from November 16, 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 November 16, 2018:
1. Why the Democrats Can (and Should) Impeach Trump
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. Donald Trump and the Counterrevolutionary War
3. The ‘Pelosi Problem’ Runs Deep
4. Why Amazon Wants a Piece of Our Political and Financial
5. What happens when the intelligence community decides that
too dangerous to be president?
the Democrats Can (and Should) Impeach Trump
This article is by
Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Impeaching President Donald
Trump is a pipe dream, many say. Nancy Pelosi, who’s expected to
be the new House speaker, isn’t keen on going for impeachment, nor is
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — and a lot of people aren’t
either because they’ve been misinformed and misled. Contrary to common
perception, the president does not need to commit a crime in order to
be impeached. Allegations of collusion aside, Trump is guilty of
impeachable crimes and misdemeanors, such as the violating the
emoluments clause and tax fraud. Just last week, right after the
midterms, he fired his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and replaced
him — perhaps unconstitutionally — with a crony. He denied White House
access to a reporter he doesn’t like and tried to undermine the vote
recounts in Florida and Georgia with false and unfounded claims about
election fraud. The Democrats need to start making a public case for
impeachment and preparing the ground for a trial in the Senate, even if
it ends up being a trial they don’t or can’t win. Former Congresswoman
Elizabeth Holtzman and author of the new book, “The Case For Impeaching
Trump,” joins Mehdi Hasan this week to discuss the case for impeaching
Donald Trump. She played a key role in the impeachment of Richard Nixon
and believes that Donald Trump’s actions are “exactly the kind” that
were declared impermissible in Nixon’s articles of impeachment.
Yes, and I have quoted the whole
introduction in part to make clear what you missed if you only read the
present review and in part because a this article is too long to make a
Here is the first bit after the introduction:
That is fine, and here is
my opinion on Trump's impeachment preceded by a short
summary of my -
relevant - values:
Mehdi Hasan: Welcome
to Deconstructed. I’m Mehdi Hasan.
Today on the show:
impeaching Donald Trump. I know, I know, it’s too soon. There’s not
enough evidence. There aren’t enough votes. It would be overreach by
the new House Democratic majority. Yes, yes, I know all the liberal
objections. But I’m gonna do some impeachment myth-busting today, and
I’m also going to talk to the author of a new book on the case for
impeaching Trump, an author who just happens to have also been a key
player in the impeachment process against Richard Nixon.
EH: You would
think that once the country had gone through Watergate, the president
would learn the lesson but apparently not.
MH: That was
former congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman who voted on the Articles of
Impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee back in 1974, and who’s
the author of a new book which came out on Monday called “The Case for
So this week on Deconstructed,
let’s talk impeachment.
I very strongly dislike and fear Trump, and do so especially
am a psychologist, who agrees since nearly three years that Trump is insane, and
besides that he is a neofascist.
(You may disagree, but I fear I am on both subjects - psychology and
(neo)fascism - a lot better informed than almost anyone who
criticizes me. This does not mean that what I say is
necessarily true, but it does mean it is informed.)
And the above means that I would be very strongly for impeaching
Trump - except for several things:
First, few seem to agree with me that Trump is insane: it seems you
must be a psychologist or a psychiatrist to agree more or less
rationally that Trump is insane. And if you were to oppose me with
saying that quite a few non-psychologists do agree that Trump
is a narcissist,
I more or less agree, but I do not think
non-psychologists and non-psychiatrists understand much about insanity.
Second, I think I have a good definition of neofascism
(and also of fascism),
but again it seems very few agree with me, while also very
few, including many academics, seem to have a decent
knowledge of fascism. Besides, in ten years of reading, I have not
found a single journalist who was
capable of giving a decent
definition of fascism.
Third, apart from these theoretical difficulties, there is
the major practical difficulty that the Senate, of which three
quarters have to agree on an impeachment if ever it comes so far, is
Republican, and very few of the - present - Republicans will vote
And fourth, there is the difficulty who will replace
he does get impeached. The first replacement would be vice-president
Mike Pence, and while he has the strong advantage - for me - that he
does not seem to be insane, he has the strong disadvantage that
he is much like Trump in policies and values - and the same
holds for the next three replacements if Pence would be impeached.
Therefore, all in all I do not think it will help much to
impeach Trump before he gets reelected, if indeed he is. And my main
ground is that the Republicans hold the Senate, and will very probably
not vote for impeaching Trump. (But I agree I may be
Here is more from the article:
Pelosi who is expected to be the new House Speaker isn’t keen on going
for impeachment nor is Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer. But I am
and I think people aren’t keen on impeaching Trump because they’ve been
a little misinformed and may be misled. In fact, there are two
main myths that are often put about when anyone raises the issue of
impeaching this President and I want to thoroughly debunk both before
we get to our very interesting and unique guest today.
The first myth is that the
president of the United States has to have broken the law in order to
impeached. Nope, not true. Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution
says the president “Shall be removed from office on impeachment for and
conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
That famous phrase “High crimes and misdemeanors,” doesn’t refer to a
criminal offense, to a felony. It refers to abuse of public
office. It’s a political offense.
But this leads me to the second myth that poisons every debate on
impeachment and Trump these days and that really annoys me. And it’s to
do with the Russia investigation and Robert Mueller. The idea that you
can’t begin the process of impeaching Trump until you’ve got the final
report from special counsel Robert Mueller and that report has to prove
beyond a shadow of a doubt that Trump personally colluded with Russia
to win the 2016 election. But that’s mad. We don’t need to wait for
evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors when Trump has been committing
high crimes and misdemeanors from the moment he took office on January
Take the Emoluments Clause
of the Constitution which is supposed to prevent the president from
taking gifts, from getting money, from foreign governments.
Etcetera, indeed. And
in fact I agree with all of the above (and knew it already).
of these valid points meets my argument.
Here is more:
MH: (..) Now, look I
get it impeachment isn’t easy. The House votes on impeachment, but the
Senate does the convicting. You need a whopping two-thirds majority in
the Senate to get that conviction and the Democrats don’t even have a
simple majority in the Senate, let alone 67 votes. So impeaching Trump,
no matter how much he deserves to be impeached – and let’s be honest,
if Trump is never impeached, we should probably issue a collective
apology to the family of Richard Nixon. Impeaching Trump many say is a
Well, that’s not the view
of my guest today and she knows a thing or two about impeaching
Yes again - and the guest is
former Congresswoman Elizabeth
Holtzman, who did help to impeach Nixon
(who was not impeached because he resigned before being impeached).
In fact, I have not
her at all in this review, except for one sentence. If you are
interested, you are recommended
to read the whole article. She does say interesting things, but her
main argument seems to be that the present Senate - forced by
public - may vote for impeachment. That seems to me a matter of
and not of fact,
and I disagree with her but respect her.
There is a lot more in the -
long - article, and I skip it all except for this bit from the ending:
MH: That was
Elizabeth Holtzman, former member of Congress, author of the new book
“The Case for Impeaching Trump.”
You can read her op-ed at
theintercept.com making that case in detail. And maybe you share some
of our optimism. I hope it’s infectious because I think she makes a key
point in that interview, which is that impeachment being a political
process requires public support. And rather than being negative, or
pessimistic, or defeatist, rather than saying let’s wait for the
evidence when a lot of the evidence is staring us in the face, the
Democrats need to start making a public case for impeachment, for the
merits of impeachment, for the need for impeachment. They need to start
preparing the ground for a trial in the Senate. Even if it ends up
being a trial they don’t or can’t win.
I happen to think Fox News
makes it much harder to impeach Trump than it was to impeach Nixon, no
matter the evidence. But having said that, I also happen to believe
Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to democracy and to not use
a constitutionally provided tool to try and stop him, to try and
prevent him from undermining democracy and the Constitution is just
I mostly but not wholly agree
and this is a strongly recommended article.
Trump and the Counterrevolutionary War
This article is by
Jeremy Scahill on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump is
waging a political counterinsurgency. This week on Intercepted:
Columbia University professor Bernard Harcourt lays out the multidecade
history of paramilitarized politics in the U.S., how the tactics of the
war on terror have come back to American soil, and why no one talks
about drone strikes anymore. Academy Award-winning director Michael
Moore talks about his recent visit from the FBI in connection to the
pipe bomb packages and who he thinks should run against Trump in
2020. Journalist and lawyer Josie Duffy Rice analyzes the battle over
vote counts in Florida and Georgia, the Republican campaign to
suppress black voters, the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, and why
she isn’t protesting the firing of Jeff Sessions. Jeremy Scahill
explains why Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer need to go away.
In fact, this is the
second long article from The Intercept that I review today. And again I have
quoted the whole introduction in part to make clear what you missed if
you only read the present review and in part because this article is
too long to make a decent excerpt.
In fact, I will quote just one bit from it:
JS: I want to
begin today by sharing with you the political position of someone who
has absolutely no business running any institution that claims to be
fighting against the authoritarianism of the Trump presidency.
Nancy Pelosi: We
will have accountability and we will strive for bipartisanship, with
fairness on all sides. We have a responsibility to find our common
ground where we can, stand our ground where we can’t, but we must try.
We’ll have a bipartisan marketplace of ideas that makes our democracy
JS: That of
course is the current House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. Anyone who
thinks that this administration is participating in the democratic
marketplace for ideas is making clear that they do not understand how
serious the battle is that we face right now in this country. Nancy
Pelosi has been in power for 16 years. She was already speaker of
the house and she has repeatedly refused to take any actions that would
have held the Bush Administration responsible for its widespread
crimes. Not the least of which was the invasion and occupation of Iraq
or the global torture program. But you know who wants to have Nancy
Pelosi as House Speaker? Yeah, this guy.
Pelosi — and I give her a lot of credit. She works very hard and she’s
worked long and hard. I give her a great deal of credit for what she’s
done and what she’s accomplished.
JS: Here’s the
truth about Nancy Pelosi. She is an empire politician. When the emperor
— whether it’s Bush, Obama, or Trump — wants to expand the state’s
authorities, wants to expand the military budget, wants to conduct mass
surveillance, Nancy Pelosi has aided and abetted them.
is a whole lot more in the article which is quite interesting, and the
article is strongly recommended (and not better reviewed here simply
because it is too long).
‘Pelosi Problem’ Runs Deep
is by Norman Solomon on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Nancy Pelosi will probably
be the next House speaker, a prospect that fills most alert
progressives with disquiet, if not dread. But instead of fixating on
her as a villain, progressives should recognize the long-standing House
Democratic leader as a symptom of a calcified party hierarchy that has
worn out its grassroots welcome and is beginning to lose its grip.
Increasingly at odds with
the Democratic Party’s mobilized base, that grip has held on with gobs
of money from centralized, deep-pocket sources—endlessly reinforcing continual
deference to corporate power and an ongoing
embrace of massively profitable militarism.
Pelosi has earned a
reputation as an excellent manager, and she has certainly managed to
keep herself in power atop Democrats in the House. She’s a deft expert
on how Congress works, but she seems out of touch—intentionally or
not—with the millions of grassroots progressives who are fed up with
her kind of leadership.
Yes, that seems all
correct to me. Here is more on Pelosi:
There is much to counter at
the top of the party. Pelosi still refuses
“Medicare for all.” As on many other issues, she—and others, such as
the more corporate-friendly House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer—are
clinging to timeworn, Wall Street-friendly positions against powerful
political winds generated by years of grassroots activism.
leadership is isolated from the party it claims to lead. Yet the
progressive base is having more and more impact. As a Vox headline
proclaimed, more than a year ago, “The stunning Democratic shift on
single-payer: In 2008, no leading Democratic presidential candidate
backed single-payer. In 2020, all of them might.” The Medicare for All
Caucus now lists 76 House members.
Well... "76 House members" is still a fairly small minority, while not
“Medicare for all" seems being for a non-Democratic position as
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
Any progressive should
emphatically reject Pelosi’s current embrace of a “pay-go” rule that
spending for new social programs by requiring offset tax hikes or
budget cuts. Her position is even more outrageous in view of her
fervent support for astronomical military spending. Like Senate
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (who was just re-elected to his post),
Pelosi went out of her way last winter to proclaim avid
support for President Trump’s major increase in the already-bloated
Pentagon budget, boasting: “In our negotiations, congressional
Democrats have been fighting for increases in funding for defense.”
think that Pelosi should go, although I think she will not.
This is a
Amazon Wants a Piece of Our Political and Financial Capitals
is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Amazon made its
long-awaited announcement this week, revealing where it will site its
second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. The selection process pitted over 200
cities against each other, vying for the prospect of hosting the new
corporate campus with its promised 50,000 well-paying, white-collar
jobs. Politicians prostrated themselves before the online behemoth and
its CEO/founder, Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, as they competed
to lavish the company with as many enticing public subsidies and tax
breaks as possible. The winning city would flourish, they hoped, with
increasing tax revenues and the emergence of a vibrant tech hub to
rival Silicon Valley. In the end, Amazon announced that HQ2 would be
divided into two smaller locations, one in Queens, New York, and the
other in Crystal City, Virginia. While the details of the publicly
financed subsidies remain shrouded, what is known so far is enough to
confirm the worst fears of Amazon’s many critics: The HQ2 auction was,
at best, a boondoggle, yet another example of corporate welfare,
transferring wealth from working-class taxpayers to a massive
corporation and its billionaire owner.
is more on Bezos and Amazon:
calculated that it takes Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos only nine seconds to
earn $28,000, what the median Amazon worker earns in a year. Greg LeRoy
of Good Jobs First has long watchdogged what he calls “persistent
megadeals” like New York and Virginia’s courting of HQ2. “It’s another
example of Amazon getting paid to do what it would have done anyway,”
he said on “Democracy Now!” “It wanted to be in the financial capital
of the world and the political capital of the country, so no surprises
about its location. We’re massively subsidizing, yet again, a company
to do what it wants to do anyway.”
Precisely. Here is more:
LeRoy also notes
that Amazon “is the biggest cloud computing company in the world. It
has roughly a 40 percent market share. And among its most lucrative
clients in that space are the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence
Agency and other federal agencies.” That’s why the other HQ2 is planned
for Crystal City, Virginia — as LeRoy says, “very close — literally,
practically a stone’s throw from — the Pentagon.”
Yes, I agree, although I doubt
the small distance from the Pentagon was important, but I may be
mistaken. In any case, Bezos (Amazon's head) and Zuckerberg (Facebook's
head) should be in prison for stealing private information of
or billions of people rather than leading companies.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
“Amazon Doesn’t Just
Want to Dominate the Market — It Wants to Become the Market,” read a
headline for a Nation article written by Stacy Mitchell of the
Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “It’s now capturing one out of every
two dollars that Americans spend online,” she said on “Democracy Now!”
Additionally, it kills small businesses. “We’re losing about two retail
jobs for every one job created in an Amazon warehouse,” she said.
I completely agree
this is a strongly recommended article.
happens when the intelligence community decides that Trump is too
dangerous to be president?
is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet and originally on the Independent
Media Institute. It starts as follows:
Well... yes and no, and
mostly no, but that has to do with what I surmise about the
of these spies: I think the CIA is at least as dangerous as
Trump, while it is in force for a much longer time than Trump is, or is
likely to be.
A surge of public activism
by former CIA personnel is one of the most unexpected developments of
the Trump presidency, and it is accelerating.
Two former CIA officers—both
Democrats, both women, both liberal—were elected to Congress on
They are hardly alone. Former
directors John Brennan and Gen. Michael Hayden are among Trump’s
harshest critics. Other former CIA leaders like Michael Morell and John
McLaughlin are more circumspect. But as a group, they are far more
outspoken about the current president than, say, former director George
H.W. Bush was about President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s. When
Trump threatened to pull Brennan’s security clearance, more
than 70 former intelligence officers signed an open letter calling
Trump’s action a threat to free speech.
Here is more:
“I think the blatant
disregard for the threat of foreign influence in our election and the
demonization of the Intelligence Community was a turning point for a
lot of us,” former branch chief Cindy Otis told me in an email.
“…Critics can call me ‘The Deep State,’ but I joined the CIA under
George W. Bush and the vast majority of people at CIA lean conservative
on foreign policy/natsec [national security] issues.”
Specifically, Otis seems to be
talking about the Russian threat, that was in fact started by Hillary
Clinton after loosing the presidential election. I have seriously
considered that threat, and know how to program quite well, but I
not believe it - and in fact I also think the CIA does not
and that they say they believe it because it gives them more
Here is more, this time on the tortures the CIA engaged in:
After the 9/11
attacks, the consensus in Langley that torture was a permissible,
effective and necessary counterterrorism technique no doubt struck many
intelligence officers as apolitical common sense. But, of course,
adopting “extreme interrogation tactics” was a deeply political
decision that President Bush embraced, and President Obama repudiated.
The agency deferred to both commanders in chief.
Well... this seems mostly
to me: First, it should be quite clear at present that
"extended interrogation techniques" was and is a euphemism
while second, this is bullshit because torture has been and is
internationally forbidden - and indeed I do not care for what
presidents Bush and Trump embraced: It was and is forbidden, and "extended interrogation techniques"
Here is more:
Trump is another
story. Kent Harrington, a former station chief who served as agency
spokesman, says historical comparisons miss “a huge and obvious point.”
“We are dealing
with a level of ignorance and psychosis in the Oval Office and
dysfunction in the so-called administration itself that makes drawing
parallels, much less conclusions about Trump vs. previous national
leaderships perilous to say the least,” Harrington wrote in an email.
The problem with
Trump in the eyes of these CIA formers is almost pre-political. The
president’s policy decisions matter less than his contempt for
intelligence and the system that collects it.
“When we see
things that are blatantly wrong, and the president is responsible, it
is fair to speak out,” Bakos said in an interview. “If you’re silent,
you’re part of the problem.”
seems mostly bullshit
to me: While I agree Trump indeed is different
from previous presidents because of "a level of ignorance and psychosis in the Oval Office" why
should the mostly completely anonymous and quite secret CIA be the
persons who are supposed to repair this?
I do not think they should, although I agree on the "level of ignorance and psychosis in the Oval
Here is the last
bit that I quote from this article:
expects the mistrust between the president and the intelligence
community to grow in the next two years.
“No director of
any federal agency can turn away the inquiries of the Democratic
House,” Harrington said. “CIA people have to deal head on with the
consequences of a president who is fundamentally not dealing with
If there’s one
thing to be learned from talking to former CIA personnel, it’s the
sense that the CIA system—powerful, stealthy, and dangerous—is blinking
red about the latest news of an authoritarian leader in an unstable
No, "CIA people" should not
"have to deal head on with the
consequences of a president who is fundamentally not dealing with
reality": That is
fundamentally and totally anti-democratic.
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 (!!).