A. Selections from July 19, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Wednesday, July 19,
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.
explained, the crisis files will have a different
format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items
I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one
selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit
of a taste of the item linked.
So the new format is as follows:
Link to an item with its orginal title,
One selection from that item (indented)
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
July 19, 2017
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:
War Would Set Off Climate Catastrophe
This is by Tim
Radford on Truthdig and originally on the Climate News Network. This is
from the middle of a fairly brief article:
Eight nations now possess
a nuclear arsenal: the US, Russia and China all have nuclear weapons
big enough to precipitate a nuclear calamity, and a ninth, North Korea,
now claims to have nuclear capability.
This prompted researchers
and political scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to
revisit the question. They contemplated the theoretical effect of a
15-kiloton nuclear warhead with the explosive force of 15,000 tons of
Once exploded, it would
incinerate 1,300 square kilometres of a city and its surrounds. This
would be quite enough to push five million metric tons of black carbon
smoke particles into the stratosphere.
This would be enough to
screen solar radiation, reduce the agricultural crop season by between
10 and 40 days a year for at least five years, and lower global
temperatures to a point lower than normal for at least 25 years.
In the very short term,
this cold snap would be colder than anything for the last 1,000 years.
Rainfall would decrease by as much as 20% to 80% in the Asian monsoon
The American southwest
and western Australia could become 20% to 60% drier. South America and
southern Africa, too, would see less rain. This global “nuclear
drought” and the resulting famines “could kill up to a billion people
I say. Then again we
are all safely in the hands of the
present superintelligent American president, whose wisdom, calmth, and insight are
There is some more in
the article, that is recommended.
21st-Century Form of Indentured Servitude Has Already Penetrated Deep
into the American Heartland
This is by Thom
Hartmann on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Indentured servitude is
back in a big way in the United States, and conservative corporatists
want to make sure that labor never, ever again has the power to tell
big business how to treat them.
for example, recently passed a law that recognizes and rigorously
enforces non-compete agreements in employment contracts, which means
that if you want to move to a different, more highly paid, or better
job, you can instead get wiped out financially by lawsuits and legal
In a way,
conservative/corporatists are just completing the circle back to the
founding of this country.
That is, the 17th
Century (!!) - and check out the text if you want an explanation.
Here is its motivation and source:
This type of labor system
has been the dream of conservative/ corporatists, particularly since
the “Reagan Revolution” kicked off a major federal war on the right of
workers to organize for their own protection from corporate abuse.
Unions represented almost
a third of American workers when Reagan came into office (and,
since union jobs set local labor standards, for every union job there
was typically an identically-compensated non-union job, meaning about
two-thirds of America had the benefits and pay associated with union
Thanks to Reagan’s war on
labor, today unions represent about 6 percent of the non-government
And thanks to Reagan
both the unions and the rights of non-rich workers (those earning less
than $200,000 a year) are nearly completely voided.
This is where the USA is now, thanks to Reagan:
If you were a CEO or an
engineer for a giant company, knowing all their processes, secrets and
future plans, that knowledge had significant and consequential
value—company value worth protecting with a contract that said you
couldn’t just take that stuff to a competitor without either a massive
payment to the left-behind company or a flat-out lawsuit.
But should a guy who digs
holes with a shovel or works on a drilling
forced to sign a non-compete? What about a person who flips burgers or
waits tables in a restaurant? Or the few factory workers we have left,
since neoliberal trade policies have moved the jobs of tens of
thousands of companies
overseas? Turns out corporations
are using non-competes to prevent even these types of employees from
moving to newer or better jobs.
America today has the
lowest minimum wage in nearly
50 years, adjusted for inflation. As a result, people are often
looking for better jobs. But according to the New
York Times, about 1 in 5 American workers is now locked in with a
non-compete clause in an employment contract.
employers didn’t keep their employees by threatening them with
lawsuits; instead, they offered them benefits like insurance, paid
vacations and decent wages.
I agree and this is a
Progressives Shouldn't Celebrate the Death of Trumpcare Just Yet
This is by Heather Digby Parton on AlterNet and originally on Salon.
This is from near the end:
Yes indeed, and that
seems to be their general point of view: There are supermen (German:
"Ubermensche") who make billions; there are men (German: "Mensche"),
who make at least 200,000 a year; and there are subhumams (German:
"Untermensche") who are only fit to be exploited by the rest.
But whether Republicans
manage to push through repeal-and-delay or just drop it altogether,
liberals and progressives need to reckon with the fact that this is not
the end. There will never be an end.
Republicans have been
trying to destroy the American safety net for decades. They’ve been
hostile to Medicare and Medicaid since the day they were passed.
They’ve been running against Social Security for 82 years. (They just
tried to privatize it in 2005!) They will never stop attacking the ACA
This isn’t just about
profits or ” free markets.” Consider that this Senate bill was opposed
by all the so-called stakeholders: the insurance companies, the hospitals, doctors and even big business. It still has 48 out of 52 votes
in the Senate. Conservatives simply do not believe that people have a
right to health care. They see it as a commodity like any other,
something which you should not have if you cannot pay for it.
And I don't say this is the opinion of most American persons or
most persons; I do say this seems to be the spirit that moves the
present Republicans: If you don't belong to the richest 5%,
you may just as well not be there.
Plans to Seize More Property From Suspects
This is by is Pema Levy on Mother Jones. It starts as
Jeff Sessions announced on Monday that the Justice Department will
increase the use of asset forfeiture, a controversial tool that allows
law enforcement to permanently seize cash and property, even from
people who have not been charged with a crime.
This is legalized theft
plain and simple: All takings of any property without being convicted
as a criminal are plain thefts.
The "drug traffickers" are
just as the mentioning of "terrorists":
“We hope to issue this
week a new directive on asset forfeiture— especially for drug
traffickers,” Sessions said in a speech to a gathering of district
attorneys in Minneapolis, according to his prepared remarks. “With care
and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase
forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of
their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate, as is sharing with
Since 2007, the Justice
Department’s asset forfeiture program has collected $28 billion,
including $3.2 billion in cash that the Drug Enforcement Administration
has confiscated from individuals who were never charged with a crime,
the Justice Department’s inspector general found
earlier this year.
The American government is far more terroristic than any
other group, in terms of acts, in terms of wealth, and in terms power. And this a
way it can collect billions
without any legal conviction, merely on suspicion.
5. Music Industry Veteran Danny
Goldberg on Channeling the Idealism of the Summer of Love (Audio)
Truthdig had the excellent idea of providing - some of - the
the audio of the above title and said that I may review that
tomorrow. This is it.
For background see yesterday, and mind
that this is a choice (by me) from a choice (by the makers of the
text), while I review this because I was born in 1950 and I recall the
Sixties quite well indeed, and also because I think Goldberg
did a quite reasonable job describing (especially) 1967,
although I don't agree with everything he said.
Here is my first selection from this selection. This relates to the
title of Goldberg's book (In
Search of the Lost Chord: Peace, Love and the Hippie Idea in 1967):
I gave this loung quote
because it does bring out what Goldberg meant by "the lost
chord" and I think he is more or less right about it, and I recall
something similar from Amsterdam, but in 1968 and 1969
(where it hit a little later than in the USA, even though the Amsterdam
were from 1965 till 1967).
RS: I was there,
and I do, I think you certainly capture the variety, the scope, the
optimism, and the joyfulness of it. There’s no question. So let’s get
right to the heart of the book. What’s the last chord? Why were you
searching for it? And “1967 and the Hippie Idea,” what is the hippie
DG: Well, I have
to say, it’s actually in search of the “lost” chord. And that’s a,
it’s—I copped the title from a Moody Blues song, but they were
referencing an old 19th century song. And to me, I like the idea of the
lost chord, because to me, the sixties were—’67 in particular, there
was a combination of forces where the whole was greater than the sum of
the parts, for me as a kid, as a teenager. And I feel it got darker as
early as ‘68, when Dr. King and Robert Kennedy were killed, and there
was the police riots at the Democratic Convention, and heroin and
methedrine, you know, went into neighborhoods where previously it was
pot and psychedelics. But in ‘67, to me, there was a balance between
political protest, black power, the popularization of psychedelics—
because it was the first full year when LSD was illegal, which of
course made it much easier to get—and an interest in Eastern
spirituality, which had previously kind of been the providence of
academia and small, bohemian enclaves, was on the mass pop culture
screen, primarily because of the Beatles. And a music scene really
exploded that year. It was the year that a number of artists made their
debut albums, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead,
the Doors, Sly and the Family Stone, the Velvet Underground, and Pink
Floyd. All made their debut albums the same year. And the combination
of these things, as well as this tremendous sense of connectivity of
young people, before the cynicism and the exploitation came in, created
this very idealistic feeling. A lot of people referred to the Greek
word, agape, of universal love. There was a feeling that you just could
see someone down the street, and feel an immediate brotherhood. And
that feeling quickly went away. It didn’t change the world overnight.
But it left the residue for a lot of us, and I wanted to try to
document what happened. Because most of the histories of the sixties
focus so much on protest that it doesn’t include the full kind of menu
of things that were happening. So that’s, I coined “the lost chord” as
a shorthand for that.
And here is Robert
Scheer, who was in his early thirties in 1967 (and therefore too
old, according to the younger hippies of that time ):
RS: OK. But
it has a notion of, ah, selling out of integrity, of the desirable
life. And you sort of picture it as if there was this wonderful moment
where sort of the tribes came together. And reading your book, there’s
this great deal of detail and description of how it was done, and so
forth. And I’ll accept, having read your book, I’ll accept there was
that moment, and there certainly was an optimism. Some would say a
naivete. But the other theme that ran right through the sixties, and
even earlier in San Francisco with the Beats and everything, was the
notion that the society will put tremendous pressure on you to sell
out. And what you want to do is avoid selling out. You want to stand
for something. So you mention Mario Savio over in Berkeley, and the
free speech movement. That’s what Mario Savio was all about. A guy with
a very good grade average, and obviously a good student, saying:
I’m—not I’m going to drop out—I’m not going to accept what the system
is requiring. I’m not going to be the IBM card that you can read. I’m
going to be an independent human being. And you found that in the
music, you found that with all sorts of people, saying: We don’t
care—you make a good point in your book, because you go on to be a big
music industry executive, that many of these bands didn’t even have
representation, they didn’t have contracts, they weren’t even thinking
about that. They were thinking about making music. And I know some of
these bands that you refer to, they went back way before the Summer of
Love, with the San Francisco Mime Troupe and all of the energy in this
community, where the politics and the culture were all mixed up. And it
seems to me the real issue about that period is how did the idealism
get corrupted? How did selling out, if we fast forward 50 years to San
Francisco now, it’s the center of the sellout. It’s the center of
“money talks.” It’s the center of, you know, be a winner and everything
will be forgiven, right?
First, Scheer is right about the background of the American hippies, which were
the American beatniks
(people like Jack
Kerouac and Allen
Ginsberg) and he is right about the San
Francisco Mime Troupe (and should have mentioned the San
Francisco Diggers, for which also see here
Second, he is also right about Mario Savio, who
indeed was quite smart and who unfortunately died rather early.
(The last link also has a copy of Savio's famous speech, which
incidentally was made on December 2, 1964 and, in a way, started the
And Scheer also is definitely right about the fact that there
was a great amount of optimism and idealism between 1967 and
1969, and that both quite rapidly got sold out.
Here is part of an answer to this by Danny Goldberg:
And so I feel
maybe there was a collective trip that people took where they at least
got a glimpse of what life could be like. But then to come down and to
deal with the forces of greed, the forces of hunger, the forces of
violence, the forces of, you know, the military-industrial complex and
the banks and hundreds of years of philosophy, of materialism—that’s
not going to happen in a generation. So I don’t think it should be a
big shock that materialism just didn’t go away because people
questioned it. I think the shock is that people questioned it at all on
a mass scale. That instead of just being people in Greenwich Village or
intellectual neighborhoods, that it became part of the pop
conversation, at least for a minute, and it left, hopefully, a residue
that people can aspire to. And I think some of the contemporary people
that are the good guys, you can trace some of their roots to the
I don't think
that is a real answer to Scheer's question (and I do simply not
agree with Goldberg on his "good guys", that cover extremely rich
freaks like Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey).
My own answers to the - quick - defeat of the idealism
and optimism that were genuinely present between 1967 and 1969 (in my
experience, and in Amsterdam, Holland) are along these lines:
This is just a list of
points, but I will leave it at that, for the moment. And here is Robert Scheer again:
- First, nearly
everyone involvded was young (under thirty) and poor, and this held
both for the more political ones and the more hippie ones ;
- second, the larger
groups, that produced most of the hippies were mostly quite
- third, there were
quite a few (Billy
Graham, for one example) who straddled both political
idealism and personal greed);
- fourth, most men
simply are mostly egoistic
and think and act in their own interests,
and do so in a short time frame, and
- fifth, most men
are fairly to very ignorant,
and not idealistic.
And the sixties
really come at a moment where people looked at this and said, wait a
minute, there’s a lot of it we don’t like. We don’t like the television
programming of the fifties, you know, the “Ozzie and Harriet.” We don’t
like the values, the conformity, the organization men, the mad men of
advertising, and so forth, which was early sixties. And we’re going to
carve out something different, an alternative society. And that’s
really what you capture; that’s the lost chord that you capture, it’s
an attempt to redefine life in a sense of tribe, village, a certain
simplicity, a certain organic relation to nature and what have you. And
the drugs even fit into that, suspending time and finding an
alternative universe and so forth. So, I think—and there was a belief
that somehow this would succeed. As I recall, this was not, oh, we’re a
little fringe movement and we’ll be here on our little island—no. We
are going to change the whole culture.
Yes indeed: I think Scheer is
right about this. And it didn't last beyond 1969, also
not in my experience (and I led a Sleep-In for hippies in
Amsterdam in 1970: there still were plenty of hippies, but they
also were already then markedly less idealistic, less social,
less sharing, more egoistic, and less interested in political
ideals, and much more in "sex, drugs and rock' and roll").
Here is a brief summary by Robert Scheer, that is also adequate from my
point of view and in my memory:
RS: And the
question is now, can you develop an alternative culture? That seems to
me—the reason, it’s even lost language. When I was reading your book, I
kept thinking, the wonderful thing about it is, is that most young
people that—certainly the ones who came anywhere near San Francisco,
which I happened to be—they were leaving their community because they
found it was corrupt and they didn’t like the television they watched,
and they didn’t like the music they listened to. And they were looking
for an alternative, right?
RS: That was the
excitement of that summer of love. It was a summer of optimism, of
peace, of meaning, of integrity and so forth. And then you saw the
vultures descend. And they turned it into elevator music, they turned
it into a commodity.
Here is the last bit on the
radical change in San Francisco since 1967:
RS: If people want
to get out there and say, really, what was that scene like, and what
was it like at the epicenter, which was here in San Francisco—yes, this
is a great book, “In Search of the Lost Chord.” I also would say it’s a
moment of sadness reading your book, because San Francisco is gone.
RS: It’s gone, not
just as the center as the summer of love.
And it has been
replaced by the egoistic greedies from the big internet companies, who
are at the opposite end from where the idealists of roughly their age
were in 1967, fifty years ago this year.
There is a lot more in both the interview and in In
Search of the Lost Chord: Peace, Love and the Hippie Idea in 1967.
It is all recommended.
 For there was a widespread conviction
at the time that "you cannot trust anyone over thirty".
 One difference between Daniel Goldberg and myself
is that he was a hippie and I was not (though I looked
like one, with long hair etc.): I was - mostly because both of my
parents were very political, very leftist and very courageous - a sort
of neomarxist of my own invention between 1965 and 1970, when I gave up
Also, it makes sense to mention that in 1967 and 1968, the ratio
between the political lefties (of quite a few kinds) who were below
thirty, and the mostly non-political hippies was something like 1 in
10, but by 1970 this had been diluted to at most 1 in 100 or 250,
indeed mostly through the much wider popularity of the hippies
and rock and roll.