from February 8, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since more than two years
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
I shall continue.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from February 8, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. GOP Is Wrecking Your Retirement Savings
2. As Endless Wars Rage, 'Aspiring Dictator' Trump Orders
3. Exposing Our 'Populist' President as a Naked Plutocrat
4. The House Intelligence Committee Just Voted to Release the
Democrats’ Response to the
5. Bernie Sanders Hits on Winning Message He Avoided in 2016
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:
Is Wrecking Your Retirement Savings
This article is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
I should start
by saying that I do not have any idea what "#GOPTaxScam" is supposed to mean. I take it - I understand html -
it may refer to some Twitter-tag, but I am sorry, I am both too
intelligent and too cynical to want to have to do anything
with Twitter (or indeed Facebook). (I'd rather start taking heroin than
deal with these two extra- ordinarily inferior utterly degenerate
was the straw that broke the markets’ back. Here’s why and how.
First, America is
hugely in debt (known as “overleveraged” in econ wonkspeak).
There’s over $1.4
trillion in student debt, a number never, ever before seen in the US,
and nonexistent in the rest of the world because we’re the only
developed country in the world that makes students pay so much for
college that they can’t attend without taking out loans.
card debt is over $1 trillion (the highest in history), because people
have been using household debt (including low-interest of mortgages and
car loans for a total of $13 trillion, a record) to maintain what was
once a middle-class lifestyle, once easy with a union job.
This trend has
been going on ever since Reagan declared war on working people in 1981
and began the process of destroying good union jobs.
As a result, wages have been
flat or declining for over 30 years.
So I am not sorry I do not know what the beginning of the
means, although the rest seems more or less OK.
Here is more:
Because of the
repeal of Glass-Steagall, and thus the deregulation of banks and
investment houses, banks have actually bought or become investment
houses (gamblers; for example, Bank of America now owns Merrill Lynch).
They’re even now
making and selling derivatives based on student loans, car loans, and
credit card debt, just like they were with mortgages in 2007 (and
they’re securitizing mortgages again, too).
Like the GOP
deregulation of the “roaring 20s” led to the Republican Great
Depression in 1929, this puts the entire economy at risk.
I think it
may very well be correct that the next crisis - after 2008 -
be there, but I don't know. I do know that the GOP deregularizers -
that also seem to comprise most of the Democrats, by the way -
trying their utmost to make as much money for themselves before the
next crisis arrives.
I started writing about the crisis of 2008 on September 1, 2008
(interesting link, but in Dutch, like the first 82 of currently over
1800 files I wrote about the crisis), and while I know very
for the 10% of the highest earners in the USA and elsewhere
has been over for five years or so, it also seems to me
remaining 90% have been in crisis ever since 2008, and are still
in it, for their salaries did not rise since 1981, in real
And I think
that if it is crisis for the 90% of the non-rich, it is crisis,
the rich haul in trillions for themselves.
Here is more:
The only small
correction to this colossal mistake was the passage of Dodd-Frank and
the creation of the CFPB, but the CFPB has now been taken over by
right-wing troll Mick Mulvaney, who is systematically destroying it,
and the GOP is hell-bent-for-leather to take down Dodd-Frank (and
Trump’s regulatory agencies are functionally ignoring it, not seriously
going after banks when they commit what are crimes under Dodd-Frank).
cheap credit was the underpinning of the “recovery” of the past 7
years, we’ve been essentially holding off the Bush Crash of 2008,
rather than fixing the underlying fundamental problems. Pretty
much everything in the “trading” economy rests on cheap money.
I think this
is also correct - and once again: The richest 10% have been
lot, but they did so at the cost of the non-rich 90%, and they also
so very consciously.
In fact, this
is what they did with Trump at the rudder of the state:
I think this is also correct.
And in fact I agree that the US governments have been destroying
all the fail-safe measures that would keep most of the economy afloat
in case of a crisis.
Republicans, eager to please the #MorbidlyRich billionaires who paid
for their campaigns and are thus responsible for the GOP takeover of
our government, borrowed about $1.5 trillion to hand that money over to
the Waltons, the Kochs and their network, and others among the
billionaire class (and the corporations that made them rich).
As a result, even
more government debt (bonds) flooded into the market to finance the tax
cut, and they, too, had to find buyers.
All this extra debt, taken on
by the Republicans with the #GOPTaxScam (not a single Democrat voted
for it), is breaking the back of the government-debt-laden debt-driven
So I think the last bit that I quote from this article also is correct:
And, until a
modern version of Glass-Steagall is put into law and the
too-big-to-fail-and-now-gambling-like-they-did-in-1929 banks are broken
up, these very real and systemic risks will remain in our system like
landmines just below the surface waiting for a small trigger to set
That is, I
agree there seems to be building an economical
crisis that will be
larger than that of 1929, and that also has the very same
infinite greed of the rich to make even more money for themselves than
they had already, also if this means destroying the chances for a
decent life, or even a life, for almost everybody else.
And this is a
Endless Wars Rage, 'Aspiring Dictator' Trump Orders Massive Military
This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Bolstering his "image as an aspiring
dictator" and further demonstrating that he has zero interest in
drawing down the endless U.S.-led wars overseas that have killed
millions, President Donald Trump has reportedly
ordered the Pentagon to begin planning for a massive military
parade in an effort to celebrate American military power and fuel his own ego.
"The marching orders were:
I want a parade like the one in France," a military official told
the Washington Post, referring to the Bastille Day
festivities that so impressed the president during his Paris visit last
Given that the U.S. is
currently bombing seven countries and that civilian
casualties have soared since Trump took office, anti-war groups
were quick to denounce Trump's "marching orders" as "totally
though I very probably would have added that while it is quite
that "the U.S. is
currently bombing seven countries", there has not been any Congressional
this state of affairs since Bush Jr. was president, while this is
Here is some more:
News of Trump's demand for
a military march, which he has openly desired since before his
inauguration, comes as the president is also calling for a major
increase in the already bloated military budget. According to news
reports, Trump is expected to ask for a $716 billion Pentagon
budget next month—a seven percent boost from last year's request, which
has not yet passed Congress.
Yes indeed. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this article:
I agree and this is a
Stephen Miles, director of
Win Without War, argued in a statement on Tuesday
that a parade of the kind Trump envisions would only signal the
president's desire to continue these endless wars and "reinforce the
notion that America's foreign policy is military first (and second,
third, and fourth)—particularly at a time when diplomacy is needed
Our 'Populist' President as a Naked Plutocrat
This article is by Jim Hightower on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Why does Donald Trump
constantly preface his outlandish lies with such phrases as: "To be
honest with you," "To tell the truth" and "Believe me"?
Because even he knows that
as a lifelong con-man, his voice takes on the tone of a snake-oil
salesman when he starts exaggerating and prevaricating, so he
reflexively tries to puff up his credibility with an extra dose of
bluster: "No really, trust me, I never lie..." In fact, just in the
past year, Trump's documented whoppers rank him as the lyingest
president in U.S. history. And that included Nixon!
It's not the volume of his
fabrications that is so gross, but their enormity. Most damnable of all
has been his masquerading as a golden-haired billionaire "populist"
who's standing up for America's hard-hit middle class against Wall
Street, corporate lobbyists and moneyed elites — a carefully crafted PR
pose that has duped many working stiffs into thinking he is their
Yes I agree, speaking
broadly. But speaking more precisely, I do have one improvement
(in my opinion) of the above (boldings added): "It's not the volume of his
fabrications that is so gross" nor "their enormity": What
is sickening and demoralizing is that so many Americans are so stupid and/or
that they neither see the volume nor the enormity of the fabrications
they swallow as if they are facts.
Here is more:
Wait... didn't candidate
Trump promise working-class voters that he'd be Wall Street's worst
nightmare, cracking down hard on greedy financial thieves whose scams
and schemes are wrecking the middle class? Yes, but that was then. Now,
President Trump has become Wall Street's wet dream.
Yes indeed - and these
are some of the things "Wall
Street's wet dream" is
doing for Wall Street's enormously rich bankers:
For example, they're
reducing penalties for Wall Street fraud and gouging; eliminating the
requirement that firms advising us on where to invest our savings have
to act in our best interests, rather than their own; loosening the few
protections we have against predatory lenders; raising the number of
temporary, low-wage foreign workers that corporations can bring in to
take our jobs; scrapping a rule requiring corporate giants to report
their unequal pay to women; opening up Social Security to cuts and
privatization; limiting fines on nursing home negligence that harm or
even kill residents; eliminating funds for low-income heating and
programs to protect kids from lead paint; repealing fracking rules that
protect water and air quality; allowing for-profit, private colleges to
gouge students; ending funding that provides legal services for poor
people; and raising entrance fees at our national parks.
These are all facts, to the
best of my knowledge. Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
Yes, but why does
Hightower not include the link I just included - having had to
search for it - in his last quote? Anyway, this is a recommended
That's why a new,
straight-talking pamphlet by the watchdog group, [P]ublic Citizen, is
The Public Citizen expose, titled "Forgetting the
Forgotten: 101 Ways Donald Trump Has Betrayed His Populist Agenda,"
drives the stake of truth through the heart of his populist lie. It
should not just be read, but used like a Thomas Paine pamphlet to
spread the truth. To download a free copy, go to
House Intelligence Committee Just Voted to Release the Democrats’
Response to the Nunes Memo
This article is by Dan Friedman on Mother Jones. It starts as follows:
Intelligence Committee voted unanimously Monday to release a 10-page
memo prepared by Democrats to rebut what they say are inaccuracies
in an infamous memo written by aides to committee Chairman Devin
Nunes (R-Calif.), which alleges FBI misconduct at the
heart of the Trump-Russia investigation. Still, the memo’s contents
may never see the light of day. President Trump and his allies
could very likely feign a dedication to transparency but maneuver
behind the scenes to block as much of the Democratic response as
I say?! I am willing
to believe that "Trump and
his allies could very likely feign a dedication to transparency
but maneuver behind the scenes to block as much of the Democratic
response as they can", but
will they really? And if they really do so, will that
fact remain unknown?!
And I am asking because I find it hard to believe both
(even though I agree with Friedman that this is not beyond
Here is more:
Schiff said he fears that
the White House will officially release the memo but attempt to
use redactions to block significant parts of it, and argue that blacked
out sections are too sensitive to release. “We want to make sure that
the White House does not redact our memo for political purposes, and
obviously that’s a deep concern,” Schiff said.
He said he had already
shared the memo with the FBI and Justice Department, something Nunes refused
to do, before granting the FBI limited access to the document just
before the committee released it.
I say, once again. Here
is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Well, I knew already that
Trump is a totalitarian
(apart from the sick Wikipedia, that completely - and I think quite
intentionally - totally misdefines
"totalitarian"). And I hope
Friedman is mistaken that "Trump
and his allies could very likely feign a dedication to
transparency but maneuver behind the scenes to block as much of
the Democratic response as they can".
Schiff’s memo is likely to
hammer these points and raise other problems with Nunes’ memo.
Trump on Monday said
Nunes might one day be considered “a great American hero” and also
claims the memo vindicates his argument that investigations into
his Russian ties have partisan motivations. Meanwhile, the
“Little Adam Schiff … must be stopped!”
There will be more about this later, I expect.
Sanders Hits on Winning Message He Avoided in 2016
This article is by David Swanson on Washington's Blog.
Well... I have no evidence-based
idea about what moved Bernie Sanders to mostly avoid the topic
of the the U.S. military in 2015 and 2016. But I do have some guesses,
and here they are:
has shown up on Senator Bernie Sanders’ Facebook page, with his name on
it and his face in it making all the familiar (to a small number of
people) points about U.S. military spending (how much it is, how it
compares to the rest of the world, how it does not produce jobs, what
wonders could be achieved with a small fraction of it, etc.).
I wish there were mention
of the fact that it kills huge numbers of people, or that it risks
apocalypse, or that it damages the earth’s environment. I wish the
alternatives proposed were not all of the bring-our-war-dollars-home
variety, as if the amount of money under consideration were not enough
to radically transform this and every other country.
Still, had Sanders put out
this video in 2015, tens of thousands of people wouldn’t have had to petition
him in vain to oppose militarism, to fill the glaring gap in his website.
I think that Bernie Sanders knew he was running a radical
program; he knew that he wanted broad support; he knew that most
Americans do not know much about the military nor much about
the wars the USA is fighting, because they all happen outside the USA;
and therefore he mostly avoided the military, though he is against it.
And while I do not know whether this is correct, I do
know that all refusals to vote for Hillary Clinton after she had won
the Democratic nomination (I do not say: by fair or decent
means) seemed to me a kind of void moral declaration that one
was oneself a super correct person for not voting for
Clinton nor for Trump: Most of those who chose not to
appear either not to have seen or simply denied or neglected the evidence that Trump is mad.
I am a psychologist; I have known mad persons; and I thought
that the very last person you want to be president of the USA
is a madman who also is a bilionaire.
Then again, I am a psychologist, and the very great majority of people
is not. Here is the other bit I quote from this article:
I do not
know Swanson, but I fear he is one of the radicals who want Sanders to
say everything he thinks even if he knows that will - very
probably - take aways his chances for winning the election.
It’s not as if Sanders
doesn’t know the issues. A half-century back he would have said
something very close to what I want to hear. There’s no reason why he
can’t do so now. But I’m afraid that this video may have slipped
through because there’s not a presidential election this year, and that
such things will be nowhere to be found in the years ahead.
I hope I’m wrong.
Personally, I have little sympathy for what seems to be his position:
If Sanders does take part in the next presidential elections, I think
his first duty is to win, and not to please the radicals, who tend to
be morally perfect in their own terms.