from March 12, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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 March 12, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. The Empty Piety of the American Press
2. Why Does the United States Hate Peace?
The Pentagon's New Partner for Building Drones
Should Make Us All
4. God Wills It: The War on Terror as the Launching of an
5. One Thing Democrats and Republicans Apparently Agree On:
Deregulating Wall Street
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:
Empty Piety of the American Press
This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
The press, giddy
with its newfound sense of mission and purpose, is carrying out a moral
crusade against Donald Trump. The airwaves and print have shed their
traditional claims of “impartiality” and “objectivity.” They fulminate
against Trump, charging—falsely—that he was elected because of Russian
interference and calling
him a liar, ignorant
They give airtime to his bitterest critics and bizarre associates, such
Manigault-Newman, a onetime star of “The Apprentice” and now a
fired White House aide, and Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who says
she had a sexual relationship with Trump. It is great entertainment. It
is great for ratings. It is great for profits. But it is not moral, and
it is not journalism.
Well... yes, but with two
First, it is not all of the press that ¨is carrying out a moral crusade against
Donald Trump¨. I do not
know how the pro-Trumpers, anti-Trumpers etc. are divided,
proportionally speaking, but there surely are pro-Trumpers. And second,
while I agree that what much of ¨the press¨ produces these days is not
fine journalism, it is ¨journalism¨ of a kind, although I tend
to agree with Hedges that it is mostly not an honest kind.
And I fully agree with Hedges that it is false that Trump ¨was elected because of Russian interference¨: there is no evidence for this of any
Here is some more:
The empty piety is a
mask for self-interest. It is accompanied by the veneration of the
establishment politicians, generals, intelligence chiefs, corporate
heads and hired apologists who carried out the corporate coup d’état
that created our system of “inverted
totalitarianism.” The corporate structures that have a stranglehold
on the country and have overseen deindustrialization and the
evisceration of democratic institutions, plunging over half the country
into chronic poverty and misery, are unassailable. They are portrayed
as forces of progress. The criminals on Wall Street, including the
heads of financial firms such as Goldman Sachs, are treated with
reverence. Free trade is equated with freedom. Democratic politicians
such as Barack Obama—who assaulted civil liberties, transferred
trillions of dollars upward to reigning oligarchs, expanded the drone
wars to include targeted assassinations of American citizens, and used
the Espionage Act to silence investigative journalism—are hailed as
champions of democracy. Deference is paid to democratic processes,
liberties, electoral politics and rights enshrined in our Constitution,
from due process to privacy, that no longer exist. It is a vast game of
deception under the cover of a vacuous morality.
First on inverted
totalitarianism. Hedges himself provides a link to the interviews
he made in 2014 with Sheldon Wolin,
and quite rightly so because these were fine interviews. I also
all commented them, and here is a link to my comments: November 8, 2014 (with links to
And second, while I mostly agree with Hedges on the self-interest, the
many dishonesties, and the straight lies of - especially - the
mainstream press, I think it may be also fair (especially in
view of the falls in decent education on all levels that have been
going on nearly everywhere in the last 50+ years) to add that the
lies, the self-interest and the dishonesties also seem to be believed
(more or less) by quite a few.
But I find it impossible to say what proportion of journalists is
cynically, clearly and consciously lying, and what proportion is - more
or less - manipulated by it. I simply do not know, except that
I am very cynical about the formal education that most did get
if they were born since 1950.
Here is more on the real critics:
The most astute
critics of empire, including Andrew
Bacevich, are banished, as are critics of corporate power,
including Ralph Nader and Chomsky. Those who decry the waste within the
military, such as MIT Professor Emeritus Ted Postol, who has exposed
the useless $13 billion anti-ballistic missile program, are unheard.
Advocates of universal health care, such as Dr. Margaret Flowers, are
locked out of national health care debates. There is a
long list of the censored. The acceptable range of opinion is so
narrow it is almost nonexistent.
Yes, I fully agree with
this. And here is the main reason why journalism (or
¨journalism¨) in the USA will more or less continue as it is now, which
consists mostly of touting propaganda (of
various kinds, provided it is profitable to the media):
If the press sided
with citizens and exposed the corporate systems of power that hold them
captive, its advertising income would dwindle and it would be treated
as an enemy of the state. Since corporations own the airwaves and
declining city newspapers, this will not happen. Journalism will remain
burlesque. (..) Dissenters and critics exist only on the margins of the
internet, and the abolition of net neutrality will see them silenced.
In brief, the press (both
in print and on the internet) is mostly corrupt and fraudulent because
this pays, in fact since quite a while, and also if they would not
speak or write the lies, untruths and propaganda they do write,
would be gone.
Here is the ending from Chris Hedges:
own the press look at news as a revenue stream. The news division
competes against other revenue streams. If news does not produce
comparable profits, its managers are replaced and its content is
altered and distorted to draw in more viewers. Journalism is
irrelevant. The disease of celebrity and greed, which warps and deforms
the personality of Trump, warps and deforms celebrities in the media.
They share Trump’s most distasteful characteristics. The consequences
are ominous. An ignored, impoverished and frustrated underclass will
turn to increasingly bizarre politicians and more outlandish con
artists and purveyors of hate. Trump is only the beginning. (..)
Yes indeed, and this also
is an additional important reason: In the previous century, the
end of the press (printed, then) was to provide their readers with the
news. This was the main end, although a lot of propaganda and
advertisements were part of the papers, and also of the news.
Since Reagan (approximately), ¨the news¨ has been redefined as one
many ¨revenue streams¨, and whether a ¨revenue stream¨ remains being
published by ¨the press¨ is simply dependent on whether it is
profitable enough (and not anymore on whether its presence
absence or indeed its truth matters to the readers).
I think this is right and the article is recommended, although I do not
know whether Trump ¨is
only the beginning¨: He may
be the end as well, and very probably will be if he starts a nuclear
Does the United States Hate Peace?
This article is by Ted Rall on Truthdig and originally on
Well... yes and no. I
certainly do not know much about the histories of both Koreas
Korean War of the early 1950ies, but I do know some, and the
North-Korean Kims that preceded the present Kim were quite obviously
dictators: It is - at least - not just the United States that ¨stood in
Kim Jong-On has good
reasons to be afraid of us. In a speech to the UN President Trump
threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. President George W. Bush
declared them a member of the “Axis of Evil”; we invaded and currently
occupy Iraq, one of the two other supposed Evildoers. After deposing
and enabling the execution of Iraq’s president. Last week Bush’s UN
ambassador John Bolton published a legal argument for nuking North
Korea without provocation.
Believe it or not, this is
the soft side of U.S. foreign policy.
For decades South Korea has
tried to deescalate its relationship with the North, not infrequently
expressing its desire to end formal hostilities, which legally never
ended after the Korean War, and move toward the long-term goal of a
united Korea under a single government. And for decades the United
States has stood in the way, awkwardly trying to look reasonable as it
But apart from this correction, Rall seems mostly right. Here is more
Even Mr. Reasonable,
Barack Obama, refused to listen to South Koreans who want peace (and to
visit long-lost relatives in North Korea). Celebrating the 60th
anniversary of the Korean War Armistice, Obama threatened to loose the
dogs of war: “The United States of America will maintain the strongest
military the world has ever known, bar none, always. That is what we
do.” What Obama would not do was allow North and South Korea to sit
down and work out their differences. Before talks, Obama said, North
Korea would have to denuclearize. After which, of course, there would
be no need for talks because, hey, regime change is fun!
In fact, I did not follow
Obama´s policies with regards to both Koreas, but I agree with Rall
(since late in 2009) that Barack Obama is a corrupt fraud much like
Bill and Hillary Clinton: If there is one real objective that I
can see and that marks all three - who all started poor - it is greed
for money that they hoped
(and succeeded) in realizing through their greed for power
and in fact these two motives seem to be behind most actions of
Senators and Congressmen.
Finally, here is Rall´s explanation for the present situation:
Why, a sane person might
ask at this point, would U.S. policymakers want to risk World War III
over two countries that repeatedly say they want to make peace and get
For my money a 2007
analysis by the geopolitical thinktank Stratfor comes closest to
explaining what’s really going on inside the Beltway: “The basic global
situation can be described simply. The United States has overwhelming
power. It is using that power to try to prevent the emergence of any
competing powers. It is therefore constantly engaged in interventions
on a political, economic and military level. The rest of the world is
seeking to limit and control the United States. No nation can do it
alone, and therefore there is a constant attempt to create coalitions
to contain the United States. So far, these coalitions have tended to
fail, because potential members can be leveraged out of the coalition
by American threats or incentives.”
And while I think there
is more to it, I think Stratfor´s analysis is correct so far as
goed, and this is also a recommended article.
Pentagon's New Partner for Building Drones Should Make Us All Nervous
This article is by Mehreen Kasana on AlterNet. It starts as
On Tuesday, a
privacy and security report published by Gizmodo revealed that Google
and the Pentagon are collaborating on developing drones. Known as
Project Maven, the Department of Defense pilot project involves
analyzing, combing through, defining, and categorizing visual data
amassed by aerial drones. It wouldn’t be too far off to say the project
would function as the Pentagon’s all-seeing eye.
I say, and indeed I did
not know this. Then again, I am not amazed at all (and I also dislike
Google so much and since quite a few years that I wholly avoid them,
apart from Youtube).
Also, in case you ask: I think the end of Google and the Pentagon is to
recognize everyone who gets photographed by a drone, and I
think the techniques are there, although I do not know how
many of the 7+ billion men and women there are right now have
their photographs already in their secret dossiers at the NSA or the
Pentagon. My guess is: most are, but this is a mere guess.
Here is more on Project Maven:
I guess this guess of
Mehreen Kasana is correct, although I do not know.
Project Maven was
initiated last year in April and is also known by the more tech-y
Warfare Cross-Functional Team (AWCFT). According to Air Force
Lieutenant General Jack Shanahan, the project aims to be the "spark
that kindles the flame front of artificial intelligence across the rest
of the [Defense] Department."
Through Project Maven, the
Pentagon is able to follow the movement of people in the crosshairs of
the aerial drones. And it’s apparently gearing up to attack ISIS
enclaves in the Middle East. The purpose of allocating Google resources
to a security apparatus like that of the Pentagon's is apparently to
optimize and streamline the agency's processing of drone footage (..)
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article, and it is about
[I]t won’t be the
first time Google came under scrutiny for offering services to a
federal agency. A 2017
report in Quartz shed light on the origins of Google and how a
significant amount of funding for the company came from the CIA and NSA
for mass surveillance purposes. Time and again, Google's funding raises
questions. In 2013, a Guardian report highlighted Google's
acquisition of the robotics company Boston Dynamics, and noted that
most of the projects were funded by the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency (DARPA).
Well... what I will do is
repeat myself. What I think (having
read Brzezinski´s opinions of 1967, in which he
either shows himself to have been an absolutely first class genius
who could see 25 years into the future in 1967, or else - and FAR
more probably - he helped to design for 25 years what became the
DARPA-launched internet in the 1990ies):
designed for and by the secret services to do all the spying they could
do on absolutely anyone (with an internet connection) living
anywhere. (In case you doubt this, check out the late Brzezinski, in 1967 and
And this is a recommended article.
Wills It: The War on Terror as the Launching of an American Crusade
This article is by James Carroll on AlterNet and originally on
TomDispatch. It starts as follows:
Well... I noted the same
back then, but I did not write about it, indeed because I thought (and
think) that this word was not very important. I´ll turn to that
moment. Here is what Bush Jr. did say in 2001:
America may be sinking ever
deeper into the moral morass of the Trump era, but if you think the
malevolence of this period began with him, think again. The moment I
still dwell on, the moment I believe ignited the vast public disorder
that is now our all-American world, has been almost completely
forgotten here. And little wonder. It was no more than a
casually tossed-off cliché, a passing historical reference whose
implications and consequences meant nothing to the speaker. “This
crusade,” said President George W. Bush just days after the 9/11
attacks, “this war on terrorism…”
That, however, proved to be an
invocation from hell, one that set the stage for so much of the horror
“This is a new kind of
evil.” So said the president that September 16, standing on the South Lawn of the
White House. “And the American people are beginning to
understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a
while.” In that way, only five days after the 9/11 attacks, George W.
Bush elevated a band of petty nihilists to the status of world-historic
warriors. “And the American people must be patient,” he continued. “I’m
going to be patient.”
And here are three of
my reasons not to put too much on the term ¨crusade¨:
First, I find it very
much more shocking that Bush Jr. was not elected as
president of the USA, but was in fact nominated as such by the
Supreme Court (for Al Gore got the majority of the votes, and Bush
Jr. was nominated by the Supreme Court after the Court had
the Florida recount: See Bush vs. Gore).
Second, I also think -
and I am not an American - that the official theory about the attack of
is false. I do not know what did happen, but the facts
I do know make
it more probable than not that this was in fact a ¨false flag¨
operation. I find the fact that the official theory about the attack of
9/11 seems false also far more serious than Bush´s speaking of
Third, there is the
fact that I have by now quite a few times presented Goering´s ideas
And to - at least - it
seems as if Goering was right about the USA. And again I find
this more serious than Bush Jr.´s use of the term ¨crusade¨.
Then again, James
Carroll is right about the many horrors that followed
Bush Jr.´s decision to go on his kind of crusade:
With what Bush himself
called “the distance of history,” it’s now possible to see the havoc
his “crusade” is still wreaking across much of the globe: Iraq and
Afghanistan are in ruins; Syria destroyed (with Russian, American, Israeli, Turkish, and Iranian warplanes testing one another in its
airspace); Yemen gripped by a war-induced famine; the Turks at the throat of the Kurds; the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process dead; Libya a failed state; U.S. Special Ops garrisons in Somalia, Niger, and across
Africa; and Europe increasingly politically destabilized by refugee flows from these conflicts.
Yes indeed. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this article, which is about the single
dissenter (!!!) to effectively provide Bush Jr. and his government with
a blank check:
Again yes indeed. And
James Carroll is also quite right that astonishingly many
Americans supported Bush Jr. (although this was also in part due to
Bush Jr.´s propaganda).
This is a recommended article.
The lone dissenter that day was Representative
Barbara Lee, a California Democrat. In warning against the coming
American crusade, she denounced the Joint Congressional Resolution as
“a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the Sept.
11 events -- anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s
long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and
without time limit.” She added all too prophetically, “A rush to launch
precipitous military counterattacks runs too great a risk that more
innocent men, women, children will be killed.”
As they were, as they still
are. Lest one assume that responsibility for the catastrophe that
followed rests solely upon Bush and his hawkish circle, remember that
the administration’s responses were approved by 90% of the American public, the highest
presidential approval rating ever achieved, while a full 80% of them expressly favored Bush’s
open-ended war against Afghanistan.
Thing Democrats and Republicans Apparently Agree On: Deregulating Wall
This article is by David Dayen on Common Dreams and
originally on The Los Angeles Times. It starts as follows:
Next week marks the 10th
anniversary of the run on Bear Stearns, the investment bank that
collapsed under the weight of toxic subprime mortgages. Although
JPMorgan Chase snapped up Bear Stearns for pennies on the dollar, this
maneuver failed to stop the bleeding from the mortgage meltdown,
leading to the biggest economic crisis in nearly a century.
That seems like a terrible
political backdrop for the Senate to pass a bill that deregulates
the banking sector. But that's exactly what's about to happen.
The Economic Growth,
Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which pro-regulation
groups have called the "Bank Lobbyist Act," advanced
in the Senate this week with the support of 50 Republicans, 16
Democrats, and one Democratic-leaning independent. Bipartisanship, it
seems, isn't dead.
We're witnessing a familiar
swing of the pendulum: toward regulation when banks crash the economy,
away from regulation when memories fade. The next stop is often
financial crisis, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office
stated this week that the bipartisan legislation would increase
the risk of another one happening.
Yes, I quite
I also admit that by now I am feeling ambiguous about this. My
reasons are these two:
First, a major
economical or financial crisis will hit tens or hundreds of millions of
the poor and the non-rich, which is very unfair because they
did not make the crisis. And second, I think a major economical or financial crisis
is necessary to get rid of the system of systematic
the few rich have successfully set up. (That is, the system works, but
so for at most 10% of the population.)
Then again, I have to
add a third reason: I knew already that the Republicans are in vast
majority greedy profiteers who only think about their own riches and
those of their families, but now, with nearly a third of the
in the Senate who also seem to have the wish to get as rich as possible
I give up on the majority of the Democrats as well.
Here is more on the latest plan to enrich the rich ¨democratically¨:
Here is the reason why a
considerable part ¨of the Senate
Democratic caucus¨ support
Trump´s aims and the the banks: They are, in two words, corrupt frauds who want to get as much money for
themselves as they can get:
Pitched as a way to provide
regulatory relief for community banks, the bill goes well beyond that;
it rolls back key pieces of the Dodd-Frank Act and includes giveaways
to large institutions of the same size and scope as the ones that
crashed the economy in 2008.
most important measure in the legislation raises the threshold for
enhanced regulatory supervision by the Federal Reserve from $50 billion
to $250 billion. The beneficiaries, 25 of the top 38 banks in America,
could be called "stadium banks:" not big enough to count as Wall Street
mega-banks, but big enough to have a sports stadium named after them.
A failure of one or more of
these banks would likely be catastrophic — a fact made obvious by the
So why would more than
one-third of the Senate Democratic caucus provide the margin of victory
on a bill assisting Trump's aims?
answer is simple: money. North Dakota, Indiana and Montana may not have
any banking giants within their borders, but the top
three recipients of campaign donations from commercial banks since
2017 are Democrats from those states who are up for reelection in
November: Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, and Jon Tester.
This whole process reveals
that bipartisanship usually arrives in Washington at the barrel of a
Precisely. And this is
a recommended article.
have now been
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.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
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 (!!).