from November 30, 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 30, 2018:
1. Cohen Lied. Here’s Why It Matters
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. Senate Advances Bill to End U.S. Support for Illegal War in
3. American Voter Turnout Is Shameful
4. 'The Whole Internet Is Watching'
5. It's Time. We Must Jam the 'Demonic, Destructive Suction
Lied. Here’s Why It Matters
This article is by
The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
all is said and done, the April raids by federal prosecutors targeting Michael Cohen’s office and other premises in Manhattan
may be seen as a turning point for Donald Trump’s presidency.
raids — and Mr. Cohen’s own malfeasance — opened the door for
Robert Mueller, on Thursday, to convict President Trump’s longtime
loyalist and personal lawyer of lying to Congress. What the special
counsel has gathered since the raids provides the clearest proof yet to
the American public that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry — derided by the
president and his allies as an aimless fishing expedition — is rooted
in the law and facts. To those critics, this latest move was surely
meant to send another message as well: He’s not about to back down.
Well... I think The New York Times is going a bit far:
First, saying that Cohen's arrest etc. "may be seen as a turning point for Donald
Trump’s presidency" does
appear to me - at this point in time - a bit of an
overstatement, which also happens to be of the kind that it will be
forgotten if it is false.
And second, to say that "Mr. Mueller’s inquiry — derided by the
president and his allies as an aimless fishing expedition — is rooted
in the law and facts" seems
also a bit misleading, for as I understood it, Mueller is supposed to
investigate Russia's help in Trump's winning of the American presidential elections, whereas
the Cohen's admitted malfeasance is about building a Trump tower in
Here is the second bit that I quote from this article:
I think the first
paragraph in the above quote is correct in saying that "Mr. Trump’s mind never strayed far from his
business dealings and how to further enrich himself and his family,
even as he was campaigning for the nation’s highest office".
Cohen’s guilty plea, filed in the same federal courthouse where he
already faces a steep sentence for orchestrating campaign-finance and
other crimes, brings Mr. Mueller’s operation to New York, the heart of
the president’s business empire and the self-made myth that propels it. If there’s anything that
plea exposes, it’s that Mr. Trump’s mind never strayed far from his
business dealings and how to further enrich himself and his family,
even as he was campaigning for the nation’s highest office.
The facts to which Mr. Cohen
admitted on Thursday don’t establish that Mr. Trump conspired with
Russian efforts to win him the election, but they refute Mr. Trump’s
frequent, vehement claim that he had nothing to do with Russia as he
sought the White House. It was that falsehood that Mr. Cohen sought to
protect by lying himself. “I made these statements to be consistent
with” Mr. Trump’s “political messaging,” he said in court.
And the second paragraph is correct in saying that "The facts to which Mr. Cohen admitted on
Thursday don’t establish that Mr. Trump conspired with Russian efforts
to win him the election".
It is probably also correct in the rest it says, but I do not myself
think that "Mr. Trump
conspired with Russian efforts to win him the election" - and I
followed that argument fairly closely for more than two years now, and
there still is no real evidence that these "Russian efforts"
than fairly minimal. (See "Russia-gate" in the
indexes since 2016.)
Advances Bill to End U.S. Support for Illegal War in Yemen
is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! I abbreviated
the title. It starts with the following introduction:
The Senate voted
Wednesday to advance a resolution to end military support for the
Saudi-led, U.S.-backed war in Yemen. This marks the first time in U.S.
history that the Senate has voted to advance a bill to withdraw
military forces from an unauthorized war using the War Powers
Resolution Act. Wednesday’s vote sets the stage for a possible final
vote on the measure within days, and has been seen as a rebuke of
President Trump’s handling of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Just hours before the vote, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense
Secretary Jim Mattis held a closed-door briefing with U.S. senators,
urging them to vote against the resolution. Administration officials
warned senators not to compromise ties with Saudi Arabia over the
killing of Khashoggi and said U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen is
necessary to counter Iran’s influence in the Middle East. We speak with
Shireen Al-Adeimi, Yemeni scholar, activist, and an assistant professor
at Michigan State University.
I say, and the most
important bit in the above quotation is that (after 15 years of
continuous wars) "This
marks the first time in U.S. history that the Senate has voted to
advance a bill to withdraw military forces from an unauthorized war
using the War Powers Resolution Act".
And I agree that is quite important, as is the fact that the
not support Trump.
Here is more:
(..) In a bipartisan effort, the Senate voted Wednesday to advance a
resolution to end military support for the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed war
Yes - and 63 against 37
seems quite good. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
SHAIKH: This marks the
first time in U.S. history the Senate has voted to advance a bill to
withdraw military forces from an unauthorized war using the War
Resolutions Act. Wednesday’s vote sets the stage for a possible final
vote on the measure within days.
Are there any Senators in the chamber wishing to change their vote? If
not, the yeas are 63, the nays are 37. The motion is agreed to.
GOODMAN: The Senate bill
is cosponsored by Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders and Utah
Republican Mike Lee. This is Senator Sanders speaking from the Senate
It is a vote to demand that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen be
addressed. It is a vote that will tell the despotic dictatorship in
Saudi Arabia that we will no longer be part of their destructive
military adventurism. And it is a vote, as Senator Lee just mentioned,
that says that the United States Senate respects the Constitution of
the United States and understands that the issue of war-making, of
going to war, of putting our young men and women’s lives at stake, is
something determined by the U.S. Congress, not the president of the
GOODMAN: Wednesday’s vote
came after more than 50 prominent figures and former officials,
including two former U.S. ambassadors to Yemen, signed a letter urging
Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer to end America’s involvement
in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, saying it would “spell the likely end to
the broader conflict.”
I say, and what Sanders
said - who now does pronounce on the U.S. military,
incidentally - is quite
correct and quite legal, though these legalities have been
practiced the last 15 years in the USA. This is a recommended article.
Voter Turnout Is Shameful
is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Yes, I agree - and I don't
agree because I think voting is important in general, for I think it
isn't, but because I think voting in 2016 (in the USA) was important. And 47 percent
is shameful, even though it constitutes "the highest midterm voter turnout in half a
century", because it is
less than half of all voters: More than half did not vote, even
the vote of 2016 was important.
History was made in the
U.S. midterm elections, most notably the Democratic takeover of the
U.S. House of Representatives. An unprecedented 100 women were elected
to serve in Congress, among them Native American, Muslim,
African-American, Latina and LGBTQ firsts.
But what is also true, less
than half of eligible voters voted: 47 percent. Even though it
represents the highest midterm voter turnout in half a century, it is
Then again, this was not merely due to negligence or lack of interest,
for it was also due to voter suppression:
Chief among the
reasons is the Republican Party’s aggressive voter suppression efforts
that it has successfully pursued for decades, primarily in states where
Republicans have control of the state legislature and the governor’s
office. People are organizing against this wholesale
disenfranchisement, with two major lessons immediately apparent from
the midterms: First, grassroots organizing gets results; and second,
there is a huge amount of work yet to be done to ensure a fair,
representative democracy with an engaged and empowered electorate.
Yes, this seems all quite
correct to me - and if a "representative
democracy" means a
democracy where those voted in are voted in on the basis of being truly
representative, indeed a "huge amount of work" remains to be done, for
it is very unrepresentative
(in terms of the numbers voters) that
California (a large state) and (for example) Wyoming each vote in two
Anyway. This is a recommended article.
Whole Internet Is Watching'
is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts
With the Dec. 10
deadline for the House of Representatives to reverse the FCC's deeply
unpopular repeal of net neutrality rapidly approaching, a coalition of
websites, prominent celebrity activists, and advocacy groups
representing millions of Americans are participating in an internet-wide day of
action on Thursday to pressure members of Congress to back the
legislative effort to restore net neutrality protections before it's
Well... the late Gore
Vidal said in 2008 that he expected that "a free internet", that
comprises net neutrality, would be over in 10 years, and I must
that so far he seems remarkably correct.
During the day of action and
in the week leading up to the final deadline, advocacy groups are
urging supporters of the free internet to flood the phone lines of
their representatives and sign on to their open letter to Congress
demanding that they act to save net neutrality.
And while I hope he is mistaken, I guess he may well
have been correct.
Here is more:
"Net neutrality is not dead
yet. Not even close," Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the
Future (FFTF), said in a statement.
"But as the clock runs out for this Congress to act, we have an
opportunity to show the entire world which elected officials are
willing to fight for net neutrality, and which ones decide to sit on
their hands and let big telecom companies take control over what we can
see and do on the internet."
According to FFTF, 18 House
Democrats still haven't signed on to the Congressional Review Act (CRA)
resolution that would restore net neutrality protections—and one
possible explanation is that they are major
recipients of telecom cash.
I don't think
correct, although he probably also has the majority of the Democrats in
the House in mind (which starts next January). And this might make a
As to the Democrats who
did not sign the "resolution
that would restore net neutrality protections": I quite agree with Johnson, and indeed also
this may remain a major difficulty from next January onwards.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
"The whole internet is
watching you," the net neutrality backers' open letter to Congress
declares. "The deadline is fast approaching. You have less than a month
to make a decision that will impact the future of humanity: will you
vote to restore net neutrality and help save the free and open
Internet? Or will you go down in history as one of the politicians who
helped hasten its death?"
In fact, "the whole internet"
is not "watching you" although it should. Also, if "the free
and open Internet" is not saved, what remains of the internet
is (i) an enormous spying faculty that spies on
everyone with a computer, while breaking all privacy rules, and (ii) an
enormous advertising faculty, that is mainly
Amazone, Google and Apple, it seems, with extremely little freedoms for
everyone who is not personally quite important.
Also, as I have been saying from 2012 onwards - see here - in fact this
seems to me to be why the DARPA developed the internet: To
absolutely everyone (and give the very few in power all the knowledge
to repress anyone who might oppose them). And this is a strongly
Time. We Must Jam the 'Demonic, Destructive Suction Tube'
is by Robert C. Koehler on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
political cauldron bubbles with hope and possibility — not just because
the Democrats have won races across the country, but because voters
pushed back in record numbers against the forces of Trump and racism
and the long-standing lies of entrenched wealth.
Now the work begins: to
hold our political leadership accountable for real change —the sort of
change that is too easily ducked by the powerful. The time has come to
change who we are as a nation, to transform the national identity.
Here’s a simpler way to put
it: “Will the new House Democrats take on the war lobby?”
This question is the
headline of a Common Dreams op-ed by Medea
Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies earlier this week, and it touches
the furious heart of who we are. I would put it this way: As long as 60
percent or so of our discretionary spending is diverted to militarism;
as long as there is no official acknowledgment of the horrific and
pointless hell our wars have created, with no benefits even to our
“national interests”; as long as we refuse to face our own history of
genocidal behavior and our addiction to “conquest” . . . we will not
change, we will not grow, we will not survive.
Yes indeed: I quite
agree with Koehler, and indeed I am not optimistic - which may
do with my age: I am looking at politics
for about 55 years now, and
one of the things I learned in these years is that my values
are rarely served by politicians of any kind.
Also, I missed the
article by Benjamin and Davies.
And I quite
agree with Koehler's sum-up at the end of his second paragraph. Here is
Benjamin and Davies quote
Martin Luther King’s iconic Riverside Church address in 1967, in which
he notes the collapse of the country’s anti-poverty efforts: “Then came
the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and
eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society
gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the
necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as
adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like
some demonic, destructive suction tube.”
The demonic suction tube!
Nothing much has changed in 50 years. The tube is still sucking
resources and spewing fear. And it still owns the media.
Yes indeed - and "the demonic suction tube" is in fact the
Pentagon or perhaps the
military- industrial complex, while indeed the
war in Vietnam was continuing until the early 1970ies.
Here is more on the "60
percent or so of" the USA's "discretionary spending" that "is diverted
Yes, and while Hartung's
analysis is speculative, Zimbardo's
analysis is not, for his experiment was done, and had
to be terminated. In fact, I have
several times reviewed Zimbardo's experiment (and Milgram's
experiment) in Nederlog, but I am quite tired and Nederlog in fact is
going on since 2004 or 2006, and I could only find this article (after searching
for 10 minutes).
unchallenged in the Post story, is calling for an increase in the
already bloated, out-of-control defense budget that could mean,
according to William Hartung’s analysis in The
Nation, “an annual Pentagon budget of an astonishing $972
billion by 2024.”
This is psychological. This
is insane. This is what Philip Zimbardo has called “the Lucifer Effect”: the corruption
of consciousness caused by having overwhelming power over others.
Zimbardo famously conducted the Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971,
creating a simulated prison environment in which some college-student
volunteers acted as guards and others acted as prisoners. The
experiment had to be called off after five days, well ahead of
schedule, because the abuse of power had gotten so seriously out of
hand. The “prisoners” started having emotional breakdowns, the
situation had deteriorated so badly.
Turns out that global defense
strategizing, if you are the world’s greatest military power, may have
the same effect on the human beings designated as “the guards,”
protecting America’s borders and its interests, including with nuclear
weapons. This is the point, at any rate, that Daniel
Ellsberg makes in his book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions
of a Nuclear War Planner: When you’re caught up in this this sort
of thinking, you lose a human perspective and are able to imagine
waging — indeed, “winning” — a nuclear war.
In fact, that article is quite interesting, and I only quote its ending
(and this is my text from 2015):
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
test the ideas of Milgram and
Experiment, that predicted similar things as Zimbardo found: The solid
majority of ordinary
men, also if these are - fairly intelligent - students at Stanford,
- what they perceive as - authorities, also
in doing things they privately disagree with. (See also Christopher
Browning's "Ordinary Men", about how ordinary men acted under
There is a lot
to say about this, but I did so already several
times in Nederlog and also in my Philosophical
Dictionary, so for the moment I refer those who are interested to
the last linked item. See e.g. Role, Group,
Despite the hope and
possibility bubbling from the big Dem midterm wins, transformative
change — challenging the war lobby — will not happen today or tomorrow
or anytime soon, and certainly not without serious public pressure.
Benjamin and Davies suggest one place to start: signing a petition
calling on “all Democrats who aspire to chair Congressional committees
in the new Congress to return campaign contributions from the arms
industry and stop accepting them from now on.”
Yes, I agree 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 (!!).