from September 7, 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 September 7, 2018:
1. Dear Anonymous Trump Official, There Is No Redemption in
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. The Kavanaugh Cover-up? Role in Torture & Domestic
Remains Unknown As Papers
3. Stop Brett Kavanaugh — A Corporation Masquerading as a
4. Plutocracy Now!
5. Psychiatrist Bandy Lee says White House officials told her
Anonymous Trump Official, There Is No Redemption in Your Cowardly Op-Ed
This article is by
Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept. In fact, it is a reaction to an article that I reviewed yesterday.
It starts as follows:
You claim, on the opinion
pages of the “failing”
New York Times no less, that senior officials working for the president
of the United States “are working diligently from within to frustrate
parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
“I would know,” you add
dramatically. “I am one of them.”
Sorry, what was the point
of this particular piece? And what is it that you want from the rest of
us? A thank-you card? A round of applause? The nation’s undying
This may seem bold. But then
here are some of Hasan's reasons:
There is no redemption; no
exoneration for you or your colleagues inside this shit-show of an
administration. You think an op-ed in the paper of record is going to
cut it? Gimme a break. You cannot write an article admitting to the
president’s “anti-democratic” impulses while also saying you want his
administration “to succeed.” You cannot publish a 965-word piece
excoriating Donald Trump’s “worst inclinations” while omitting any and
all references to his racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and
You did find space,
however, to heap praise on yourself and your fellow officials. “Unsung
heroes.” “Adults in the room.” “Quiet resistance.” “Steady state.”
Are you kidding me? Where
were your “unsung heroes” when this administration was snatching
kids from their parents and locking
them in cages? Drugging
them and denying
them drinking water?
Where were your “adults in
the room” when this administration left 3,000
Americans in Puerto Rico to die because, apparently, it is an
by water, big water, ocean water”? Where were they when the
president was denying that Hurricane Maria was a “real
catastrophe” and lobbing
paper towels at the survivors?
Yes indeed - and this
is just a small selection of the horrible things Trump did, and
which the anonymous
official (?) who is said to have written the article may have been
taking part in.
Here is more Hasan:
The reality is that you and
your fellow officials are enablers of Trump; you are his protectors and
defenders. You say it yourself. Why were there only “whispers within
the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment,” which provides for the
cabinet to remove
the president from office if he is unable to do the job? Why not
invoke it and let Mike Pence take over? (Are you, by the way, Mike
If as you claim — and we
all agree! — that the president you serve “continues to act in a manner
that is detrimental to the health of our republic” with “misguided
impulses,” then how can you advocate for anything other than his swift
removal from office?
I agree that these are
all good points. Abd here is more by Hasan:
What is it, then, that you
object to? Well, it seems, your biggest concern is “not what Mr. Trump
has done to the presidency,” but how Americans have “sunk low with him
and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.”
You’re joking, right? The widespread
dishonesty, the rampant
corruption, the brazen
racism, the growing
authoritarianism, the accusations
of collusion — none of that tops your list of Trumpian abuses
and infractions? But the “civility” of our discourse does? Fuck
Also, what did you think would
happen when you signed up to work for a reality TV star who was accused
of sexual assault by more than a dozen women, and of rape
by his first wife?
Quite so. There is more
in the article, that is strongly recommended, but this is enough.
Kavanaugh Cover-up? Role in Torture & Domestic Spying Policy
Remains Unknown As Papers Withheld
article is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! It
starts with the following introduction:
Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing enters its third day
today. On Wednesday Capitol Police arrested 73 people protesting
Kavanaugh’s nomination. The protests began almost immediately when
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley tried to start the
hearing. Protesters included Women’s March organizers from 26 states.
Among them was a teenager who stood on a chair and said, “I’m 18, and
I’m here for the youth of the country. You’re ruining my future.” We
speak to Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s
National Security Project, and Vince Warren, executive director of the
Center for Constitutional Rights.
Yes, and you - my readers
- are supposed to know something. In fact, there is
more on Kavenaugh
in Nederlog here.
And here is Vince Warren:
(..) Vince, let’s begin with you. This letter that you wrote, why are
you so deeply concerned about Judge Kavanaugh?
WARREN: If you look back
at Judge Kavanaugh’s record, what you see is someone who is deeply,
deeply hostile towards the rights that flow to people. Republicans will
talk about him as a centrist, as someone who is fair, as somebody who
follows the law, but they’re looking at it the wrong way. If you look
at this particular nominee on the spectrum of are they in favor of
presidential and state power and corporate power versus are they in
favor of people power, almost invariably, he will go as deeply as he
can toward state and corporate power, whether we’re talking about
reproductive rights, racial justice, voting rights. It’s a disaster.
And I think it is an important time for us because with Anthony Kennedy
vacating the seat, we are really looking at several decades of a very
hard-right Supreme Court that is going to be a real challenge for the
legal organizations that are trying to vindicate the rights of the
Yes, I think these
fears are quite justified (incidentally, in part because
judges are nominated for life, which I think is a mistake).
Here is Hina Shamsi
from the ACLU:
SHAMSI: The ACLU as a matter of policy doesn’t take positions
for or against Supreme Court nominees, but we do think it is incredibly
important for Congress and the public to be informed about their
record. We analyzed Judge Kavanaugh’s national security cases and found
that he has extreme deference to presidential claims of unchecked
authority in the name of war and national security, a hostility to
enforcing constraints imposed by binding international law on
government action—again in the name of war and national security—and an
unwillingness to recognize judicial remedies for individuals who have
been harmed by constitutional and human rights violations.
Again I think that is
all quite justified, but the most important point comes now:
Precisely. And since in
fact over 100,000 pages of documents that could and probably would shed
light on Kavanaugh's real opinions have "disappeared", my own
conclusion is that Kavanaugh should not be appointed at all.
This is a
strongly recommended article, in which there is a lot more than I
quoted. And in fact, here is more on Kavanaugh:
GOODMAN: What documents
have been released, what haven’t, what is on the record and what about
what he actually was willing to admit?
little is on the record. Part of the reason for that is that as
Democratic senators have pointed out, they do not have the majority of
the records from Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the White House. He held two
different positions in the White House and they don’t have the majority
of records from that time. And I think one important thing to point out
SHAMSI: Because they
haven’t been produced. They’ve been withheld on claims of privilege.
There is a set of unusual and unprecedented refusals to provide
information, and that is a problem because we need Congress to exercise
its authority here, and the public also needs to know about this man
who is set to hold a position that will be so important.
Brett Kavanaugh — A Corporation Masquerading as a Judge
article is by Ralph Nader on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Observers say that
confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become President Trump’s
second pick for a lifetime job on the Supreme Court will make the Court
more conservative. It is more accurate to say Kavanaugh will
make the Court more corporatist.
With Kavanaugh, it is all
about siding with corporations over workers, consumers, patients,
motorists, the poor, minority voters, and beleaguered communities.
judicial opinions put corporate interests ahead of the common
good—backing the powerful against the weak, the vulnerable, and the
Apart from his declared
views pouring power and immunity into the Presidency (which is why
Trump wants him), Kavanaugh could be the most corporate judge in modern
American history. Two meticulous reports on his judicial decisions, one
by the Alliance
for Justice (AFJ) and one by Public
Citizen demonstrate that for him it’s all about corporations
Yes, I think that is
all correct. Incidentally - but I admit blaming
lack of competence on
American journalists makes no difference - I took the point of "corporations uber alles" (which means: corporations above
everything) as the defining difference between fascism (which I
by listing 10 legal, social and political criterions) and neo-fascism
(likewise), and I mention this here because some rare lost soul might
inspect my definitions.
Well... I like
think they are important, but having read and reviewed over
articles on politics and having found completely zero with a
possible definition of "fascism" or "neofascism", I admit I
decided these concepts are too intricate for almost any journalist.
Anyway. Back to the
Here is AFJ’s summary:
Kavanaugh has repeatedly
ruled against efforts to combat climate change and the regulation of
greenhouse gases. He also repeatedly ruled against protections for
clean air. He has repeatedly sided with the wealthy and the powerful
over all Americans. He has fought consumer protections in the areas of
automobile safety, financial services, and a free and open internet.
Kavanaugh has also repeatedly ruled against workers, workplace
protections and safety regulations.
Do you want him
to be on the Supreme Court?
Kavanaugh is a corporate
supremacist to a fanatic level of protecting corporate cruelty and
greed. Giving him an unaccountable lifetime position on the Court will
weaken our democracy and empower the corporate state.
Yes. I entirely
and am also well aware my agreement is based on an agreement with
Nader's values. But that is no shortcoming.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I agree again, and hope he
will not be elected a Supreme Court judge, though I have to
I doubt it. And this is a recommended article.
Watch out for a cruel man
with a folksy smile. Watch once again the Democratic Senators on the
Senate Judiciary Committee minimizing Kavanaugh’s bias for
corporations—except for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Given the lives, injuries,
and sickness at stake; given the dictatorially approved taxpayer-funded
corporate welfare and bloated corporate contracts with governments
draining the peoples’ necessities, given Kavanaugh’s mindless support
for corporate dollars corruptly buying elections, maybe the motto
against this awful nomination should be “Kavana-ugh!”
is by Michael Brenner on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
means rule by the rich. “Rule” can have various shades of meaning:
those who exercise the authority of public office are wealthy; their
wealth explains why they hold that office; they exercise that authority
in the interests of the rich; they have the primary influence over who
holds those offices and the actions they take.
Yes, his seems all quite
correct. I am also willing to admit that the USA indeed is in
ways a plutocracy, and that it is also not a democracy,
and also on
various other fairly simple one-word-judgements that hold for the USA,
but I don't think such one-word-judgements are themselves
sum-ups of the country, the government, the politics and the legalities
of any country.
These aspects of “plutocracy”
are not exclusive. Moreover, government of the rich and for the rich
need not be run directly by the rich. Also, in some exceptional
circumstances rich individuals who hold powerful positions may govern
in the interests of the many, for example Franklin Roosevelt.
The United States today
qualifies as a plutocracy – on a number of grounds. Let’s look at some
striking bits of evidence. Gross income redistribution upwards in the
hierarchy has been a feature of American society for the past decades.
The familiar statistics tell us that nearly 80 percent of the national
wealth generated since 1973 has gone to the upper 2 percent and 65
percent to the upper 1 per cent.
To put it somewhat
differently, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the top
earning 1 percent of households gained about 8 times more than those in
the 60 percentile after federal taxes and income transfers between 1979
and 2007 and 10 times those in lower percentiles.
In short, the overwhelming
fraction of all the wealth created over two generations has gone to
those at the very top of the income pyramid.
And in the end I think my own judgement that the USA is fastly
progressing towards neo-fascism,
which I define in terms of 10
different criterions, is the best - but I admit (after
over 5 years of
fruitless searching) that 10 different criterions seem to be too much
to keep in mind of almost any journalist.
Also, regardless of whether you agree with my last judgement, I think
"plutocracy" is too simple minded to adequately represent the
society, were it only for the simple reason that the social systems
that ruled Western Europe and the USA the last 400 years or so all
were plutocratic (and a lot more) except for a few decades from
Here is more:
of the system by predatory banks was made possible by the Clinton
“reforms” of the 1990s and the lax application of those rules that
still prevailed. Former Attorney General Eric Holder, let’s recall,
went so far as to admit that the Department of Justice’s decisions on
when to bring criminal charges against the biggest financial
institutions will depend not on the question of legal violations alone
but would include the hypothetical effects on economic stability of
their prosecution. (Those adverse effects are greatly exaggerated).
Yes indeed, though I doubt
"That is plutocracy" is the right judgement: It was fraud,
by Eric Holder, indeed mega-fraud.
Earlier, Holder had extended
blanket immunity to Bank of America and other mortgage lenders for
their apparent criminality in forging through robo-signing of
foreclosure documents on millions of home owners. In brief, equal
protection and application of the law has been suspended. That is
Here is some more:
FDR, it rightly is
said, saved American capitalism. Barack OBAMA saved predatory financial
I selected this because I
agree with it and because I dislike Barack Obama
(not because he is black, but because he helped the rich). Here is more:
decision not to seek the power to bargain with pharmaceutical companies
over the price of drugs paid for with public funds is another.
Tolerance for the concealment of offshore profits in the tens of
billions is a third. This last is the most egregious.
Quite so. Here is the last
bit that I quote from this article:
Some of the most profitable
companies pay little or no federal taxes. Apple is outstanding among
them – it has paid zero. Facebook and Microsoft follow closely behind.
General Electric received a tax refund in 2015 – after revenues of $8
billion. Its global tax rate in all jurisdictions was 3.2 percent.
Our leaders are
nearly all rich by any reasonable standard. Most are very rich. Trump’s
cabinet is dominated by billionaires. Those who weren’t already rich
have aspired to become so and have succeeded. The Clintons are the
striking case in point.
Yes again. There is
considerably more in the article, that is recommended,
but I do insist
on my earlier point that while the present USA is in various
plutocracy, the term "plutocracy" is too simple to explain what happened in the USA.
Bandy Lee says White House officials told her Trump was “unraveling”
is by Chauncy Devega on Salon. It starts as follows:
It would seem that matters
are far worse than even Donald Trump's fiercest critics have
suggested. As the entire world has noticed, on Wednesday the New
York Times published an op-ed that is without precedent in
American history for what it suggests about a sitting president.
Assuming this is not part
of a gaslighting campaign or an effort to uncover Trump's "enemies" in
his inner circle — which is not out of the question — what
the Times op-ed reveals is terrifying.
An anonymous "senior
official" in the administration writes that "Trump is facing a test to
his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader. . . . The
dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior
officials in his own administration are working diligently from within
to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations."
Many Trump appointees,
including the writer, he or she reports, "have vowed to do what we can to preserve our
democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided
impulses until he is out of office."
I don't think I agree
with DeVega on the "anonymous
"senior official"" (?) -
and see item 1 above.
Here is more, and this
makes a lot of sense to me, although I am willing to agree that
take 6 years to get an excellent M.A. in psychology:
There is also more evidence
that Donald Trump's mental health is likely impaired:
Given the instability
many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of
invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for
removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a
constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the
administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s
Lee, the Yale University psychiatrist who edited the
bestselling book "The
Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health
Experts Assess a President," explained to me in an email
conversation that these "revelations" about Trump seem entirely
predictable based on his public and other behavior.
Yes indeed, and Bandy
Lee is right (I say, as a psychologist). Then there is this:
Richard Painter, who served
as chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, also agrees that
Donald Trump should not have access to nuclear weapons. In a phone
interview, Painter said, "Trump's mental health puts the country at
risk," and suggested that if Trump were to order the unprovoked use of
nuclear weapons, "the vice president could invoke the 25th Amendment
and very quickly try to gain control of the situation, along with a
majority of the Cabinet."
Well... I agree with
Painter (I suppose) that (i) Trump never should have been
president of the USA, and that (ii) he is so dangerous that he "should not have access to nuclear weapons". Then again, his considerations about
what Pence might do "if
Trump were to order the unprovoked use of nuclear weapons" seems boloney to me.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
They bemoan Trump's
authoritarian and fascist behavior, yet continue to support him and his
policies. They wish that Trump would not lie so often and act with such
gross contempt toward the truth, yet continue to support him and his
policies. They may describe Trump's attacks on freedom of the press are
"concerning" and "worrisome," but they continue to support him and his
Ultimately, this anonymous
senior staff member appears more concerned about the mark history will
put next to their name for working with the Donald Trump than with
saving the United States from a president who they know to be
dangerously unqualified and perhaps unsound of mind.
Yes indeed. And this is
a recommended article.