A. Selections from July 10, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Monday, July 10,
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 10, 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:
Our Way to Disease
This is by Chris Hedges and starts as follows:
In July 1976, the
Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, chaired by Sen. George
McGovern, held hearings titled “Diet Related to Killer Diseases.” The
committee heard from physicians, scientists and nutritionists on the
relationship between the American diet and diseases such as diabetes,
heart disease and cancer. Six months later, the committee released “The
Dietary Goals for the United States,” which quickly came to be known as
the McGovern Report. “Decrease consumption of meat,” the report urged
Americans. “Decrease consumption of butter fat [dairy fat], eggs, and
other high cholesterol sources.”
considerably more, but I should say that I don't believe much of it for
two general reasons: (1) the evidence that "your dietary habits are bad
for you" is statistical, and (2) I don't trust this kind of statistics,
basically because they are too abstract and too indirect.
“The simple fact is that
our diets have changed radically within the last 50 years …,” McGovern
said when the report was released. “These dietary changes represent as
great a threat to public health as smoking. Too much fat, too much
sugar or salt, can be and are linked directly to heart disease, cancer,
obesity, and stroke, among other killer diseases. In all, six of the
ten leading causes of death in the United States have been linked to
our diet. Those of us within our government have an obligation to
The response to the report
was swift and brutal. The meat, egg and dairy industries lobbied
successfully to have the document withdrawn. They orchestrated new
hearings, supplying a list of 24 experts approved by the National
Livestock and Meat Board, so that, in the words of Wray Finney, then
the president of the American National Cattlemen’s Association, the
public would get “a balanced, correct view of this whole matter.” A new
report was released in December 1977. This second edition insisted that
“meat, poultry and fish are an excellent source of essential amino
acids, vitamins and minerals.” The Select Committee on Nutrition and
Human Needs was abolished. Its functions were taken over by the
Agriculture Committee. “The Agriculture Committee looks after the
producers of food, not the consumers, and particularly, not the most
The New York Times.
Also, 1976 is over forty years ago, and in these forty years I have
seen the fashionable opinions on what is good and bad for you in terms
of eating change through 360 degrees, and back, and it was all based on
"statistical evidence" (which - therefore - cannot have been
Basically, my position on "the science of dieting" is that it is no
(real) science at all; that it is moved by ideologies and by financial
interests; and that you can believe very little that you are
told with confidence.
Problems with Anti-Russian Obsession
This is by Rick Sterling on
Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
The U.S. mainstream media
and Democratic Party politicians have built a major “scandal” out of
accusing Russia of “meddling” in the U.S. election to help Donald Trump
win the presidency and possibly even colluding with his campaign to do
so. The charges began as “allegations” but now are routinely asserted
The Washington Post
recently ran a long
article claiming all the above plus saying the operation was
directed by Russian President Putin himself and implying not enough has
been done to “punish” Russia. The July-August 2017 edition of Mother
Jones magazine features an article headlined “We Already Know Trump
Collusion? Maybe. Active Enabling? Definitely.”
effort to indict
Russia and condemn Trump based on facts or political opportunism? Does
it help or hurt the progressive cause of peace with justice? Following
are major problems with the “anti-Russia” theme, starting with the lack
of clear evidence.
the ten problems
that Rick Sterling raises and discusses are these - and I
provide only the problems, and not his discussions of them,
that you can read by clicking the last bold link:
CrowdStrike is dubious.
2) The Steele Dossier looks fictitious.
3) The “assessment” from several (not 17) Intel Agencies gives no
evidence and seems politically biased.
4) The counter-evidence seems stronger and
5) The purported “crimes” have been wildly
6) The anti-Russia hysteria has reduced
resistance to reactionary changes in domestic policy.
7) The DNC and Podesta leaks were not bad; they
8) Social media criticizing Clinton was
not bad; much of the criticism was accurate.
9) The anti-Russia hysteria distracts from
an objective evaluation of why the Democratic Party lost.
10) The anti-Russia hysteria reduces
resistance to neoconservative forces pushing for more war.
I agree with all of them.
US State of War—July 2017
This is by
Davies on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
the state of war
in the United States in July 2017.
in Iraq and Syria is now the heaviest since the bombing of Vietnam,
Cambodia and Laos in the 1960s-70s, with 84,000 bombs and missiles
dropped between 2014 and the end of May 2017. That is nearly triple the
29,200 bombs and missiles dropped on Iraq in the “Shock and Awe”
campaign of 2003.
escalated the bombing campaign last October, as the U.S.-Iraqi assault
on Mosul began, dropping 12,290 bombs and missiles between October and
the end of January when President Obama left office. The Trump
administration has further escalated the campaign, dropping another
14,965 bombs and missiles since February 1st. May saw the
heaviest bombing yet, with 4,374 bombs and missiles dropped.
The U.K.-based Airwars.org monitoring group has compiled reports of
between 12,000 and 18,000 civilians killed by nearly three years of
U.S.-led bombing in Iraq and Syria. These reports can only be the tip
of the iceberg, and the true number of civilians killed could well be
more than 100,000, based on typical ratios between reported deaths and
actual deaths in previous war-zones.
U.S. and its
allies closed in on Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, and as U.S.
forces now occupy eight military bases in Syria, Islamic State and its
allies have struck back in Manchester and London; occupied Marawi, a
city of 200,000 in the Philippines; and exploded a huge truck bomb
inside the fortifications of the “Green Zone” in Kabul, Afghanistan.
began in 2001 as a
misdirected use of military force to punish a group of formerly
U.S.-backed jihadis in Afghanistan for the crimes of September 11th has
escalated into a global asymmetric war. Every country destroyed
or destabilized by U.S. military action is now a breeding ground for
terrorism. It would be foolish to believe that this cannot get
much, much worse, as long as both sides continue to justify their own
escalations of violence as responses to the violence of their enemies,
instead of trying to deescalate the now global violence and chaos.
more in the
at The New York Times
This is by Lambert Strether on Naked Capitalism. It starts as follows:
had to go the mall to make a purchase, and since the four-hour round
trip gives me plenty of time to read, I bought a copy of The New
York Times and read it carefully. I came away discouraged. There
is a lot of ruin in a great newspaper.
I used to
newspaper business,” several careers ago, albeit on weeklies and in
production. And I came away with the sense of what a wonderful
production — all senses — a newspaper is; how intricately and carefully
the pieces fit together, and the craft that goes into assembling the
news into a pattern that’s easily grasped by the reader. Day after day!
Indeed, hundreds of years have gone into perfecting the craft of
composing pages, and I still feel reading a printed,
broadsheet newspaper is a more productive use of my time — if
comprehension and stories I would otherwise miss or skip be the goal —
than reading on a laptop, let trying to get a sense of the news flow
through the teensy keyhole of a cellphone’s screen.
Media criticism has the term “blooper,”
an embarrassing error. Seeking
bloopers is usually a mild form of voyeurism, where on-screen
indiscretions by announcers and performers are detected and ridiculed.
But bloopers can also be “technical,” as when the shadow of a boom
appears in the shot, or the blood-spewing machine malfunctions.
Naturally, the cheaper the show, the greater the chance of bloopers. I
think the ongoing ruination of the Times is shown in the bloopers I am
about to present. I’m going to start with some technical bloopers in
the Arts Section, and then move on to what I might term Cognitive
Bloopers in the Business Section. (I’m using images that I took when I
got back to the house, partly because the images make the sheer scale
of the times enterprise so clear, and partly to honor the craft of
quite agree with
this introduction, though my background is a little different. But I
have also worked for “the
newspaper business” (long ago, but I did), and being Dutch I read the
leading Dutch paper "NRC Handelsblad" from 1970 till 2010 - after which
I angrily stopped reading it, because it had been sold and resold
several times, and had
in real fact totally collapsed as the - rather good - paper it
had been between 1970 and 2010. (But it continued basically by propaganda and pretense, and is
now mostly selling
propaganda and pretense, also on a
much lower intellectual level than
from 1970 till 2010.)
is a lot more in
the G-20 Summit Really Worth It?
This is by Florian Gathmann and Philip Wittrock on Spiegel
International. This starts with the following propaganda bullshit:
and the rest of the article isn't any better. In fact, simply asking
the question whether something was "really worth it" without specifiying
worth for whom, in which terms, for which reasons,
is pure propaganda.
But this is the level of modern leading journalism.
Unbridled brutality. Outside our democratic community. When Angela
Merkel held her closing address on Saturday afternoon at the G-20
summit in Hamburg, she used clear words to denounce what had taken
place on the streets of Hamburg during the preceding day and night.
ablaze, shops plundered, water cannons in constant operation, injuries,
devastated city quarters, heavily armed special police
units: The images of the violence in Hamburg have circled the
globe. And they stood in stark contrast to those of the 20 heads of
state and government who, at the same time, were listening to
Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" in Hamburg's chic new Elbphilharmonie concert
hall. Classical music inside, clashes outside.
question that must
now be asked, which the chancellor must also answer, is this: Was it
all worth it? Or was the price too high?