from June 17, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
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.
2. Crisis Files
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from June 17, 2018:
1. If the Economy Is So Good, Why Are People So Unhappy?
The 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:
2. Lawyer: Jeff Sessions’ Attacks on Migrant Domestic
Drags U.S. Back to “Dark Ages”
3. The 'Fight' Phase of the Poor People’s Campaign Has Begun
4. Trump's Tariffs Could Hurt Millions of Americans, But
Instead on Presidential Drama
5. Public Barred From Markup of Pentagon Spending Bill in
the Economy Is So Good, Why Are People So Unhappy?
This article is by
John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Trump is collecting
credit, while shedding blame
Donald Trump—like the
narcissistic, compulsive, hyperbolic blowhard he is—keeps bragging
about how good “his” economy is. The self-aggrandizing
superlatives flow out of Twitter like some rancid national virus.
Leaving aside the fact that presidents don’t have a lot influence on
the economy, and what influence they do have doesn’t really take effect
until well into their second year, his claims don’t hold up to reality.
First of all, it’s not “his” economy, and second of all, the economy
isn’t working all that well for the vast majority of Americans.
Yes indeed, and it is
especially the second part of the last quoted statement that is quite
correct, and indeed also answers the question the title poses,
as follows: The American economy is good for the rich, and has been
good for the rich since 1980; but the American economy is no good for
the non-rich - and possibly the non-rich (some of them) are
Here is more:
Let’s look at the facts.
Fact number 1: Job
growth was slower in Trump's first full year than it has been at any
time since 2011;
Fact number 2:
The stock market grew nearly continuously under Obama, cumulatively by
more than 47 percent, and its growth under Trump seems to have settled
in at around 16 percent (with very high volatility, as you might expect
from his ADHD economic policy);
Fact number 3: Annual
GDP growth is about the same under Trump as it was under Obama;
Fact number 4: Trump’s
insane tax cut will add at least $1.5 trillion to the debt;
Fact number 5: Trump’s
trade war will raise prices for consumers and cut jobs in the future,
and it’s causing volatility now;
Fact number 6: The
already unconscionable income and wealth disparity our economy has seen
since Reagan is getting worse as Trump’s tax cuts go disproportionally
to the ultra-rich and corporations.
Yes indeed, though as I
said under the previous quotation from this article, the main point is
that the few rich have been growing a lot richer since Reagan,
the many non-rich and poor have not been growing richer since Reagan,
or indeed have been growing poorer.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this fine article:
According to some
economists, deregulation has spawned a growth in monopolies and
oligopolies; they now control much of the access to jobs, and they’re
using their market power to depress wages, benefits, and laws
protecting workers. This market power—combined with policies making
unionization and collective bargaining more difficult—means workers
have become relatively powerless.
Much of the “new economy”
reflects this misbalance between corporations and even small
businesses, and labor.
Quite so - and I know
more than enough of economy to know that much of it is a
though I agree with ¨some economists¨ mentioned above (though indeed
probably not with their theories).
But yes: ¨workers have become relatively powerless¨ because the few rich have been
aggrandizing their powers since Reagan. For some more see item 3 below.
Jeff Sessions’ Attacks on Migrant Domestic Violence Survivors Drags
U.S. Back to “Dark Ages”
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
On Monday, Attorney
General Jeff Sessions announced that domestic and gang-related violence
will generally no longer be grounds for asylum, a far-reaching shift
that could affect thousands of people, particularly women from Central
America fleeing gender-based violence. This decision reverses the Board
of Immigration Appeals’ grant of asylum to a Salvadoran domestic
violence survivor known as A.B., who fled to the U.S. for her life
after surviving 15 years of beatings, rape and death threats from her
husband. In ruling against A.B., Sessions also overturned a
groundbreaking precedent from 2014 in which the immigration appeals
court affirmed that domestic violence survivors are deserving of
protection. We speak with Karen Musalo, professor of law and the
director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University
of California, Hastings College of the Law. She is [one] of the
attorneys representing Ms. A.B.
Yes indeed. That is, from
now on, according to Sessions, even after ¨surviving 15 years of beatings, rape and
death threats from her husband¨ (against whom the Salvadorean police did nothing),
one must continue to be beaten, raped and getting death threats.
I quote one more bit from this article (and if you want to read the
opinions of Karen Musalo, you have to go to the original):
(..) But on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled against A.B.
and overturned the precedent that had granted Cifuentes asylum, ruling,
quote, “claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang
violence perpetrated by nongovernmental actors will not qualify for
Immigration advocates and
former immigration judges have denounced Sessions’ announcement. A
group of 15 former immigration judges called Sessions’ move “an affront
to the rule of law,” writing, quote, “For reasons understood only by
himself, the attorney general today erased an important legal
development that was universally agreed to be correct,” they wrote.
And indeed the main
legal point (I am not speaking of humanitarianism here and now) is that
Sessions terminated some 30 years of the rule of law in the
decided for 30 years to give asylum to women who were beaten, raped and
tortured by their husbands or by gangs.
There is more in the
original that is recommended.
'Fight' Phase of the Poor People’s Campaign Has Begun
This article is by
Michael Nigro on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Immediately after the news
of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, social media feeds
exploded with advice for those suffering from depression, for those who
have family or friends who may need help but are unable to ask for it.
“Reach out,” posts read. “Ask someone who may need help, how they’re
doing.” “Observe those around you.” “Help is a phone call away.” Those
messages have value, certainly.
Having been on the road
with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival,
for over five weeks now, it was impossible for me not to
tether the nationwide reaction to the sad tragedy of Bourdain’s
inability to ask for help, with the 140 million people who live on or
below the poverty line, in the richest country in human history, who
are screaming for it. Literally screaming for clean water. Begging for
health care. Pleading for a living wage.
The Poor People’s Campaign
is now entering its sixth week of nationwide nonviolent direct
actions. Hundreds of local and grass-roots groups continue to join. To
date, over 2,000 people have been arrested and thousands have signed on
with coalitions in 39 states and Washington, D.C., to
challenge environmental devastation, systemic racism and poverty,
locally and at the federal level and to demand a moral agenda for the
common good. This movement has nothing to do with left or right,
Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal. It’s all about right
I believe this is more
or less correct, although I should add (having no TV since 1970) that I
did not know who Anthony Bourdain was until after he died (and
sorry, but I am still not interested in somebody who seems to
a fine and rich life).
Then again, while I
agree with ¨nonviolent
direct actions¨, I must say
that I wonder about ¨The ¨Fight¨ Phase¨ in the poor people´s
campaign, and indeed especially because it is not called
a ¨Fight¨ - without quotes, which is more or less clear -
but a ¨¨Fight¨¨ with quotes, which makes it quite unclear
what is meant, precisly because quoting a term (rather than a
statement) has often the effect of saying ¨this is not really what is
meant, and what is meant is somehow related¨ (as in: ¨We did not really
commit ¨a bankrobbery¨¨).
I am just wondering.
Here is some more:
Examining the prior weeks
of the burgeoning Poor People’s Campaign, viewing it in correlation
with the government’s response to it—being ignored, being laughed
at—there is little doubt that after last week’s nationwide actions the
Poor People’s Campaign finds itself standing nonviolently in “the fight
I agree the ¨Poor People’s Campaign¨ was mostly ignored by the mainstream media
I wonder what is meant by ¨standing
nonviolently in “the fight phase”¨).
Here is the ending,
which is also the reason I am reviewing this article:
This rings true for what
the Poor People’s Campaign is attempting. It has the statistics and
facts—hundreds of them—on its website (i.e.,
13.8 million U.S. households cannot afford water; over 48 million
Americans have no or inadequate health care; more than 250,000 people
in the U.S. die due to poverty-related issues each year).
But the Poor People’s
Campaign is much more than statistics and facts. In a way, it is
implementing what Bourdain was so masterful at: stripping away
the theoretical by revealing the stories behind the statistics,
the faces behind the facts, and, by turns, connecting us all.
America’s system of
intentional inequality is, in essence, assisted suicide. But how many
will jump into the maelstrom to help those who are not famous?
I agree that ¨America’s system of intentional inequality
is, in essence, assisted suicide¨ - and see my review yesterday of Blistering
U.N. Report: Trump Administration’s Policies Designed to Worsen Poverty
& Inequality), though indeed I still entirely miss
Anthony Bourdain has to do with it, while I also think that fewer will ¨jump into the maelstrom to help those who are
than those who follow Kim Kardashian or Anthony Bourdain. (But that is
or ought to be a known sad fact.) This is a recommended article.
Tariffs Could Hurt Millions of Americans, But Media Focuses Instead on
article is by Bobby Lewis on AlterNet and originally on Media Matters.
It starts as follows:
Yes indeed. Here is some
more on who are and who are not attended to by the mainstream news:
On May 31, CBS News reported
on retaliatory tariffs from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union,
targeting numerous products including American steel and aluminum,
playing cards, motorcycles, and tobacco. European Commission president
Jean-Paul Juncker said that Trump’s move “leaves us with no choice but
to proceed … with the imposition of additional duties on a number of
imports from the U.S.”
News reports and experts say
the tariffs will hurt Americans in a number of ways. Though the steel
and aluminum industries stand to benefit, “almost
every US industry” that uses these metals will be faced with higher
manufacturing costs, which “will likely get passed on to consumers.”
These higher costs could “kill
hundreds of thousands of jobs” as companies scramble to offset
artificially high prices. Retaliatory tariffs levied by other nations
are threatening a wide range of businesses, from agriculture
But media coverage
of U.S. allies’ responses to Trump’s economic attack centered on
the sensationalism and drama of the moment. Though CNN
interviewed or cited
economists in a few
segments on the tariffs’ effects for American workers and business,
the majority of the punditry focused on the shock
value of levying tariffs against U.S. allies. CNN also interviewed
Stephen Moore, a Trump campaign economic advisor whom CNN hired
as its in-house defender of the president who dodged
policy questions to muddy the facts and obsequiously push the Trump
agenda (which is how interviews with former or current Trump officials usually
go); the network did not interview any workers who could
potentially be hurt by the retaliatory tariffs.
In brief, the few rich
their interests and concerns are addressed by the mainstream media; the
many non-rich whose lives are made more expensive are mostly neglected
by the mainstream media.
Here is the last bit that I quote, which I could not resist because it
is so incoherently sick:
Fox News, meanwhile,
played up the personal drama Trump incited with Canadian Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau. Fox personalities said that “the public spat between
these world leaders [Trump and Trudeau] is something
to watch,” argued that Trudeau should “maybe
… realize it’s not personal,” and generally attacked
Trudeau for, among other things, “trying
to out-alpha President Trump.”
In case you don´t
understand why the above quote is incoherently sick, perhaps you are
not reading - what I think are - the right things.
Barred From Markup of Pentagon Spending Bill in Senate Committee
is by Renee Parsons on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
In fact, I think Kennedy
was spouting propaganda
rather than saying what he really believed.
It appears to have been no
coincidence that when President John F. Kennedy’s spoke
to the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 27, 1961—ten
days after the failed
Bay of Pigs invasion—he tacitly referred to the Joint Chiefs and
the CIA who had orchestrated the Cuban invasion and then lied to gain
his approval for military action.
In that speech, Kennedy
expressed what became a quintessential JFK quote:
On May 24th, the Senate
Armed Services Committee (SASC) met behind closed doors and
approved the massive 1140 page National Defense Authorization Act
S 2987 ) of 2019 by a 25-2 vote which authorizes ‘funding and
provides activities for the US military.’
...the very word
‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society and we are as a
people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to
secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that
the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts
far outweigh the dangers which are cited to justify it.
While the Committee dutifully
testimony on the NDAA including Department of Defense Secretary
James Mattis and Gen.
Joseph Dunford, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on April 26th,
once the SASC subcommittees began their mark up on May 21 and May 22
and the full SASC met to begin its two day mark-up on May 23 and May
24th, all SASC consideration of the NDAA was declared
“SECRET” as committee doors were sealed shut preventing all public
and press attendance.
My reasons are that modern governments without some secrets are quite
I completely agree with the sentiments that those secrets should be
both few and well guarded by - more or less - objective
Then again, what really matters is not Kennedy but the fact
SASC approved the enormous amount of billions it awarded to the
Pentagon and others in total secret:
The American people has no longer
any right to know what happened with the taxes it has to pay, at least
in so far as the American military are concerned: These are totally
beyond democratic control.
Here is more on the secrecy of the present American government:
That is: Not only were
meetings and decisions of the SASC completely secret; it also has
remained a secret how or why or who decided that these meetings and
decisions were to be a secret.
In fact, the word “SECRET”
is not included in the Senate’s official Glossary
of Terms although ‘closed session’ may be invoked for obvious
sensitive matters such as Impeachment. So let’s assume that the
SASC mandarins decided in a massive overreach of their Constitutional
authority to hold every single word, every utterance, all 1140 pages
worth of discussion and debate of the committee mark up in complete and
total SECRECY making no careful thoughtful distinction as to what truly
constitutes a ‘national security’ matter – there is no public record
available on the SASC website of the committee members discussing or
making that determination.
The SASC website offers no
video of either the subcommittees or the full committee meeting
going through the motions of formally declaring their meetings
SECRET under the guise of national security, much as Kennedy forewarned
more than fifty years ago.
Here is the last bit that I quote on the utter and complete secrecy of
In fact, these secret
decisions on spending billions upon billions of tax money, whose
secrecy itself remains a secret, are the
characteristics of a
and this is a strongly recommended article.
Neither is there a video on
the SASC website of any of the debate or discussion that took place
during the mark up nor evidence of the 25-2 roll call vote which
precludes us from knowing who the two opposing votes were. In
other words, every iota of debate or amendments offered and every vote
taken as well as all discussion were conducted in SECRET which sounds
more like a Banana Republic or an authoritarian state of which the US
frequently accuses other countries.
There is little doubt that
the American public would have benefited from SASC discussion on
certain unmentionables like DOD’s missing $2.3 Trillion,
projects, the military role in cyberspace,
space” program and weaponizing
overruns, military monitoring of extraterrestrial
flights, long term impacts of AI or other ‘dark’
op programs – but wasn’t that always part of the intent.
 I have
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 (!!).