A. Selections from July 24, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Monday, July 24,
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 24, 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:
America's Most Powerful Drug Reformer:
This is by Philip
Smith on AlterNet. This is from near the beginning:
The bilingual McFarland
Sánchez-Moreno grew up in Peru and spent her early years at HRW [Human
Rights Watch] researching Colombia, where drug profits helped fuel a
decades-long civil war and corroded governmental legitimacy through
corruption. That sharpened her awareness of the need for social justice
and drug policy reform. She also pushed for the group to more directly
take on the war on drugs as a human rights issue, and as a result, HRW
became the first major international human rights organization to call
for drug decriminalization and global drug reform.
I say, for this is an
interesting background for the new head of the Drugs Policy Alliance.
And indeed this is a fairly interesting articles, with bits like this:
As I said, this is a
fairly interesting article.
All the horrors we're
seeing with overdoses is leading many people to do some serious
soul-searching about what's the best way to address this problem, so
we're seeing some progress on harm reduction measures like access to
naloxone, for example. Now, there's room to have some conversations
where there wasn't before, such as decriminalizing the possession of
all drugs. A few years ago, that would have been a hard conversation to
have, but HRW released a report last year calling for it and DPA has
just released its own report echoing that call, and there is a real
receptiveness in the public to talking about that. We're in a different
place now and can make progress at the state and local level.
But that fairly heated
rhetoric coming from the attorney general, appealing to people's worst
fears and often distorting reality, is a real problem. It's not just
about what Sessions says and what policies he adopts at Justice (..)
And then there's Sen. Dianne
Feinstein's Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues
(SITSA) Act (Senate
Bill 1237), which would give Sessions the power to schedule new
synthetic drugs without any scientific basis. I think having someone
who is so extreme in his views at the Department of Justice is a green
light for people in other parts of the government to take us in the
wrong direction. This is a major challenge for DPA and the drug reform
movement in general, and we will be focusing on that right off the bat.
Foreign Policy Mishmash
This is by Gilbert Doctorow on Consortiumnews. It starts
foreign policy has been an incredible mishmash of contradictions,
perhaps partly a result of unsuccessful tactical concessions to keep
his political enemies forever guessing his real intentions. But the
underlying reality is that many of his personnel choices have created
an organizational chart that would fit the agenda of a neoconservative
Well... yes, although I'd say
myself that in Trump's case "neoconservatism" is a euphemism for neofascism,
as I defined it. The article ends as follows:
Hm. This will not
happen under Trump (and indeed also not under Pence).
I would differ with the
Post’s analysis in one key respect: Trump’s “proclivity to act alone”
was not some ad hoc capricious act; it is the essence of his method of
rule. Trump has chosen not to blend in with the status quo or to do
things like other presidents have, but to run things as he did the
Trump business empire, through a tiny circle of family members and
trusted retainers operating outside any traditional corporate structure.
However, by rejecting
past protocols and relying on non-expert friends and relations, Trump
may be giving impetus to the drive to remove him from office. Policies
built by Trump’s hands-on style are intrinsically no better than the
policies built on an established bureaucracy, even one that has
perpetuated its own secrecy and lies. Neither approach fulfills the
principles of a democracy in which officials should be open and
accountable to the citizens.
How much longer must we
wait for a government that opens its plans to a meaningful public
debate and then implements those plans through the proper channels of
dedicated and knowledgeable public servants?
"Truth" Matters Most When We Recount the War in Vietnam?
This is by Camillo
Mac Bica on Common Dreams. This starts as follows:
Much has been written and
many documentaries made about the American War in Vietnam including the
highly acclaimed 1983 effort by PBS, Vietnam:
A Television History. Though not without its shortcomings, this
13-part documentary series was well crafted, meticulously researched,
carefully balanced and thought-provoking.
In September 2017, PBS
will air the highly anticipated – seemingly touted as the definitive
documentary – about the Vietnam War, directed by respected
documentarians Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The goal of this 10-episode,
18-hour project is, according to the directors, to “create a film
everyone could embrace” and to provide the viewer with information and
insights that are "new and revelatory." Just as importantly, they
intend the film to provide the impetus and parameters for a much needed
national conversation about this controversial and divisive period in
In an interview and discussion of the documentary on Detroit
Public TV, Burns describes
what he hopes to accomplish as a filmmaker, “Our job is to tell a good
story.” In response and in praise of Burns’ work, the interviewer
offers his view of documentary. “The story that filmmakers like
yourself, the story that storytellers create, are the framework that
allows us to understand the truth because the truth is too unfathomable
to take in all at once.” To which Burns quickly adds, “And there are
In fact, this sounds as an
utterly hopeless introduction to a piece of major propaganda in
the best tradition of fake news.
Indeed, Camillo Mac Bia
points out the following:
perhaps, is the claim that “we must recognize more than one truth,” as
it smacks of perspectivism,
the view that truth is relative and the opinions of individuals with
different, even opposing, viewpoints are equally valid. This would
explain, I think, why Burns and Novick can claim to have created “a
film everyone could embrace.” If the premise of the documentary is that
truth is perspectival, relative not objective, then one may argue for
the validity of accepting the "truth" that most benefits us, that makes
us look just, courageous, patriotic, resilient and
exceptional. And if, as the PBS interviewer notes, truth is
“unfathomable” until it is placed in the proper framework, truth
becomes the perspective of the filmmakers and how they choose to
“create” and fashion the “story.”
Yes, indeed. The plan
is much like a propaganda film for World War II that "everyone"
- Nazis, torturers, collaborators, "resistance fighters" etc. "could
embrace", meanwhile proudly explaining what I was taught in the
"University" of Amsterdam in 1978 (that ever since heeded the
knows that truth does not exist.
For all that
exists (that matters to the rich) are the money of the rich, the needs
of the majority of the non-rich to be deceived, and
that does the job.
This is a recommended
Monster: The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), Scheduling, and
“Standstill” and “Ratchet” Clauses
is by Lambert Strether and is on Naked Capitalism. It starts as
our previous two posts in this series (on
TiSA and the supply chain and its
expansive definition of services), we looked at TiSA as a sort of
dream of in the hive mind of our globalist elites; and I mean “dream”
rather in the way psychologists mean it, as a product of the
unconscious — in this case a collective one — and a structure that
provides insight every waking moment and action of the dreamer (...)
indeed: The TiSA still exists and it is still very dangerous,
for it is a way by which all national laws are terminated and
replaced by the dreams of the rich, that also make it impossible of
changing things back.
this is from the ending:
Let’s say that you, as
one flavor of leftist, have developed and sequenced a
list of universal concrete material benefits, and your agenda puts
the low-hanging fruit first. A non-exhaustive list might look like this:
“HEALTH RELATED AND SOCIAL SERVICES”: #MedicareForAll
2) Subsector: “Postal services”: A Post Office Bank
3) Subsector: “Computer and Related Services”:
Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public
4) Sector: FINANCIAL SERVICES: Debt Jubilee.
Now suppose that the
United States signed TiSA tomorrow; clearly, under standstill, unless
“policy space limitations” had been carved out for each of the four
sectors, those concrete material benefits could not be pursued, and
under ratchet, they would “never, ever” come to pass.
It seems obvious to me that
TiSA must be defeated, just as TPP was. However, I think it’s clear
that it’s not enough to defeat an agreement; the globalist elites and
the Trade Blob will simply break that agreement up for parts and start
pushing a new one, so they need to be defeated, not merely their
agreements. (Look how the administration has retreated on NAFTA, for
example.) How that is to be done — how to shake the elites’
shoulder and wake them from their dream — is not clear to me, but to
gain the concrete material benefits, that is what has to be done (...)
it cannot be done, for they are born liars who propagandize and lie for
the rich. But indeed TiSA must be stopped, somehow. And this is a
Is Dying and Content Marketing Is Taking Its Place (I Know Because I Do
This is by Tamara Pearson on Truthout and originally on
News Analysis. This starts with the following introduction:
Actually, I am not amazed, and
the reason for my lack of amazement is that in the last 15 years literally
billions of mostly stupid and ignorant people have acquired a computer
with internet, and gathered around the masters of deception of Facebook
and other a-social media, where lying, propagandizing
are the rule.
I first started
writing articles when I was a teenager, as one of the ways I could
contribute to the movement to stop the war on Iraq, to free the
refugees from detention in Australia and to stop a waste dump being
built where I lived (one of the poorest parts of Sydney).
I've been a
journalist for 16 years now, writing from Bolivia, Mexico, Venezuela,
Pakistan and other countries -- aiming to center the voices of those
who aren't usually heard, and covering the other side of the story. But
now, as a freelancer in Mexico, like many journalists and writers, I'm
forced to do content writing between the journalism in order to pay the
bills. As a result, I've learned a lot about how this huge and booming
marketing industry works. I'm alarmed by how many people don't realize
the supposed blogs they're reading are simply well-concealed marketing,
and about the serious social impact of this calculated, dollar-driven
invasion of the internet.
This is an interesting article. Here is the shift in content and
towards plain propaganda that came with the a-social media for the stupid and the ignorant:
The number of "news"
stories has increased by 36 percent each year, Christopher S. Penn, VP
of marketing technology with SHIFT Communications, told EContent. He said that in 2016, his company
expected 88 million stories to be published. "No matter how amazing we
think our content marketing is, customers are drowning in media," he
said, referring to the phenomenon as "content shock."
The overall composition
of internet information is shifting toward strategically executed
corporate drivel: substandard health articles aimed at convincing
readers to consume more wine, real estate articles pretending to enable
consumers with helpful "tips" to find the house they can't afford and
emotionally manipulative Pepsi videos pretending to understand
rebellion and social justice struggles.
The proportions of junk
food we consume affect our bodies. Similarly, the composition of the
information we're fed affects our collective knowledge, our ability to
think critically and the focus of our collective attention.
Yes, indeed. Here is
some more on the enormous inequalities that drive "the free
internet" in the direction of the universal propaganda
The proliferation of junk
content is aided by economic inequality. The internet is not a level
playing field, and just like in the real world, those with more money
often hog the limelight. Those companies with more money to spend on
page creation, advertising, analytics, influencers (people with high
social media followings can be paid to promote content) and social
media campaigns skip to the front. Social media signals like retweets,
shares, retweets by influencers and so on, can drastically affect a site's Google search
Here is the last bit that
I'll quote from this interesting article:
More people are
working in native advertising teams and as content writers, and the
number of actual journalists is decreasing. In the US, the number of
journalists in daily newspapers dropped by 39 percent between 2005 and 2015 -- from
54,100 to 32,900. In the UK, the number of journalists dropped
from 70,000 in 2013 to 64,000 in 2015, but the
number of UK workers describing themselves as public relations
professionals jumped from 37,000 in 2013 to 55,000 in 2015.
There you are, and this is over
the last ten years or so...
This is an interesting and recommended article.