A. Selections from July 21, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Friday, July 21,
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 21, 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:
Sessions Wants to Make “Legalized Theft” Great Again
This is by Alex
Emmons on The Intercept. I treated the theme yesterday as well, but here it is again,
for this is the end of the state of law and the start of
the age of legalized plunder:
Donald Trump’s Justice
Department revived a federal
program on Wednesday that gives state and local law enforcement more
power to seize property from people who haven’t been charged, let alone
convicted, of a crime.
The practice — known as
“civil asset forfeiture” — became
widespread as part of the drug crackdown in the 1980s, after Congress
passed a law
in 1984 that allowed the Department of Justice to keep the property it
seized. At the time, forfeiture was billed as a way to undermine the
resources of large criminal enterprises, but law enforcement saw it as
a way to underwrite their budgets, and have overwhelmingly
gone after people without the means to challenge the seizures
The practice has become
so widespread that in 2014, law
enforcement officers took
more property from American citizens than all home and office
On Wednesday, the Justice Department reopened a specific
loophole that allows state and local police to sidestep state laws
through a practice known as adoptive forfeitures. The loophole allows
state and local law enforcement to continue to pillage the property of
citizens even in the face of local bans on the practice, as long as
they refer the case to federal agencies after they seize property. They
get to keep up to 80 percent of what they take, and can use it for
their own budgets. The feds take a 20 percent cut of the loot.
There is more in the
article, and it is recommended.
Cay Johnston: GOP Budget Redistributes Money to the Rich & Helps
Make U.S. a "Police State"
This is Amy Goodman on
Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
On Wednesday, the
Republican-controlled House Budget Committee approved its 2018 budget
resolution. The budget aims to rewrite the tax code to favor the
wealthy and to slash funding for Medicare and Medicaid. It would also
add another $30 billion to Trump’s record-setting $668 billion request
for Pentagon spending. The budget faces opposition from both moderate
and conservative Republicans. We speak with David Cay Johnston,
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and founder of
And here is a bit from the
Yes indeed, and this article
GOODMAN: So, that’s Mick
Mulvaney. Now, of course, Donald Trump said he would never cut
Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. But, David Cay Johnston, very
quickly, can you summarize the House budget that was passed yesterday?
Oh, yes. Well, this is what DCReport.orgmemo
we wrote about at DCReport.org
has not made a single major news organization, Amy. reported yesterday. This is a budget that increases the
military, increases immigration, refers to those as appropriate uses of
precious taxpayer resources. And the Trump budget is not designed to
get people in a position where they don’t need government help at all,
but it is clearly going in the direction of turning America into a
police state. And that should get a lot of concern, especially that the
GOODMAN: But, overall,
if you can speak about what this budget means?
Oh, what this budget means is less for those people who are needy, for
people who are disabled, who are poorly educated and don’t have good
jobs, who lost their jobs because of trade—one of Donald’s big
issues—and, instead, lavishes more benefits and continues spending that
benefits the wealthiest among us. And this goes to the Republican theme
that I describe as: The biggest economic problem we have, according to
the Republicans, is that the rich don’t have enough.
Wages Flat, But Since 1978 CEO Pay Has Soared by 'Outrageous' 937%
This is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as
Wages for most
American workers have remained
basically stagnant for decades, but a new
report published on Thursday by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
shows that the CEOs of America's largest firms have seen their pay soar
at a consistent and "outrageous"
Between 1978 and 2016,
CEO pay rose by 937 percent, EPI's Lawrence Mishel and Jessica Schieder
found. By contrast, the typical worker saw "painfully slow"
compensation growth—11.2 percent over the same period.
Mishel and Schieder also
note that CEOs of "America's largest firms made an average of $15.6
million in compensation, or 271 times the annual average pay of the
"While the 2016
CEO-to-worker compensation ratio of 271-to-1 is down from 299-to-1 in
2014 and 286-to-1 in 2015, it is still light years beyond the 20-to-1
ratio in 1965 and the 59-to-1 ratio in 1989," the report observes. "The
average CEO in a large firm now earns 5.33 times the annual earnings of
the average very-high-wage earner (earner in the top 0.1 percent)."
The USA is the land of
the rich, organized for the rich and governed by the rich. There is
more in the article, that is recommended.
Declares War on Law Enforcement
This is by Jefferson
Morley on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
With his domestic agenda
in disarray and his conservative support wilting, President Trump
lashed out at the direct threat to his presidency: the rule of law.
In an extraordinary
interview with theNew York Times, Trump trashed his own attorney general, the deputy attorney general,
former FBI director James Comey, the acting FBI director, and special
prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Their offense in the eyes
of the president? Fulfilling the duties of their positions.
If the president has
sometimes sounded like he thinks that the government’s top law
enforcement officers should defer to his whims, Trump made clear that
is exactly what he believes. He said as much again and again in the
There is more in the
article, that is recommended.
Right’s Long War on Media
is by Jonathan Marshall on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
Never in modern
American history has a president so frontally gone to war with the
media as Donald Trump, whose speeches and tweet storms blast critical
stories as “fake news” and mainstream news outlets as “the
enemy of the American people.”
Yes indeed. There is
more in the article, that is recommended.
“Get used to being
stigmatized as ‘opposition,’” the head of media at Human Rights Watch warned
reporters and editors shortly after the election. “[Trump’s] basic
idea is simple: to delegitimize accountability journalism by framing it
So far, the Trumpian
strategy seems to be working, at least with his base. A
recent poll found that fewer than 10 percent of Republicans trust
the media a lot, and 6 in 10 complain that the media “keep political
leaders from doing their job.”
particularly in the media, portray his assault on the Fourth Estate as
to tyrants everywhere” and as part of a radical campaign to “build
an autocracy,” in the words
of former Republican speechwriter David Frum.
I share their concerns,
even as I readily acknowledge, and
have often condemned, the major media’s widespread and sometimes
blatant failings to report some subjects as accurately or fairly as
But many of today’s
righteous condemners of Trump fail to see that his attacks on the media
are really the culmination of a relentless campaign over the past half
century by conservatives to undercut institutions that stand in the way
of their grab for power.