from August 22, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
2018. Well... this is - for a change - a somewhat optimistic NL, in
view of item 2, item 3 and the extra bit. It is momentary, but worth remarking.
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 August 22, 2018:
1. Elizabeth Warren Unveils Radical Anti-Corruption Platform
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. Cohen Pleads Guilty, Implicating President
3. Former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort Guilty of 8
4. Memo To The Press (Or How To Cover Trump Without Trump
5. Inchoate Anger Is the Animating Force in Politics
Warren Unveils Radical Anti-Corruption Platform
This article is by
Ryan Grim on The Independent. It starts as follows:
say, which I do because I did not know this and because it seems a
mostly correct set of ideas.
Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday unveiled a
sweeping set of reforms that would radically restrict and publicly
expose corporate lobbying in Washington.
In a major speech at the National Press
Club, she laid out the parameters of what she is calling the
“Anti-Corruption Act.” If just half of it were implemented, it could
transform the political economy of Washington and fundamentally upend
the lawmaking process as it currently exists.
Warren began her speech by
noting that only 18 percent of the American people now say that they
have trust in the government. “This is the kind of crisis that leads
people to turn away from democracy,” she said. “The kind of crisis that
creates fertile ground for cynicism and discouragement. The kind of
crisis that gives rise to authoritarians.”
broad strokes, Warren is attempting to take the profit motive out of
public service by making it extremely difficult for former lawmakers
and government officials to cash in on their government experience,
while simultaneously giving Congress and federal agencies the resources
needed to effectively govern without the motivated assistance of K
Here is some background:
In 1995, when Newt Gingrich
and the “Republican Revolution” took over Congress, he systematically
dismantled the intellectual infrastructure of the institution,
defunding major functions of Congress and slashing budgets for staff.
The public-facing explanation was to cut back on wasteful spending, but
the true intent was to effectively privatize lawmaking, forcing
Congress to outsource much of the work of crafting legislation to K
Street. What followed was an explosion in the lobbying industry in
Warren proposes much stricter restrictions
on the revolving door between public service and lobbying, but, more
fundamentally, flat-out bans on any lobbying on behalf of foreign
governments, an industry that has come under increased scrutiny as a
result of the trial of Paul Manafort, who made his fortune carrying
water for foreign governments in Washington, often whose interests ran
against those of the U.S.
Well... yes, but it was not just
Gingrich nor just the Republicans: It was also Bill Clinton and
government (especially the second, and see item 5)
that also invited what
was and is
essentially corruption through lobbying (and there now are 10
or more per Senator, and all try to buy them).
Then again, I do not know whether
mentions it and I do not have the time to read through her legal
Here is the last bit that I quote from this
Where some on the left view markets with
deep skepticism, Warren’s ideology sees concentrations of corporate
power as a great threat, but views functioning markets as a check
against that consolidated power. For markets to function properly, she
has long argued, robust government regulation and serious enforcement
of laws must be in place, otherwise fraudsters and monopolists ripoff
both consumers and investors.
Yes indeed - as also was illustrated by the
last 20+ years of American government: Without a strong government
the rich are in power, and they will vote for profits
and not for
I should also mention that Warren is
strongly pro-capitalist, but indeed for a capitalism that is controlled
by a democratic government. And this is a recommended article.
Pleads Guilty, Implicating President
This article is by William
Rashbaum and three others on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, made the extraordinary
admission in court on Tuesday that Mr. Trump had directed him to
arrange payments to two women during the 2016 campaign to keep them
from speaking publicly about affairs they said they had with Mr. Trump.
Cohen acknowledged the illegal payments while pleading guilty to
breaking campaign finance laws and other charges, a litany of crimes
that revealed both his shadowy involvement in Mr. Trump’s circle and
his own corrupt business dealings.
told a judge in United States District Court in Manhattan that the
payments to the women were made “in coordination with and at the
direction of a candidate for federal office,” implicating the president
in a federal crime.
participated in this conduct, which on my part took place in Manhattan,
for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in
2016, Mr. Cohen said.
say! And this from the lawyer who claimed to be willing to take a
bullit for Trump! Here is more:
Mr. Cohen, a
longtime lawyer for Mr. Trump — and loyal confidant — described in
plain-spoken language how Mr. Trump worked with him to cover up a
potential sex scandal that Mr. Trump feared would endanger his rising
Cohen also pleaded guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion and a
single count of bank fraud, capping a monthslong investigation by
Manhattan federal prosecutors who examined his personal business
dealings and his role in helping to arrange the financial deals with
women connected to Mr. Trump.
plea came shortly before another blow to the president: His former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted in his
financial fraud trial in Virginia. The special counsel, Robert S.
Mueller III, had built a case that Mr. Manafort hid millions of dollars
in foreign accounts to evade taxes and lied to banks to obtain millions
of dollars in loans.
I say again, and Manafort is also the subject of the
next item. Here is more:
This also seems to imply
that - indeed - Stormy Daniels was correct. Here is the last
bit that I
quote from this interesting article:
federal court in Manhattan, Mr. Cohen made the admission about Mr.
Trump’s role in the payments to the women — an adult film actress and a
former Playboy playmate — as he pleaded guilty to two campaign finance
One of those charges stemmed
from a $130,000 payment he made to the actress, Stephanie Clifford,
better known as Stormy Daniels, in the run-up to the 2016 presidential
He will be sentenced
on Dec. 12 before Judge William H. Pauley III. Though Mr. Cohen faces a
maximum of 65 years in prison, the plea agreement provides for a far
more lenient sentence: The government calculated the sentencing
guidelines at from 51 to 63 months and the defense put them at 46 to 57
months. A final guidelines determination will be made by the Probation
Department, but the ultimate sentence will be determined by Judge
This means from 4 to 5 years in
prison, which is a lot less than 65 years. But then that is
dealing (for whites). Also, there´s considerably more in
the rest of the article, which is strongly recommended.
Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort Guilty of 8 Crimes
article is by Matthew Barakat, Chad Day and Eric Tucker on Truthout. It
starts as follows:
Paul Manafort, the
longtime political operative who for months led Donald Trump’s winning
presidential campaign, was found guilty of eight financial crimes
Tuesday in the first trial victory of the special counsel investigation
into the president’s associates. A judge declared a mistrial on 10
other counts the jury could not agree on.
The verdict was part a
stunning one-two punch of bad news for the White House, coming as the
president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was pleading guilty in New
York as part of a separate deal with prosecutors.
The jury returned the
decision after deliberating four days on the charges of tax evasion and
bank fraud against the former Trump campaign chairman.
The outcome almost
certainly guarantees years of prison for Manafort and established the
ability of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to persuade a jury of
average citizens despite months of partisan attacks — including from
Trump — on the investigation’s integrity.
Yes indeed, and for some more
on Michael Cohen see the previous item. Here is the
other bit that I quote from this article:
Yes. And it seems Manafort´s
guess about the strength of his case was mistaken (but it may
because he expected trouble from witnesses). And this is again a
strongly recommended article.
trial, presided over by the colorful and impatient U.S. District Judge
T.S. Ellis III, has captured Trump’s attention as he works to undermine
Mueller’s investigation through a constant Twitter barrage and
increasingly antagonistic statements from his lawyer-spokesman, Rudy
But Trump and his campaign
were only a small part of Manafort’s trial, as jurors instead heard
days of testimony about Manafort’s finances and what prosecutors say
was a years-long tax-evasion and fraud scheme.
Manafort decided not to put
on any witnesses or testify himself in the trial. His attorneys said he
made the decision because he didn’t believe the government had met its
burden of proof.
4. Memo To The Press (Or
How To Cover Trump Without Trump Covering You)
article is by Robert Reich on his site. Here are his 9 suggestions without
In fact, this is - formally, at
least - a memo to the press. I agree mostly with it, but I probably
disagree with the first suggestion, although that also is not quite
clear. In any case, I do think it is important and
worthwile to keep
counting and announcing the many lies Trump states in his Tweets.
1. Stop treating
Trump’s tweets as news.
2. Don’t believe a
single word that comes out of his mouth.
3. Don’t fall for the
reality-TV spectacles he creates.
4. Don’t let his
churlish, thin-skinned, vindictive, narcissistic rants divert
what he’s really doing.
5. Focus on what he’s
really doing, and put the day’s stories into this
6. Stop reporting
about the Republican Party and start reporting on Fox
7. Keep track of what
his Cabinet is doing
8. Don’t let Trump use
your journalistic goal of “balanced” reporting
9. Finally, don’t let him
There is one bit of text that I do want to reproduce here, and it is
under suggestion 5:
– Undermining democratic
– Using his office for
division and hate,
– Cozying up to dictators
while antagonizing our democratic
allies around the
– Violating the rule of
– Enriching America’s
wealthy while harming the middle class and the poor.
He may also be colluding
I think that is a
correct list and this is a recommended article.
Anger Is the Animating Force in Politics
article is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
We’ve known for a decade
now, that people are fed up with Washington and with politics.
We’ve known that they consider politicians to be little more than
lackeys to the uber-rich and corporations; and we’ve known that the
facts bear them out when we look at the legislation they pass.
Republicans have both
created and exploited this anger; Democrats have run from it, but both
have fed it. The Republican’s genius has been to direct that
anger at government – the only force capable of addressing the
injustices being heaped upon average Americans.
Democrats had an easy
answer to the blame the government game – specifically that the only
solution to bad government is good government; that the only antidote
to a nation of, by and for the oligarchy is a government of, by and for
the people. And while they channeled progressive rhetoric around
election time, they embraced neoliberal policies when they were in
power, and stood for nothing more than “they’re worse than us,” when
they weren’t, all while holding out their hand for handouts from
corporations and the ultra-rich.
This is all you need to
know to understand why Democrats went from a majority party for most of
the second half of the 20th Century, to a shrinking minority party in
Yes indeed, I agree to
all of this and add that one important reason is that a
part of the American electorate doesn´t vote any more.
And here is one
additional and quite important detail - and ¨they" are the
Precisely! In fact, it
that Bill and Hillary Clinton now own over $100 million dollars,
which they mostly assembled after 2000, in part by making many
to Wall Street bankers, who paid $250,000 or more for each speech
minutes or so, and in part by other means, like publishing their
Well, you might need to
know one other thing: why they refused to advocate for an effective
government capable of restraining the growing economic and political
power of the ultra-rich and corporations.
In a word: money. Starting
under Bill Clinton, they embraced the third-way-DLC corporate sell out
in order to get campaign contributions from the people they used to
regulate and constrain
And these are just the leaders in major corruption.
Most of the other
elected Democrats, like almost all Republicans, seem also for sale
(judging by their promises and their deeds).
Here is more:
We’ve seen a time
when government constrained the rich, corporations and oligopolies;
when it imposed policies assuring an equitable distribution of wealth;
when even Republican administrations invested in public infrastructure
and advocated environmental policies; when government strengthened
social security; adopted Medicare and Medicaid; worked to limit the
power of money in politics and elections (remember McCain-Feingold?);
and advocated laws assuring racial and gender justice.
Yes indeed, and I like to name
the man who seems to me the most responsible for these choices, namely John Maynard
Keynes, whose economical and legal ideas were dominant from
till the late 1970ies, and then were done away with by a combination of
(Thatcher was elected in 1979; Reagan in 1980) and strong and
well-paid ¨neoliberal¨ propaganda by
the rich, which in turn mostly seems to go back to Lewis
F. Powell Jr.´s ¨Memorandum¨ (to the rich) of 1972, that helped to
organize the rich.
Here is what the manipulations of the rich since 1980 resulted in:
But the oligarchy’s
coup resulted in an obscene disparity in wealth; the complete erosion
of democracy; the counter-factual rejection of science and reason; and
the acceptance of xenophobia and racial prejudice, and in doing so,
woke up a sleeping giant – the American people.
I agree with all
though I may be considerably more skeptical about ¨the American people¨ than Atcheson.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes indeed - but ¨we
need only show up in primaries and in the general election and choose
people who advocate those things¨, and that does not seem easy at
But I do agree with Atcheson, and this is a strongly
There is a world out there
where we the people control government; where we send men and women of
good will to office who support what the majority wants; where they
pass legislation authorizing single payer health care, a living minimum
wage, affordable education, tax policies that are fair and equitable, a
rational budget with a reasonable defense expenditure, an end to
endless wars, protection of our environment and our climate, and racial
and gender justice.
To claim that world, we
need only show up in primaries and in the general election and choose
people who advocate those things.
B. One Extra Bit
article is by Dr. Speedy on his site - and Dr. Speedy is a medical
doctor who has ME for a very long time (like my ex and
myself, who are both M.A.s in psychology, and are now ill with ME since
40 years minus four months):
This is the article as reported
on Dr. Speedy´s site:
than a hundred academics have joined ten MPs and scores of patient
groups from around the world to sign an open letter calling
Lancet to reanalyse
a study into treatment for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
I agree, with two more or less
The letter follows a
debate in parliament in which one MP said that the
study, which is used to set NHS guidelines, “will go down as one of the
biggest medical scandals of the 21st century”. The authors of the
research paper stood by their findings and said that the letter
represented a campaign to discredit solid research and force the
retraction of papers simply because patients disagreed with their
The signatories, who
include academics from Harvard, Stanford, UCL and
the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that the
2011 Pace trial, which recommended therapy and exercise as a
treatment for the condition, had “major flaws” and “unacceptable
The £5 million publicly funded
trial was published in The Lancet and
has informed advice on treating people with ME in the NHS and abroad,
but is controversial among ME sufferers. Some claim that its advice
perpetuates an idea that the disease, which causes debilitating
disability, is all in the mind.
First, the Pace Trial. I have been following Phoenix Rising,
which is a site for patients with (presumed) ME/CFS, since late 2009,
and still do so, but a whole lot less since October 8, 2011, when I - finally -
decided that the XMRV-hypothesis was false, and also (already in May
2010) that an M.A. psychology like myself does not
fit in with
Phoenix Rising, where almost everyone is anonymous; hardly
anyone has any real knowledge of
medicine, science or psychology;
and where there also were quite a few repeated persecutions (by
groups of anonymous folks, with hardly any or no scientific knowledge) of
the few who were intelligent and wrote sensibly. (I
am not talking about myself here.)
I still think so, and indeed my four months on Phoenix Rising
cured me forever of any wish ¨to
communicate¨ with anonymous
Then again, I did pick up the Pace Trial in 2011, about which very
much has been written by quite a few patients, and I immediately agreed
- as an - excellent - M.A. psychology, with training in statistics, and
also as a philosopher of science - with the criticisms.
In fact, the Pace Trial was utter boloney
perpetrated by a number of lying and deceiving
and I think - roughly - that opinion now also is the one of the hundred
academics and ten MPs who signed an open letter to The Lancet.
Second, about the last statement: ¨Some claim that its advice
perpetuates an idea that the disease, which causes debilitating
disability, is all in the mind.¨
My ex and myself have been hearing or reading this utter nonsense for
almost forty years now.
The idea that ME/CFS is all or mostly ¨in the mind¨ is not
medicine but psychiatry, and one of the things I have concluded after
40 years of continuous lies by psychiatrists is that psychiatry is
not real medicine at all but is a complete and
We also fell ill in the first year of our university studies, on
study loans, and we only could complete our studies,
without following any lectures, because we both have an IQ above 140.
We first heard that our disease was ¨all in the mind¨ three months
after we were diagnosed with Pfeiffer´s Disease by a just starting
medical doctor, and have had that diagnosis - ¨there is nothing wrong
with you; it is all psychosomatic¨ - of around 30 medical doctors
This also has led me to distrust most Dutch medical doctors (which is a
statistically defensible opinion).
Finally, any medical doctor who labels any serious
complaint, of something like 17 million people, for over 40 years,
in the case of ME/CFS, as
¨psychosomatic¨ is a fraud,
and a liar,
and should loose his or her medical license.
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 (!!).