompeo declared, “will be forced to
make a choice: either fight to keep its economy off life-support at
home or keep squandering precious wealth on fights abroad. It will not
have the resources to do both.”
consisted of little more than citing ongoing economic mismanagement,
corruption and political repression, and offering economic opportunity
and “liberty” in exchange for mass demonstrations by the Iranian
people—demonstrations designed to overthrow the theocratic regime in
Tehran. But “regime change,” “Iran” and “the United States” are three
terms that historically do not mix, as every Iranian knows. The example
of the CIA-led
coup of 1953 that replaced democratically elected Prime Minister
Mohammad Mosaddegh with Reza Shah Pahlevi is deeply ingrained in the
psyche of modern Iran.
Well... I much doubt
that ¨the CIA-led
coup of 1953¨ is ¨deeply ingrained in the psyche of modern Iran¨ were it only for the elementary fact that
it is 65 years ago, and few living Iranians will recall it. But
this is a recommended article and there is considerably more in it than
3. Thinking Beyond Trump:
Why We Need A Federal Jobs Guarantee
article is by Robert Reich on his site (that is again available to me:
it wasn´t yesterday). This starts as follows:
We must not forget
the economic frustrations that helped fuel Trump’s election. For
too long, too many Americans have faced lousy jobs or no jobs. One
answer: A guaranteed job at a living wage.
Well... I agree, except
that with the present extremely rich neofascists
who own the American
government it will never happen as long as the neofascists have the
power. This does not mean that Reich isn´t right, but it means his
plans will not be realized.
Here is some of the background of Reich´s plan:
Republicans continue to
push for work requirements for recipients of Medicaid, food stamps, and
public housing benefits. But the real problem is there aren’t
enough adequately-paying jobs to go around.
Even today, with a low
official unemployment rate, millions who work part-time jobs want
full-time work. Millions more are too discouraged to look for work,
having endured the brutalities of job discrimination for far too long,
or unable to move to where the jobs are.
And a large and growing
number of jobs don’t pay enough to get people out of poverty.
Yes, but I certainly do
not agree with ¨work requirements for recipients of Medicaid¨: If you are ill or old you just
cannot work and it is sick to force you to.
Here are some of the
outlines of Reich´s plan:
At the same time, a lot of
work needs to be done – “greening” our nation’s infrastructure, caring
for the elderly, teaching in our public schools, adequately staffing
national parks, you name it.
So why shouldn’t the
federal government create jobs and connect them directly to people who
can’t otherwise find one, with decent, predictable hours and at a
An added plus: The
availability of such jobs would give more bargaining power to many
low-wage workers to get better hours and wages – because if they don’t
get them from their employer, they’d have the option of a public job.
In this way, a federal job guarantee would raise the floor for job
And a job guarantee would act
as a giant economic stabilizer during downturns, when the first to lose
their jobs are usually the most economically marginalized.
It is OK - but it will never
be adopted by Trump and his neofascistic
government: It would give
money to the many poor instead of the few rich, and that is a major sin.
Is Dying in America — We're Now Under the Rule of Trump's Cronies
article is by Jim Hightower on AlterNet and originally on Creators
Syndicate. It starts as follows:
In the fierce labor wars of
the last century, industrial barons employed Pinkertons and other goons
to bloody the heads of laborers or simply gun down those struggling for
a share of economic and political power. It was brutal, but organized
workers persevered and eventually gained a share of economic and
political power. From their sweat and blood, America's middle class
Today, the bands of nouveau
corporate royalists (with coats of arms bearing such names as Mercer,
DeVos and Koch) are determined to take back those middle-class gains of
yesteryear. They are working to achieve this through a coordinated,
long-term campaign to crush the ability of working people to unionize,
bust America's middle-class wage structure, eliminate job security and
emasculate government as a force capable of controlling corporate
avarice and arrogance.
Yes indeed: I think that is
correct. Here is more:
These latter-day royalists
are employing a more sophisticated thuggery than brute force (though
don't think they wouldn't resort to it). Instead, their goons are more
likely to be in Gucci than brogans, using dollars and computers rather
than clubs and guns. They have been recruiting, financing, training,
deploying and coordinating thousands of political operatives to work
through hundreds of front groups, law firms, think tanks, PACs,
lobbying offices, media and PR consortiums, faux academic centers,
astroturf campaigns and, of course, compliant politicians.
I agree again, but like
to add that the internet has been created by the DARPA as a network
that would help neofascism,
and it has wildly succeeded: See
Here is more:
Among the compliant are our
covey of hyperactive governors, all carrying basically the same
anti-worker, anti-democratic policy ideas. Their unified agenda wasn't
produced by telepathy or freakish happenstance, but by the AFC, ALEC,
IFL, SPN and other obscure organizational acronyms unknown to 99
percent of Americans. Behind the non-descript acronyms are aggressive
and insidious right-wing wonk shops that have been set up and richly
financed by the corporatists to prepare and hand-deliver pro-corporate
programs to compliant governors and key legislators.
Yes, I think that is again
correct. There is a lot more, and the article ends as follows:
The richest, most
powerful, most privileged people in our land -- in cahoots with a horde
of the least principled, most venal political opportunists in civic
life -- are intentionally savaging the well-being of America's
majority and aggressively suppressing the democratic rights that make
America America. And for what? Solely for themselves, for the
aggrandizement of their own wealth and power.
Quite so. This is a strongly
Teams Up With Law Enforcement to Deploy Dangerous New Facial
article is by Matt Cagle and Nicole Ozer on Common Dreams and
originally on Speak Freely/ACLU. It starts as follows:
Amazon, which got
its start selling books and still bills itself as “Earth’s
most customer-centric company,” has officially entered the
The company has developed a
powerful and dangerous new facial recognition system and is actively
helping governments deploy it. Amazon calls the service “Rekognition.”
Marketing materials and
documents obtained by ACLU affiliates in three states reveal a product
that can be readily used to violate civil liberties and civil rights.
Powered by artificial intelligence, Rekognition can
identify, track, and analyze people in real time and recognize up
to 100 people in a single image. It can quickly scan information it
collects against databases featuring tens of millions of faces, according
I say. Here is more:
Amazon is marketing
Rekognition for government surveillance. According to its marketing
materials, it views
deployment by law enforcement agencies as a “common use case” for this
technology. Among other features, the company’s materials describe “person
tracking” as an “easy and accurate” way to investigate and monitor
people. Amazon says Rekognition can be used to identify “people
of interest,” raising the possibility that those labeled suspicious
by governments — such as undocumented immigrants or Black
activists — will be seen as fair game for Rekognition surveillance.
It also says
Rekognition can monitor “all faces in group photos, crowded events, and
public places such as airports,” at a time when Americans are joining
public protests at unprecedented
I say, again. And here
Quite so - and I am
With Rekognition, a
government can now build a system to automate the identification and
tracking of anyone. If police body cameras, for example, were outfitted
with facial recognition, devices intended for officer transparency
and accountability would further transform into surveillance
machines aimed at the public. With this technology, police would be
able to determine who attends protests. ICE could seek to continuously
monitor immigrants as they embark on new lives. Cities might routinely
track their own residents, whether they have reason to suspect criminal
activity or not.
B. One Extra Bit
an extra bit in the crisis series. I did so before a few times. And the
following article is quite good. It is by Jeremy McCoy on the
It starts as
Oil, weapons and
drugs are among the products with the largest turnover in the world.
According to the International Energy Agency, the world demand for oil
is between 94 million barrels per day with the United States being the
largest oil consumer in the world, 11,500,000 barrels of oil per day.
Likewise, according to the International Institute of Studies for Peace
in Stockholm, the United States is the leading producer and exporter of
weapons worldwide, controlling 31% of the international market.
Regarding drugs, according
United Nations report, 255 million people – slightly over 5 per
cent of those aged 15 to 64 years worldwide – consume drugs. 182
million people consume only marijuana, 48.9 million people use heroin,
17 million users consume cocaine and the rest of people consume
amphetamines, ecstasy and other types of drugs. According to the UN
Drug Report, an unacceptable number of drug users worldwide continue to
lose their lives prematurely, with an estimated 190,000 drug-related
deaths in 2017.
This is the
beginning of a quite interesting article, that is strongly
recommended, although I should add that I do not take the United
Nations report very seriously.
have now been
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 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
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 (!!).