This is a Nederlog of Friday, March 24, 2017.
Summary: This is an
ordinary crisis log with four items and
four dotted links: Item 1 correctly says that everyone with a computer or cellphone has been sold to the advertisers; item 2 gives information I did not know (and you probably did not either)
about the billionaire Robert Mercer, who is behind Trump, Bannon and Conway; item 3
is about an article about how some extreme rightwing Republicans are
trying to destroy health care as much as they can (but the article did
not give numbers, which was a mistake); and item 4 is about an interesting interview that Abby Martin had with Lawrence Wilkerson, who was Colin Powell's assistant.
March 24: As to the
The Danish site was again
on time today; but the Dutch site again stuck on Sunday last (March 19).
If over a year of signs are correct, this means it will NOT be
updated for at least another week.
1. Senate Republicans Just Sold You Out to Advertisers
Where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others
I have NO idea AT ALL: It
2015. (They do want immediate
payment if you are a
week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying
my site now for over
a year. And I completely distrust them, but also do not
know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
first article is by Sam Biddle on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
In a 50-to-48 vote along party lines, the U.S. Senate decided to
kill FCC rules blocking your ISP from selling your browsing history to
the advertising industry without permission. Should the change pass the
House, as is expected, the likes of Comcast and Verizon will be able to
make money disclosing what you buy, where you browse, and what you
search from your own home, all without asking permission.
So... the neofascists - I mean: the rich
corporatists - destroyed another part of the few remaining freedoms of
the non-rich: They made everyone - except the rich and very rich, of course - into sub-humans, for now the internet providers are free to steal all your private information, and they can advertise, propagandize and exploit you as something worse than a slave, for a slave had real privacies.
As I also said two days ago:
Personal computers - since around 2000 - are by far the best way to make all 7 billion people there are totally subservient - mostly without knowing it - to the secret services in their vicinities.
Since very few are seriously interested in computing, and the vast majority is both conformistic
and also may be very happy to be abled to discriminate anybody who is
not quite like them in the crudest and "anonymous" (anonymous for every
ordinary user, but not for the secret services) way possible, I am quite pessimistic.
And this made me more pessimistic, for this gave the ISPs the same "rights" as the secret services appropriated: They can spy on anything you do with your computer or cellphone, so that you are completely known to those who want to exploit you as much as they can.
Here is some more on the decision:
In an immediate signal that the vote will only benefit monied corporate interests and not the roughly 70 percent of
Americans with a home broadband connection, the Internet &
Television Association trade group gloated over their congressional
“We appreciate today’s Senate action to repeal
unwarranted FCC rules that deny consumers consistent privacy protection
online and violate competitive neutrality. … Our industry remains
committed to offering services that protect the privacy and security of
the personal information of our customers. We support this step towards
reversing the FCC’s misguided approach and look forward to restoring a
consistent approach to online privacy protection that consumers want and
As far as I can see every quoted statement of the Internet &
Television Association trade group was a gross and deliberate lie, as indeed is also made out by Sam Biddle:
It’s unclear how the broadband industry could be “committed” to user
privacy while backing regulatory changes that would permit the sale of
users’ private data.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation decried the vote as putting “ISP
profits over your privacy” and a potential “crushing loss for online
ISPs act as gatekeepers to the Internet, giving them
incredible access to records of what you do online. They shouldn’t be
able to profit off of the information about what you search for, read
about, purchase, and more without your consent.
But now they are. Incidentally, the late Gore Vidal (<- interesting link) said in 2009 or 2010 that he estimated it would take some 10 years to fully commercialize the internet, and he seems to have been right.
Here is a final bit from this article:
The EFF further warned that without the FCC protections,
ISPs would not only be able to commodify your browser history, but
“[hijack] their customers’ search queries and [redirect] them to a place
customers hadn’t asked for” and “inject ads into your traffic based on
your browsing history.”
I hate advertisements and I hate propaganda, and I also hate neofascism and all secret services of any state, so this may be a reason for me to stop computing completely: I don't want to be the forced advertising victim of rich neofascists.
Also - once again - I am glad I was born
in 1950 and not later: I did have 15 good years in my life (between
1965 and 1980), but I am afraid people much younger than
I am will have far less pleasant lives than I had, also while they are not ill: They will be completely known to the few rich who will exploit them as much as they can.
2. Jane Mayer on Robert Mercer & the Dark Money Behind Trump and Bannon
The second article is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now!:
This starts with the following introduction:
We look at Robert Mercer, the man who is said to have out-Koched the
Koch brothers in the 2016 election. The secretive billionaire hedge-fund
tycoon, along with his daughter Rebekah, is credited by many with
playing an instrumental role in Donald Trump’s election.
To talk more about the Mercers, we speak with Jane Mayer, staff writer
at The New Yorker. Her latest piece is headlined "The Reclusive
Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer
exploited America’s populist insurgency." She is also author of "Dark
Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the
Radical Right," which just came out in paperback.
I say, for I did not know about Robert Mercer. To start with, here is a small introduction to the man:
We turn now to look at the man who is said to have out-Koched the Koch
brothers in the 2016 election. His name is Robert Mercer, a secretive
billionaire hedge-fund tycoon who, along with his daughter Rebekah, is
credited by many with playing an instrumental role in Donald Trump’s
Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, said, quote, "The Mercers
laid the groundwork for the Trump revolution. Irrefutably, when you look
at donors during the past four years, they have had the single biggest
impact of anybody, including the Kochs." Before Bannon and Kellyanne
Conway joined the Trump campaign, both worked closely with the Mercers.
The Mercers bankrolled Bannon’s Breitbart News, as well as some of
Bannon’s film projects. Conway ran a super PAC created by the Mercers to initially back the candidacy of Ted Cruz.
The Mercers also invested in a data mining firm called Cambridge
Analytica, which claims it has psychological profiles of over 200
million American voters. The firm was hired by the Trump campaign to
help target its message to potential voters.
While the Mercers have helped reshape the American political
landscape, their work has all been done from the shadows. They don’t
speak to the media and rarely even speak in public.
Well, it certainly is true that I missed
the Mercers, and I have been following the news closely since 2013.
Incidentally, also because it wasn't mentioned, both the Mercers and
the Kochs were in turn enabled by the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in 2010.
Here is more on Robert Mercer (<-Wikipedia):
AMY GOODMAN: (..) Jane Mayer, welcome back to Democracy Now! The beginning of the
piece talks about a former colleague of Mercer’s saying, "In my view,
Trump wouldn’t be president if not for Bob." Explain who Robert Mercer
Well, he’s a, as you’ve mentioned, a New York hedge-fund tycoon. He’s a
computer scientist, a kind of a math genius and uber-nerd, who figured
out how to game the stocks and bonds and commodities markets by using
math. He runs something that’s kind of like a quant fund in Long Island,
and it’s called Renaissance Technologies. He’s the co-CEO. And it just mints money. So he’s enormously wealthy. He earns at least $135 million a year, according to Institutional Investor, probably more.
And what he’s done is he has tried to take this fortune and reshape,
first, the Republican Party and, then, America, along his own lines. His
ideology is extreme. He’s way far on the right. He hates government.
Kind of—according to another colleague, David Magerman, at Renaissance
Technologies, Bob Mercer wants to shrink the government down to the size
of a pinhead. He has contempt for social services and for the people
who need social services.
Most of that is supported by the Wikipedia-lemma on Mercer. And this is on his daughter Rebekah:
(..) Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of this hedge-fund tycoon, Bob Mercer,
sort of cornered Trump and said, "You know, we’d like to give money to
your campaign. We’ll back you, but you’ve got to try to, you know,
stabilize it." And basically, she said, "And I’ve got just the people
for you to do the job."
And they were political operatives who the Mercer family had been
funding for a couple of years, the main one being Steve Bannon, who is
now playing the role to Trump—he’s the political strategist for
Trump—that’s the role he played for the Mercer family prior to doing it
for Trump. So, these are operatives who are very close to this one
mega-donor. The other was Kellyanne Conway, who had been running this
superfund, as you mentioned in your introduction, for the Cruz campaign,
that was filled with the money from the Mercers. And so she became the
campaign manager. Bannon became the campaign chairman.
I say, again. There is more in the article, that is recommended.
3. Republicans Can't Agree on How Much They Want to Destroy Our Health Care System, Delay Congressional Vote
The third article is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:
This starts as follows (and I am writing this early Friday morning, March 24):
I say. Here is a little bit of background information: The House (<- Wikipedia) has 435 voting members, while the House Freedom Caucus (<-Wikipedia) has 30 (or 29) members. This gives a little perspective (that should have been supplied).
No matter when the House votes on repealing
Obamacare—it was scheduled for Thursday but abruptly postponed—President
Trump and the House GOP have shown the nation that the Republican
Party’s most extreme elements are in the driver’s seat.
of anything resembling political discipline or party unity, the arch
right-wing House Freedom Caucus has demanded a series of increasingly
draconian measures to be put in the Obamacare repeal legislation to
secure their yes votes.
Here is more:
The White House and House Republicans know they have to pass something
to save face, as they have gotten off to the least-productive start of
any recent presidency. However, beyond the question of whether any
legislation that suffices in the House is doomed in the Senate, is the
emerging reality that the House’s most ideological Republicans now know
that they have power to hold that body hostage to their bottomless
Meanwhile - on Friday morning - I can add that Trump decided yesterday that either the new laws that retract Obamacare will be voted in on in Friday or else Obamacare will stay, but I do not know why.
Here is more on the House Freedom Caucus:
I do hope that "these Republicans continue their
stampede sufficiently to derail any repeal" of Obamacare, but I must add that there are 29 or 30 members of the House Freedom Caucus, while there are 237 Republicans in the House.
As of late Thursday, it appears the Freedom Caucus
is on a rampage that neither Ryan nor Trump can satisfy or defuse. The
nation is seeing a primetime display of boundless extremists who, once
they are given concessions, keep demanding more. Millions of Americans
who value Obamacare can only hope that these Republicans continue their
stampede sufficiently to derail any repeal.
at how the week began. On Monday, Ryan, responding to this hard-right
flank, revised his legislation that would strip health care coverage
from 14 million people in 2018 and grow to 24 million in a decade,
according to the Congressional Budget Office. Ryan added a punitive work
requirement for low-income Medicaid recipients.
Here is some more:
By Thursday, the Freedom Caucus had met with Trump and were said to
extract more concessions, namely a pledge to repeal Obamacare’s
“essential health benefits.” These require insurers to cover services
including emergency-room visits and hospital stays, mental health,
maternity, preventive care and prescription drugs. The Freedom Caucus’
rationale was that not everyone uses these, so why should they be
included in all health plans and premiums?
last argument sounds precisely like
this: "Because not everyone gets cancer (or any of the other things
that not everyone uses or gets), why should cancer be included
in health plans?" The same holds for any disease, so the honest case
should be: "If you can't pay healthcare, you should not be insured for
it either. The rich don't need health care, so no one needs it. If you're poor and get ill, we Republicans of the House Freedom Caucus think you ought to die or to get healthy by yourself."
Here is the end of the article:
The House Republicans and White House said they expect to bring an
Obamacare repeal bill to the floor as early as Friday. Whether the
elements of that legislation will doom its passage in the Senate is an
open question. But for now Americans have seen who holds the power in
the House. It’s not Ryan. It’s not Trump. It’s the most extreme
right-wing Republicans. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
As I said above, the issue will be decided today. But I don't quite agree with the conclusion of this article that "[t]he lunatics have taken over the asylum", and I don't
because the House Freedom Caucus has 29 or 30 members on a Republican total of 237.
This doesn't mean that I regard the other 207 Republicans in the House
as exampes of sanity, but I do think that these numbers should have
4. This Ship (United States) is Sinking Says Former Bush Official
The fourth item is not a text but a video by Abby Martin (<-Wikipedia):
The video is on Youtube where it has the following introduction:
Abby Martin interviews retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson,
former national security advisor to the Reagan administration, who spent
years as an assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell during both
Bush administrations. Today, he is honest about the unfixable corruption
inside the establishment and the corporate interests driving foreign
This introduction is correct so far as I know, and Lawrence Wilkerson (<- Wikipedia) is a fairly interesting man because he is one of the very few with a prominent career like he had who is now "honest about the unfixable corruption
inside the establishment and the corporate interests driving foreign
Hear a rare insider's view of what interests are
behind U.S. wars, the manipulation of intelligence, the corporate media,
the intertwining of the military and corporate world, and why the U.S.
Empire is doomed.
I liked the interview (which seems a bit older than 2017).