in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from January 26, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
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 three 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 January 26, 2019:
1. Trump’s Shutdown Was a Cruel Joke
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. The U.S. Is Violating International
Law by Attempting a Coup in
3. The Illegal CIA Operation That Brought Us 9/11
4. How Brexit Distracted the UK From Its Real
Permanent Temp Economy
Shutdown Was a Cruel Joke
This article is by
The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
Yes, I think this is all
correct. There was - of course - a reaction by Trump:
a debacle President Trump’s shutdown proved to be — what a toddler’s
pageant of foot-stomping and incompetence, of vainglory and
self-defeat. Mr. Trump tormented public servants and citizens and
wounded the country, and, in conceding on Friday after holding the
government hostage for 35 days, could claim to have achieved nothing.
succeeded only in exposing the emptiness of his bully’s bravado, of his
“I alone can fix it” posturing. Once upon a time, Mr. Trump promised
that Mexico would pay for a wall. He instead made all Americans pay for
a partisan fantasy.
you want a wall. Can you possibly argue that Mr. Trump’s shutdown
strategy advanced your cause? He made the right decision on Friday — to
sign a bill reopening the government through Feb. 15, giving lawmakers
time to reach a permanent deal. But he could have had this same outcome
without a shutdown. He ultimately agreed to the sort of bill that
Democrats have been pitching for weeks — one that contains not one
dollar in wall funding.
In his announcement, the
president struggled to obscure his failure with yet another rambling
infomercial about the glory of walls. “No matter where you go, they
work,” he said (raising the question of how you can get there if, in
fact, there’s a wall in your way). He had nothing of substance to offer
beyond the usual specious claims that only his wall can end the border
flood of drugs, crime and migrant women who have been duct-taped and
stuffed into vans by human traffickers. To repeat: Fewer border-crossing apprehensions were made in 2017 than at
any time since 1971; drugs are overwhelmingly smuggled through
established points of entry; and the only crisis at the border is a
humanitarian one, of people fleeing violence and seeking asylum —
again, mostly at established points of entry — under international law.
This is also quite correct. And there was Ann Coulter:
minutes of the announcement, the bomb-throwing pundit Ann Coulter —
among those credited with having scolded Mr. Trump into rejecting the
temporary funding bill passed by the Senate last month — tweeted her
news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the
biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.”
president tried to stand tough for Ms. Coulter and her ilk. Even as
federal workers lined up at food banks, sought unemployment benefits
and took backup gigs driving for Uber, he insisted he would not give an
inch. He stormed out of meetings with Democratic leaders. He indulged
in a public spat with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over his State of the
Union address. He tweeted angrily. On Thursday, he was still vowing, “We
will not cave!”
on Friday he caved.
to Ann Coulter: I have seen her quite a few times on Bill Maher´s show
(before that was made almost wholly invisible by countless uploads with
lies and deceptions). I think I would say about her that is she is
fairly intelligent, and that she is also a right-wing hysteric. I
cannot take her serious, but Trump seems to have done so.
is a conclusion by The Editorial Board:
Yes, I agree, and this is a
Of course, the new narrative —
that Mr. Trump got owned by Ms. Pelosi — isn’t likely to sit well with
him, either. And who knows what he’ll do next to try to salve his ego,
and salvage some political capital with the minority of Americans who
still seem inclined to support him.
2. The U.S. Is Violating International Law by
Attempting a Coup in Venezuela
This article is by Amy Goodman
on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts with the following
As President Trump
that the U.S. will recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as
Venezuela’s new leader and sitting President Nicolás Maduro breaks off
relations with the United States, we speak with a former U.N.
independent expert who says the U.S. is staging an illegal coup in the
country. Alfred de Zayas, who visited Venezuela as a U.N.
representative in 2017, says, “The mainstream media has been complicit
in this attempted coup. … This reminds us of the run-up to the Iraq
invasion of 2003.”
I wrote yesterday about
Venezuela - see here - and admitted that in fact I know little about
Venezuela. Then again, I agreed yesterday with the letter by Chomsky
and 69 others, who protested
against the support Trump gives to an "interim president" who never was elected,
and I still completely agree with that.
Here is more from Democracy
DE ZAYAS: (..) As far as a coup
d’état, well, it is not a consummated coup d’état. It is an attempted
coup d’état. Now, we all believe in democracy. Your program is called Democracy
Now! Now, there’s nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état,
and also boycotting elections. As you know, there have been 26, 27
elections in Venezuela since Chávez was elected in 1998. So, if you
want to play the game, you have to participate in the elections. And if
the opposition refused to participate in the elections, they bear
responsibility for the situation that has ensued.
Now, is it a coup d’état? Well, this is a matter of semantics. We have
here an unconstitutional situation in which the legislature is usurping
competences that belongs to the executive and to the judiciary. The
judiciary has already declared all of these actions and declarations of
the National Assembly to be unconstitutional.
I think this is
probably correct (and in fact the situation is also ongoing and
changing). Here is some more:
DE ZAYAS: (..) But my concern—and
I think it is a concern of every person who believes in democracy and
in the rule of law—is to calm the waters. My concern is to avoid a
civil war. One thing that I told to members of the opposition is that
you simply cannot topple the government, and Maduro is not simply going
to roll over. I mean, there are 7, 8, 9 million Venezuelans who are
committed Chavistas, and you have to take them into account. What are
you going to do with them if you topple the government through a coup
d’état? What are you going to do with these people? These people are
most likely going to fight. Now, we don’t want fighting. We don’t want
shedding of blood. Therefore, the only logical avenue now is to call
I more or less agree,
although I also think that if the Venezuelan government does get
toppled, the next holders of power will be rightists supported by the
USA, and these have the example of toppling Allende in Chile in 1973
followed by 16 years of dictatorship.
In fact, this seems a quite
likely alternative. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
DE ZAYAS: Well, the mainstream
media has been complicit in this attempted coup. The mainstream media
has prepared, through a conundrum of fake news, an atmosphere that the
public should accept this regime change imposed by the United States on
the people of Venezuela because, ultimately, it’s supposed to be for
the good of the Venezuelans.
Now, this reminds us of the
run-up to the Iraq invasion of 2003. Now, the mainstream media
supported all the lies, all the manipulations of George W. Bush and of
Tony Blair to convince the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of
mass destruction. And on this excuse, it was made somewhat palatable to
world public opinion that you would enter Iraq and change the
government by force. Now, the fact is that here you had not only a
crime of aggression, not only an illegal war, as former—the late
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in more than one occasion, stated. Here
you have actually a revolt of 43 states, the “coalition of the
willing,” against international law. If there is one tenet of the U.N.
Charter that is jus cogens, that is peremptory international
law, it’s the prohibition of the use of force. And this attack on Iraq
was conducted by 43 states in collusion, breaking all the rules of
international law. Now, that was preceded by this media campaign.
Yes, I agree with his
There is considerably more in this article, that is strongly
Illegal CIA Operation That Brought Us 9/11
is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Was it conspiracy or
that led to the failure of U.S. intelligence agencies to detect and
prevent the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and
Pentagon headquarters? That’s one of the questions at the heart of “The
Watchdogs Didn’t Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on
Terror,” by John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski. In their careful and
thorough investigation of the events leading up to the attacks, the
authors uncover a story about the Central Intelligence Agency’s
neglect, possible criminal activities and a cover-up that may have
allowed al-Qaida to carry out its plans uninhibited by government
I am Dutch, but I have
taken - some years ago - a considerable interest in the questions
Scheer and the authors of “The
Watchdogs Didn’t Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on
Terror” pose, and I think the above analysis, that gets considerably
expanded by the interview that follows it, is quite plausible.
Here is some more from
Scheer´s introduction to his interview:
“When we sat down with
Clarke … he told us he couldn’t see any other explanation but that
there was an op [and] that it never made it to the White House because
it would have had to go through him,” says Nowosielski. “And his friend
[then CIA Director] George Tenet was responsible for malfeasance and
misfeasance in the runup to 9/11.”
Once the plans for the 9/11
attack must have become clear to the CIA, why didn’t the agency prevent
it from taking place? Duffy and Nowosielski come to the simple,
shocking conclusion that because the CIA is prohibited from operating
on U.S. soil, those involved in the operation chose to avoid
prosecution rather than come clean.
Yes, this again seems quite
Then again, I should add that
at least in the interview that follows two things that I also
considered plausible some years ago, namely that (1) it is most
unlikely - according to many American architects - that a hit by a
plane can completely destroy two buildings and also make them collapse
as if these buildings may have been set up with explosives to collapse
as neatly as they did, while (2) there seems to be some filmed evidence
for the occurence of such explosives.
Again I do not know
explanation (and very few do), but I did find the evidence from the
architects rather compelling.
Here is a bit more from
is Robert Scheer with another edition of “Scheer Intelligence,” where
the intelligence comes from my guests. And the title is really
appropriate for the book we’re going to talk about today, “The
Watchdogs Didn’t Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on
Terror.” And the authors are John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski. And they
are investigative reporters, and the watchdogs here are the people in
our intelligence agencies that are supposed to be protecting the
nation. And this book cuts very deeply into the unsolved mystery of how
9/11 happened. Why weren’t we better prepared to prevent it? It’s one
of the most important events in American history; it certainly has
shaped our lives in terms of a surveillance state, our rights and
everything else, up to the present. And this book, I think, represents
the most exhaustive and well-documented effort to get to the bottom of
the whole thing.
I like Scheer, simply because
he is intelligent and often right, and I trust the above is a more or
less fair introduction to the book.
Here is one more bit from
Ray. The book is largely about looking at this case study of the
failure leading up to 9/11, the people who were involved in that
failure, how that came about, and how they were successful, to the
present day, in managing to obscure the public from really fully
understanding that this was, in the words of one of our sources, really
just a handful of people. And the most jarring thing is that they’re
still, in some cases, working today in I guess Trump’s CIA. And we sort
of document through the second half of the book what damage was done to
America because they remained in their positions.
Yes, I think this also
probably is a fair summary. There is considerably more in the article
and interview, and it is all recommended.
Brexit Distracted the UK From Its Real Problems
is by No Name (no one identified) on Spiegel International. It starts
I say, for while I do
know that one of the major consequences of both Thatcher and the Blatcherite Blair
is that the few English rich grew a whole lot richer,
and the many English poor grew a whole lot poorer, I did not
know that (according to Philip Alston, who probably said the truth) "this is not just a disgrace but a social
calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one," and I also did
not know the parliamentary and governmental reaction to
the news of great poverty of many English workers (with 16 out of 650
¨representatives of the people¨ present + one deputy minister).
In early January, the
British parliament debated one of the country's most pressing problems.
Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur responsible for extreme poverty,
had made a harsh accusation against the United Kingdom's government at
the end of last year. After a two-week journey through the fifth
richest country in the world, Alston, who mostly focuses on Africa and
Central America, had argued that Theresa May's government had
systematically pushed countless British citizens into poverty. He said,
"this is not just a disgrace but a social calamity and an economic
disaster, all rolled into one," and went on to also highlight the
country's rising child poverty rates.
This accusation had to be
addressed. When the debate in the lower house took place on a Monday
evening, only 14 of the 650 parliamentarians were present in the
Commons Chamber. The minister responsible sent a deputy in her place.
He promised to take Alston's report "seriously." Then the 30 minutes
dedicated to the agenda point were over.
This coming Tuesday, the
British parliament will once again debate Brexit.
Here is more:
When Theresa May became
minister in July 2016, shortly after the Brexit referendum, she seemed
to anticipate that the 52 percent of Brits who voted to leave the
European Union hadn't merely done so because they passionately hated
the EU. She dedicated her first speech to the nation to the millions of
British people who, after years of forced austerity, were only "just
managing." She called it a "burning injustice" that "if you are born
poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others." May
promised she would, in all her governmental decisions, "not think of
the powerful, but of you."
Two and a half years have passed since then, and all of May's decisions
since that point have been either wrong or were reversed shortly after
being announced. Most of these decisions were related to Brexit. There
was, unfortunately, no time for the "burning injustice."
Yes, I think this is
quite correct, and Theresa May was simply lying when she spoke
Britain´s poor (although she very probably did not lie when she
formulated the following scandalous fact about Great Britain: ¨"if you are born poor, you will die on
average nine years earlier than¨ if you are not born poor).
Here is more:
Nine years after the
Conservative-led government introduced a brutal austerity policy in the
wake of the financial crisis, the country has partly been ruined by the
process. A study recently concluded that almost 4 million children in
the UK grow up in families that cannot afford healthy food. A new
welfare system, called Universal Credit, was supposed to make it easier
for them to get welfare -- but has thus far mainly made it easier for
them to become poor.
I think this is very probably
also correct, and it seems a very great shame to me that in one
richest countries in the world ¨almost
4 million children in the UK grow up in families that cannot afford
I did live in England
and 1973 (a considerable part of the time but not all the time, because
I got neither a permit to work nor a permit to stay). I have been ill
since 1.1.1979 (with what is now known - in Holland - as a ¨serious and
chronic disease¨, in fact precisely like my ex, who got ill
after me, and who also still is ill), and this made it
visit Britain again, except briefly in 1983, but I do know the
poor got a whole lot poorer, whereas the few rich got a whole lot
richer, all thanks to both the Conservatives and the Blatcherists.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
The country's National
Health Service, once a source of national pride, is in permanent crisis
mode, with tens of thousands of positions unfilled. And even if the
official number of unemployed people is sinking, the number of "working
poor" is constantly growing.
By contrast, there seem to
be unlimited resources for Brexit. Hundreds of millions of pounds have
been spent on the project. Hundreds of millions more are in the
pipeline. Britain's departure from the EU has paralyzed almost the
entire government apparatus.
Yes, I mostly agree,
although I add that I have not seen any Conservative government
Thatcher that really cared for the poor, or indeed was interested in
doing much for them other than lying. And this is a strongly
Permanent Temp Economy
is by Louise Rubacky on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
The title of Louis
book, “Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American
Dream Became Temporary,” gives a glimpse of the specificity readers
will find in this meticulous chronicle of the rise of temporary work,
from post World War II to the present. Hyman is a thorough and
fair-minded guide through the evolution of attitudes toward labor and
the resulting societal upheavals. Because he tracks the slow but steady
trajectory toward the gig economy from its first steps in recessionary
1958, much of his research will be surprising to those who are not MBAs
or labor historians.
This sounds rather
interesting for two reasons. The first is general, for it is a fact
that more and more people in the West loose their stable jobs and have
to earn money (almost always considerably less) by temporary jobs, and
the second is personal, for although I am ill since forty years now
(with ¨a serious and chronic disease¨), I did work in temporary
between 1969 and 1975 (and also for some months in 1978), which I did
not because I could not find a stable job, but because I wanted to
study and did study, and temporary jobs made it much easier for
work only part of the time, which I nearly always did.
Then again, the
situation in the early 1970ies was quite different from the
situation, simply because many tens of millions lost their stable jobs.
Here is some more:
The U.S. enjoyed about 25
years of economic growth and relative stability after the Second World
War, and the ’58 recession was short-lived. Still, it was that long ago
that entrepreneur Elmer Singer began to publicly warn of the unlikely
continuation of secure, full-time employment for all, and the perils of
complacency that would descend on those failing to react to numerous
signs threatening corporate vitality.
Singer also correctly read the country’s consistently narrow regard for
women; he had the nerve to build a business that for years employed
mostly “white-gloved” women, and call it Manpower. (At intervals, Hyman
reminds readers of our discriminatory workplace history, including New
Deal policies that instituted essential worker protections, except for
men of color and all women.)
I suppose this is
correct, and indeed I also worked for Manpower in the early 1970ies,
and indeed for quite a number of other similar organization, namely as
a typist in three foreign languages, which was relatively well paid.
Then again, I should add that of all of the many Manpower-like
worked for, only a single one seemed polite and fair, and that
an ordinary Manpower-like
firm, but one that was run by students and for students.
Here is some more:
As ethics became less of
priority in business behavior, doors to new ideas of how best to
increase profits opened wider. Hyman covers the rotating trends—from
conglomeration to growth matrix to reacceptance of monopolies—that
defied John Kenneth Galbraith’s theory of corporate stability through
measured profit growth. (Hyman quotes Galbraith: “Are the capitalist
and communist industrial systems really sisters under the skin?”
Ideologically committed free-marketeers might be appalled by this idea,
but Galbraith’s analysis that markets and capitalism are incompatible
as practiced proved prescient.)
Well... I think this
can be mostly reduced to: From the 1970ies onwards, profit was served
much rather than poor persons, and that simply implied that most
non-rich people working in stable jobs ran the risk of being dismissed,
and of having to work in poorer paid (and less well insured) temporary
jobs, and this tendency is still continuing and strengthening.
Also, as an aside: I
did read Galbraith in the 1970ies, but I was not
impressed. My reasons
may perhaps be gleaned from what is quoted above: Galbraith´s analysis ¨that markets and capitalism are incompatible¨ seems to suffer from undefined terms
(like ¨markets¨ and ¨capitalism¨). At any rate, I was not impressed by
him (which I was by Keynes,
whom I also read in the early 1970ies).
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
As the turned pages
drawing me closer to stories of today’s extreme have-and-have-not tech
world, it was clear that most consultancy research pointed to the same
finding: companies would maximize profit by getting rid of people
and/or outsourcing jobs to pay people less for their work. Their
language of leanness was less indelicate and changed over time, with
differences in emphasis like the power of CEO talent. Nevertheless,
dumping employees from payrolls was the trend that has proved
unstoppable, and will continue.
Yes indeed: ¨companies would maximize profit by getting
rid of people
and/or outsourcing jobs to pay people less for their work¨ and ¨the trend that has proved
unstoppable, and will continue¨. This is a strongly recommended article.
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 (!!).