A. Selections from
November 2, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, November 2,
This is a crisis
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 will
continue with it.
moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have
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
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from November 2, 2017
Puerto Rico: Fluor and Other Companies Move to
2. The War On Terror Has
Cost Americans an
Astronomical Sum Every Day—for
3. Trump's Trojan
Horse Tax Cut
4. Why Does Amazon
Get Corporate Welfare?
5. Two-Thirds of
Americans Say This Is Lowest Point
in US History They Can Remember
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:
Rico: Fluor and Other Companies Move to Privatize Water
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the
We look at the recovery
of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, which dominated a Senate hearing
Tuesday and was supposed to be the focus of another hearing in the
House today, before it was canceled. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz
was set to testify at the hearing alongside FEMA
chief Brock Long. Earlier Tuesday, Long testified before the Senate
that his agency had nothing to do with approving the controversial $300
million no-bid contract with Whitefish Energy, a tiny company based in
the Montana hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Meanwhile,
Democracy Now!’s Juan González says other companies are moving in to
privatize other services on the island, such as the public water
Yes indeed. And let
me say this, to push this onto a higher plane:
I will not consider the
first two items in this review, but I do assert that
The four most important facts that create
human history are these:
(i) money and power are more or less interchangeable
(ii) they have their power because for 2500 years there have
hardly any legal limits whatsoever to curb the influences of much money
or of much power.
this is what we are seeing in Puerto Rico, which has collapsed
because of a huge storm, which again have unchained the rich and the
powerful to vastly extend their riches and their power.
Here is some more:
GONZÁLEZ: (..) [T]his is just part of the continuing problem
of the—not only the corruption in, unfortunately, Puerto Rico, but also
of the failure of the entire oversight system that the United States
has set up. I want to let folks know, the financial control board had a
meeting this week. And among the things that they decided was—
GOODMAN: The financial
control board over Puerto Rico.
GONZÁLEZ: (..) And they—and among the things that they decided
is they now have re-established a $10 million limit on any contract
that the government of Puerto Rico can issue without their approval.
And they reserve the right to review any contract (..)
is: The financial
powers are creating the conditions for those with power to get the most
power and the most money for the few, by profiting of the
the many without power and with little money.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, clearly, there is a
morass that is developing in terms of recovery in Puerto Rico. And the
federal government is implicated. The financial control board is
implicated. The governor, the local government of Puerto Rico is
implicated. And we’re going to continue to see huge problems, I
believe, in the recovery effort in Puerto Rico, because everyone’s
pointing fingers, but at the same time lots of people are making money
off of this recovery.
Yes indeed - and see above for a more or less comprehensive explanation
of how the extreme power and the extreme wealth of a very few rule the
fates and the chances of everyone else.
This is a recommended article.
War On Terror Has Cost Americans an Astronomical Sum Every Day—for 16
This article is by Jay Cassano on AlterNet and originally on the
International Business Times. It starts as follows:
American taxpayers have
spent $1.46 trillion on wars abroad since September 11, 2001.
The Department of Defense
periodically releases a “cost of war” report. The newly released
version, obtained by the Federation of American Scientists Secrecy
News blog, covers the time from the September 11th terrorist
attacks through mid-2017.
have to take this
for granted, though I believe the main message. And there are three
points in the above bit that have to be stressed: Indeed it are the
American taxpayers who had (and have) to pay for the wars; most
wars are in effect illegal, because Congress has not been
pronounce on them; and the cost of the war is (at least) $1.46 =
* 1.000.000.000.000 dollars.
Here is some more:
The Afghanistan War from
2001 to 2014 and Iraq War from 2003 to 2011 account for the bulk of
expenses: more than $1.3 trillion. The continuing presence in
Afghanistan and aerial anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria since
2014 have cost a combined $120 billion.
The report’s costs
include only direct war-related expenses such as operating and
maintaining bases, procuring equipment, and paying for and feeding
troops. It most notably does not include the expense of veteran’s
benefits for troops who serve in these wars or the intelligence
community’s expenses related to Global War on Terror.
- once again -
that (i) none of these wars were approved by Congress, and (ii) the "report’s costs include only direct
notably not (iii) the costs of veterans' benefits.
Here is one estimate
of that cost:
2011 paper from Harvard Kennedy School professor Linda Bilmes
estimated the cost of veterans’ benefits as $600 billion to $1 trillion
over the next 40 years.
And this is to put a
perspective on it:
According to the Congressional
Research Service, the only war in U.S. history to cost more than
the Global War on Terror is World War II, at more than $4.1 trillion in
present dollars. Direct war-related expenses from the Vietnam War cost
$738 billion in today's dollars.
WW II took more
money (and that war was approved by Congress), whereas "the wars to
institutionalize the powers of the secret services everywhere" (which
my realistic translation of the propagandistic "War on
been going on now for 16 years.
This is a recommended
Trojan Horse Tax Cut
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
The goal of Trump and
the Republican leaders is to pull off a giant redistribution of over $1
trillion from the middle-class, working-class, and poor to the rich,
already richer than ever.
They’re selling this
to the public with a false claim that the middle-class will benefit
tax cut plan. It’s a gigantic Trojan horse.
For most Americans,
the proposed tax cuts are tiny and temporary. That’s right –
They will shrink in just a few years. And some middle class
will actually get a tax increase.
Meanwhile, the top 1
percent will get a gigantic tax cut. The Tax Policy Center estimates
current plan will save the bottom 80 percent between $50 and $450 in
year, but that it saves each person in the top 1 percent an average of
indeed, but by now I
have so often repeated what seem the major true
these gigantic thefts by the rich from the non-rich, namely the stupidity and
of large parts (at least half) of the non-rich, that I just
repeat it here (but doubt I will be heard: the majority of the
people test claims by how they feel about
these claims, and not
by the facts).
I make just one more remark on the above quote: $129,000 is more than
twice the yearly average income in the USA.
Here are the - as always: totally false and utterly
promises of the rich:
Yes indeed. There is
more in the article and there is also a good video
(of 3 min) that explains the same.
economic “growth” will pay for the tax cuts, so there’s no need to cut
programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
But Republicans have
just passed a budget that would cut nearly $1.5 trillion from Medicare
Medicaid to pay for these tax cuts. Pell Grants, housing
even cancer research are also on the chopping block.
Does Amazon Get Corporate Welfare?
This article is by
Jim Hightower on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Jeffrey Preston Bezos is
the man of unbounded ambition who founded Amazon, the online retailing
colossus that trumpets itself as "Earth's most customer-centric
company." He's considered a model of tech wizardry for having totally
reinvented retail marketing for our smart-phone, globally-linked age.
Amazon peddles a cornucopia of goods through a convenient "1-click"
ordering system, rapidly delivering the goods right to your doorstep.
For me, Bezos is one
of the freakiest degenerates there is, together with Mark Zuckerberg
and Bill Gates, and personally I do not want anything to do
freaky and sick creation Amazon.
Here is his latest
utterly sick invention:
Unfortunately, this will
probably succeed with the majority of the folks who sell all their
privacy to get special advertisements of products they want.
No one has imagined
corporate domination more expansively nor pushed it harder or further
than Bezos, and his Amazon stands today as the most advanced and the
most ambitious model of a future under oligarchic control, including
control of markets, work, information, consumerism, media and beyond.
He doesn't merely see himself remaking commerce with his vast
electronic networks, algorithms and metrics — but rebooting America
itself, including changing our society's concept of a job, the
definition of community, and even our basic values of fairness and
justice. It amounts to a breathtaking aspiration to transform our
culture's democratic paradigm into a corporate imperium, led by Amazon.
Amazon's most recent
announcement is that it wants to get inside your home — and,
ironically, it's using "security" as its rationale. Rather than Amazon
leaving products you order on your doorstep, the corporation wants a
key to unlock your door so its delivery crews can do you the favor of
placing the products you order inside your abode.
of Americans Say This Is Lowest Point in US History They Can Remember
This article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It
starts as follows:
A majority of Americans
surveyed in a study of stress levels, released on Wednesday, said they
consider the present day to be the lowest point in U.S. history, and
indicated that the future of the nation is a major source of stress in
Out of 3,440 respondents surveyed
in August by the American Psychological Association,
fifty-nine percent said they can't remember a worse time in the
nation's history. The people surveyed included Americans who had lived
through World War II, the Vietnam War, the September 11 attacks, and
the Cuban Missile Crisis.
should say I am a
Dutch psychologist (by education) who does not have much faith in the American Psychological Association, but I
guess the present research (that also is not about specifically
psychological theories) can be trusted:
out of 10
Americans cannot recall "a worse
time in the nation's history"
(and incidentally, this is one of my reasons to proudly
crisis series - see the crisis indexes -
as crisis series: only the few
rich profit from the crisis that started in 2008).
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
More than a third of
those polled said the economy was their biggest worry. Trump has been
pushing his tax
plan in recent weeks, which is expected
to hold the most benefits for wealthy Americans.
Another 32 percent said
"trust in government" was their biggest concern and 31 percent said
hate crimes or crime in general were their top source of stress
regarding the nation.
There is some more in the
article, that is recommended.
I have now been saying since
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 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).
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 (!!).