from October 11, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
I have been
writing about the crisis since September
1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) 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 more than two years
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
I shall continue.
2. Crisis Files
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from October 11, 2018:
1. Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, and the Rule of Pampered
The 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:
2. We Need to Act Now to Preserve Our Planet for Future
Perpetuates Destructive Climate Change Myth
and the End of Antitrust
5. Let’s Start a Kavanaugh Watch to Check All Five Corporate
Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, and the Rule of Pampered Princelings
This article is by
Naomi Klein on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
“Boring.” That was Donald
Trump’s instant verdict on the New York Times’s blockbuster investigation
into the rampant tax fraud and nepotism that undergirds his fortune.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders heartily concurred, informing the White House
press corps that she refused to “go through every line of a very
boring, 14,000-word story.”
Welcome to a new political
PR strategy premised on the shredding of the American mind — you don’t
want to even try to read that interminable article; check out my
Twitter feed instead, and this viral video of me saying rabid things.
I take it (I am not
quite sure) that Naomi Klein is sarcastic in the
paragraph. If so, she is correct, and indeed she is talking, albeit it
very indirectly, about a much wider trend in publishing on
Some 10 days ago Mother
Jones turned suddenly (without any announcement) neofascistic
(I am sorry, but that is my term) by making all of it uncopyable.
Incidentally, it seems to have been fitted before that for tablets
and not for the screen I use on my desktop. And so it has
become both entirely worthless and a pain to use.
The Guardian did so
earlier (already more than a year ago). Huffington Post likewise.
I am strongly
against all this, and I agree with Linux, which is the
system I use. This is quoted from the collinsdictionary for ¨copyable¨:
itself has always been covered by the GNU General Public Licence, which
any software offered under its terms is freely distributable, copyable
I think this also
for dailies. In fact, I think I have to review the list of 35
consult every morning, for I just do not want uncopyable sites,
indeed in part because I quite agree with a Dutch author, who
asked some 30 or 40 years ago
¨What was worth a
billion yesterday, twentyfive cents today, and nothing tomorrow? The
I quite agree,
let my readers know when I have reviewed the list of 35 sites (which
may take a while for I am not healthy).
Back to Klein´s
article, that is in fact about something quite different
from (un)copyable daily news:
For Klein´s article is in
fact about a specific kind of
American very rich persons, namely
those who did not make their wealth
themselves, but who inherited their
wealth, because they are ¨scions of dynastic families¨.
What makes the Times’
revelations more important is that they are a rare window into an even
larger story about the growing political and economic role of inherited
money in the United States — the culmination of decades in which a
handful of sons and daughters of bequeathed wealth waged a fierce and
relentless battle of ideas against the very concept of equality and
majority rule, all based on the same corrupting belief in their own
Trump may be the highest
profile of such heirs to wield political power, but he never would have
gotten where he is without the ideological scaffolding carefully put in
place by other scions of dynastic families (..)
Indeed, these are the ¨Pampered Princelings¨ that occur in her title.
Then again, I must say that I am not
interested in ¨Pampered
Princelings¨ as distinguished
from what I suppose are the ¨Non- Pampered Princelings¨, who got
extremely wealthy themselves.
In fact I am intererested in the rich and the mega-rich, but I
am not interested in - rather arbitrary, also - distinctions
between several groups of the rich.
And therefore I will give only one more quotation from this article:
A great deal of excellent
investigative journalism has gone into tracking the money behind this
sprawling class war, most notably by Jane Mayer in her indispensable
“Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of
the Radical Right.” Mayer showed
that though figures like the Kochs are highly ideological, the policies
pushed by these wealthy families also happen to directly benefit their
bottom lines. Laxer regulations, lower taxes, weaker unions, and
unfettered access to international markets tend to do that.
Much less attention,
however, has been paid to the implications of so much of this financing
coming not just from unfathomably rich people, but people born that
way. And yet it is striking that the figures at the dead center of this
campaign were not Chicago school economists, nor were most of them
self-made business leaders who had pulled themselves up by their
bootstraps. They were, like Trump, pampered princelings whose fortunes
had been handed to them by their parents.
I suppose the first of
the quoted paragraphs is true, but I can explain the second paragraph
rather easily: There are far more people born very rich than become very rich
Need to Act Now to Preserve Our Planet for Future Generations
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
As Hurricane Michael
barreled down on Florida, famed climate scientist Dr. James Hansen
traveled to Minnesota earlier this week to testify on the imminent
danger of climate change. He was supposed to be an expert witness at
the trial for the “valve turners,” the anti-pipeline activists who
staged an unprecedented coordinated action to shut down the flow of oil
from Canada to the United States in 2016. But the judge ruled she would
not allow witnesses like Dr. Hansen to testify on the clear and present
danger posed by climate change. On Tuesday, valve turner activists
Annette Klapstein and Emily Johnston were acquitted. We speak with
Hansen in Minneapolis about the valve turners, the recent IPCC
To start with, here is some information about Dr. James Hansen.
Here is some more about him:
the imminent threat of climate change and what must be done to save the
planet from destruction. Hansen is the former top climate scientist at
NASA. He is now the director of Climate Science, Awareness and
Solutions at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
GOODMAN: Dr. James Hansen
is the former top climate scientist at NASA.
From 1981 to 2013, he was the head of the NASA
Goddard Institute for Space Studies, now the director of Climate
Science, Awareness and Solutions at Columbia University’s Earth
Institute. He traveled to Minnesota to testify at the trial for the
valve turners, but the judge ruled she would not allow expert
witnesses, like Dr. Hansen and 350.org
founder Bill McKibben, to raise this issue—to testify at all or raise
this issue about climate change and the connection to what the valve
turners were doing. Dr. Hansen, why did you go to Minnesota, agree to
testify in this case? Why did, the valve turners, you want to defend?
HANSEN: Well, of course,
they’re trying to draw attention to the climate issue, and particularly
to the egregious role of the tar sands. And I just was supposed to help
explain the climate consequences of this carbon source.
Quite so, but then
again the judge did not allow him to testify. Here is some more:
GOODMAN: You know, it’s
interesting that this trial came just as the United Nations climate
scientists warned in a landmark report that humanity has only a dozen
years to mitigate climate change or face global catastrophe.
Yeah, well, I think this report is really a good report from IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change. The prior reports do not always convey the urgency of the issue
and really make it very clear to the public. But this one, I think, did
a very good job, both in warning about the consequences if we don’t do
something, and in making clear that we still can do something, but we
have to begin very quickly to actually phase down emissions, while, in
fact, emissions will continue to climb if we don’t have some
significant policy changes.
Well... I have been
following the environment for nearly 50 years, and besides
things about the environment, which indeed were and are quite
interesting and useful, I have learned one more lesson, albeit
politics, politicians and judges: These persons - who all have
considerably more power than mere scientists, including well-known
scientists - have the last 50 years consistently done far too little,
and if they did something useful did it consistently far too
I am sorry, but I
believe nearly 50 years of such lessons, which also is the reason that
I think the IPCC report will get a similar treatment, though I agree
that this is most regrettable.
Perpetuates Destructive Climate Change Myth
This article is by
Naomi LaChance on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed, and I know
this sort of news from the Dutch papers I look at every morning, which
seem as fond of it as CNN.
CNN drew the ire of
environmentalists Tuesday by focusing its discussion of climate change
on what individuals can do—without addressing the influence of
corporations’ greenhouse gas emissions.
by that new report on climate change? Here’s what you can do to help:
• Eat less meat (about
• Swap your car or
plane ride for a bus or train
• Use a smart
thermostat in your home, and upgrade to more efficient appliances
In fact, I decided long ago this was almost complete boloney.
my main reason:
Solutions such as
vegetarianism, public transit and smart home
appliances ultimately pale in comparison to the harm caused by fossil
fuels. The cable news outlet borrowed its suggestions from a report
published Monday by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change. The report found the planet to be at risk of extreme drought,
wildfires, floods and food shortages by 2030, and it listed a number of
ways in which individuals could reduce their carbon footprint. But
solving our climate crisis isn’t quite so simple.
I grant ¨vegetarianism, public transit and smart home
appliances¨ might make a
small difference (that also is difficult to quantify),
but these small
differences pale in comparison with the enormous amounts of
are put in the air by the corporations that produce oil and gas.
And in fact no amount of individual actions like ¨vegetarianism, public transit and smart home
appliances¨ can alter the influence of the corporations that produce oil and
gas, as is illustrated by this tweet that mocks the tweet I started
This seems a valid
response to me, but the problem is that in the present political
conditions these measures are purely imaginary and will never be
by that new report on climate change? Here’s what you can do to help:
• Seize the state
• Bring the fossil
fuel industry under public ownership, rapidly scale down production
• Fund a massive jobs
program to decarbonize every sector of the economy (..)
— Kate Scare-onoff
Here is the ending of this article:
The reality is that
fossil fuels are destroying our planet, and no
amount of solar panels and lifestyle changes will save it if major
culprits are not held accountable.
I agree. And since I have
the last nearly 50 years not seen any serious attempt to hold the ¨major
culprits¨ accountable, my
own guess is - very regrettably - that this lack of any serious attempt to hold the the corporations that produce oil and
gas accountable may only stop when New York, San Francisco and some
other big cities have been seriously flooded.
4. Trump and the End of
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Trump Justice Department has approved a $69
billion merger between CVS, the nation’s largest drugstore
chain, and insurance giant Aetna. It’s the largest health insurance
deal in history.
Executives say the
combination will make their
companies more efficient, allowing them to gain economies of scale and
waste out of the system.
Rubbish. This is what
big companies always say when they merge.
The real purpose is
to give Aetna and CVS more bargaining power over their consumers and
employees, as well as pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers
have also been consolidating).
The result: Higher prices.
more on healthcare and medications per person than do citizens in
developed country – and our health is among the worst.
Quite so, and
incidentally, although this is not as bad as in the USA, the same
developments happen in Holland and elsewhere in Europe.
Here is more, on the
laws that might have prevented these developments in the USA,
I think this is true,
although it is schematic. Here is more:
America used to
have antitrust laws that permanently stopped corporations from
markets, and often broke up the biggest culprits.
But now, especially with
Trump as president and lobbyists and CEOs running much of the
government, giant corporations like Aetna and CVS are busily weakening
antitrust enforcement and taking over the economy.
They’re also keeping down
wages. Workers with less choice of whom to work for have a
harder time getting a raise. So when local labor markets are dominated
major drug chain like CVS or one big box retailer like Walmart,
essentially set wage rates for the area.
corporations also have a lot of political clout – another reason
We see the same pattern
across the economy. Wall Street’s five largest banks now account for 44
percent of America’s banking assets – up from about 10 percent
thirty years ago. That means higher interest rates on loans, higher
late fees, and a greater risk of another “too-big-to-fail” bailout.
don’t dare bust them up because Wall Street pays part of their campaign
Quite so - and
especially the second quoted paragraph that shows that, in fact, most
politicians these days, whether they are Republicans or Democrats,
collaborate with Wall Street rather than oppose it, and that they
because ¨Wall Street pays
part of their campaign
And in fact that set-up
is not one that belongs to a democracy but to a plutocracy.
Here is Reich´s ending:
I agree and this is a
We’re now in a
new Gilded Age of wealth and power similar to the first Gilded Age of
the late nineteenth century when the nation’s
antitrust laws were enacted. But unlike then, today’s biggest
enough political clout to neuter antitrust.
un-rigs the market through bold antitrust action to restore
competition, the hidden upward
distributions from consumers and workers to corporate chieftains and
major investors will grow even larger.
If Democrats ever
get back in power, one of the first things they need to do is revive
Start a Kavanaugh Watch to Check All Five Corporate Judges
This article is by
Ralph Nader on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed, and I have
previously pointed out that the ¨mass media¨, which were absolutely filled
Brett Kavanaugh, the new Injustice of the
Supreme Court of the United States, must be pleased by the leading news
stories on Monday and Tuesday regarding his swift swearing-in on
Saturday. The multiple perjurer, corporate supremacist, presidential
power-monger, and a past fugitive from justice (regarding credible
claims of sexual assault), Kavanaugh saw critical media coverage become
yesterday’s story. The mass media has moved on to other calamities,
tragedies, superstorms, and celebrity outrages. Opponents of his
nomination must persevere anew.
with reports by all manner of journalists writing about each and every
aspect of Kavanaugh´s nomination, now have moved ¨to other calamities, tragedies, superstorms,
and celebrity outrages¨.
Here is more on the Supreme Court and on Kavanaugh:
The future of the
Supreme Court looks grim considering Kavanaugh’s judicial decisions and
involvement in war crimes and torture as Staff Secretary to President
George W. Bush. It is likely that Kavanaugh will be the cruelest and
most insensitive justice on the high Court. His support of corporate
power will have few limits. That’s saying something, given the rulings
of Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.
I think all of this is
quite correct. Here is more on Kavanaugh:
Kavanaugh’s decisions and
political statements are so off the wall, I’ve called him a corporation
masquerading as a human being. Corporations’ uber alles is
his pre-eminent core philosophy. Public Citizen’s analysis of his
judicial record (apart from his extremist political ideology) showed
that in split-decision cases (which are the most ideologically
revealing cases), Kavanaugh ruled 15 times against worker rights and 2
times for worker rights. On environmental protection, he ruled 11 times
for business interests and 2 times for the public’s interest. On
consumer protection, he ruled 18 times for businesses and only 4 times
for consumers. As for monopoly cases, he ruled 2 times for the
corporation and zero times for market competition.
The Alliance for
Justice report on nominee Kavanaugh summed up their research with
“He has repeatedly sided
with the wealthy and the powerful over all Americans. He has fought
consumer protections in the areas of automobile safety, financial
services and a free and open Internet. Kavanaugh has also repeatedly
ruled against workers, workplace protections and safety regulations…
Kavanaugh has repeatedly ruled against efforts to combat climate change
and the regulation of greenhouse gases. He also repeatedly ruled
against protections for clean air..”
Locking in the 5 to 4
dominant corporate muscle of the Supreme Court will endanger you as a
consumer and will jeopardize your health and economic well-being.
Unless you become a corporation, your freedoms will be jeopardized.
(See the Citizens United
Decision in 2010 that allowed our elections to be overwhelmed
with unlimited commercial campaign money and propaganda).
Quite so. This is again
on the Supreme Court and Kavanaugh:
The Supreme Court is deeply
political – forget about the claims of judicial independence by the
five Justices in the majority. Their votes on issues of class, race,
presidential and corporate power, peoples’ rights, and remedies and
access to justice (day in court with trial by jury) against
corporations are quite predictable.
A new Kavanaugh Watch group
– lean and sharp – needs to be created to publicize the Five
Corporatist Judges. Their unjust decisions, hiding behind stylized
plausibility and casuistry, need to be unmasked and regularly relayed
to the American people. Their speeches to the Federalist Society (that
shoehorned them onto the Court) and other plutocratic audiences need to
be publicized and critiqued.
Well... I agree the Supreme
Court is political, but I take it this holds for the more
more liberal minority in it as well.
As to a ¨Kavanaugh Watch group¨: I don´t think this is a bad idea,
also don´t think it will be realized, indeed mostly because I think for
the large majority his nomination is (already) ¨in the past¨, and
besides because such a group needs money.
This is from the ending of
I guess not (which is
regrettable) and the reasons for my guess are that billionaires know
that as long as they are billionaires they and their families will be
the first almost anywhere.
Finally, are there a few
billionaires in the country, concerned enough about what their
children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to inherit
from our generation, to make a significant founding grant to launch the
Kavanaugh and company watch dog project?
But this is a recommended article.