in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from February 10, 2019
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 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 February 10, 2019:
1. The Great Con of American Patriotism
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. Residential Racism
3. Trump is a
‘clear and present danger’ to US National Security
Wants $3 Billion in Subsidies From New York
5. Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal Is a Product of
Great Con of American Patriotism
This article is by Robert Scheer
on Truthdig. This starts as follows:
American soldiers born
apart in the state of New York, Ron Kovic and Maj. Danny Sjursen,
are two crucial dissenting voices that have experienced firsthand the
futility and brutality of America’s interventionist wars. Kovic, a
Marine veteran who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War, has spent the rest
of his life fighting against the U.S. war machine.
In the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” Kovic tells
Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, “I couldn’t stop speaking
against that war. I was arrested a dozen times. I—every single day was
life and death. Every single day, I know that there could be another
young man like Ron Kovic being paralyzed, another young man from a town
or a farm somewhere in this country, being killed in that war that had
Indeed, and Ron Kovic
(at least) is a remarkable man, as the last quote shows, for I believe
that what he says is quite true, and Kovic has been protesting war since
1968, when he was paralyzed from the chest down in
Here is something on
Sadly, Sjursen, who says he
watched the film based on Kovic’s life before he was even of age to
join the military, explains that he wasn’t able to hear past what he
calls the “faux patriotism” that pushed him to attend the U.S. Military
Academy, as well as do tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I think the fact that I
didn’t learn the lessons from Ron Kovic’s story,” Sjursen laments,
“[is] proof of the power of the masculinity that is associated with
military service, and this notion of nationalism and patriotism. It’s
so prevalent that it’s, in some ways, if it’s not fought every day … it
will continue despite the lessons before us.”
I think Sjursen is correct
about this. (Personal note: I am four years
younger than Ron
Kovic, but I escaped all military training by being declared medically
unfit at age 18. I do not know, but I think that was nonsense,
have had a lot to do with the fact that my father had spent 3 years and
more than 9 months as a convict - a "political terrorist" - in four
Nazi concentration camps. As I said, I do not know, but in my
military bureaucracy was one of the very few decent bureaucracies that
I met in Holland.)
Here is more:
DS: [H]ere’s the
point I want to make: the foreign policy elite, the militarists who run
this government, learned a different lesson. And the lesson they
learned is that if you conscript people, if you draft people, if you
bring the American people along into a war, then there might be
protests. There might be people who turn against that war when the time
comes. But if you send a small group of volunteers over, and over, and
over again, even to fruitless wars that are not in our national
security interests—like Iraq, like Afghanistan, like Syria—you can
maintain a war endlessly.
Yes, I think this is
also fundamentally correct - and the draft was terminated
by Nixon, who
thereby introduced wat may be termed interminable privatized wars.
Here is some more on
DS: So while I had
few doubts come 2006, I was far too busy to worry myself with whether
or not we should be in Iraq. Which is ridiculous looking back, because
this was my life. I ended up spending 15 months there. I was there at
the height of the civil war, the height of the surge. I took 19
soldiers there, three were killed, one later killed himself, and the
other half were wounded. What I really saw was the results of American
messianism in the world, of American exceptionalism, the notion that we
could remake societies in our own image. What it really meant was a
whole lot of dead children, a whole lot of car bombs, a whole lot of
teenagers shooting each other in the night. And then of course, a whole
lot of Americans getting killed as well, although less of us than the
Again I think that is all correct.
Here is some more:
end with this word that we began with: patriotism. There is
a patriotism that you two guys share. First of all, you care. You care,
really, about the consequence. You care about what happens in other
countries, you care about what happens to the people we send to wars,
and you care about the impact on our own country. That’s genuine
patriotism of an enlightened variety. But the fact is, the people who
at least are the best and the brightest by virtue of their status—how
come there are few guys like you?
Well... I give my own
to Scheer's question: The best explanation for the fact that "there are few guys like you" is - in my opinion - that both are
fundamentally honest and intelligent, and many other (former) soldiers
lack the one, the other, or both -
anyway fairly rare - qualities.
Here is the last bit I quote
from this article, and it is by Ron Kovic:
my country, but my best way of showing my patriotism today is to tell
the truth, and to continue to write, and to continue to tell what
really happened, and what it really means to be wounded. What it really
means physically and psychologically. You know, we have 20, what do we
have, 22 Iraq and Afghan veterans a day committing suicide, and the
suicide rate among Vietnam veterans still to this day is very high. So
to tell the truth, continue to write the truth, that’s what patriotism
I think Ron Kovic is
right and this is a strongly recommended article.
This article is by Paul Von Blum
on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Racism has despoiled our
nation from its very inception. Slavery and Jim Crow have killed,
maimed and degraded millions of human beings of African descent for
centuries—a tragic legacy that continues, sometimes overtly, sometimes
more subtly, into the early decades of the 21st century.
In this 2018 edition of “Sundown Towns,” an update of his
groundbreaking 2005 version, Loewen fills in some of the gaps of public
ignorance. His findings are appalling. He reveals that racism in
America has been even more pervasive, more systemic, more
geographically widespread, and therefore more grotesque than most
people—even many progressives and well-meaning anti-racists—could ever
imagine. The narrative in this supremely important book is chilling. It
is essential to fully comprehend that, despite the formal end of
segregation and the advances of the modern civil rights movement,
racism has pervaded the entire fabric of American life.
I think that is quite
correct, and must add that I do not live in the USA but in
which is - at least - considerably less racist than the USA
these days there are fairly strong forces in Holland that do not like
Muslims), and that not because the Dutch are somehow better
Americans, but because there are and were far fewer colored people
Back to the article and
the USA. Here is more:
Loewen pulls no punches in
the preface to his new edition: “[S]undown towns kept out African
Americans. Some excluded other groups, such as Mexican Americans,
Native Americans, or Asian Americans, Jews, even Catholics, and
Mormons. These places get called ‘sundown towns’ because some, in past
decades, placed signs at their city limits typically saying some
version of ‘Nigger, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on You in [name of
Loewen’s new edition
locates the history of sundown towns in the context of contemporary
events, with the resurgence of racism in the Trump era and the
resulting increase of overt white supremacist rhetoric and activity,
but also with more energetic African-American resistance including the
Black Lives Matter movement. In this edition, Loewen has
augmented his earlier research.
I say, for I did not
this (which shows either that I am naive or that the American press is
not objective - and I claim the latter).
Here is more:
The present book
“second generation” sundown town phenomenon. In the author’s home state
of Illinois, by his estimate, there are still 507 sundown
towns—two-thirds of the towns in the state.
I say again, for I also
did not know this. Incidentally, Paul Von Blum is white and
this article how he became an anti-racist. The story is interesting,
but too long for Nederlog.
Also, I think Von Blum
is correct in recommending Loewen's book, and here is some more about
Loewen’s point is
Until he published the first edition of this book, there was almost no
literature about all-white towns in the United States. Of the
relatively few people who knew anything about sundown towns, most
probably thought it was a Deep South phenomenon. It was not. This book
documents hundreds of non-Southern towns that for
decades excluded blacks from living within their limits.
This explains why I - who
have been following the USA closely since 10 years or so - did not
about anything about sundown towns, before reading this article.
Here is the end of this
James Loewen is a
treasure. His works have alerted thousands of readers to the
multifaceted existence and dangers of racism and other problems in
America. “Sundown Towns,” like all his books, reflects the finest
progressive and critical tradition of American scholarship. I take
enormous pleasure in recommending them to my students. Trained as a
sociologist, Loewen is really both a sociologist and a historian,
working in the magnificent tradition of C. Wright Mills and Howard
Zinn. I can offer no finer recommendation for this book.
I think I very probably like
Loewen, and I also like Von Blum's reference to (link added) "the magnificent tradition of C. Wright Mills" almost all of whose books I owe. I probably
would have added Howard Zinn if I had read books by him, but I did not.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
3. Trump is a ‘clear and
present danger’ to US National Security
This article is by
Washington Monthly on AlterNet. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
I can give the answer of
myself and - it seems - of Washington Monthly quite briefly: No, "the Trump administration" is not "capable of handling a serious international crisis soberly
On January 26, two Russian
TU-160 Blackjack strategic bombers buzzed North
America. American and Canadian fighter jets quickly scrambled to escort
them away, in what was just the latest game of aerial chicken between
Moscow and the West. Nuclear-capable Russian bombers also skirted the
Alaska coast in both September and May of last year, each time
intercepted and chased out by U.S. fighters. Putin’s message is clear:
Russia is a great nation and the United States is vulnerable.
Such close encounters have
occurred sporadically since the Cold War. So far, these close calls,
sometimes measured in yards and feet, have not resulted in calamity.
But they easily could. If so, how would things play out? Is the Trump
administration capable of handling a serious international crisis
soberly and methodically?
Then again, Washington Monthly gives arguments why it is not.
I think the above is quite
true. And here is more:
In December, President
Trump reversed U.S. policy on Syria and Afghanistan, withdrawing all
U.S. military personnel from the former and half from the latter. There
were no policy discussions with the Pentagon, State Department, or even
within the National Security Council. The intelligence agencies were
not asked for their input. Nor were Congressional or international
allies consulted, much less the Afghan government or Syrian opposition
forces. It was off-the-cuff policymaking at the touch of Trump’s
Since he came into
this president has been at odds with his own government, likening the
intelligence community to “Nazis,” attacking the FBI and justice
system, demeaning cabinet secretaries and other senior officials to the
point of their quitting or being fired.
In terms of senior
policy personnel, the Trump administration resembles a ghost ship more
than a fully functioning executive branch: nearly 40 percent of
top government positions remain unfilled, including a third of the
nearly 200 senior policy jobs in the State Department; thirty-one ambassadorships are vacant;
political appointees, often unqualified campaign contributors and
cronies, comprise fully half of the rest; and a quarter of
cabinet-level departments are headed by “acting” secretaries,
according to the Partnership for
Public Service. What’s more, there has been a record
two-thirds turnover in
senior White House staff, including three national security advisors
since Trump came into office.
I think this should be rather
convincing. Here is the ending of this article:
Yes, I entirely agree and this
is a strongly recommended article.
All we know is that
apparatus that has kept America safe for decades is being eroded. If
the United States really had to deal with an emergency, the guardrails
that once existed would be impossible to resurrect, and the
policymaking machinery gravely deficient. In fact, Trump is making it
all the more likely that any crisis could quickly turn into a
4. Amazon Wants $3 Billion in
Subsidies From New York
This article is by David Dayen
on Common Dreams and originally on In These Times. I shortened the
title. It starts as follows:
Well... I think this shows
rather convincingly that Bezos is a sick fraud who will use almost
means to extend his billions.
Fearful of losing nearly $3
billion in subsidies for its expansion in New York City, Amazon has
moved to a new strategy, one involving threats. The Washington
Post (owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos) reported
on Friday that the company is “reconsidering” its plan to place an
office facility for up to 25,000 employees in Long Island City, Queens.
In doing so, Amazon is signaling that it will squeeze opponents of the
deal politically unless they support the massive subsidy package.
New York City lawmakers who
weren’t intimately involved with the “HQ2” bid to bring in Amazon have
critical of giving billions in taxpayer dollars to the world’s most
valuable corporation, so it can add to an already existing presence in
the region. The deal bypassed city council approval, adding to the
Here is some more on Amazon:
I completely agree
Westin's "The idea that we
need to subsidize them in any way blows our mind."
“Amazon has been growing
the largest company we’ll ever see,” says Jonathan Westin of New York
Communities for Change, one of the groups leading the charge against
the Amazon deal. “The idea that we need to subsidize them in any way
blows our mind.” Westin has helped
rally opposition to the deal from labor unions, community groups and
prominent politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose
district is adjacent to the proposed site.
Here is the ending of this article:
Unfortunately, I do not
think that "Amazon may
have ruined this gravy train for the rest of corporate America", for the "gravy train for (..) corporate America" seems to be mostly run by elected officials who need
money for themselves or their party. And this is a recommended article.
Even Michael Bloomberg is denouncing
tax gifts to Amazon.
More broadly, the Amazon
farce has shone a spotlight on the sordid process of economic
development deals, which cost cities and states up to $90 billion
annually while local services suffer from a lack of funds. Deals that
would receive almost no scrutiny, like U.S. Steel winning
$47 million in tax breaks from impoverished Gary, Indiana, now make
headlines. By making the spectacle so public, Amazon may have ruined
this gravy train for the rest of corporate America.
5. Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New
Deal Is a Product of Youth Uprising
This article is by Shilpa Jindia on Truthout. It starts as follows:
I think this is mostly correct, although I am not
this "effectively cements
the Green New Deal as a defining policy for the Democratic agenda". The reason I am not certain, while I
do like the Green New Deal, is mainly that there is
opposition to it from Pelosi (and probably also from other effective
leaders of the Democrats).
Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) led
the rollout of the first resolution laying the foundation for the Green
New Deal. It is one of several unprecedented efforts demanding that the
government take aggressive action in the face of climate change.
Though ideas for a Green
New Deal have been kicking
around for over a decade, Ocasio-Cortez catalyzed the
framework after making it a cornerstone of her campaign. Defying
skepticism that she would be able to pull centrist heavyweights on
board, she introduced the proposal with wide party support just over a
month after taking office. The nonbinding resolution included 64 House
and nine Senate original co-Sponsors, including presidential hopefuls
Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen.
Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Despite a derisive response
from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, this consensus effectively cements the
Green New Deal as a defining policy for the Democratic agenda.
I may be too pessimistic, but then I learned in the past 50+ years of
following politics that most of the plans I supported were not
of by either the majority of the voters or else not by the
majority of the elected politicians.
Here is some more:
to the Green New Deal resolution starkly lays out the impacts of
climate change in the US. Drawn from previous US
climate reports, the resolution restores the authority of the
scientific community as the Trump administration scrubs climate data
the very mention of the term.
I copied this mainly because "the resolution restores the authority of the
scientific community" for I am strongly
for science based policies.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
The Green New Deal’s
a just economy rings most powerfully when understood in concert with
the rallying calls of youth movements demanding that the government
respond to the urgency of climate change. In 2015, 21 young adults
filed a landmark lawsuit — Juliana
vs. United States — against the Obama administration,
compelling the government to act. They argued that the government had
violated their constitutional rights by ignoring decades of knowledge
about the substantial harm and damage caused by fossil fuels, which
they will bear the disproportionate burden of mitigating.
Well... this shows
(indirectly) why I am strongly for science based policies,
doubt the lawsuit will succeed, mostly because the Constitution does
not pronounce on science or the merits of basing governmental policies
on science. I may be wrong, and this is a 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 (!!).