from August 25, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
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 25, 2018:
1. James Risen on Prosecuting the President & Why Press
Needs to Fight
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. Being Pro-Palestinian Doesn’t Make Jeremy Corbyn an
3. Don’t Impeach Trump. Annul His Presidency
4. Why American-Made Fascism Puts Democracy at Risk
5. Noam Chomsky: Hopes and Anxieties in the Age of Trump
Risen on Prosecuting the President & Why Press Needs to Fight Back
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
In the wake of
President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen’s plea deal and former
campaign manager Paul Manafort’s guilty verdict, many are advocating
for Trump’s impeachment. We speak with The Intercept’s James Risen, who
says lawmakers should indict Trump and prosecute him in a federal court.
Yes indeed, and I have
reviewed Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort in previous Nederlogs of the
last few days. One important problem for non-Trumpists (to which I
belong) is: How to remove Trump from the presidency?
Here is James Risen
(and indeed further on, in a later review, there is
also Robert Reich: see here):
I agree with Risen that it
is quite unlikely that the present Congress will
impeach Trump. As to
prosecuting Trump in a federal court ¨to deal with the criminality of Donald Trump¨: I agree that Trump is a
president, but I simply do not know enough of American law to
on this possibility. (Besides, even if there would be a conviction,
Trump probably will pardon himself, whether that is legal or not.)
GOODMAN: (..) You just
wrote a piece
this week called “Is Donald Trump Above the Law?” Explain. And talk
about your call for a Trump Project.
RISEN: Yeah, I wrote in
this latest piece that, you know, there’s this long-standing tradition,
based partly on legal opinions issued by the Justice Department over
the last few decades, in which it’s believed that the Justice
Department cannot indict and prosecute a sitting president and that the
only available option is impeachment in Congress. But it’s clear now
that the Republicans in Congress are not going to ever go along with an
impeachment, no matter what Robert Mueller and the special counsel
find. Even if the Democrats retake the House, and even if they retook
the Senate, it’s highly unlikely they would have the votes in the
Senate for a conviction on an impeachment. And so, the only real
avenue, I believe, to deal with the criminality of Donald Trump is to
indict him and prosecute him in a federal court. And I think that the
prosecutors, both in New York, who have dealt with the Cohen matter,
and Mueller’s special counsel office, should both consider indicting
him for what are very obviously criminal activity, criminal matters.
Here is more:
GOODMAN: And you think the
most obvious part of the criminal matters are what? What do you think
RISEN: Well, I think this
week what we got was Donald Trump’s former lawyer, personal lawyer,
revealing, admitting in court, that the felony he just pled guilty to
was a conspiracy that he—that was coordinated and directed by Donald
Trump. He said that in court. That makes it—I mean, how does a federal
prosecutor—when you have just prosecuted the man’s personal lawyer, and
that personal lawyer has admitted that Trump directed him to do the
thing that you just prosecuted him for, how do you then ignore that as
a prosecutor? Do you just—
GOODMAN: Well, it could
well be whether a sitting president can be indicted would go to the
Supreme Court. And it’s a very serious question about what it would
GOODMAN: —if Brett
Kavanaugh were sitting on that Supreme Court.
Yes, I agree with both
Risen and Goodman, though I add that it seems to me that there is a
clear legal answer to the question (bolding added) ¨whether a sitting president can be
indicted¨: Of course
he can, simply because the executionary part of the government (the
government) is independent of the legal part of the state (the
Then again, Goodman is
right that if these legal questions are in the end to be decided by a
mostly conservative Supreme Court, then Trump may be protected against
decisions against Trump by federal courts.
Here is another project
GOODMAN: The Trump
RISEN: Yeah, I wrote
about a week ago about the—you know, when the American editorial pages
were all writing about the need for press freedom in America, I said
that we should really go further than just having a series of
editorials. We need to have investigative reporters come together in a
joint project to investigate Trump, much the way that investigative
reporters came together back in the 1970s in Arizona after
investigative reporter Don Bolles was murdered in a car bombing by the
Mob. About 38 investigative reporters came from all over the country to
jointly investigate what Bolles had been investigating, and then wrote
a series of stories about it. I think that’s what we need with Donald
Trump, is to have investigative reporters from every major news
organization getting together and writing jointly a comprehensive
investigation of Trump, that could be published jointly throughout the
country, as a sign of how strong press freedom and investigative
reporting still is, despite Trump.
I think this may be a
good idea. And this is a recommended article.
Pro-Palestinian Doesn’t Make Jeremy Corbyn an Anti-Semite
This article is by
As´ad AbuKhalil on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
last few decades, public opinion in the West has shifted from the
early, post- World War II period. Support for Israel has declined while
support for the Palestinians has increased. This shift has been
particularly pronounced among youth, especially those who are liberals
mostly agree with the above. Here is more on Corbyn´s position:
The view was
much different when Israel established its occupation of Palestine in
1948. But Israel has committed too many massacres and perpetrated too
many invasions to maintain the status quo. Its war crimes have been
televised too often for the world not to notice and popular opinion not
to change. Mainstream print media no longer can control the narrative
and mold the coverage of Israel and its offenses like it once did.
Still, while the
base of the Socialist Party in France or the Labour Party in the United
Kingdom has shifted in a more pro-Palestinian direction, much of the
leadership of those parties continues to uphold Israeli dogmas.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is the exception. Unlike Francois
Hollande of France, Corbyn represents the progressive, youthful base of
the his party on domestic and foreign policies.
so. Then again, from my own point of view (which is pretty well
informed) I think it is crazy to accuse Corbyn of
rise poses a real problem for Israel. Therefore Tel Aviv’s latest
target is Corbyn. Israel finds his stance worrisome because if he
were to be elected prime minister, a real possibility, his views could
influence a major shift in the foreign policies of other European
But here is how it goes, more or less:
repeated denunciations of anti-Semitism haven’t been sufficient because
this is not really about anti-Semitism and its repugnance. The beef
that British Zionists (and other Zionists especially in Israel) have
with Corbyn is with his views on Palestine. He was asked to
accept—without hesitation or equivocation—an Israeli definition of
anti-Semitism, which was provided by the International Holocaust
Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
That is to say (or
so it seems): Corbyn is an anti-Semite because Corbyn is
pro-Palestinian. Which is utter boloney.
accepting this definition is an attempt to force Corbyn to tailor his
statements and beliefs on the Arab-Israeli question to the Israeli
position. The Israeli establishment wants to prevent grass-roots views
on Palestine among British progressives from being reflected in the
stances of party leaders.
Here is the ending of this article, in which there is considerably more:
war on Corbyn is a prominent part of Israel’s war on free speech in the
U.K. and elsewhere.
indeed. And this is a recommended article.
Corbyn and other
politicians should be expected to never resort to anti-Semitic
expressions. But so far only evidence of his pro-Palestinian statements
have been found and that should never be confused with the scourge of
Impeach Trump. Annul His Presidency
This article is by Robert Reich
on his site. It starts as follows:
The only way I see the end
is if there’s overwhelming evidence he rigged the 2016 election. In
which case impeachment
isn’t an adequate remedy. His presidency should be annulled.
Let me explain. Many people
convinced we’re already witnessing the beginning of the end of Trump.
In their view, bombshell
from Trump insiders with immunity from prosecution, combined with
Mueller uncovers about Trump’s obstruction of justice and his aide’s
with the Russians, will all tip the scales.
Democrats will take back
and begin an impeachment, and the evidence of impeachable offenses will
enough pressure on Republican senators to send Trump packing.
I don’t believe this for a
I agree with
the chances of impeachment of Trump: They are very low as long
Republicans have both the House and the Senate, and indeed not much
better if they loose the majority in the House but keep a majority in
Then again, I am
quite uninformed about annulling Trump´s
presidency. Here is more by
Reich on the possibilities of impeachment:
First, the Senate has never
history convicted a president of impeachment.
Second, even if Democrats
House in November, Republicans will almost certainly remain in control
Senate – and so far they’ve displayed the integrity of lizards.
Third, Fox News and the
rest of the
right-wing sleaze media will continue to distort and cover up whatever
evidence shows – convincing 35 to 40 percent of Americans, along with
Republicans, that Trump is the innocent victim of a plot to remove him.
Finally, Trump himself will
voluntarily resign, as did Nixon. He’ll lie and claim a conspiracy to
Yes, I basically agree
- and like to add that, in
my psychologist´s opinion, Trump is not
sane, which in itself ought to be a sufficient reason to remove him
Here is more:
He’s proven himself a
conman, an entertainer-demagogue capable of sowing so much confusion
instigating so much hate and paranoia that he has already survived
would have broken any garden-variety loathsome president – Helsinki,
Charlottesville, children locked in cages at the border, firings and
racist slurs, clear corruption.
In all likelihood, we’ll
have him for another
two and a half years.
Don’t bet the house on him
2020, either. A malignant bullying megalomaniac who lies like most
breathe, and who’s able to suck the oxygen out of every news cycle,
any Democratic opponent.
Yes, I agree again: Trump is a ¨malignant
bullying megalomaniac¨ (and see the link!), and
I think Reich is probably also right that Trump might win another
presidency in 2020. My own arguments for the latter possibility are (i)
that I think it is a fact that - anyway -
most (more than half) of all Americans is stupid or ignorant (which
strongly dislike but is a fact), and (ii) that
Fox + Facebook ¨inform¨
at least 40% of all Americans.
Here is more Reich:
Suppose, just suppose,
Mueller finds overwhelming and indisputable evidence that Trump
Putin to rig the 2016 election, and the rigging determined the
In other words, Trump’s
presidency is not authorized under the United States Constitution.
place, I think it is very unlikely that ¨Robert
Mueller finds overwhelming and indisputable evidence that Trump
Putin to rig the 2016 election¨. And in the second place, I think an annulment of
Trump´s presidency (or anyone´s presidency) is very
I grant that my second
opinion is a bit weakened by the fact that I do not know
what the annulment of of a president would legally involve, but
¨Trump´s decisions¨ or ¨Trump´s government´s decisions¨ are not
just sanctioned by them, but also - in so far as they became
law - by
the majority of the Senate and the House. Would these also be
Here is the last bit that I´ll quote from this article:
The only response to an
unconstitutional presidency is to annul it. Annulment would repeal all
unconstitutional president’s appointments and executive actions, and
eliminate the official record of the presidency.
Annulment would recognize
that all such appointments, actions, and records were made without
The Constitution does not
specifically provide for annulment of an unconstitutional presidency.
as a whole, the Constitution leads to the logical conclusion that
the appropriate remedy for one.
I remain quite
skeptical (though I strongly desire Trump´s removal), and
the Constitution does not explicitly provide for an ¨annulment of an unconstitutional presidency¨ strengthens my skepticism. But this
is a recommended article.
American-Made Fascism Puts Democracy at Risk
article is by Timothy Denevi on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Earlier this month,
I attended the Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington, DC -- a gathering
of white nationalists to mark the anniversary of last year's horrific
violence in Charlottesville.
Yes. As to Wallace´s quotation:
I do not take it very serious, simply because I know
that I am for
democracy also when I know that quite a few of the decisions taken with
a majority are not right in my opinion, and also because I know
many democratic decisions are not taken on the basis of
reasonable arguments. (And see toleration.)
I found myself thinking about
a quote by the late David Foster Wallace: "How do you promote democracy
when you know that a majority of people will, if given the chance, vote
for an end to democratic voting?"
This is America in 2018.
The United States is being led by someone who openly defends white
supremacists. Who calls the free press "the
enemy of the people." Who abuses the power of his office to attack
his critics. Already, his campaign machinery for the next presidential
election is kicking into gear. We're about to come face-to-face with
Wallace's complication: To support Trump and similar politicians could
very well amount to casting a ballot in favor of dismantling the core
electoral safeguards that allow such votes to be cast in the first
The rally itself
turned out to be a flop.
Next, the main organizer of the ¨Unite
the Right 2 rally¨is Jason
I agree for the most part
(and stress the above is about extremists and racists). Here is
Jason Kessler is not a
victim. Instead, in his convoluted play for legitimacy, he openly
threatens the rights of American citizens he believes inferior. To put
it bluntly: Any individuals who advocate for white supremacy in the
mainstream media -- seeking, in the process, to pervert our
longstanding, if flawed, presumption of a shared objective reality into
a blatantly false equivalency -- are openly and knowingly participating
in the destruction of democracy itself.
I know that sounds
extreme, and fair enough. But let's not split
hairs. The overthrow of participatory democracy has been the overt
goal of white supremacy from the very start. As such, for anyone
advocating that ideology, racism is as much a means as an end, since
it's only when the inherent rights of minority citizens are completely
revoked -- to a degree more extreme than Jim Crow or even slavery --
that America will finally become an autocratic government powerful
enough to enforce the uncompromising purity these supremacists so
As to the American ¨slavery-condoning participatory democracy
[that] was intentionally founded upon, a gap between reality and
idealism¨: That is quite
for ¨being free and equal¨ was utter moonshine at least until
because of racism and legally tolerated and protected slavery of black
What we're talking about
now is really just another version of the quote from Wallace's essay on
Borges: that deep-seated contradiction that our slavery-condoning
participatory democracy was intentionally founded upon, a gap between
reality and idealism in which the necessary rationales for the
Republic's beginning and end—for its existence and destruction—have,
over the last two centuries, managed to simultaneously reside.
It's something that
Charles P. Pierce, reflecting on the anniversary of Charlottesville, summed
up perfectly: "I am so free that I insist that my freedom includes
the freedom to deny you yours."
And as to Pierce´s
quotation: It is obvious nonsense in my eyes (and very
probably also in Pierce´s eyes), and I like to balance it with a
quotation of Karl Popper
(which I quote from memory): ¨We are to be tolerant of
the tolerant, and intolerant of the intolerant¨. I do not know whether
this is literal, but it is what Popper meant, and I agree
it - and see my entry on toleration,
which is pertinent.
Here is the ending of this article:
Yes, I agree and this is a
And now, as his standing
worsens and the multiple investigations into his possible crimes
accelerate, Donald Trump is running out of options. Can the American
Idea survive the onslaught of racial demagoguery he's likely to
unleash, in the coming weeks and months, as a last-ditch effort to
rally together the worst among us and save himself?
Whether we like it or
not, Donald Trump is steering the country into the future. And as the
rest of us watch on in disbelief, the odds that he'll somehow avert
disaster and keep his wandering hands to himself grow slimmer and
slimmer with each passing day.
Chomsky: Hopes and Anxieties in the Age of Trump
article is by Saul Isaacson on Truthout. It starts as follows:
For over half a century, Noam Chomsky,
celebrated linguist and current Laureate Professor of Linguistics and
Agnese Nelms Haury Chair at the University of Arizona, has provided
intellectual and moral leadership to critics of American foreign
policy. In the interview below, conducted in his office at the
University of Arizona on August 7, 2018, Chomsky discusses the American
obsession with Iran, and why the Trump administration seems ready for a
confrontation. He also addresses the disappointing trends in two Latin
American nations, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Above all, Chomsky expresses
his concerns over nuclear weapons, especially in the unpredictable
hands of Donald Trump. Reprinted below is the entire text of the
Yes. And this is a fairly
long and quite good interview of which I will only review two bits that
concern me most:
Yes, I agree with
everything and also like to stress that I am a psychologist
considerable experience in the treatment of an insane person) who
thoroughly agrees that Trump is ¨a
narcissistic megalomaniac¨, and who insists that
Trump´s insanity should be one
of the main reasons to remove him as president of the USA, indeed
because I think Trump lacks the responsibility not to use
weapons at some point, especially if this suits his
Speaking of bombs
and missiles, I recently read The Doomsday Machine
by Daniel Ellsberg. I found it riveting.
It’s a very important book.
Yeah. And he
[Ellsberg] talks about key transition points and what is acceptable
barbarism in war. He starts with the traditional notion that soldiers
kill only soldiers, and then the bombing of civilians, and the way
“Bomber” Harris worked it down to a science, and then the incineration
of cities was the next step, and then the atomic bomb, and the savagery
of Curtis LeMay; it’s really a beautifully-written book, very moving.
But it made me think about Trump. Are we at another one of those key
pivotal moments [featuring] a president with a trigger finger, and more
and more nations with nuclear weapons?
Well, you know, Trump is a
deviation from standard political history. He doesn’t give a shit about
geostrategic issues. He doesn’t care what the hell he’s doing. If he
smashes up the international economy, fine. If he throws out NATO, who
cares? The only thing he cares about is himself, literally, and
everything he’s doing follows from just the recognition that he’s a
narcissistic megalomaniac who wants to make sure that, you know, he’s
on top. He wins everything. And he has to keep his base under control.
And he’s very good at it. He knows exactly what buttons to push to keep
angry people — angry for good reasons, for the most part — to keep them
sort of following him. He’s shafting them at every turn.
And here is Chomsky on Trump and nuclear weapons:
Yes, I tend to agree with
Chomsky (including about Mueller´s investigation), although I also
think it is fairly crazy not to prosecute Trump because he
angry and ¨might start
nuking people¨. Then again,
I have been saying for 2 1/2 years now that Trump is insane. And this
is a strongly recommended article in which there is
Do you think Trump
is more likely to use tactical nuclear weapons than other presidents?
Well, I think the danger with
Trump and nuclear weapons is something else. If this Mueller
investigation ever comes up with something, which I doubt very much,
but if it comes up with something that implicates Trump, everybody’s in
trouble because he’s going to react like a maniac. Might try to start a
war in the United States. He might start nuking people. He might do
anything. Anything that goes after him personally is very dangerous.
So, again, I think the liberals are out of their minds on this. What
they want to do is implicate Trump, you know, threaten to impeach him,
at which point he could go crazy. And he has a lot of power.
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 (!!).