A. Selections from August 12, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
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 (usually) from that item
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
August 12, 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:
Macron's Sudden Collapse: French 'Radical Centrist' Now as Unpopular as
This article is by Conor Lynch on Salon. Two reasons it
is here are that I am European who does not like Macron
(although I like Le Pen even less). This article starts as follows:
As I said,
I don't like Macron, and one of my reasons is this bit, that I
knew before he was elected:
A few months ago Emmanuel
Macron was on top of the world. After being elected the youngest
president in French history, Macron’s approval rating was above 60 percent and his independent
movement, La République en Marche — which branded itself
as“neither right nor left” — won a large majority in the French parliament, giving
the 39-year-old free rein to implement his “radical centrist” agenda.
Not surprisingly, Macron’s
defeat of the far-right demagogue Marine Le Pen led to
a collective sigh of relief in neoliberal circles, and the
former investment banker was hailed by center-left commentators as
the savior of the European project.
According to the most
recent YouGov poll, Macron’s approval
rating has plummeted in just two months and is now about the same as
Donald Trump’s, at 36 percent. (Trump’s approval rating started
out much lower and has declined far more slowly.) This is the steepest
decline for any French president in more than 20 years (...)
(...) Macron is a
product of the very “establishment” that he railed against. The young
president spent his early career making a fortune as an investment
banker at the Rothschild firm before eventually becoming the economy
minister for Hollande’s government from 2014 to 2016. In that position
he pushed for the very same pro-business reforms that
contributed to Hollande’s single-digit approval rating.
is considerably more in the article, that is recommended .
Let Our 'Hair-Trigger President' Start a Nuclear War
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Truthdig (that now looks absolutely awful on a
desktop computer after a recent stylistic change). It starts as
President Donald Trump
threatened nuclear war this week, just six months into his presidency.
Speaking from his luxury
golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump warned: “North Korea best
not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with
fire and fury like the world has never seen.” He was responding to a
question about a news report that North Korea had successfully
miniaturized nuclear warheads, which could theoretically strike the
After Trump’s threat,
North Korea responded, saying it was reviewing plans to launch a
nuclear attack on Guam, a United States territory in the South Pacific
with major U.S. Air Force and naval bases. The statement went on, “The
army of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] will turn the
U.S. mainland into the theatre of a nuclear war before the inviolable
land of the DPRK turns into one.”
Words matter. This is how
Yes, indeed. There is
more in the article, which is recommended, though I should add - as a
psychologist - that in my opinion Trump is a madman (a real
madman) because he
is a megalomaniac, whereas Kim Jong-Un is a madman (a real
one, again) because he is the third generation of totalitarian
And I have
been saying for nearly a year now that it is for me 50/50 if mankind
survives the Trump presidency without a nuclear war. And the
reasons for my 50/50 is not a subtle balancing of various
probabilities (that in this case anyway are too vague) but simply the
fact that both opponents are typical madmen, who are not at all
rational and are each capable of absolutely anything.
This is a recommended
the Internet Has Transformed Capitalism
This is by
Emma Niles on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
the founding director of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, doesn’t
believe in the “internet revolution.” In this week’s episode of
Intelligence,” Taplin sits down with host and Truthdig Editor in
Scheer to explain how the internet is a “winner-take-all” system
that has culminated in uncontrollable and irresponsible monopolies.
I think Taplin may be right
(he also mentions the purely monopolistic fact that Facebook and Google
have 90% of all internet advertising, which is correct), but I have to
admit this is the start of three hours audio, that I did not
“Today, the largest
companies in the world are Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and
Microsoft. [There has] been an astonishingly fast transformation of the
whole nature of capitalism,” Taplin says.
Taplin’s latest book, “Move
Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture
and Undermined Democracy,” delves into the unrestrained power
of technology companies. He also discussed the subject on “Live
at Truthdig” earlier this year.
Here are a few additional remarks:
That the internet - and indeed capitalism - has been transformed since
1980 in what Chuck Spinney called a “winner-take-all” system, and that I call neoliberal
is well explained here: Deconstructing America's
'Deep State' and in more detail here It's the deregulation,
stupid! and - especially - here: Hypotheses about the
causes of the crisis.
Finally, these two items
are also well worth reading: On some difficulties with writing about the crisis -
1 and On some difficulties with writing about the crisis -
And I did write over 1650 articles on the crisis: See the crisis index.
Will Be the End of the GOP, and It Will Happen Sooner Than You Think
is by Michael Winship on AlterNet and originally on BillMoyers.com.
This starts as follows:
You’ve probably heard the
story. It’s said that in ancient Rome, the emperor had a member of the
Praetorian Guard who, amid all the pomp and all the accolades, would
stand behind him and murmur: “Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.”
Sadly, the Little Caesar
who currently rules the United States from the nearest Trump golf
course is instead surrounded by guards who murmur enthusiastically,
“Anything you say, boss. You’re a genius!”
The new chief of staff,
Marine vet John Kelly, allegedly was supposed to rein this kind of
stuff in, but while the meetings now may run more smoothly, his boss
continues tweeting any nonsense he hears from Fox & Friends,
declares himself pretty much the greatest president ever and casually
threatens to start lobbing missiles at North Korea because he seems to
think it would be cool to see what a thermonuclear fireball looks like.
Locked and loaded indeed.
VICE News reported
on Tuesday, “Twice a day since the beginning of the Trump
administration, a special folder is prepared for the president…
You can’t make this stuff
up. One glimmer of hope in all this pandemonium is that more and more,
some Republican members of Congress finally seem willing to challenge
their misbegotten king.
These sensitive papers,
described to VICE News by three current and former
White House officials, don’t contain top-secret intelligence or updates
on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with
screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines
and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews,
praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV
There is considerably
more in the article, but I do not know whether it is correct
Country Is Rigged in 1,000 Directions to Protect the Wealthiest —
Including the Idea That Most People 'Earned' Their Way to the Top
This article is by Donald Jeffries on AlterNet, and is quoted from his
book. The article starts as follows:
is an excerpt from the new book Survival of the Richest: How the
Corruption of the Marketplace and the Disparity of Wealth Created the
Greatest Conspiracy of All by Donald Jeffries (Skyhorse
Publishing, July 2017), available on Amazon, Indiebound and
I especially like
the quoted explanation by Helen Keller
(<-Wikipedia), which also happens to coincide more or less with that
my - communist and very courageous -
parents told me about capitalism, which I also still agree
with - I think capitalism is a horrible system for most of the
large majority of the non-rich, indeed precisely because it is a
system that is designed for the few rich - although I rejected most
explanations since I was 20 (in 1970).
"The few own the many
because they possess the means of livelihood of all. ... The country is
governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land
speculators, and for the exploiters of labor." —Helen Keller
Most people shy away from
the simple question; do those who are paid the most in our society
deserve to be compensated like that? If a particular individual was the
driving force behind a cure for all cancer, or instrumental in
significantly increasing the human life span, I think most everyone
would agree that their value to society would be such that they’d be
entitled to millions, even billions of dollars. But the world’s
wealthiest individuals do not, in fact, seem to have contributed in
such a way that they have earned a distinction placing them above the
masses, garnering more money in less than a year than what virtually
everyone else earns in a lifetime.
And I also agree - and have said so many times - that real
scientists are FAR more important than almost any rich capitalist
simply because they made most of the discoveries and inventions that
benefit all (and I like to add that Albert Einstein earned around 1950 10,000
dollars a year, which was supposed to be a lot of money for
a scientist, even though the bankers etc. earned 10, a 100 or even more
There is also this:
people in our society don’t appear to be improving any lives but their
own, and they don’t seem to have special qualities or skills that
explain why they’re being compensated so much more extravagantly than
the rest of us.
I agree: The rich got
rich in general (and originally) by some egoistic and greedy crime, and
normally NOT by having any special intellectual talents.
Here is some more on how extremely unequally riches are divided
these days in the USA:
By the end of
2013, the distribution of wealth in America had become so unequal that
we no longer could be classed among the First World, developed nations
in this category. According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth
Databook, 75.4 percent of all wealth in the United States belongs to
the richest 10 percent of the people. Comparable nations (none of them
as bad as the United States) in terms of wealth disparity include
Chile, Indonesia, and South Africa. The bottom 90 percent of American
citizens own only 24.6 percent of the aggregate wealth, while the norm
for developed countries is around 40 percent. Meanwhile, under Obama,
who was often accused of being a socialist, the wealthiest 1 percent of
Americans received 95 percent of the income gains during the alleged
And there is this on the
thoroughly insane payments to CEOs:
CEOs are not only
given wildly excessive salaries and “performance” bonuses; they are
often given parting “gifts” that boggle the mind. ConocoPhillips CEO
James Mulva, for example, was gifted an unbelievable $260 million from
the company when he left them in June 2012. Evidently the $141 million
total compensation package he’d accrued in 2011 wasn’t enough. Mulva’s
package paled in comparison to the more than $417 million doled out to
John Welch, in honor of his twenty-year tenure at General Electric.
There is a considerable amount
more, and the article ends as follows:
As Ambrose Bierce
once defined it, a corporation is an ingenious device whereby
individual profit is obtained without individual responsibility. Those
who suggest that top executives are indispensible and crucial to the
success of the company should try a simple experiment; allow a week to
go by without any executives reporting to work (or even telecommuting,
one of their countless perks). Then go a week without the janitorial
staff. It will be crystal clear to everyone just who is doing the
Precisely - and Bierce
was quite serious and saw correctly: Corporations are
assemblies of pirates who get together to compile their riches for
their own advancements, while denying all individual
And I think Jeffries is quite right on the relative importance of the
management and the janitorial staff. This is a recommended article.
have an extra file on the 1967 Summer of Love and the Diggers (and I
wrote about the Diggers here and here):
This is - again - an
interview with Daniel Goldberg, who was both interviewed and reviewed
earlier (see here and here).
And this is also - again - a decent interview that I don't all agree
with, but that I will leave to your interests.
I have now been saying since the 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.
They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
The only 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.
 I remind you (again) that when I say
"an article is recommended" I mean that I recommend you to read it all
(which you can do by clicking its title).
am sorry but I have removed all links to Amazon and other big
book sellers. Get your books from a REAL bookshop, for I
definitely will not support Amazon.