from August 12, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
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
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from August 12, 2018:
1. How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World
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. Profits Govern Media Company Responses to Controversy —
About Free Speech
3. Trump Rule Would Give $2.5 Billion Tax Cut to Big Bank Fat
4. In A Corporatist System Of Government, Corporate
Censorship Is State
5. Senator Richard Burr: a Longtime Fan of Torture
a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World
This article is by
Fareed Zakaria on The New York Times. It starts as follows - and I draw
your attention to the fact that I have been saying since
2008 it was a crisis and it still is a crisis, that is:
for most everybody who is not rich:
Bannon can date the start of the Trump “revolution.” When I interviewed
him for CNN in May, in Rome, he explained that the origins of Trump’s
victory could be found 10 years ago, in the financial crisis of 2008.
“The implosion of those world capital markets has never really been
sorted out,” he told me. “The fuse that was lit then that eventually
brought the Trump revolution is the same thing that’s happened here in
Italy.” (Italy had just held elections in which populist forces
had won 50 percent of the vote.) Adam Tooze would likely agree. An economic
historian at Columbia University, he has written a detailed account of
the financial shocks and their aftereffects, which, his subtitle
asserts, “changed the world.”
In fact, this is the beginning of a review of a book by
Adam Tooze that I did not read (and will never read: I have been
reading nearly 55 years now, and think I now enough at least in the
sense that I know of very few who know as much as I do).
Also, while I don´t agree with Bannon on ¨the origins of Trump’s victory¨, I do agree with him that 2008
important economical and financial crisis.
Here is some more:
journalism is the first rough draft of history, Tooze’s book is the
second draft. A distinguished scholar with a deep grasp of financial
markets, Tooze knows that it is a challenge to gain perspective on
events when they have not yet played out. He points out that a
10-year-old history of the crash of 1929 would have been written in
1939, when most of its consequences were ongoing and unresolved. But
still he has persisted and produced an intelligent explanation of the
mechanisms that produced the crisis and the response to it. We continue
to live with the consequences of both today.
yes, but I don´t get the point about 1929-1939: Does Zakaria
suggest then people did not write about the crisis? Nonsense.
Does Zakaria perhaps wish to
suggest that people should not write about a crisis until it is
definitely past? Nonsense again.
Here is one explanation by Tooze:
it was not a Chinese sell-off of American debt that triggered the
crash, but rather, as Tooze writes, a problem “fully native to Western
capitalism — a meltdown on Wall Street driven by toxic securitized
One of the great strengths of Tooze’s book is to demonstrate the deeply
intertwined nature of the European and American financial systems. In
2006, European banks generated a third of America’s riskiest privately
issued mortgage-backed securities. By 2007, two-thirds of commercial
paper issued was sponsored by a European financial entity. The enormous
expansion of the global financial system had largely been a
trans-Atlantic project, with European banks jumping in as eagerly and
greedily to find new sources of profit as American banks. European
regulators were as blind to the mounting problems as their American
counterparts, which led to problems on a similar scale.
Yes, I think that is correct - and I recall from 2008
(and that is still present on my
site, but in Dutch) that the Dutch
government did not even admit there was a crisis of any kind by the end
of October of 2008, and that the - horrible - prime minister
only told all Dutchmen that ¨you merely have to cycle a
little more¨ to
overcome whatever was happening.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
the rescue and even in its early stages, the global economy was falling
into a bottomless abyss. In the first months after the panic on Wall
Street, world trade and industrial production fell at least as fast as
they did during the first months of the Great Depression. Global
capital flows declined by a staggering 90 percent.
Yes indeed. There is considerably more in the article,
that explains that one of the main reasons that the crisis was more or
less resolved from 2008-2010, that is: resolved for the rich, but not
for the non-rich, was precisely the schema that enormously helped
Wall Street banks, namely by legitimizing or refusing - Eric Holder -
to prosecute anyone from the banks.
I think that is correct, but it is too vague in
present article, that is recommended, simply because a crisis started
in 2008, and continued till now, except that the crisis
for the rich, and for the rich only.
Govern Media Company Responses to Controversy — Not Beliefs About Free
This article is by
Amanda Lotz on AlterNet and originally on The Conversation. It starts
For decades, U.S. media
companies have limited the content they’ve offered based on what’s good
for business. The decisions by Apple,
Spotify, Facebook and YouTube to remove
content from commentator Alex Jones and his InfoWars platform
follow this same pattern.
on media industries makes clear that government rules and
regulations do little to limit what television shows, films, music
albums, video games and social media content are available to the
public. Business concerns about profitability are much stronger
restrictions. Movies are given ratings based on their content not by
government officials but by the Motion Picture Association
of America, an industry group. Television companies, for their
part, often have departments handling what are called “standards and
practices” – reviewing content and suggesting or demanding changes
to avoid offending audiences or advertisers.
Yes, I think that is
right. Notably, it is right that (bolding added):
For decades, U.S.
media companies have limited the content they’ve offered based on
what’s good for business.
Instead, it should
been: based on what is known to be probably true and of concern,
interest or value to the viewers.
But in fact the
have been turned off, so to speak: They have nothing to
say. This is
again the feature that turned American democracy into something else,
e.g. a plutocracy, for only the rich have real and direct
current American politics, but I grant that is a considerably wider
Here is one more bit
from this article:
The self-policing by movie
studios and TV networks is very similar to YouTube’s and Facebook’s
actions: Distributing extremely controversial content is bad for
business. Offended viewers will turn away from the program and may
choose to boycott
the network or service – reducing the size of audiences that can be
sold to advertisers.
Yes - and in the end it
are the advertisers
who mostly determine what viewers view - that is,
the liars, deceivers, and propagandists
decide what views the viewers
may see that surround their own holy, mighty and thoroughly rotten and
Rule Would Give $2.5 Billion Tax Cut to Big Bank Fat Cats
article is by Jake Johnson on AlterNet and originally on Common Dreams.
It starts as follows:
As Wall Street banks continue
to enjoy record profits thanks to President Donald Trump's
$1.5 trillion tax scam, Trump's Treasury Department—headed by former
Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin—quietly moved to hand big banks
yet another major gift on Wednesday by hiding a $2.5
billion tax cut in the fine print of an "esoteric"
At first glance, the Trump
administration's rule appeared to be little more than a mundane set of
regulations aimed at providing owners of so-called pass-through
businesses everything they "need to comply with the Republican Tax Cuts
and Jobs Act," as Reuters put
But Capital &
Main journalist David Sirota decided
to take the radical step of actually reading the proposal in
its entirety, and he found that the White House's rule also seeks to
exclude banking from the "financial services" category—a move that
would allow thousands of large banks to take advantage of the controversial tax
cut for pass-through income included in Trump's tax bill.
I say! That is: Banks
do not anymore - according to this legal plan - belong to ¨the "financial services" category¨, which - of course - is total and
Here is how it got
As they were hashing out
the details of their tax bill behind closed doors, Sirota notes,
Republican lawmakers included a provision that prohibited businesses in
the "financial services" sector from qualifying for the tax cut in an
effort to counter "assertions that the bill could enrich big banks."
But, at the direction of
bank lobbyists, the Trump administration's new rule asserts that
"'financial services' don't include banking," thus allowing "hundreds
of banks operating as S corporations—as well as their owners—[to] claim
the tax cut," Sirota writes.
In fact, I do not
any reason why the Trump government would not give the Wall Street
banks the same rules as are in place for the churches in the USA: They
do not pay any tax whatsoever.
The Trump government
isn´t there yet, but it soon may be. Here is one last bit that I quote
from this article, that puts the proposed legal rule in place:
Hemel, a tax law professor at the University of Chicago, the Trump
administration's rule change would reward "roughly 2,000 banks around
the country that qualify as S corporations."
"It's a safe bet that most
of the S corporation shareholders benefited by today's decision will
fall into the upper reaches of the top one percent—not many
middle-class folks own a bank," Hemel told Capital & Main.
"If you assume a return on assets of around one percent and S
corporation bank assets in the range of $400 billion, then the move
reduces the total tax liability of S corporation bank shareholders by
$300 million per year for 2018 through 2025. We're talking about
something like $2.5 billion total."
Yes. It is not $1.5 trillion, but then all little bits help
to make the rich still richer, indeed also if this amounts to the total
that banks cease to be banks because this helps them to
even less taxes. This is a recommended article.
A Corporatist System Of Government, Corporate Censorship Is State
This article is by Caitline
Johnstone on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
representatives of Facebook, Twitter, and Google were instructed on the
US Senate floor that it is their responsibility to “quell information
rebellions” and adopt a “mission statement” expressing their commitment
to “prevent the fomenting of discord.”
fact, what the US Senate proposed to ¨Facebook, Twitter, and Google¨ - which are not
even publishing companies - is out and out totalitarian,
except that it
is not according to the sick neofascist lies that Wikipedia
publishes as ¨totalitarianism¨,
which imply that (i) the USA never can
be totalitarian in any sense, and (ii) nor can any person or
is located in a non-totalitarian country ever be totalitarian,
(iii) only countries can be totalitarian, and never people or
(unless they are the inhabitants of totalitarian countries.
don’t start with gunshots, they start with words,” the representatives
were told. “America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must
act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions
that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us
into the Divided States of America.”
It is utter trash, but Wikipedia insists on it, and lies
absolutely no one of the very many writers who wrote about
totalitarianism, from George Orwell onwards, ever used the term in the
sense the Wikipedia now insists on.
And in case you may be doubting: It should not be the task of
“prevent the fomenting of
discord”¨ in a genuine democracy - but then the USA has
to be a democracy, and at present is mostly an authoritarian
plutocracy, in which the rich have nearly all powers. And yes, the
want to “prevent
the fomenting of discord”, especially if the rich are criticized.
Here is more by Johnstone:
corporatist system of government, wherein there is no meaningful
separation between corporate power and state power, corporate
censorship is state censorship. Because legalized bribery in the form
of corporate lobbying and campaign donations has given wealthy
Americans the ability to control the U.S. government’s policy and
behavior while ordinary Americans have no effective influence
whatsoever, the U.S. unquestionably has a corporatist system of
government. Large, influential corporations are inseparable from the
state, so their use of censorship is inseparable from state censorship.
These are two paragraphs, and
I will deal with them successively.
especially true of the vast mega-corporations of Silicon Valley, whose
extensive ties to U.S. intelligence agencies are well-documented. Once
you’re assisting with the construction of the US military’s drone
program, receiving grants from the CIA and NSA for mass surveillance,
or having your site’s content regulated by NATO’s propaganda arm, you
don’t get to pretend you’re a private, independent corporation that is
separate from government power. It is possible in the current system to
have a normal business worth a few million dollars, but if you want to
get to billions of dollars in wealth control in a system where money
translates directly to political power, you need to work with existing
power structures like the CIA and the Pentagon, or else they’ll work
with your competitors instead of you
First the first paragraph. I think I may be agreeing with
a large extent, but I am not certain, mainly for two reasons: (i) I do
not know what the understands by ¨a
corporatist system of government¨, and (ii) if I give my own explanation, which is
I partially agree and partially disagree, because I think
that under Trump the USA is rapidly progressing towards neofascism, but
it has not quite reached it yet.
Then again, possibly an intermediate position is the one given
industrial complex, with the added specification
that in these days a considerable part of ¨the industrial
in fact made up of Facebook, Google, Twitter, and also Apple and
Microsoft - and the first two are less industries than
information and ¨information¨, where the second quoted term is used
refer to the lies they spread.
The second paragraph, after this explanation of what I think about the
first, now becomes a lot easier to explain, and indeed I think
Johnstone is quite right about mega-corporations like Facebook,
and Google, where the reader also should keep in mind that these
corporations now only give both information and
to those who use them, but also gather, in secret, vast quantities of
information about their users, for they seem to gather absolutely
everything from their users,
including private e-mails and personal
Here is more by Johnstone:
And yet every
time I point to the dangers of a few Silicon Valley plutocrats
controlling all new media political discourse with an iron fist,
Democratic Party loyalists all turn into a bunch of hardline free
market Ayn Rands. “It’s not censorship!” they exclaim. “It’s a private
company and can do whatever it wants with its property!”
mostly agree, and as I said: I see this as an enormous increase
(but that is impossible according to the
corrupt Wikipedia´s definition of the term).
They do this
because they know their mainstream, plutocrat-friendly “centrist” views
will never be censored. Everyone else is on the chopping block,
however. Leftist sites have already had their views slashed by a
manipulation of Google’s algorithms, and it won’t be long before
movements like BDS and Antifa and skeptics of the establishment Syria
and Russia narratives can be made to face mass de-platforming (..)
Here is Johnstone´s conclusion:
corporations are indeed private organizations separate from the
government, in which case the people need to get money out of politics
and government agencies out of Silicon Valley so they can start acting
like it, and insist that their owners can’t be dragged out on to the
Senate floor and instructed on what they can and can’t do with their
business, or (B) these new media platforms get treated like the
government agencies they function as, and the people get all the First
Amendment protection that comes with it. Right now the social engineers
are double-dipping in a way that will eventually give the alliance of
corporate plutocrats and secretive government agencies the ability to
fully control the public’s access to ideas and information.
think this is more or less correct, and this is a recommended article.
Richard Burr: a Longtime Fan of Torture
This article is
by Ray McGovern
on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
official documents obtained by the National Security Archive showing
that CIA Director Gina Haspel directly supervised waterboarding at the
first CIA “Black Site” simply confirm what Senate Intelligence
Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) already knew as he orchestrated the
charade that was Haspel’s confirmation hearing. Burr allowed her
to “classify” her own direct role in waterboarding and other torture
techniques so that it could be kept from the public and secure her
confirmation—-further proof that this Senate oversight committee has
instead become an overlook committee.
Yes, I think this is quite correct. Here is
McGovern (who is 78):
charade from the audience prompted me to stand up, excuse myself for
interrupting, and suggest that the committee members were entitled to
an honest answer since this was a public hearing with thousands
watching on TV. The American people were also entitled to know
whether or not Haspel was directly involved in torture. As I was calmly
pointing out that any Senate Intelligence Committee member who prepared
for the hearing already knew the answer, I was “escorted out,”
manhandled and charged with disrupting Congress and resisting arrest.
Precisely. And here is some - quite sickening -
As an act of
conscience, on March 2, 2006 I returned the Intelligence Commendation
Medallion given me at retirement for “especially meritorious service,”
explaining, “I do not want to be associated, however remotely, with an
agency engaged in torture.” I returned the medallion to Hoekstra
(R, Michigan), who was then-Chairman of the House Intelligence
Committee, with a statement explaining my reasons.
secretly added to the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY’07 (HR5020)
a provision enabling the government to strip intelligence veterans of
their government pensions.
That is: Hoekstra sought to deny a pension to
like Ray McGovern, who had the courage to hand in his special award
because he does not like to be associated with an agency that tortures
people for information.
Here is McGovern´s ending:
line? The foxes have been guarding the chicken coop for many
years now. Haspel will fit right in. O Tempora, O Mores.
Yes indeed, and this is a
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 (!!).