A. Selections from
November 6, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Monday November 6,
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 6, 2017
'Paradise Papers' Reveal Tax Avoidance, Shady
Dealings of World's Rich and
2. Trump and Dangerous
Hubris: We Have Never Had
a President Like This One
3. The Definition of Obscenity Is the Huge Money and
Benefits Our Gov't Hands Over
4. RussiaDidIt: cheap meddling, closet Marxists and
5. The Pity of It All
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:
Papers' Reveal Tax Avoidance, Shady Dealings of World's Rich and
This article is by Jon
Queally on Common Dreams. This starts as follows:
Some of the
world's wealthiest and most powerful people will be waking up on Monday
to discover that some of their best kept secrets—how they hide their
vast wealth and avoid paying taxes—are now being read about in
newspapers across the world after the release of a trove of offshore
legal and banking documents were leaked to journalists and published
Sunday as a joint project called the 'Paradise
First obtained by the German
newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the documents were then shared
with scores of journalists and researchers associated with the International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media
organizations, including the New York Times, BBC,
and the Guardian.
indeed, although I did not know about the Paradise Papers until
this morning, but there is a whole lot in the Guardian and some in the
New York Times.
I chose Common Dreams,
simply because I can copy it (unlike the pretty insane
Guardian) and because I trust Common Dreams a lot more than
the Guardian and others.
Here is a bit on the
difference between the few rich and the few powerful on the one hand,
and the very many non-rich and non-powerful on the other hand:
"There is this
small group of people who are not equally subject to the laws as the
rest of us, and that's on purpose," said
author and financial expert Brooke Harrington in response to the new
insights about how these elites secretly manage their wealth.
I think that is correct,
and indeed may be formulated more generally:
law exists - in the opinions of the few rich and the few powerful - to
restrain or repress the non-rich and the non- powerful; it does not
exist to restrain the rich or the powerful, and indeed these have both
the money and the lawyers to circumvent almost anything.
There also is either a
fair amount or a large amount of - financial - information on
various rich people. I have not sorted this myself yet, and do not know
how interesting the material is, but here is one interesting bit from
it (and the ICIJ = International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists):
And this is all correct
to the best of my knowledge, while there also is a lot more, both in
this article and elsewhere.
As the ICIJ
reports, the "trove of 13.4 million records exposes ties between Russia
and U.S. President Donald Trump's billionaire commerce secretary, the
secret dealings of the chief
fundraiser for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the
offshore interests of the Queen of England and more than 120
politicians around the world." According to the ICIJ, the
show how deeply the
offshore financial system is entangled with the overlapping worlds of
political players, private wealth and corporate giants, including
Apple, Nike, Uber and other global companies that avoid taxes through
increasingly imaginative bookkeeping maneuvers.
This is a recommended article, and there may be more on the Paradise
Papers later in Nederlog.
and Dangerous Hubris: We Have Never Had a President Like This One
This article is by
Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg on AlterNet and originally on Salon.
It starts as follows:
What happens when someone
with the temperament and knowledge-deficiencies of Donald Trump is
backed into a corner? Let’s hope we don’t find out.
Humility’s unworthy opposite, hubris, is a quality we’re accustomed to
in public life. Whenever the prospect of war looms, we should be
especially worried. Hubris is a degenerative disorder that rarely, if
ever, ends well. Before jumping to conclusions, though, in a way, it
doesn’t matter that Donald Trump combines tough talk and peevishness
with crude theatricality, immaturity, a short attention span and a
scary ability to tell comforting lies to himself. There is nothing new
about the hubristic presidency.
of the writers are "professors of history" and there is absolutely
nothing in their article that even suggests that these
"scientists" (I am sorry but history is not a science) have
read any of the 62,000 psychologists and psychiatrists who do NOT
say that Trump has "hubris" or "kleptocracy" or any other of the many
"diagnoses" ignorant journalists have cooked up as "explanations" for
Trump's behavior, but that he does have the personal pathology of
grandiose or malignant narcissism, in the terms of the DSM-IV.
sorry: I am a psychologist and I have decided over 1 1/2 years
ago that Trump is insane. I am not
saying this is certain, but I am saying that (i) it is
(ii) it is the best known more or less systematic
explanation for the many deviances Trump shows with other
presidents, and (iii) I am now also saying that two historians
who do not even mention any psychology or psychiatry, but do
entertain all manner of psychological explanations (like "hubris" etc.
etc.) are simply either extremely lazy or else incompetent or else out
to pick their own financial gains.
I don't know any evidence that
"[h]ubris is a
degenerative disorder". I had another quote, but I discard it for
I think this is simply a lousy article.
Definition of Obscenity Is the Huge Money and Benefits Our Gov't Hands
Over to Amazon
This article is by
Jim Hightower on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
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.
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.
as I said in item 5 I have no TV since 1970,
which makes me a little odd. I also much dislike Amazon, Bezos,
Apple, Windows, Google and the universally spying secret services, for
which reasons I do not use any of these, and also do not
and never wil have a cellphone: I hate being spied upon
by all of the above + god knows how many secret services.
Finally, if you are stupid enough to trust Bezos or to buy into his
schema for getting - anonymously - into your house, I think you are
But the above seems quite true, as does the following bit that shows
some more about Bezos and Amazon:
witnessing the most disgusting spectacle yet of the politico-corporate
cabal extracting money from the People's wallets to enrich themselves.
The $136-billion-a-year internet colossus, has haughtily generated a
shameful public bidding war over the location of its new corporate
headquarters. The "winner" essentially will be the city and state that
offers the most bribe money from their treasury.
There is more in the
article, that is recommended.
Uber-rich Amazon doesn't
need and certainly doesn't deserve this giveaway, but officials in 238
cities have prostrated themselves in front of the welfare queen in an
embarrassing bid to win her nod. In fact, their offers have been based
on Amazon's very specific demands, including a "business-friendly
environment and tax structure," plus free land, payment of its capital
and operational costs, tax breaks, relocation grants for executives and
workforce, reduced utility bills and construction fees and... oh yeah,
also give us first-rate schools and an educated labor pool.
cheap meddling, closet Marxists and racial tensions
This article is by Ricardo Vaz
on the Off-Guardian and originally on InvestigAction.net. It starts as
It seems like all
the evils that plague the western world these days have a common cause.
Brexit, Catalonia, Trump, racial tensions, the lack of credibility of the EU, all
of these have a simple explanation, if we are to believe the mainstream
media and pundits: Russia is behind it. And not just Russia, but Putin
himself. He must be the busiest villain in history.
True journalists like Robert Parry have analysed and exposed the rise
of this new McCarthyism, and how
uncorroborated, or sometimes outrightly false, allegations
gradually become unquestionable facts.
indeed - and I completely agree and indeed have rejected the
"Russia-gate" explanations as total propaganda.
(One thing most Americans seem to miss about Putin and Russia is that
Russia is very capitalistic, and became so with the help of
many Americans, in the 1990ies).
And indeed Robert Parry
is one of the real journalists who has analyzed this idiocy
quite a few
times, and who did so quite rationally and reasonably.
Here is more on the
Guardian (that has become very much worse since the new editor
Viner took over: they seem most interested in the
of their own journalists, at least so far as I can see):
As expected, the
Guardian has embraced the idea that the Russians “hacked” the 2016 US
elections (whatever that means) wholeheartedly.
Well... in fact here is
the meaning of "Russian hacking":
The liberal media
have often thrown these outrageous suggestions that activism like Black
Lives Matter is part of a foreign agenda, as opposed to a reaction to
the structural racism that exists in the US (more on this later). But
the main point that needs to be addressed about this cunning plan is
the following: how much did the Russians spend in these devious
activities of inflaming tensions in the US? A whopping… 80.000 dollars!
The Guardian thinks the activities of some alleged troll factory
engaging in social media activity and paying activists a grand total of
$80.000 represents unacceptable Russian “meddling”!
so - and if you want to know more about "Russian hacking" see Parry's Blaming
Russia for the Internet ‘Sewer’ (that I reviewed on October
19) from which I also quote the following - and $27 billion = the
yearly advertising turnover on Facebook, while $100,000 is what
says the Russians spend on advertising:
billion / $ 100,000 = the 0.00001th (a hundred
thousandth) part of Facebook's
annual revenue. And this seems to be the main reason why "the Russians have “basically turned [the
Internet] into a sewer.”".
If you believe that is "meddling in the US elections"
Let us put this
number in perspective. Hillary Clinton made $3 million out of 12 speeches to
big banks. The entire spending in the US presidential election was
almost $2 billion. And the Guardian is
worried about these $80.000 worth of meddling. For comparison USAID
spent $4.2 million
advancing US interests in Venezuela in
And this is why Ricardo
Vaz is quite right, and why this is a recommended article.
5. The Pity of It All
This article is by Frances
Fitzgerald on The New York Review of Books. It starts as follows:
Ken Burns achieved
renown with lengthy film histories of the Civil War, World War II,
jazz, and baseball, but he describes his documentary The Vietnam War,
made in close collaboration with his codirector and coproducer Lynn
Novick, as “the most ambitious project we’ve ever undertaken.”
Ten years in the making, it tells the story of the war in ten parts and
over eighteen hours. Burns and Novick have made a film that conveys the
realities of the war with extraordinary footage of battles in Vietnam
and antiwar demonstrations in the United States.
Yes indeed. I have not seen any of it, and much
doubt I will, for I do not even have a TV since 1970 (I hate propaganda, deceptions, advertisements,
and I get far too much of any of these items on TV, which I
therefore don't have) but I did live and think while
the Vietnam War lasted, and I have read several reviews of Burns' work.
This seems a decent review, and I will pick out three points from it.
The first is this:
I think this is probably
correct, as is the following:
For those under forty,
for whom the Vietnam War seems as distant as World War I or II, the
film will serve as an education; for those who lived through it, the
film will serve as a reminder of its horrors and of the official lies
that drove it forward. In many ways it is hard to watch, and its battle
scenes will revive the worst nightmares of those who witnessed them
Asked why he and Novick took
on this project, Burns said that more than forty years after the war
ended, we can’t forget it, and we are still arguing about it. We are
all, Novick added, “searching for some meaning in this terrible
tragedy.” Their aim, the filmmakers said, was to explore whether the
war was a terrible mistake that could have been avoided.
What is truly
admirable about the film is the effort to show the many Vietnamese
sides of the war. Burns and Novick interviewed Saigon government
officials as well as dozens of NLF and North Vietnamese
survivors: ordinary soldiers, officers, political cadres, and
civilians. Many tell of the incessant bombing and the destruction of
indeed, for this seems to be quite true. Incidentally, Peter
Coyote, who voiced the comments for the film also remarked on this,
and added that these efforts did not increase his sympathy for
the North Vietnamese because these seem to have been as manipulative as
And there is also this in Burns' The Vietnam War:
The filmmakers pay
considerable attention to the antiwar movement. In the film, Bill
Zimmerman, a relatively unknown moderate antiwar activist, explains the
rationale behind the student strikes and demonstrations but deplores
the violence of fringe factions such as the Weathermen. The footage of
the demonstrations, the fracas outside the 1968 Democratic Convention
in Chicago, and the veterans throwing their medals over the White House
fence is well known but nonetheless effective in conveying the domestic
turmoil that arose during the war.
This side also is
usually excluded from American reports and document- aries, as
were the efforts and values of the North Vietnamese.
There is a lot more in the article, that seems to be a decent review
and 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 (!!).