A. Selections from September 5, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
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 (usually) from that item
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
September 5, 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:
This article is by Jon
Schwarz on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
The most alarming aspect
of North Korea’s latest nuclear test, and the larger standoff with the
U.S., is how little is known about how North Korea truly functions. For
65 years it’s been sealed off from the rest of the world to a degree
hard to comprehend, especially at a time when people in Buenos Aires
need just one click to share cat videos shot in Kuala Lumpur. Few
outsiders have had intimate contact with North Korean society, and even
fewer are in a position to talk about it.
One of the extremely rare
exceptions is the novelist and journalist Suki
Kim. Kim, who was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. at age
thirteen, spent much of 2011 teaching English to children of North
Korea’s elite at the Pyongyang University of
Science and Technology.
In fact, Suki Kim is a very
courageous woman. Here is a bit more about her:
But Kim was never caught,
and she returned to the U.S. to write her extraordinary 2014 book,
“Without You, There Is No Us.” The title comes from the lyrics of an
old North Korean
song; the “you” is Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s father.
Kim’s book is
particularly important for anyone who wants to understand what happens
next with North Korea. Her experience made her extremely pessimistic
about every aspect of the country, including the regime’s willingness
to ever renounce its nuclear weapons program. North Korea functions,
she believes, as a true cult, with all of the country’s pre-cult
existence now passed out of human memory.
I think that seems a reasonable
judgement, basically for two underlying reasons: First, North Korea is
an extremely totalitarian
state for nearly 70 years now, and second (and see the article
for more information) hardly any North Korean knows anything
(true) about the world outside North Korea.
This is from the fine
interview, that indeed also is quite chilling:
JON SCHWARZ: I
found your book just overwhelmingly sorrowful. As an American, I can’t
imagine being somewhere that’s been brutalized by not just one powerful
country, but two or three or four. Then the government of North Korea,
and to a lesser degree the government of South Korea, used that
suffering to consolidate their own power. And then maybe saddest of all
was to see these young men, your students, who were clearly still
people, but inside a terrible system and on a path to doing terrible
things to everybody else in North Korea.
SUKI KIM: Right,
because there’s no other way of being in that country. We don’t have
any other country like that. People so easily compare North Korea to
Cuba or East Germany or even China. But none of them have been like
North Korea – this amount of isolation, this amount of control. It
encompasses every aspect of dictatorship-slash-cult.
What I was thinking about
when I was living there is it’s almost too late to undo this. The young
men I was living with had never known any other way.
This seems true, and
part but not all of the reason is that ¨the young men¨ of North Korea
do not know anything about how it is outside of North
Korea, and believe utter nonsense about it.
Here is Suki Kim on
North Korea´s nuclear arms:
In rational principle, it
would seem as if North Korea can be contained some five or ten
years, in which it very probably will not be able to build
that it can reach the USA with, but then again ¨rational principle¨ and
Donald Trump seem to be irreconcilable in principle... (and here is an
Based on your experience, how do you perceive the nuclear issue with
Nothing will change because it’s an unworkable problem. It’s very
dishonest to think this can be solved. North Korea will never give up
its nuclear weapons. Never.
The only way North Korea
can be dealt with is if this regime is not the way it is. No agreements
are ever honored because North Korea just doesn’t do that. It’s a land
of lies. So why keep making agreements with someone who’s never going
to honor those agreements?
And ultimately what all the
countries surrounding North Korea want is a regime change.
Here is the end of the article:
Well, I felt bad after I read your book and I feel even worse now.
be honest, I wonder if tragedies have a time limit – not to fix them,
but to make them less horrifying. And I feel like it’s just too late.
If you wipe out humanity to this level, and have three generations of
it … when you see the humanity of North Koreans is when the horror
becomes that much greater. You see how humanity can be so distorted,
and manipulated, and violated.
This is a strongly
recommended article (which may explain why Trump may start an atomic
Reveal Right-Wing Plan to Strike Public Unions With 'Mortal Blow'
This article is by
Andrea Germanos on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams. It starts
As a new poll shows labor
unions enjoy their highest approval rating in over a dozen years, newly
obtained documents reveal a nationwide plan by an alliance of
right-wing think tanks to “deliver a mortal blow” to government
employee unions to keep progressive politicians out of power at the
state and national levels.
The State Policy Network
(SPN) documents were obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy and
by the Guardian.
Center for Media and
Democracy describes the
SPN, which kicked off its annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas on
Tuesday, as “the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded
policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the
The 66 think tanks (aka “stink tanks“) that make up the SPN,
explains CMD, “operate as the policy, communications, and litigation
arm of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), giving the
cookie-cutter ALEC agenda a sheen of academic legitimacy and
And here is what these
¨stink tanks¨ are united against. This is from the beginning of
the Wikipedia lemma ¨Labor
unions in the United States¨ (minus note numbers):
In 2016, there were 14.6
million members in the U.S., down from 17.7 million in 1983. The
percentage of workers belonging to a union in the United States (or
total labor union "density") was 10.7%, compared to 20.1% in 1983.
Union membership in the private sector has fallen under 7% — levels not
seen since 1932. From a global perspective, the density in 2013 was
7.7% in France, 18.1% in Germany, 27.1% in Canada, and 85.5% in
Iceland, which is currently highest in the world.
Union workers average 10-30% higher pay than non-union in the United
States after controlling for individual, job, and labor market
States with higher
levels of union membership tend to have higher median incomes and
standards of living. It has been asserted by scholars and the International Monetary Fund that rising income
inequality in the United States is directly attributable to the
decline of the labor movement and union membership.
And these relative
advantages and the remaining political influence of the unions in the
USA are what these 66 ¨stink tanks¨ want to see dead.
Here is one bit on
the relative popularity of unions - in the context of
the fact that about
70% of the American working population has not made any
real advance in their incomes since the 1980ies
(and see item 5 below)
But as said above, the
actual percentage of unionized workers is not 82% nor
42% but is just
11% (rounded). This is a recommended article.
The new reporting comes
as a Gallup poll shows that
61 percent of adults say they approve of labor unions—the highest
approval rating since 2003 and an increase of five points since last
year. Partisan differences are clear: Eighty-one percent of Democrats
approve of unions compared to just 42 percent of Republicans, the poll
Trump Is Our National Emergency
This article is by Adele M.
Stam on AlterNet and originally on The American Prospect. It starts as
President Donald J.
Trump really likes fire engines. They’re big. They’re red. They’re
shiny. And because he’s president, he can get in one whenever
he wants to.
On Tuesday in Corpus
Christi, Texas, as Houston lay drowning, Trump admired an adoring,
pre-screened crowd from atop the bumper
of a firetruck parked at a rural firehouse. “What a crowd,”
the president said, as if he were addressing a campaign rally. “What a
This may strike some
readers as not quite fair, but I am not among them because I am a
psychologist who thinks Donald
Trump is not sane, and who also
thinks that he does have an ideology and a politics,
namely what I call
(and he doesn´t) neofascism,
which I have discussed - for example - here: On Fascism and
Here is more on
Trump´s current political program:
By Wednesday, even as
word spread of the breach of petrochemical plants in Houston that
toxins into the air, it seemed that Trump, who wants to cut
the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency by a third,
had moved on from the historic disaster in Texas. His Wednesday plan is
to deliver a speech in Missouri to build support for a major tax cut he
wants Congress to pass. The tax
plans under consideration disproportionately benefit the
wealthy, and would shrink corporate tax rates significantly.
Yes indeed. And here
is Adele Stam´s judgement:
To recap: The president
responded to a catastrophic event with a photo op on a fire engine;
said he used the news coverage of that deadly catastrophe to advance
word of his pardon of a known racist; made that pardon after being
widely condemned for blaming the violence in Charlottesville on “many
sides”; and was revealed to have lied about his business dealings in
Russia, a country the U.S. intelligence community has concluded
intervened in the U.S. presidential election to the benefit of the
And still Congress, which
is controlled by the president’s party, has made no move that would
lead to Trump’s removal from the presidency. After all, they wouldn’t
want to miss the chance to get that tax cut rammed through.
I agree. Trump is
sick, but he is covered by a Congress and a Senate that are mostly
bought, and who work and vote mostly for the rich, who also pay them.
Flood Victims Don't Even Know What's in the Chemical Plumes They Are
This article is by
Amy Goodman on AlterNet and originally on Democracty Now! It starts as
follows and is about some consequences of hurricane Harvey:
Hurricane Harvey has been
downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane to a tropical depression as it
moves over Louisiana and into Mississippi. Texas officials say at least
44 people were killed by the storm and nearly 100,000 homes are damaged
by flooding. This comes as a chemical plant about 25 miles northeast of
Houston, in Crosby, was rocked by two explosions early Thursday
morning. The facility produces highly volatile chemicals known as
organic peroxides, and at least 10 sheriff’s deputies were hospitalized
after inhaling fumes.
But Federal Emergency Management Agency head Brock Long said a plume of
chemicals leaking from the plant was "incredibly dangerous." We speak
with Matt Dempsey, reporter with the Houston Chronicle who questioned
Arkema about what is stored at the plant and who produced the
investigative series "Chemical Breakdown," which examined regulatory
failures of the chemical industry.
In fact, since I am
not a chemist, I do not know how dangerous this is. But very
are chemists, and that is also not the underlying point, which is not
of adequate chemical knowledge in most, but the suppressing of
nearly all knowledge from chemical spills such as Harvey has caused:
MATT DEMPSEY: Right.
So, yesterday around 8:30 or 9:00, the company sent me a list of the
names of the chemicals, but that is not a Tier II. In fact, I sent a
really pretty angry email back saying, "This is not helpful. This is
not what we asked for." And the reason why I want that Tier II chemical
inventory is because it has the amounts of the chemicals, and it will
tell you what kind of containers those chemicals are contained in. And
I’ve also asked for like a map of the facility. Yesterday, at the press
conference in the morning, they told—they assured me that they would
provide a Tier II. They assured me they’d provide a map of the
facility. I have gotten neither of those things. I have asked for—a
bunch of other questions that remain unanswered.
This may sound a bit
technical (it is) but the main points are that (i) the Arkema company
not say what chemicals are involved, nor (ii) the amounts of chemicals
currently go up in smoke, nor (iii) how these chemicals are stored. And
also keep lying.
Here is some more,
this time about legalities (or ¨legalities¨):
AMY GOODMAN: Can
you explain how it’s possible that when you have 10 sheriff’s deputies
that go off to the hospital, that the public cannot know exactly what
chemicals are poisoning people, not to mention the cause of this
one-and-a-half-mile radius that has been evacuated around the plant?
MATT DEMPSEY: Right.
It’s challenging. I mean, like I said, there is a federal right-to-know
law, but that federal right-to-know law has a clause in it that says it
can’t override any state law. And nationwide, not just in Texas, though
it’s been particularly bad in Texas, that law has been chipped
at—right-to-know has been chipped away by states, making it harder and
harder to get access to these chemicals. So, I can ask. I can ask
questions. I can bug the company. I can send emails and make calls to
the state and other agencies. But it’s just very difficult to make any
progress, because they’ve made it so that they can use terrorism as—the
threat of terrorism as an excuse, in Texas, to shut down access to most
In brief Arkema does not
- or so it seems - have to release any information about the
that are being released as their factory is under water,
because (it is falsely claimed) being honest about the poisons
they do release, involuntarily indeed, would or might or is
said to increase ¨the
threat of terrorism¨...
I say, for that is total
crap. And this is a recommended article.
I Had a Hammer ...
This article is by William Rivers Pitt on Truth-out. This is from near
Know what else is stuck
in the mud, and has been for about the same amount of time? Wages. Your
wages, mine, and just about everyone else's -- 70 percent of workers in
the US -- haven't changed much at all for decades. Adjusted for
inflation, your upward mobility and ability to save for the future are
pretty much right where they were when Jane first said what she had to
They say time flies. When
it comes to the so-called American Dream, however, time has been
The fact that wages in
this country have not improved for two generations running has a whole
lot to do with the ongoing and highly successful campaign fought
against labor unions by the bosses of the world, including the one
who's currently running the country. Today, only about 13 percent of US
households are made up of union workers. The decline in the ranks of
labor unions matches with cold precision the overall decline of the
Yes indeed (bolding
added): ¨wages in this
country have not improved for
two generations running¨,
and this is mostly due to the steady decline of labor unions. Also see item
2 above, where it is said that the percentage of unionized workers
not 13%% but 11%. I do not know who is right, but settle for a 12%
unionization (which is less than 1 in 8 of all the workers).
And this is the brief
history how the unions were mostly defeated:
During the 2016
presidential campaign, one could not go more than a day without hearing
candidate Trump rail about empty factories dotting the landscape like
tombstones. This was, to put it mildly, a hoot, because it was his
wealthy friends and their parents, and their parents' parents, who
intentionally obliterated the manufacturing industry in the United
For many years, labor
unions held the line against ownership's greed and actually made sure a
factory worker could support a family. Their influence was growing, and
that influence had to be stymied if profits were to be maximized. By
deliberately sending our nation's manufacturing core -- steel,
textiles, etc. -- overseas, where wages were lower, ownership pulled a
checkmate move against labor unions, kneecapping their power.
This ¨deliberately sending our nation's
manufacturing core¨ was
mostly done by Bill Clinton, and neither ¨the workers¨ nor ¨the
had any significant vote in the nearly total sell-out of the nation's manufacturing core to where they did
not need to pay their workers 7 doillars an hour, but
more like 1 or 2
dollars a day, thus vastly increasing their profits.
And this is from the end of
Yes, I suppose I agree -
although I must add that a hammer that unites just 1 in 8 of all
workers, and is also supposed to be ¨practically revolutionary¨ (which incidentally is utter bullshit from a
point of view), albeit better than no hammer at all, is not a big
Wait, I do have a hammer.
See, I'm in a union, an
unusual thing these days. Some brave souls organized our shop years
ago, and were able to succeed. Not every workplace that attempts
unionization is able to follow this path. The problem is not that
workers don't want to unionize. The problem is that the act of trying
to unionize is practically revolutionary these days, and the forces
arrayed against those who would organize are aggressive, repressive,
well-funded and also organized themselves.
Anyway, this is a recommended article.
 I have now been saying since the 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.
They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
The only 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 (!!).