in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from January 30, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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 three 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 January 30, 2019:
1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Her First
Weeks in Washington
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. The Making of Juan Guaidó
3. Public Workers’ Trump Card
4. 'Greed Has No Limit for GOP'
5. Here's the real story of the 2020 election:
Billionaires vs. America
Ocasio-Cortez on Her First Weeks in Washington
This article is by
Ryan Grim and Briahna Gray on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title.
It starts as follows:
freshman New York representative, joins Intercept reporters Ryan Grim
and Briahna Joy Gray for an in-depth conversation about her approach to
politics and social media, her thoughts on the 2020 presidential
election, and her out-of-nowhere congressional campaign. As a new
member of the House Financial Services Committee, she’s already shaping
the conversation with her call to raise the top marginal tax rate to 70
percent. Former North Carolina Rep. Brad Miller, a
progressive Democrat who served for years on the Financial Services
Committee, joins the conversation to talk about the challenges
Ocasio-Cortez will face there.
Yes, but I have got to
admit that I did not much like the interview that follows. I do
not rightly know what is the reason, but I did not like Briahna Gray
(whom I have never heard of or read anything by before).
Here is some more:
BJG: So I
just want to start by asking you, like, how are you feeling right now?
feeling good. You know, it’s funny, most days I have no idea what day
it is. And people are like, “Have a good weekend.” And I’m like “What?”
Would be fair to say that some of the cooking that happens on Instagram
Live is a necessity because you just have to multitask?
Absolutely, absolutely. It definitely is. It’s, it’s it’s a total
necessity and I figured it’s also a good way to use technology to reach
constituents because sometimes it’s just physically almost impossible
with demands on our time. So we have to figure out ways to kind of use
the the small pockets of time that we do have creatively, even if it’s
just when I’m, you know, prepping vegetables for dinner, if I can get,
if I can get a conversation about policy in there, it’s tremendously
what I talked about above. Then again, there is some political
think — yeah, well I actually feel like I do, it started off
unintentionally, but I feel like I end up listening to things in that,
I’ll tweet something and something that gets particularly extra
traction, I, I kind of dissect especially if I, if I didn’t expect it
to build traction and I’m like hmmm.
It was a similar thing
actually with the Green New Deal is that we were floating this as a
policy discussion before even the general election and what we found
was that we were, we were interviewing policy experts and academics and
activists and advocates about this and we weren’t even sure if we
wanted to call it a Green New Deal. I wasn’t 1000 percent sure on that
kind of branding, if you will, or how we would talk about that. And
what we found was that it was. [K]ind of a working title, Green New
Deal was a working title, and we almost had the understanding that was
going to be called something else, but it kept like leaking and
catching and people just started writing articles calling it a Green
New Deal (..)
OK, I did not
know this. But as I said, I did not much like this article.
Making of Juan Guaidó
This article is by
Dan Cohen and Max Bumenthal on Consortium News. I abbreviated the
title. It starts as follows:
the fateful date of Jan. 22, fewer than 1-in-5 Venezuelans had heard of
Juan Guaidó. Only a few months ago, the 35-year-old was an obscure
character in a politically marginal far-right group closely associated
with gruesome acts of street violence. Even in his own party, Guaidó
had been a mid-level figure in the opposition-dominated National
Assembly, which is now held under contempt according to Venezuela’s
But after a
single phone call from from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó
proclaimed himself as president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of
his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom
dweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the U.S.-selected
leader of the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves.
Washington consensus, The New York Times editorial board hailed Guaidó
as a “credible rival” to President Nicolás Maduro with a “refreshing
style and vision of taking the country forward.” The Bloomberg News
editorial board applauded him for seeking “restoration of democracy”
and The Wall Street Journal declared him “a new democratic leader.”
Meanwhile, Canada, numerous European nations, Israel, and the bloc of
right-wing Latin American governments known as the Lima Group
recognized Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
I say, which I do because (1) I hardly knew
anything by Guaidó - which means, I take it - that the same holds
for most non-South American politicians, whereas (2) the last
paragraph quoted above shows that The New York Times, The Bloomberg
News, and The Wall Street Journal almost certainly were lying about
Here is some more about Guaidó:
Guaidó seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, he was, in fact, the
product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the U.S.
government’s elite regime change factories. Alongside a cadre of
right-wing student activists, Guaidó was cultivated to undermine
Venezuela’s socialist-oriented government, destabilize the country and
one day seize power. Though he has been a minor figure in Venezuelan
politics, he had spent years quietly demonstrating his worthiness in
Washington’s halls of power.
I did not
know that. There is no evidence in the quoted paragraph, but you can
find some evidence in the article, which in fact is too long to excerpt
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, the United States has fought to
restore control over Venezuela and is vast oil reserves. Chavez’s
socialist programs may have redistributed the country’s wealth and
helped lift millions out of poverty, but they also earned him a target
on his back. In 2002, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition briefly ousted
him with U.S. support and recognition, before the military restored his
presidency following a mass popular mobilization. Throughout the
administrations of U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama,
Chavez survived numerous assassination plots before succumbing to
cancer in 2013. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has survived three
attempts on his life.
OK. In fact, there
is a whole lot more in this article, which is recommended.
3. Public Workers’ Trump
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
I believe Reich is correct
in this estimate. Here is some more:
Air traffic controllers
hold the trump card (pardon the expression) in upcoming negotiations
between Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over border security.
That’s because the
president and the Republicans know that another shutdown would likely
cause a repeat of what happened last Friday, when so many of the
nation’s air traffic controllers called in sick that America’s air
traffic came to a near standstill. Hours later, Trump agreed to reopen
the government without funding for his wall.
Never underestimate the
power of airport delays to arouse the nation. Nancy Pelosi deserves
credit for sticking to her guns, but the controllers brought the
country to its knees.
I think Reich is also
correct in the above estimate. Here is some more:
Trump is threatening
another shutdown if he doesn’t get his way by 15 February, when
government funding will run out again. “Does anybody really think I
won’t build the WALL?” he tweeted Sunday, after his acting chief of
staff said that he was prepared to shutter the government for a second
But his threat is for the
cameras. If there’s no agreement this time around, the controllers
won’t work another 35 days without pay. Now that they understand their
power, they will shut down the shutdown right away. Trump knows this.
I think this is also
correct - and here is a qualification by Reich:
But the decision last week
by thousands of controllers not to come to work wasn’t a strike, and it
wasn’t initiated by a union. Beforehand, Paul Rinaldi, the president of
the controller’s union, the National Air Traffic Controllers
Association, even went so far as to announce that the union did not
“condone or endorse any federal employees participating in or endorsing
a coordinated activity that negatively effects the capacity of the
National Airspace System”.
Controllers simply stayed
home. No federal law prohibits federal employees from getting sick or
calling in sick. And who’s to say it was coordinated? Today, the
internet can spread information about a voluntary walkout as quickly
and efficiently as any centralized coordinator.
The larger story is that
public workers who lack any formal power to strike – but have the
informal power not to work – are becoming a new force in American
politics and labor relations.
Yes, I think that is
correct as well. Here is the ending of the article:
Not all public workers can
expect similar results by walking off their jobs. The walkout has to
cause a major and visible disruption. (A work stoppage by FDA
inspectors would hardly be noticed, at least until the public begins to
worry about toxic drugs and tainted meat.)
And the public has to be
supportive. By the fifth week of Trump’s shutdown, polls showed the
public highly sympathetic to federal workers who hadn’t been paid.
Likewise, most Americans have been on the side of teachers.
I agree and this is a
Finally, it’s not a weapon
that can be used often because it relies for its potency on public
frustration and inconvenience. If walkouts by public employees in
France and other nations are any guide, public patience eventually
But when elected officials
in the United States abuse their power or take actions that
unnecessarily harm the public, walkouts by public workers can function
as an important constraint.
In the age of Trump, we
need all the constraints we can get.
Has No Limit for GOP'
is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts
Just over a year after
rammed through its $1.5 trillion tax plan—which has predictably rewarded
the ultra-rich while doing virtually
nothing for workers—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
and his Republican colleagues were condemned for pushing yet another "blatant
giveaway to their wealthy donors" by introducing
a bill on Monday that would permanently repeal the estate tax.
"Greed has no limit for the
Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. "We
need to reverse direction—not allow the GOP to hand the rich even more
The deeply unpopular
Republican tax law already significantly weakened the estate tax by
doubling the exemption, allowing couples
with up to $22 million to pass on their fortunes tax-free.
Yes, and I totally agree
with Johnson. Here is what ending the estate tax means for American
billionaires and the rest of the Americans:
"Ending the estate tax
give a tax break of up to $63 billion to the Walton family and $39
billion to the Kochs—but $0 to 99.8% of Americans," Sen. Bernie Sanders
(I-Vt.) noted in a tweet on Tuesday. "At a time of record inequality,
the very last thing we should do is line the pockets of the rich."
Quite so. And this is why
this is really extremely unfair:
to the Tax Policy Center, only around 1,700 of the country's
wealthiest families are expected to pay the estate tax each year under
the GOP law.
"Who in the world could
look at this country and think that giving more money to the heirs of
multi-million dollar fortunes is our most urgent and pressing need? The
estate tax affects less than 2,000 families each year, and even with
the tax, those heirs are able to inherit over $22 million completely
tax free," Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, said in a
"Meanwhile, nearly 100 million Americans live in or near poverty, and
40 percent of working Americans make less than $15 an hour.
Yes, I agree with Morris
Pearl. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
As Common Dreams reported
last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—who recently
entered the 2020 presidential race—unveiled the "Ultra-Millionaire
Tax," which would impose an annual two percent wealth tax on Americans
with over $50 million in assets. According to economists Emmanuel Saez
and Gabriel Zucman, the tax would raise $2.75 trillion in revenue over
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) earlier this month proposed
hiking the top marginal tax rate on the ultra-rich to 70 percent—an
idea economists have described as perfectly
reasonable and right in line with where top tax rates were in the
U.S. throughout most of the 20th century.
According to a survey
conducted by The Hill and market research firm HarrisX
earlier this month, 59 percent of the U.S. public supports raising the
top marginal tax rate to 70 percent.
Well, I agree
both with Warren and Ocasio-Cortez, and I like it that (at least) ¨59 percent of the U.S. public supports
raising the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent¨. And this is a recommended article.
the real story of the 2020 election: Billionaires vs. America
is by Amanda Marcotte on Salon. It starts as follows:
Will 2020 be defined as the
election that pitted the super-wealthy against everyone else? Early
indicators, as candidates start to enter the race, suggest that may
well may be the case. Increasing rhetoric on the Democratic side is
highlighting the already popular idea of soaking the rich as a way to
address the myriad of social problems caused by economic inequality.
Meanwhile, billionaires are panicking and the right-wing
propaganda machine is snapping into action, trying to portray
mild economic reforms as the moral equivalent of the Holocaust.
There's a real chance,
then, that 2020 will become a showdown between American democracy and
Well... I hope ¨that 2020 will become a showdown between
American democracy and American capitalism¨ though in fact I think
that is rather unlikely. I do so mostly because (1) ¨the right- wing propaganda machine¨ is much stronger and richer than
anything the left-wing propaganda machine can put up, and (2) in fact there
is only a minority of elected Democratic candidates who seem to be genuinely
Here is some more:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the first serious Democratic
contender to make it official that she's running for president. It's
clear that Warren's campaign, like her political career so far, will be
focused on these issues of economic fairness. Last week, the
Washington Post reported that Warren is proposing a "wealth tax"
that would be applied to assets of the fantastically wealthy, with a
focus on ameliorating massive inequality over time.
"Middle-class America has been paying a wealth tax
explained on MSNBC Monday night. "It's called a property tax, on
their principal accumulation of wealth, which is their home."
Yes, and I am for it.
And here is some more about Ocasio-Cortez:
This follows a round of
coverage for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who has proposed
raising the marginal income tax rate to 70 percent for anything made
above $10 million in a year. While there's considerable commentary
pitting the two proposals against each other, they are best understood
as complementary signs part of a rising tide of interest in using our
tax structures to combat the a central problem of our society: A tiny
handful of people hoard a disproportionate share of American wealth,
while millions of Americans are poor, or live paycheck to paycheck.
Yes, I think
Marcotte´s rendering is correct. Here is some more:
The past couple of years have seen the great unmasking of
the billionaires, starting with the daily reminder that Donald Trump —
a self-proclaimed billionaire, whether or not he really is one — sounds
like a raving troll on Twitter and, in person, is frequently incapable
of speaking in full sentences or expressing himself with coherence.
But it's not just Trump. The entire class of young
internet billionaires who spent the past decade being toasted as
geniuses is now experiencing a major backlash and plenty of
exposure for some of their intellectual and business flaws.
I think this is a little too optimistic, if only
because ¨the great unmasking of
the billionaires¨ hardly or not at all happened on
the mainstream media, which is what the majority reads.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Well... I am not
as optimistic as Amanda Marcotte, but then I assume I am also quite a
lot older than she is. In brief: I hope she is right, but
big money has a lot of power. And this is a recommended article.
This upcoming presidential election could be a historic
real measure of whether our democracy is morphing into a plutocracy,
where the true desires of the people are overwhelmed by the sheer force
of money in politics. The good news is that figures like Warren and
Bernie Sanders — as well as the widespread embrace of policies like
Medicare for All and a Green New Deal by most of the aspiring
presidential candidates — suggest that the American people may still
overcome big money at the polls.
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 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
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 (!!).