A. Selections from July 30, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Sunday, July 30,
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 30, 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:
Past 5 GOP Presidents Have Used Fraud and Treason to Steer Themselves
to Electoral Victory
This article is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet. This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed, and the argument
that follows on the (im)moral character and the dishonesties and frauds
perpetrated by the last six Republican presidents is well laid out.
wondering out loud about the parallels between today’s Republican
Party and organized crime, and whether “Teflon Don” Trump will
remain unscathed through his many scandals, ranging from interactions
with foreign oligarchs to killing tens of thousands of Americans by
denying them healthcare to stepping up the destruction
of our environment and public lands.
suggests – even if treason can be demonstrated – that, as long as he
holds onto the Republican Party (and Fox News), he’ll survive it
intact. And he won’t be the first Republican president to commit high
crimes to get and stay in office.
Eisenhower was the last legitimately elected Republican president we’ve
had in this country.
Eisenhower left the presidency in 1961, six different Republicans have
occupied the Oval Office.
single one of them - from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump - have been
illegitimate - ascending to the highest office in the land not through
small-D democratic elections - but instead through fraud and treason.
(And today’s GOP-controlled
Congress is arguably just as corrupt and illegitimate, acting almost
entirely within the boundaries set by an organized group of
And here is one other bit from near the ending (after the outline of
the corruptions of the last six Republican presidents):
Clearly, you go by the
money each group controls, and that means that the Republican Party at
present is the tail that is wagged by the Koch Network.
serious questions about the legitimacy of the modern Republican Party
hand-in-glove with a group of right-wing billionaires and
billionaire-owned or dominated media outlets like Fox and
“conservative” TV and radio outlets across the nation, along with a
very well-funded network of rightwing websites.
Network’s various groups, for example, have more money, more offices,
and more staff than the Republican Party itself. Three times more
employees and twice the budget, in
fact. Which raises the question: which is the dog, and which is the
And incidentally: I think a similar argument, of major
corruption, holds against the Democrats, who are the tail
wagged by Goldman Sachs, that itself is so powerful that it also
controls large parts of Trump's government.
Democracy is dead in the USA, and this is a recommended article.
Internal Documents Show How the Nation’s Top Spy Is Instructed to Talk
is by Mattathias Schwarz on Mother Jones and originally on Pro Publica.
This is from near the beginning of the article:
There is quite a bit
more and I found this rather interesting, though indeed more or less as
I expected it. And by the way: Unless Trump blows up the world, the
intelligence services will outlast Trump. Also, Trump and the
intelligence services may not have identical plans, but they are quite similar.
talking points, apparently written by one of Coats’ aides,
anticipating questions that Holt was likely to ask. They offer a window
into the euphemisms and evasions necessary to handle a pressing issue
for Coats: how to lead the intelligence community at a time when the
president has insulted it on Twitter and denigrated its work while
questions about Russian influence consume ever more time and attention
in Washington. Sixteen of the 26 questions addressed by the talking
points concerned internal White House politics, the Russia
investigation, or the president himself. One question put the
challenges facing Coats this way: “How can you work as DNI for a
president that undermines your work?”
DNI spokesman Brian Hale
told ProPublica that the 17-page document was a small,
unclassified part of “a thick binder” of preparation documents for
Prepared questions and answers—talking points—have long been standard
procedure in Washington for officials facing a major interview or
public testimony. In this instance, the document anticipated far
sterner questions than Holt posed in the actual interview and Coats, an
experienced official, often departed from the script.
In the talking points,
Coats was advised to say that he and the president have “a trusted
relationship,” framing any disagreements as constructive ones. “We may
not always agree,” the document stated. “We must maintain an open
dialogue … the relationship portrayed in the media between the
president and the intelligence community is a far cry from what I have
personally experienced and witnessed … there is a healthy dialogue and
a good back and forth discussion.”
Film Shows the Brutality of Duterte’s Murderous Drug War in the
is by Alex Emmons on The Intercept. This starts as follows:
President Donald Trump
criticism in April for enthusiastically endorsing one of the
world’s most brazen human rights catastrophes: Philippine President
Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous anti-drug campaign. Since Duterte took
office last June, police and vigilante death squads have killed more
people, and devastated poor in communities in cities across the
Now, a new film shows the
human toll of Duterte’s campaign. “Duterte’s Hell,” by Aaron Goodman
and Luis Liwanag and produced with the documentary unit Field
of Vision, shows graphic images of Philippine police examining and
carting off dead bodies, and grieving communities struggling to cope
with the government-sanctioned murders.
In 2016, Duterte
campaigned on a policy of mass extermination for anyone involved in the
drug trade — not only drug traffickers, but addicts as well. “Hitler
massacred three million Jews,” Duterte said
in September. “Now there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to
In April, Trump stunned
observers of the crisis by placing what his aides described as a “very
friendly” call to Duterte, inviting the Philipine president to the
White House. Weeks later, The Intercept, in partnership with the
Philipine news site Rappler, obtained and published a transcript
of that call, showing that Trump heaping praise on the drug campaign.
“I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” he told
I can't say I
am much amazed by the fact that Donald
Trump, whom I identified a year ago as a neofascist, supports
someone who wants to exterminate three million persons.
There is more in the
article, which is recommended.
Life on Earth Was Nearly Extinguished
This is by Peter Brannen on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
And this ends as follows:
It has been called the “Great Dying.”
The planet’s most profound catastrophe struck 252 million
years ago, at the end of the Permian period, killing 90 percent of life
in the ocean and 75 percent on land. The fossil record nearly goes
silent and remains startlingly impoverished for millions of years:
trees disappear, bacteria replace coral reefs, insects hush. What looks
like fungus spikes in the fossil record, perhaps the sepulchral rot of
a dying world.
It was as close as earth has ever come to being sterilized
altogether, and would take 10 million years for the planet to fully
recover, setting the stage for the eventual rise of the dinosaurs.
“The End-Permian mass extinction is unique in earth
history,” said Seth Burgess, a geologist with the United States
Geological Survey. “Nothing else is as severe, and it’s not even close.”
A growing body of evidence suggests that this ancient
apocalypse was brought on, in large part, by gigantic emissions of
carbon dioxide from volcanoes that erupted across a vast swath of
Siberia. Today the consequence of quickly injecting huge pulses of
carbon dioxide into the air is discussed as if the threat exists only
in the speculative output of computer models. But, as scientists have
discovered, this has happened many times before, and sometimes the
results were catastrophic.
I say. And this is a
Though the Great Dying was truly extreme, and likely
included some stresses beyond the scope of humanity’s armamentarium, we
have emerged as a formidable geological force in our own right as we
continue to tweak and warp the complex earth systems that sustain life.
“The rate at which we’re injecting CO2 into the
atmosphere today, according to our best estimates, is 10 times faster
than it was during the End-Permian,” the paleoclimatologist Lee Kump,
dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State, told
me. “And rates matter. So today we’re creating a very difficult
environment for life to adapt, and we’re imposing that change maybe 10
times faster than the worst events in earth’s history.”
Removes Apps From China Store That Help Internet Users Evade Censorship
This is by Paul Mozul
on The New York Times. It shows you how pro-democracy and how pro
individual freedom Apple Corporation is, and it starts as follows:
appears to have received help on Saturday from an unlikely source in
its fight against tools that help users evade its Great Firewall of
internet censorship: Apple.
Software made by foreign companies to help users skirt the
country’s system of internet filters has vanished from Apple’s app
store on the mainland.
One company, ExpressVPN, posted a letter
it had received from Apple saying that its app had been taken down
“because it includes content that is illegal in China.”
Another tweeted from its official
account that its app had been removed.
A search on Saturday showed that a number of the most
popular foreign virtual-private networks, also known as VPNs, which
give users access to the unfiltered internet in China, were no longer
accessible on the company’s app store there.
ExpressVPN wrote in its blog that the removal
was “surprising and unfortunate.”
It added, “We’re disappointed in this development, as it
represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to
block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding
China’s censorship efforts.”
considerably more in the article, that is recommended.