from June 15, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Friday,
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 June 15, 2018:
1. Bipartisan War Party Panics as Kim Meets Trump
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. America's Constitutional Crisis Is Here, Now
3. How American Greed Led to a World in Decline
4. Why Americans (and Koreans) Can Sleep Better After the
5. The Military Industrial Drain
War Party Panics as Kim Meets Trump
is by Jeremy Scahill on The Intercept. It starts with the following
U.S. warmongers are in
panic mode. The end of the longest continuous war on the planet, the
Korean War, may be in sight. This week on Intercepted: As TV pundits
gasped at the sight of the North Korean and U.S. flags side by side and
Trump treating Kim Jong-un as an “equal,” a solid majority of
Koreans supported the summit. UC Santa Cruz professor Christine Hong
talks about the significance of this moment, how the U.S. has sabotaged
peace in the past, and what an end to the war might look like. Tom Engelhardt, editor of TomDispatch, shares an essay on
American militarism from his new book, “A Nation Unmade by War.”
Journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal explains why the U.S. health care system
is so bad and how Trump and the Republicans are trying to make it even
worse. Musical artist Yasmine Hamdan shares her thoughts on war, the
Middle East, and Trump, and we hear her groundbreaking music. Plus,
Trump stops by Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
And in fact
this is far too much to properly review in Nederlog. Therefore
taking only a few bits of Jeremy Scahill about Korea and Trump to
review, and leave all the rest to your interests.
Here is the
bi-partisan war party is in panic mode. The longest continuous war on
the planet, the Korean War, may — may — be on the path to
ending. Donald Trump is certainly one of the most unreliable,
untrustworthy and just plain awful people to be in the command chair
for this, but — to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld — you hope for peace with
the president you have, not the one you want. I punished myself during
the Trump/Kim summit by watching U.S. cable news. I bounced from CNN to
Fox to MSNBC, and on and on and on. Fox, of course, was on its own
planet, cheering on Trump, because Fox is a privatized version of state
Yes indeed, although I
did not watch ¨U.S.
news¨. Anyway, here is more
on Scahill´s point of view:
North Koreans want to be treated as equals. Gasp! The American flag
next to North Korea’s. The horror! And the conventional wisdom repeated
by many many pundits was that Trump was giving away the war farm. The
message Trump sent by ripping up the Iran deal and then immediately
meeting with the North Korean leader sent a message to the world that
achieving nuclear weapons status protects you and prevents you from
going the way of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.
Now, I don’t deny that that
is part of the message. At the same time, what about the context of all
of this? Why did North Korea pursue nuclear weapons in the first place?
Was it to be a global menace? Was it to change the regime in the United
States? Or was it because of the threats from the U.S. and its allies?
The U.S. committed
systematic war crimes against North Korea in the 1950s; nearly 3
million people were killed in that war, the overwhelming majority of
them Koreans. The U.S. conducted scorched earth bombing, wiped out
entire cities, used Napalm and other chemical weapons. The U.S. refused
to recognize a North Korean government. It has regularly — for decades
— threatened to invade North Korea, overthrow its government,
obliterate the country, wipe it off the map. The U.S. stages nuclear
war games, has 30,000 troops positioned on North Korea’s border. And,
that war, the Korean War, is still not officially over. And the reason
it is not over is largely because of the posture and actions of the
Yes, I think this is probably
all true. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article (that has
a great lot more):
stop with all the pearl clutching over Trump meeting with a dictator.
U.S. presidents do that all the time. Look at the disgusting love fest
we were subjected to recently when Mohammed bin Salman, the crown
prince of Saudi Arabia, visited Washington. Heinous, anti-democratic,
human rights-abusing monarchy. Or the Egyptian dictator, General
el-Sisi. The U.S. meets with dictators all the time — and, worse:
it gives them weapons, intelligence, aid. It normalizes them in from of
the world. Let’s not act like any of these objections are really based
improving human rights for the hundreds of thousands of North Koreans
in labor camps or dungeons. Or the hundreds of thousands of others who
have no basic human rights.
Americans need to take off
the exceptionalism goggles. We need to understand that the people who
have the most to gain or lose from all of this are ordinary Koreans.
And they overwhelmingly want this war to end. That is what matters
here. With Moon Jae-in in power in South Korea, that peninsula has its
best chance in decades to end a war that the United States played a
central role in starting and continuing. Yes, Trump is a clown. He made
an ass of himself on multiple occasions at this summit.
Yes, I think this is also
probably all true. And as I said, there is a lot more in
which is strongly recommended. And for some more, see item
Constitutional Crisis Is Here, Now
This article is by
Robert Reich on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I keep hearing that if
Trump fires Mueller we’ll face a constitutional crisis.
Or if Mueller subpoenas
Trump to testify and Trump defies the subpoena, it’s a constitutional
Or if Mueller comes up with
substantial evidence that Trump is guilty of colluding with Russia or
of obstructing justice but the House doesn’t move to impeach him, we’ll
have a constitutional crisis.
I have news for you. We’re
already in a constitutional crisis. For a year and a half the president
of the United States has been carrying out a systemic attack on the
institutions of our democracy.
Yes indeed. I agree
with Reich. Here is more on America´s constitutional crisis:
A constitutional crisis
does not occur suddenly like a coup that causes a government to
collapse. It occurs gradually, as a system of government is slowly
The current crisis has been
unfolding since the waning days of the 2016 campaign when Trump refused
to say whether he’d be bound by the election results if Hillary won.
It continued through March
4, 2017 when Trump claimed, without evidence, that Obama had wiretapped
his phones in the Trump Tower during the campaign.
It deepened in May 2017
when, by his own admission, Trump was thinking of “this Russia thing”
when he decided
to fire FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading the bureau’s
investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, andthen
admitted to Russian officials that firing Comey had relieved “great
pressure” on him “because of Russia,” according to a document
summarizing the meeting.
A constitutional crisis
becomes especially dangerous when a president of the United States
tells the public it cannot trust the government of the United States.
Over the last few weeks,
Trump has done just this.
Yes indeed. Here is the
ending of this article:
The crux of America’s
current constitutional crisis is this: Our system of government
was designed to constrain power, but Trump doesn’t want to be
Our system was conceived as
a means of promoting the public interest, but Trump wants to promote
only his own interest.
Our system was organized to
bind presidents to the Constitution, but Trump doesn’t want to be bound
The crisis will therefore
worsen as long as Trump can get away with it. An unconstrained
megalomaniac becomes only more maniacal. He will fill whatever
political void exists with his unbridled ego.
Friends, we are no longer trying to avert a constitutional crisis. We
are living one. The question is how to stop it from destroying what’s
left of our democracy.
I agree, and indeed one of my
own worries as a psychologist is that Trump is a megalomaniac,
who also seems to grow more megalomaniacal as he grows older. And yes,
Reich is right and this is a strongly recommended article.
American Greed Led to a World in Decline
This article is by
Tom Engelhardt on AlterNet and originally on TomDispatch. It starts as
The U.S. has, of
course, embarked on a trillion-dollar-plus upgrade of its
already massive nuclear arsenal (and that’s before
the cost overruns even begin). Its Congress and president have for
years proven eager to sink at least a trillion dollars annually into the budget of
the national security state (a figure that’s still rising and outpaces by far that of any other power on
the planet), while its own infrastructure sags and
crumbles. And yet it finds the impoverished North Koreans puzzling when
they, too, follow such an extreme path.
Clueless is not a word
Americans ordinarily apply to themselves as a country, a people, or a
government. Yet how applicable it is.
In fact, I think
¨clueless¨ is not the word for the American investments in war
atomic weapons, for I don´t think this is clueless: it gives a lot
of profit to the American war industries, and this seems to be one
of the reasons (in a neofascistic
country dominated by profits as its
I agree it is
very dangerous, but I don´t think it is ¨clueless¨: it is
Here is more on the era
between 1917, or at least between 1945 and 1991, that is, when
was a Soviet Union:
It still seemed obvious
then that American power could not be total. There were things it could
not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn’t
have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the
United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, “contained.”
In those years, the
Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power
was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that
certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in
those years, were called “the shadows”).
Well... what there was,
was a - sort of - balance of power, which in
both cases (the USA and
its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies) was based on
Here is some on the
first Gulf War, that took place during the last years of the Soviet
Union, and that also was the first U.S. war that was fought with a
professional army rather than an army based on the draft, and also the
first war that was in fact largely secret
Consider it the good
fortune of the geopolitical dreamers soon to take the reins in
Washington that the first Gulf War of 1990-1991, which ended less than
a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, prepared the way for quite a
different style of thinking. That instant victory led to a new kind of
militarized dreaming in which a highly tech-savvy military, like the
one that had driven Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein’s forces out of
Kuwait in such short order, would be capable of doing anything on a
planet without serious opposition.
I do not know, and it
also seems that the Americans flipped their thinking in 2001
than in 1991. In fact, it seems as if Engelhardt agrees:
There had never been a
moment like it: a moment of one. A single great power left alone,
triumphant, on planet Earth. Just one superpower -- wealthy beyond
compare, its increasingly high-tech military unmatched, its only true
rival in a state of collapse -- had now been challenged by a small
To President Bush, Vice
President Dick Cheney, and the rest of their crew, it seemed like
nothing short of a heaven-sent opportunity. As they came out of the
shock of 9/11, of that “Pearl Harbor of the twenty-first century,” it was
as if they had found a magic formula in the ruins of those iconic
buildings for the ultimate control of the planet. As Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld would instruct an aide at the Pentagon that
day, “Go massive. Sweep it up. Things related and not.”
Well... what seems true
is that the USA did not have to fear the USSR anymore, because
had been killed in 1991, while Russia was mostly in a state of deep
economical trouble around 2000.
Here is some more on
what happened around 2001:
Well... it seems that the
greedy were not so much the American military, but the American
civilians whom the American military enthroned, notably Paul
Bremer and his team. But Engelhardt seems quite right when he says
this was not wat ¨genuine
conservatives¨ would have done.
Think of what those
officials did in the post-9/11 moment as the ultimate act of greed.
They tried to swallow a whole planet. They were determined to make it a
planet of one in a way that had never before been seriously imagined.
It was, to say the least, a
vision of madness. Even in a moment when it truly did seem -- to them
at least -- that all constraints had been taken off, an administration
of genuine conservatives might have hesitated. Its top officials might,
at least, have approached the post-Soviet situation with a modicum of
caution and modesty. But not George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald
Rumsfeld, and pals.
Here is the ending of Engelhardt´s article:
I think Engelhardt is mostly
correct about greed (and I speak of neofascism
and stress profits), and
especially about the fact that it is the - apparently infinite -
of the already superwealthy.
while I don´t agree with Engelhardt on everything this is a recommended
The history of greed in our
time has yet to be written, but what a story it will someday make. In
it, the greed of those geopolitical dreamers will intersect with the
greed of an ever wealthier, ever more gilded 1%, of the billionaires
who were preparing to swallow whole the political system of that last
superpower and grab so much of the wealth of the planet, leaving so
little for others.
Whether you’re talking
about the urge to control the planet militarily or financially, what
took place in these years could, in the end, result in ruin of a
historic kind. To use a favored phrase from the Bush years, one of
these days we may be facing little short of “regime change” on a
planetary scale. And what a piece of shock and awe that’s likely to
prove to be.
All of us, of course, now
live on the planet Bush’s boys tried to swallow whole. They left us in
a world of infinite war, infinite harm, and in Donald Trump’s America
where cluelessness has been raised to a new power.
Americans (and Koreans) Can Sleep Better After the Summit
article is by Jonathan Marshall on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
Scads of analysts
and pundits have weighed in on the Trump-Kim summit talks in Singapore,
parsing the brief agreement and presidential tweets for signs of just
how strongly it actually commits North Korea to total, verifiable
Yes, that seems correct.
Indeed, from my own point of view - that gave the same
¨some experts¨ did on ¨a U.S.-initiated war¨, namely 50/50 - it
already is quite something that the USA did not start a nuclear
Most of them are missing the
point. The real threat to U.S., Korean, and Japanese security of late
has come not from North Korean nukes, but from threats by President
Donald Trump and his closest advisers to launch a regional war to
preempt any further North Korean progress on warhead and missile
technology. Some experts were giving even odds of a U.S.-initiated war
as recently as a few months ago.
So even if the spectacle in
Singapore was more theater than substance, even if the president’s
effusive praise for a totalitarian leader was hard to swallow, we
should applaud Trump for belatedly making good on his 2016 campaign
promise to sit down with Kim Jong-un over a hamburger in search of
Here is more on the tendencies towards a nuclear war:
foreign policy adviser (and golfing partner), Sen. Lindsey Graham of
South Carolina, strongly advised the president to launch a preemptive
war sooner rather than later, before North Korea could put the U.S.
homeland at risk. He also insisted that Trump wasn’t bluffing about
preparing an all-out first strike. “He has told me that. I believe
him,” Graham said. “If thousands die, they’re going to die over there.
They’re not going to die here. And he has told me that to my face.”
I agree that Graham, Haass
and Bolton wanted war, and indeed a nuclear one (which very probably
would involve China, which risks blowing up the whole world).
Graham predicted that if North
Korea conducted another nuclear bomb test, the odds that “we use the
military option” would rise to “70 percent.” Richard Haass, president
of the Council on Foreign Relations, put the odds as high as 50/50.
Trump’s selection of John Bolton, an outspoken advocate of regime
change in North Korea, as his national security adviser further stacked
the odds in favor of war.
Here is some more on the risks:
Trump’s path toward
war—with almost no push-back from Congress—promised unimaginable
destruction. “There easily could be a million deaths on the first day,”
said Stanford University international security expert Scott Sagan.
Former Secretary of Defense William Perry advised that a war with North
Korea would be “catastrophic, possibly destroying the societies of both
Koreas as well as causing large casualties in the U.S. military.”
Quite so. And this
about what has been achieved so far:
It would certainly kill a
substantial fraction of North Korea’s 25 million people. Before then,
however, Pyongyang’s hair-trigger military would likely annihilate
millions in Seoul, Tokyo, and other major cities with massed artillery,
chemical weapons, and atomic bombs many times the size of those that
devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
And that’s not even counting
what might happen if China or Russia entered the fray—or if North Korea
smuggled an atomic bomb into one of our major port cities aboard a
This threat of war originated
almost entirely from the U.S. side.
Much of what the
critics say is true. The 397-word Singapore agreement is mostly
platitudes, not the “very, very comprehensive document” Trump claimed.
It doesn’t specify when or how North Korea will get rid of its nuclear
weapons. It doesn’t specify a timetable for easing economic sanctions.
It doesn’t address human rights in North Korea. Raised expectations
could lead to disappointments, recriminations, and renewed political
Yes, I completely agree.
this is a strongly recommended article.
But by addressing the cycle of
provocations (including missile tests and military exercises) that were
accelerating our countries to the brink of war, and setting the stage
for a peace treaty ending the Korean War, the summit talks have at
least temporarily made every American, and every resident of North
Asia, a good bit more secure.
5. The Military
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
As Trump stokes tensions
around the world, he’s adding fuel to the fire by demanding even more
Pentagon spending. It’s a dangerous military buildup intended to
underwrite endless wars and enrich defense contractors, while draining
money from investment in the American people.
President Dwight D.
Eisenhower once noted, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched,
every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those
who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not
Eisenhower was a Republican
and a former general who helped win World War II for the allies, yet he
understood America’s true priorities. But Washington–and especially
Trump–have lost sight of these basic tradeoffs.
Since 2001, the Pentagon
budget has soared from $456 billion–in today’s dollars–to $700 billion,
including the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other
national security expenses. All told, when you include spending on the
military and war, veterans’ benefits, and homeland security,
military-related spending now eats up 67 percent of all federal
I say, for I did not
know that. Also, I agree with Reich that one important motive for
spending incredible amounts of war (rather than the American
infra-structure, that is falling apart) is that it hugely enriches
friends of government. And apart from that, I´d say that the
spending on war, and especially on nuclear arms, will not help
and very well may destroy the whole earth if there is a nuclear war.
Here is some more on
the enormous spendings on war (that the Americans themselves tend
call ¨defense¨) the USA engages in:
contractors also drive up spending. In the coming years, cost overruns
alone are projected to reach an estimated $484 billion. Meanwhile, the
CEOs of the top 5 defense firms took home $97.4 million in compensation
Despite all this, some
still argue that military spending is necessary to support good-paying
jobs and economic growth. Baloney. America would be much better served
by a jobs program that invested in things we really need – like modern
roads and highways, better school facilities, public parks, water and
sewer systems, and clean energy – not weapons systems.
I completely agree and
this is a
 I have
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 (!!).