from July 25, 2018
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 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 July 25, 2018:
1. A Vote Expanded Medicaid in Maine. The Governor Is
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. Tronc Fires Half the Staff of the New York Daily News
3. House Progressives Introduce 'People's Budget'
4. The Rebirth of Democratic Socialism
5. We´re Living a Constitutional Crisis
Vote Expanded Medicaid in Maine. The Governor Is Ignoring It.
This article is by
Abby Goodnough on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
Brandy Staples, a
39-year-old breast cancer survivor, had expected to become eligible for
Medicaid coverage this month after Maine voters approved an expansion
of the program last fall. Instead, she found herself in a courtroom
here on Wednesday, watching the latest chapter unfold in a rancorous,
drawn-out battle over whether she and thousands of other poor people in
the state will get free government insurance after all.
Well, in that case Paul
LePage ought to be in prison, because he ignores the
law to implement his own neofascistic ideology, and
also shows himself a sadist,
who much rather drives people to suicide than helping them.
the binding vote, Gov. Paul LePage has refused to expand the program,
blasting it as a needless, budget-busting form of welfare. He vetoed
five expansion bills before the issue made the ballot, plus a spending
bill this month that provided about $60 million in funding for the
first year. Earlier this month he went so far as to
say he would go to jail “before I put the state in red ink” by
adding at least 70,000 more low-income adults to the state’s Medicaid
population of 264,000.
Here is some more:
I hope Janet Mills
wins, and I also hope she prosecutes LePage in order to satisfy
his own desire to be in jail if his ideology cannot be
implemented. And this is a recommended article.
expansion is also emerging as a potent issue in gubernatorial and
congressional races in Florida, Georgia and Kansas, among others. Here
in Maine, where supporters of expansion have sued the LePage
administration over its failure to act, the legal conflict has spilled
into the race to replace Mr. LePage, who is finishing his second term.
Mills, the state’s attorney general, is also the Democratic candidate
for governor. She refused to represent the administration in the court
case, leaving it to a private lawyer from Boston.
Mills said in an interview last week: “If for some reason Medicaid
expansion isn’t implemented in the next five and a half months, I will
do it on Day 1.”
Fires Half the Staff of the New York Daily News
article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts
with the following introduction:
In New York City,
the new owner of the New York Daily News says it will fire half the
staff of the longtime newspaper. Among those who were fired was editor
in chief Jim Rich, who tweeted, “If you hate democracy and think local
governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a
good day for you.” In the 1980s, the New York Daily News employed 400
journalists. After the latest firings, the newspaper will have only 45
people in its newsroom staff. The New York Daily News’s owner, Tronc,
is also the publisher of The Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and the
Hartford Courant. For more we speak with Democracy Now!’s Juan
González, a longtime columnist for the New York Daily News.
I say, which I do because
I did not know this. In fact, I think it is quite important,
as Juan González explains rather clearly:
GOODMAN: Juan, before we
move on with our first story, this is kind of your alma mater. This is
the place you worked for almost 30 years—the New York Daily News.
Now the latest round of cuts, half the staff has been fired by the new
GONZÁLEZ: Yes, Amy. Unfortunately, I expected that this was
going to happen once Tronc took over. Tronc, of course, is the
successor to the old Tribune company. That was the company that when I
first got to the Daily News in 1987 was running the Daily News and provoked a strike of the
2,500 employees of the newspaper back then. And back then, I would say
in the late 80s, early 1990s, there were about 450 people in the
newsroom. I think there were more in the 50s, but by the late 80s and
beginning of the 90s, we had about 450. So to go now to 45—one tenth of
the staff—you’ve got to think that New York City back then had maybe
seven, seven and a half million people. Today, New York City has eight
and a half million people. So you’re talking about a much bigger city,
many fewer reporters. It’s just a tragedy, what’s happening to the
newspaper business. Not the fact that papers are not publishing as many
papers, because obviously they have websites, but that the staffs
continue to shrink of the people who are actually producing original
news. It’s ludicrous to think that you can put out a major news site
covering New York City with just 45 people.
Yes indeed (and in fact
it seems like AlterNet, that also was sold, and now has most of the
news effectively tweeted by something or someone that calls
itself or himself "Cody Fenwick").
Back to González and
what he said: I observe two points. First, there are nearly half as
many inhabitants in New York as there are inhabitants in all of The
Netherlands. And second, it is a pity that González doesn't mention how
many papers (with how many journalists) are surviving in the
present New York.
In any case, he is
quite right in this:
Precisely. And the answer
is no one. This is a recommended article.
GONZÁLEZ: Well, that’s the big question in the media today, is
how do you provide local news? Because there will always be national
outlets and networks and cable systems to produce the national news,
but who is going to cover your local school board, your local city
council, the decisions that affect your zoning and changes in your city
or your town, if fewer and fewer reporters every day are doing that?
Progressives Introduce 'People's Budget'
article is by Jake Johnson on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams.
It starts as follows:
Offering an ambitious alternative to the
House GOP’s “morally
bankrupt” 2019 budget proposal—which demands over $5 trillion in
cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and other life-saving programs—the
Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) on Tuesday unveiled a budget
that calls for massive investments in infrastructure, healthcare, and
education while proposing significant cuts to the completely “out-of-control”
Titled The People‘s Budget: A Progressive Path
Forward (pdf), the CPC’s plan also calls for a ban on
“any expansion of U.S. combat troops in Syria, Iraq, Yemen,
Afghanistan, and many other countries,” demanding an immediate end to
“the policy of funding endless wars.”
“The electorate is looking for
a new vision for the country and for foreign policy in
particular,” Paul Kawika
Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at Peace
Action, noted in a statement on
Tuesday. “The People’s Budget embodies that new vision by
investing in the interests of the people over the interests of the arms
industry and the billionaire class.”
Clearly, this budget plan has not the
remotest chance of being implemented. Then again, I do
like it, for this plan seems obviously a lot better to me
than the budget plan the Republicans are implementing, and while it
will not be implemented, at least it can be compared
with the trash (except for the very rich) that the Republicans are
Here is some more:
Trump administration’s deeply inhumane immigration agenda—which has
been a boon
for the private prison industry—the CPC’s budget also calls for
scaling back “exorbitant funding for immigration detention and
enforcement; creating due process, fairness, and accountability in the
system; and eliminating the profit motive in immigration detention.”
Yes, and I agree
in this with Jayapal. This is a recommended article.
“As Trump pushes to ramp up excessive border
spending and hire more border patrol agents, we’re saying no,” Rep.
Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the First Vice Chair of the CPC, declared on
Tuesday. “I just returned from the border and what I saw was
heartbreaking—kids in cages, awful conditions, and continued family
separation. We can’t keep funding this broken system.”
While the People’s Budget stands no chance of
passing the Republican-dominated Congress, Jayapal noted that the CPC
plan is a “moral
document” aimed at articulating House Democrats’ vision and
priorities for the months ahead.
Rebirth of Democratic Socialism
is by E.J. Dionne on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
In case you want to know a
bit more about Michael
Harrington, this was a link, and he was an interesting man. Then
something about socialism,
which is a quite ambiguous term:
“Socialism has known
increments of success, basic failure and massive betrayal. Yet it is
more relevant to the humane construction of the twenty-first century
than any other idea.”
With those words, the late
Michael Harrington began his book “Socialism,” published in 1972. In
his day, Harrington was often called “America’s leading socialist.” He
was also one of the most decent voices in politics, a view shared not
just by his friends but also by most of his critics.
Harrington founded Democratic
Socialists of America (DSA), which, in the often splintered politics of
the left, was a breakaway group from the old Socialist Party.
I know a lot about it because both of my parents were communists, as
was one grandparent, whereas two other grandparents were anarchists (as
I am since I was 20).
Because it seems to me that most Americans know very little of
it, while what they think they know is often false, here is one
remark about the supposed socialism of the Soviet Union and its
allies (that collapsed in 1991):
I do not think the Soviet Union or its allies ever were
socialist in the sense I acknowledged, or indeed the sense that
Marx and Engels attached to it (and I think this since I visited the
GDR in 1964, which did not appear socialist to me at
all, but that appeared as a totalitarian dictatorship to me).
In fact, this may be a fairly popular position right now, at least
among intellectuals, but it was not as long as the Soviet Union
existed. Then again, quite a few intellectuals assume that the Soviet
Union and its allies were not socialist, but were in fact a form of state
capitalism, by which they meant that the state, that is really: the
communist party, owned everything and distributed everything (with
a lot going to the few leading members of the CP, and little going to
I think that analysis has considerably more truth in it than
the thesis that this was real socialism, but I also disagree with it.
It seems to me that a term like "party totalitarianism"
is better, (with totalitarianism
as defined by me), by which I mean that they were totalitarian;
and everyone was subject to the leaders of the party, who had the
absolute monopolies on truth, on goodness, and on dividing the riches.
Back to the article:
I certainly do not
belong to those "who warn of
grave danger if Democrats move “too far to the left”" but I also do not yet know what to
think of Ocasio-Cortez, mostly because she is too young to have build a
reputation, and because I know that for most Democrats who do
get elected, there is a large difference between getting elected
(on proposals voters like) and being elected (when on can
Socialists have had quite a
journalistic run since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old DSA
member, defeated veteran Rep. Joe Crowley, a genial and rather liberal
stalwart of the old Queens Democratic machine, in a primary last month.
Opinion has been divided,
roughly between those who see her as the wave of the future and those
who warn of grave danger if Democrats move “too far to the left.”
I hope Ocasio-Cortez is and remains honest, but I have seen too many
"leftists" who were not.
Here is the ending of this article:
I agree with the
first paragraph, but disagree with the second in that "social
democracy" these days means Tony Blair or the narko-nazis from the
Dutch "social democrats" who meanwhile have taken care that at least
300 billion dollars worth of all manner of "recreative drugs" were
spread through Europe in the last 30 years.
Our new left should attend
to the realism Harrington preached. Social reform in our country has
usually depended on alliances of the center and the left, and outright
warfare between them only strengthens the right. The word “democratic”
must always be given priority over the word “socialist,” and broad
coalitions are the lifeblood of democracies.
But Ocasio-Cortez and, if I
may use the word, her comrades are shaking up politics in constructive
and promising ways. For this moderate social democrat, that’s a cause
Then again, I am willing to agree this is in part my
association with the to social democratic parties I know best, and it
may be a bit different in the USA. And this is a recommended article.
5. We´re Living a
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. 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
defies the subpoena, it’s a “constitutional crisis”. Or if Mueller
substantial evidence that Trump is guilty of colluding with Russia or
obstructing justice, and the House does nothing to impeach him, we have
Well, I have news for you.
We’re already in a “constitutional
Possibly so, but what is
crisis”? Incidentally: I have read the Constitution of the USA (and
Federalist Papers, and some American law), and I merely
want to know.
Here is some more:
You see, the Constitution
is a tiny document. It requires that
presidents and others in positions of power be bound by norms,
and long-established understandings of their constitutional
Yet look at what’s happened
since January 2017:
Trump fires the head of the
FBI and conjures up a plot that the
FBI installed a spy in his campaign; blames the entire Mueller
investigation on a conspiratorial
“deep state” that’s out to remove him from office; uses pardons to
demonstrate to people already under
investigation that they don’t need to cooperate because he can pardon
too; and asserts that the appointment of the special counsel was
unconstitutional, and that he has the power under the Constitution to
investigation whenever he wants.
I agree with
the first paragraph, but in effect this means that what "The
Constitution" means must be rather ambiguous, precisely because
of "norms, unwritten
and long-established understandings".
And in fact this is the
case. As to the other two paragraphs: I agree with Reich that what
Trump is doing is a combination of madness and neofascism
(see the links if you did not yet!), but then Trump believes or at
least asserts his combination of madness and neofascism is
Here is more:
Beyond this, he berates
judges who disagree with him, and journalists and news organizations
him; uses the presidency like a personal fiefdom to enrich himself
and his family; unilaterally breaks treaties, starts trade wars with
long-standing allies, and cozies up to some of the most murderous
the world; treats Americans who didn’t vote for him and disapprove
of him as his enemies; and tweets and holds rallies with his followers
division and hate.
There is no exact
definition of a constitutional crisis.
Presumably it’s when the United States Constitution is in
crisis. And it is in crisis now, today, because the president of
United States is abusing it to entrench his power.
I again agree with the first
paragraph and more or less with the second - although I still have not
much of an inkling of "constitutional crisis" beyond agreeing in fact
that the USA is in crisis, and it is because it has a president
who is both insane (as I
and some 70,000 other psychologists have been saying since 2016 or
before) and a neofascist
(and my definition is adequate and was arrived at before
I knew anything about Trump).
And this is from the ending:
A malignant megalomaniac
facing no countervailing power will
continue to expand his terrain until he is stopped.
With this I completely
agree - and megalomania
is the proper English term (since 1890) which is much
better than the psychiatrese "narcissistic personality
disorder" that the sick Wikipedia prefers (that also removed
the whole term "megalomania") I do not know for what
contributions. And this is a recommended article.
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 (!!).