from August 24, 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 August 24, 2018:
1. Trump, Corporate Media Are Both Enemies of the People
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. Bernie Sanders Rallies Against 'Greed' of Billionaires
Like Jeff Bezos
3. Why Won't Mueller Make a Deal with Michael Cohen?
4. Why Congressional Republicans Have Abdicated Their
5. More Than 500 Children Are Still Separated. Here’s What
Corporate Media Are Both Enemies of the People
This article is by
Paul Street on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
CNN’s liberal and
anti-Trump talk show host Erin
Burnett was in crisis mode
I say - and I am glad
(once again) that I don´t have a TV since 1970. Then again, I can´t say
I am much impressed by the above news, and my reason is simple: I
it is rather improbable that more than a tiny
minority of voters is
capable of somewhat clearly
defining what they mean by “capitalism” and “socialism”.
last week. She
was rolling her eyes, anxious for the fate of the republic. The cause
of her angst? A Gallup
poll showing that 57 percent of the nation’s Democrats now respond
more favorably to the word “socialism” than they do to
“capitalism”—this compared to 47 percent of Democrats who prefer
“capitalism” over “socialism.”
To be sure, I have no direct evidence for what I said just now,
do have direct evidence that no American journalist (and
are not at all the same as Democrats) cannot properly
define (at all!)
widely used terms like ¨fascism¨; have
no idea whatsoever what
could mean; and indeed also - the journalists! - have
themselves no idea of what ¨socialism¨
Also, I add that the above findings are some of the result of over
5 years of continuous reporting on the crisis, for which I
must have read at least 10,000 articles, and that I probably would not
have believed them before these findings, on the simple grounds that
(i) there are fairly clear definitions of these terms, and (ii)
should be able to find them.
But no: journalists don´t find them, which is very
they don´t look for them.
Here is more from this article:
Never mind that
Sanders, who openly identifies as a socialist, was found in a
Harvard-Harris poll last year to be “the most popular politician” (Newsweek
) in the U.S., or that a good majority of the Democratic Party’s base
prefers “socialism” to “capitalism.”Never mind that the mildly leftish
progressive Sanders would likely have defeated CNN’s bęte noire
Donald Trump if the Vermont senator had been the Democratic
presidential nominee in 2016. Never mind that what the supposed
“extreme left” candidates Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and
other “progressive” Democrats mean by “socialism” is a series of mildly
leftish social-democratic and progressive neo-New Deal policies that
had majority support, not just among Democrats but in the whole
Yes and no. Sanders may
identify himself as ¨a socialist¨, and possibly might be one, but on my
understanding of the meanings of various political terms he is mostly a
social democrat - which is not the same as a socialist (if
you have a
somewhat clear mind).
Then again, I mostly agree with other qualifications in the
quoted paragraph, like ¨the
mildly leftish progressive Sanders¨ and ¨a
series of mildly leftish social-democratic and progressive neo-New Deal
Here is more:
Perhaps the most
telling thing about Burnett and her guest’s response to the Gallup poll
was their utter lack of curiosity about why the number of Democrats who
prefer “socialism” to “capitalism” is now 10 points higher than the
other way around. Might that have something to do with the profoundly
inegalitarian, oligarchic, authoritarian and now clearly
eco-exterminist performance of American and global capitalism
as experienced by millions and millions of real people, especially
the younger adults who embrace “socialism” to a far greater degree than
Possibly so, but as long
as I have hardly any reasonable idea of what Democratic voters may
in mind when they use the word ¨socialism¨ - and I have not,
suspect this varies widely - what I can see is at best a very
hardly defined increased emotional preference
for what ¨socialism¨
might be (which itself, if considered rationally, is not an
question to answer, and see here for a few more or less reasonable
attempts to define ¨socialism¨: Crisis: On Socialism).
Here is some more on Trump:
Yes, Trump is a malignant
racist, sexist, plutocrat and narcissist who is, in the words of former
CIA Director John Brennan (more on him below), “drunk
on power.” He’s a pathological liar, an arch-authoritarian, a
consummate bully, a vicious dullard and a deadly agent of ecocide.
Trump is so narcissistic he
couldn’t even mention the passing of the magnificent singer Aretha
Franklin without trying to make the story about him by claiming
(falsely) to have known her
“very well” and that (as if the music legend had been his
housekeeper) “she worked for me on numerous occasions.”
The sooner this loathsome
and dangerous Bad Grandpa is yanked off the center-stage of history,
I agree, but my own
arguments (and I am a philosopher and a psychologist, also by
degrees) against Trump are first and foremost that he is not sane and
has a narcissistic personality disorder, which should totally
disqualify him as a president, and second that he does have
which is neofascism,
which I strongly dislike.
But the first argument
is by far the strongest for me (and ought also to appeal to
Republicans, provided these are somewhat rational and honest, which
unfortunately seems wrong in the great majority of Republican
Then there is this on
the mainstream media (that Street prefers to call the corporate media):
Yes, I think that is
mostly correct, and in case you doubt, there is this:
Still, the wannabe dictator
Trump is not completely wrong about that “enemy of the people” thing.
The notion the United States possesses a great “free press” and
“independent” media functioning as “the lifeblood of our democracy” what
“democracy” exactly?)—a central theme in the coordinated editorials
that appeared in opposition to Herr Trump’s repeated attacks on the
media in 300
U.S. newspapers last Thursday—is one of the great national
lies of our time.
The dominant U.S. commercial
and corporate media are a means of mass consent-manufacturing
indoctrination, diversion and dumbing down on behalf of the nation’s
intertwined corporate, financial, imperial and professional-class
How could it be
otherwise? Just six massive and global corporations—Comcast, Viacom,
Time Warner, CBS, the News Corporation and Disney—together control
more than 90 percent of the nation’s television stations, radio
stations, movies, newspapers and magazines. Corporate ownership
combines with other deeply entrenched factors to guarantee the
not-so-mainstream media’s dutiful service to the nation’s unelected and
interrelated dictatorships of money, class and empire: the controlling
power of corporate advertisers (the mass media’s main market, not the
public); the disproportionate purchasing power of the affluent (the
main target of advertisers); the elitist socialization, indoctrination
and selection of journalists, and the dependence of media on government
for information, access and monopoly power.
I agree to most of
last quoted paragraph. Here is the last bit that I´ll quote from this
media” work relentlessly to reduce their consumers to view issues from
the point of the merely personal and private. It erases the social,
historical and institutional. It inculcates the primitive level of
consciousness where one can grasp something as childish as “Omarosa and
Stormy Daniels were treated badly by Donald Trump” but nothing more
complex beyond the individual scale than “America Good, Its ‘Enemies’
Bad”—and certainly nothing as involved and ideologically verboten as
“the American Empire and military-industrial complex is invested in the
murder of children in the Middle East.”
Yes, I think this is
mostly correct, although I prefer to say that the mainstream media
suppose most of their audiences are stupid and ignorant, and
anything to make them less stupid or less ignorant (such as providing
clear definitions of important terms).
And this is a strongly recommended article, in which there is
lot more than I quoted.
Sanders Rallies Against 'Greed' of Billionaires Like Jeff Bezos
This article is by
Kasia Anderson on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
In an email sent out
Wednesday to supporters, Sen. Bernie Sanders called out members of the
billionaire class for enriching themselves at others’ expense. In the
same gesture, he called on Americans to push back against their
exploitation of the power their economic positions afford them—and of
the labor force that sustains it.
And Sanders named names.
Specifically, the Vermont senator lashed out at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos,
who has recently made headlines about his skyrocketing executive
seconds, Bezos makes more than the median annual salary for Amazon
employees—as well as about Bezos’ comments
about looking to space for new ways to spend his vast wealth.
picked up by other commentators, Sanders pointed out that there are
many more necessary and obvious places where Bezos could channel his
funds. “Instead of attempting to explore Mars or go to the moon,”
Sanders wrote, “how about Jeff Bezos pays his workers a living wage?”
Yes indeed, I quite
agree and indeed also think that Jeff Bezos is a quite horrible man,
is shown (among other things) by his refusal to pay living wages to
Here is one reason why
Bezos is now worth more than $100 billion: He steals from
the many poor:
As “thousands of Amazon
employees are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public
housing because their wages are too low,” Sanders wrote, taxpayers are
forced to pick up the bill. “I don’t believe that ordinary Americans
should be subsidizing the wealthiest person in the world because he
pays his employees inadequate wages,” he said.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Though Bezos didn’t respond
to the finer points (or any points, for that matter) of the
legislator’s critique, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer backed
statement is a powerful indictment of wealth inequality and the
exploitation of workers from one of our most respected political
leaders. Most of us, myself included, underestimate the unprecedented
concentration of power in a few hands in recent years.
Yes indeed. And there also is
a full copy of Sanders´ petition in the article, which is very well
worth reading, but is too long to quote here. This is a strongly
Won't Mueller Make a Deal with Michael Cohen?
article is by Mark Summer on AlterNet and originally on Daily Kos. It
starts as follows:
Yes, this seems correct,
but I am not a lawyer. In any case, it seems as if Cohen might
to defend Trump, which may lead to decades of imprisonment for him, or
else he might switch his allegiance to Mueller, and cooperate with him
(and get a far lesser conviction).
Immediately after his home
and office were raided, Michael Cohen began sending an SOS to Donald
Trump so clear that it was visible from lunar orbit. But since Trump
hasn’t yet determined how to pre-pardon anyone, there wasn’t much that
Trump could do for his onetime attorney except throw hundreds of thousands into
Cohen’s defense fund, start moaning that “Attorney Client privilege
is now a thing of the past,” and continually attacking the validity
of the investigation into Cohen’s actions.
But since it became clear that
there was no help coming from that quarter, Cohen has been sounding
whistles of increasingly ridiculous size that he’s willing, no eager,
no happy! to cooperate with the special counsel. Cohen’s attorney
Lanny Davis couldn’t have been more clear on this point if he had worn
a sandwich board to court. And it seems that Cohen does have
something to sell.
Here is more:
There would seem to
be two possibilities.
My own guess is the second
possibility, but as I´ve said I am not a lawyer. And here is
First, any deal with Cohen
would be to collect information on Trump, and Trump, because of the
paper-thin shield of DOJ policy, can’t be indicted. So the value of
what Cohen could provide the investigation is limited to just
lengthening the list of would-be charges attached to the final report
that Mueller will eventually send to Congress. With all the information
that’s already on that list, including information gleaned from Cohen’s
own files, it simply may not be worth it.
The other big possibility is
that Cohen doesn’t get a deal … because Cohen doesn’t deserve a
deal. Because what Cohen may have done is so big that offering him a
deal would be an insult to the whole process.
At least this is
plausible, and this is a recommended article.
Cohen’s recordings of his
conversations with Trump weren’t made to refresh Cohen’s memory. And he
didn’t keep them around for years so he could brush up his notes. The
reason Cohen has been recording Trump, and others, is because he’s
considered using the information against them before.
After all, what better
final act for a fixer than to fix the people who paid him to hide
their secrets? Cohen might never have pulled the trigger on
extorting Trump. Or he may have been keeping the information as a hedge
against the day when Trump found a younger, sexier fixer. But he
certainly kept his ammo carefully packed away.
In any case, it’s obvious
that Cohen has been hanging onto information that he could use against
Trump. Which makes the raid of his office probably the biggest load of
information to land on the desks of Mueller’s team, and makes Cohen’s
personal cooperation less than requisite.
4. Why Congressional
Republicans Have Abdicated Their Responsibility
article is by Robert Reich on his site (and I somewhat abbreviated the
long title). It starts as follows:
As long as Republicans
Congress, Donald Trump’s reckless behavior will go completely unchecked.
Republicans in Congress
the Party of Trump, abandoning their self-avowed conservative
enable his agenda:
When Trump attacks the
investigation they claim it’s
not necessary for Congress to protect the
investigators. A group of House Republicans even
took the unheard-of step of filing articles of impeachment against
Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — less than 2 weeks after Mueller’s
investigation, the investigation Rosenstein is supervising, issued 12
additional indictments against Russian operatives.
When the Trump
separates immigrant children from their families at the border,
When Trump insults our
cozies up to Vladimir Putin, they
take no action to constrain him.
Trump personally profits from business deals with foreign governments,
his conflicts of interest,
ignoring the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
I agree. Here is more:
The Framers of the
never intended for Congress to become a political arm of the president.
Before Trump, Congress had exercised its oversight authority to
hold the executive branch accountable, conducting investigations,
in history, the House has impeached a president
for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
So why have Republicans,
control Congress, surrendered their constitutional duty to rein in this
And here is Reich´s
answer to his last question:
Here’s the real reason for
the Republicans’ abdication of their Constitutional
responsibility: Establishment Republicans and their wealthy donors
tolerate Trump’s attacks on our
democracy as long as he gives them massive tax cuts and slashes
regulations so they can make even more money.
It is time to hold Trump’s
enablers accountable, and vote them out of
office. This November 6th, we can send them packing.
But voter turnout is
everything. Democrats need to pick up 23
seats to win a majority of the House, and 2
seats to win a majority of the Senate.
I agree. Then again,
say that the Democrats seem mostly bought by lobbyists - but I am in
favor of the Democrats because the Republicans are headed
by a madman
and a neofascist, and I certainly
would vote in the American elections
if I were an American. And this is a recommended article.
Than 500 Children Are Still Separated. Here’s What Comes Next
article is by Amrit Cheng on Common Dreams and originally on Speak
Freely/ACLU. It starts as follows:
It’s been nearly one month since the federal
court's deadline for the Trump administration to reunite separated
families, but hundreds of children are still waiting. In fact, as of
12:00 pm on August
16, 565 immigrant children remained in government custody.
For 366 of
those children, including six who are under the age of five, reunion is
made all the more complicated by the fact that the government already
deported their parents — without a plan for how they would be ever be
completely agree, although I wonder why no one in the
USA says that
what Trump and his government did to these children is kidnapping,
which is a serious crime. In case you doubt this, here is
of the item on Wikipedia:
law, kidnapping is the unlawful carrying away (asportation) and confinement of a person
against their will. Thus, it is a composite crime. It can also be
defined as false imprisonment by means of abduction, both of which are
separate crimes that when committed simultaneously upon the same person
merge as the single crime of kidnapping. The asportation/abduction
element is typically but not necessarily conducted by means of force or
this fully applies to what Trump´s
government did. Besides,
Trump´s government also seems to be indulging itself in sadism (and
¨our steering committee¨ belongs to the ACLU):
weeks ago, the government finally turned over a list of phone numbers
for the majority of deported parents. With our steering committee,
we’re focused on making contact with every deported parent advising
them of their rights to be reunified.
thus far, many of the phone numbers have been inoperable. The fact of
the matter is that many parents may be in hiding, considering that they
have all been deported to countries which they fled in the first place.
It certainly doesn’t help that
the government may have had this information for more than a month
before handing it over to us.
think this fully satisfies what I understand by sadism. This is a
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 (!!).