from October 1, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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 October 1, 2018:
1. Pack the Supreme Court
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. Here's How to Save the Supreme Court
3. Victimizing the Victims, Again
4. California Becomes First State to Require Women on
5. America’s Bullies
the Supreme Court
This article is by
Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Brett Kavanaugh moved one
step closer to the United States Supreme Court on Friday.
Despite telling brazen
lies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and despite
Christine Blasey Ford’s compelling
testimony, Republicans on the committee voted
in favor of advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate for
a vote. Only a new
FBI investigation into Ford’s allegations, limited
in time to one week, now stands in the way of Donald Trump
entrenching a hard-right conservative majority on the Supreme Court for
a generation or more.
To be clear, such a
majority on the court would be an utter disaster for women, for people
of color, and for the poor. One upside of Kavanaugh’s raw and angry
rant on Thursday — he referred to the Democrats on the panel as “you
people,” a “disgrace,” and accused them of exacting “revenge on
behalf of the Clintons” — is that it exposed the Supreme Court for
what it is: a partisan on the political battlefield, not a
disinterested defender of the Constitution.
Yes, I think this is
true. And here is Hasan's solution to this problem:
Well... to start with, I
admit that I had not thought of court packing.
So it’s past time for
liberals and the left to consider court
packing: When they next have control of the House, the Senate, and
the White House, Democrats should add at least two new seats to the
Supreme Court and then fill them, ideally, with left-wing,
well-qualified women of color. They could even call it “court
“Pack the courts as soon as
we get the chance,” tweeted
Indiana University law professor Ian
Samuel, the co-host of the popular Supreme Court podcast “First Mondays,” on the
the day Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court
in June. “‘Pack the courts’ should be a phrase on par with ‘abolish
This might sound extreme, but
it isn’t. The Constitution allows for Congress to decide the number of
Supreme Court justices.
Then again, Hasan's solution requires the Democrats to "have control of the House, the Senate, and
the White House" (which is
not even possible before 2020), and then insists on bringing
the Supreme Court - described above as "a partisan on the political battlefield" - to the left side instead of to the
right side by (then) "packing the court" "with left-wing,
well-qualified women of color".
Hasan is well aware that there may be quite a number of objections
against this, and he lists these four:
I can hear the objections
already, from timid liberals and outraged conservatives alike.
Isn’t court packing a
tactic associated with authoritarian or dictatorial governments?
Wouldn’t such a move undermine the Supreme Court’s legitimacy? Why go
for the “nuclear option” of court packing when there are other less
radical reforms on offer? And, of course, what’s to stop Republicans
from doing the same when they’re back in charge?
And Hasan has some
brief replies to these objections, which I skip. You can read them in
the original, but I have this objection:
The problem with the Supreme Court, which is or ought to be a court
of law, is that it at present and since quite a while, far less of
a court of law than of a political machine, that is controlled
for the most part (apart from the politicians in the Senate, the House
and the White House) by the political
attitudes of the justices of the Supreme Court.
And I think that about
the only way that I can see to make it act more as a court
of law rather than as a court dominated by politics is to
force the same number of Republican judges as of Democratic
judges (and also an even number of them).
This will also be far
from unproblematical, but it does address the fundamental
problem that the present Supreme Court is more of a political court
than a court of law.
Back to Hasan, who has
the following arguments for his idea:
I agree with Hasan that term limits
- which are in principle a fine idea, for the USA is the only country
that has no term limits for its Supreme Court judges - require a
constitutional amendment which makes it difficult, and I also agree
that impeachment of a Supreme Court justice is extremely
improbable in almost any case.
Critics of court packing on
the left have suggested that there are less radical alternatives to the
Supreme Court’s legitimacy crisis. Why not, they say, bring in term
limits for the nine justices? Or impeach Kavanaugh and
after the midterms?
Term limits, though, require a
amendment, while impeaching a Supreme Court justice requires a two-thirds
supermajority in the Senate. Adding new justices, however? That
only requires a simple majority in Congress.
Then again, I also think that a simple majority in Congress may be
found for the idea that the Supreme Court must be a court guided by
legal considerations rather than by political ones. But have no
idea about its degree of possibility or probability, and this is a
Then again, there also is an alternative plan, that follows
How to Save the Supreme Court
This article is by
Paul Rosenberg on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as
Last week's historic
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was primarily about sexual
violence and accountability. But it was also about lies, and those
issues are inextricably linked at many levels.
I don't think this is well
written, and I correct only one point: It is not true that "Rape is about power, not sex". In fact, rape is both about
power and sex, and it is an act of sadism.
That much is painfully
obvious. (Rape is about power, not sex. So too Supreme Court
nominations.) But the role of lies is far more diffuse and various,
ultimately reaching to the very heart of our judicial system and to the
Supreme Court, to which Kavanaugh aspires. The lies Kavanaugh told are
a useful reminder of how far from the truth we are as a nation.
Then there is this:
But the multiplying
questions about Kavanaugh's honesty — along with his possible history
of sexual abuse — and the honesty of those so eager or so desperate to
get him on the court -- are symptomatic of a much larger problem. The
position of the Supreme Court in American political culture is
inherently deceptive and dishonest, pretending to a higher wisdom that
it utterly lacks.
Well... the last statement
again is vague and misleading, and doesn't solve anything. But
here is the proposal that Rosenberg embraces in its title:
One proposed fix
Segall advanced in 2012 was to introduce 18-year term limits for
Supreme Court justices in place of lifetime tenure.
I agree with all
that - but as Mehdi Hasan pointed out in the previous
article above, term limits require a constitutional
amendment, which is quite or very difficult. And this is also a
recommended article, mostly because it - sort of - balances the
“When I wrote that book, it
was a minority view. Today it's the majority view,” Segall said. “They
played a clip of me on John Oliver two weeks ago from CNN talking about
that,” he said. We’re the only country in the world that lets Supreme
Court justices serve till they die — a major facet of how unconstrained
the Court is. Oliver found that strange.
“Lifetime appointment to the
highest court is one those things that is uniquely American,” Oliver said. “Like the Super Bowl. Or drinking
the Victims, Again
This article is by
Charles Blow on The New York Times. This is from near its beginning:
I think this is mostly
correct, though a bit exaggerated and/or rhetorical. Here is more:
message that the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee
sent to survivors, mostly women, but also many men, is this:
pain is not our problem. Your bodies are not your own. Your voice, even
at its strongest, is still weaker than any man’s, no matter how
sniveling and snide. We are here to protect the order, an old order, in
which men rule, even when unruly and reprobate.
are saying to survivors: Your word and your credibility may be all that
you have, but they are not enough for you to be believed. They are
saying that fear and trauma may have shocked you into silence, but in
the end, you will be punished for that silence. They are saying that
the failure of survivors, including children, to properly report and
document their victimizations will be viewed later not as evidence of
fear and shame, but as evidence of concoction and deceit.
senators are telling teenage boys this:
can drink beer like it’s water and we will believe you when you say you
have had perfect recall your entire life in spite of it. You can write
all sorts of damning horribleness in your yearbook and have multiple
people accuse you of sexual assault, and yet we will still hail you as
a paragon of integrity and tell you in front of the world that “you’ve
got nothing to apologize for,” as Senator Lindsey Graham said of
Kavanaugh during the hearing.
those senators are saying to all of us is that, for them, patriarchy
and privilege occupy positions of primacy in this country. And, when
that primacy is threatened, it is perfectly reasonable that those
affected would whine and rage at the possibility of being denied that
to which they are owed, as birthright and gender benefit.
To the above applies the same. Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Yes, quite so.
don’t come forward because of authorities like the Republicans on the
committee, the ones who will scoff at you, blame you and not believe
as Ford was creaking the door open and empowering others to come out of
the closet with their own stories, Republicans on the committee rushed
to slam it back shut and secure its closure with enmity if necessary.
Becomes First State to Require Women on Corporate Boards
This article is by
The Associated Press on Truthdig and originally on The Associated
Press. This starts as follows:
become the first state to require publicly traded companies to include
women on their boards of directors, one of a series of laws boosting or
protecting women that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Sunday.
I say, for I did not
know this, while I like it. Then again, I think I should add
that while I am a feminist in a similar sense as my mother was:
For sexual equality and equal payment, I am not
a feminist in
the sense this was raised in the late 1960ies, for that was both far
modernistic and totalitarian
than I thought correct, and also sold out in various ways, such
as helping to force all women to work, on the totally false
justification that working for a corporation would make them
The measure requires at
least one female director on the board of each California-based public
corporation by the end of next year. Companies would need up to three
female directors by the end of 2021, depending on the number of board
Anyway. For those interested, there is more under feminism. This
is about the specific arguments for California to change its law:
I agree with the first
paragraph, and I think that is sufficient reason to support this change
of the law.
The author of the
California measure, SB 826, said she believes having more women in
power could help reduce sexual assault and harassment in the workplace.
Having more women on
corporate boards also will make companies more successful, state Sen.
Hannah-Beth Jackson said. Women tend to be more collaborative and are
better at multitasking, the Santa Barbara Democrat said.
A fourth of publicly held
corporations with headquarters in California don’t have any women on
their boards of directors. These companies have not done enough to
increase the number of women on their boards despite the Legislature’s
urging, making government intervention necessary, Jackson said.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
In fact, I think Holland
still does not have this mandate. And this is a
The law applies to
companies that report having their principal executive offices in
California. Companies can be fined $100,000 for a first violation and
$300,000 for subsequent violations.
The law also requires
companies to report their board composition to the California secretary
of state and imposes a $100,000 fine if a company fails to do so.
Some European countries,
including Norway and France, already mandate that corporate boards
5. America’s Bullies
This article is by Robert Reich on
his site. It starts as follows:
As a kid I was always a
head shorter than other boys, which meant I was bullied – mocked,
Childhood bullying has been
going on forever. But in recent years America has become a culture
of bullying – the wealthier over
the poorer, CEOs over workers, those with privilege and pedigree over
without, the whiter over the browner and blacker, men over women.
Sometimes the bullying
involves physical violence. More often it entails intimidation,
dominance, demands for submission, or arbitrary decisions over the
those who feel they have no choice but to accept them.
Yes indeed, although I
will qualify this a bit below. But first on the importance of childhood
bullying to Reich
himself. This is on the Wikipedia:
As a child, he was
diagnosed with multiple epiphyseal dysplasia,
also known as Fairbank's disease, a bone disorder that results in short
stature among other symptoms. This condition made him a target for
bullies and he sought out the protection of older boys; one of them was
Michael Schwerner, who was later a
victim in the murders of Chaney,
Goodman, and Schwerner by the Ku
in 1964 for the
registration of African-American
voters. Reich cites this event as an inspiration to "fight the bullies,
to protect the powerless, to make sure that the people without a voice
have a voice."
I knew this story and I
believe it, and this also leads to my qualification, which is not
a qualification of Reich, but rather of a difference between
Holland and the USA, at least in my experience:
I am four years younger
than Reich and was raised in a poor and proletarian neighborhood in
Amsterdam. And while there was some childhood bullying in
Amsterdam, it seems to have been less in Holland than in the
USA, for while I did not know anyone with Reich's disease, I
did know a boy who was the child of a black man and a white woman, who
looked as if he was black, but who was not discriminated in
Amsterdam (where there was a whole lot less racial
discrimination than in the USA), apparently for the reason my friends
and I used to befriend him: He was not at all responsible for
looking a bit other than we - who were between 7 and 10 years old - did.
Anyway. Here is more:
The Kavanaugh-Ford hearings
before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27 was a window into
On one side: powerful men
who harass or abuse women and get away with it, privileged white men
intent on entrenching their power on the Supreme Court, men vested with
the power to take away a
woman’s right to choose what she does with her body.
On the other: women with
the courage to tell what has happened to them, to demand an end to
privilege, and to preserve and enlarge their constitutional
Dr. Ford was poised,
articulate, clear and convincing. More than that: She radiated
Brett Kavanaugh, by
contrast, showed himself to be a vicious partisan – a Trump-like figure
feels entitled to do and say whatever he wants, who suspects left-wing
against him, who refuses to take responsibility for his actions, and
emotional bullying and intimidation to get his way.
I think all of this is
quite true. Here is more:
Which brings us to the
coming midterm election.
It’s not really a contest
between Democrats or Republicans,
left or right. It’s a contest between
the bullies and the bullied. It’s about the power of those who are
privileged, or male – or all of the above – to threaten and intimidate
those who aren’t.
And it’s about the
courage of the bullied to fight back.
Donald Trump is America’s
bully-in-chief. He exemplifies those who use their wealth to gain power
celebrity, harass or abuse women and get away with it, lie and violate
with impunity, and rage against anyone who calls them on
I do not think this is
quite true: It is both "a contest between Democrats or Republicans" (at least the majorities in each
party); and a contest between "left or right", and - in this specific case - also a
the bullies and the bullied".
Otherwise, I agree and
here is more:
Trump used this anger to
build his political base, channeling the frustrations and anxieties
and nativism. He encouraged Americans who have been bullied to feel
powerful by bullying people with even less power: poor blacks, Latinos,
immigrants, Muslims, families seeking asylum.
This bullying game has
been played repeatedly in history, by self-described strongmen who
be tribunes of the oppressed by scapegoating the truly powerless.
This is true, although
I add (because I think it is important and part of my own ethics) that the
weak bullied who bully the even weaker do so because they are stupid
and ignorant, and stupidity and ignorance are major human problems.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Trump is no tribune of
the people. He and his enablers in the Republican Party are working for
moneyed interests – the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, other corporate
and Wall Street chieftains – by cutting their taxes, eliminating
regulations, slashing public services, and allowing them to profit off
public lands, coastal waters, and privatized services.
The moneyed interests are
America’s hidden bullies. They have enlarged their net worth by
(or pushing the companies they invest in to do so), and enlarged their
power through gerrymandering and suppressing votes (or pushing their
lackeys to do so).
Their capacity to bully has
grown as the nation’s wealth has become concentrated in fewer hands, as
economy has become more monopolized, and as American politics has
engulfed by big money.
Quite so, and this is a
strongly 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 (!!).