from December 2, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
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 December 2, 2018:
1. U.S. and China Call Truce in Trade War
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. End Game: Mueller signaled this week that he’s ready. Is
3. 'Medicare for All' would save US $5.1 trillion over 10 years
4. Donald Trump may have just lied his way into prison
5. Free the Free Press From Wall Street Plunder
and China Call Truce in Trade War
This article is by Mark Landler on The New York Times. It starts as
The United States
and China called a truce in their trade war on Saturday after President
Trump agreed to hold off on new tariffs and President Xi Jinping
pledged to increase Chinese purchases of American products. The two
also set the stage for more painstaking negotiations to resolve deeply
rooted differences over trade.
compromise, struck over a steak dinner at the Group of 20 meeting here
and announced in a White House statement, was less a breakthrough than
a breakdown averted. The two leaders remain far apart on basic issues
of market access and trade policy, and there was no sign that either
planned to back down on those.
I say, which I do because I had not quite
outcome. Well... 3 months is 1/8th of the remaining two years of Trump
as president, and maybe it will make a difference.
Here is more:
the handshake deal between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi, after what the White
House called a “highly successful meeting,” pauses what was becoming a
headlong race toward economic conflict. It will reassure jittery
financial markets, as well as American farmers, who worried about the
fallout from a prolonged trade battle.
a significant concession, Mr. Trump will postpone a plan to raise
tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent, from 10
percent, on Jan. 1. The Chinese agreed to an unspecified increase in
their purchases of American industrial, energy and agricultural
products, which Beijing hit with retaliatory tariffs after Mr. Trump
targeted everything from steel to consumer electronics.
In fact, I am not quite sure what this means, except
that there will be a pause in "a headlong race toward economic conflict", which is - a relative - good
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
relationship is very special — the relationship that I have with
President Xi,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he sat across a long table
from the Chinese leader before dinner was served. “I think that is
going to be a very primary reason why we’ll probably end up with
getting something that will be good for China and good for the United
Xi replied, “Only with cooperation between us can we serve the interest
of world peace and prosperity.”
the dinner ended, the Chinese and American officials applauded the two
I do not like this kind of applause. Anyway...
a recommended article, though its ascertainable content is already in
Game: Mueller signaled this week that he’s ready. Is Trump?
This article is by
Lucian K. Truscott IV on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as
It’s been axiomatic from
the start of the Russia investigation that it is different from
Watergate in one important way: the crimes that Nixon committed behind
closed doors in the White House secretly, Trump is committing out in
the open. Repeatedly lying to the American public? Every time Trump
tweets or opens his mouth. Obstruction of justice? Firing Comey. Firing
Sessions. Calling Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” and calling
for its end. Tampering with witnesses? Dangling pardons. Engaging in a
cover-up of a crime? As he lives and breathes.
But there is one thing
Donald Trump and his people have sought to keep secret from the
earliest days of his campaign right up to the present moment: their
connections with Russians. If, in the past, we thought we knew about
most of the Russian contacts, events this week have taught us that we
This is more or less
correct, although "connections
with Russians" says
extra-ordinarily little (and I still do not
believe in "Russia-gate" -
and see the indexes for 2017 and 2018 if you know little or nothing about that
Here is more:
Then it was announced that
the cooperation agreement between Special Counsel Robert Mueller and
former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had blown up. Incredibly,
it was revealed that Manafort’s lawyers have maintained an open channel
of communication with Trump’s legal team, presumably informing them of
the focus of Mueller’s investigation and everything the FBI and
prosecutors from Mueller’s team had asked Manafort. Mueller filed a
document telling the same court that had signed off on Manafort’s plea
bargain and cooperation agreement that he had lied to the FBI and
withheld information in violation of his agreement with prosecutors.
I do not know
Truscott wrote "Incredibly", for the two simple reasons that Manafort's
lawyers were not forbidden in law to do so (as Truscott also
this article), and because I know Trump and his people lie whenever it
is convenient for them) - but I agree it is quite dishonest.
Here is more:
On Thursday morning,
Mueller sprang another surprise when his prosecutors marched into
federal court in Manhattan with former Trump personal attorney Michael
Cohen. Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr. patiently took Cohen through the
steps of pleading guilty to lying to two congressional committees about
the project initiated by Donald Trump to build a tower in Moscow. “I
made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1’s political
messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1,” Cohen told the judge,
referring to Trump as “Individual 1.” He went on to admit “I was aware
of Individual 1’s repeated disavowals of commercial and political ties
between himself and Russia, his repeated statements that investigations
of such ties were politically motivated and without evidence, and that
any contact with Russian nationals by Individual 1’s campaign or the
Trump Organization had all terminated before the Iowa Caucus, which was
on February 1 of 2016.”
In other words, Michael
Cohen told the Congress of the United States the same lies that Donald
Trump had told the American people during his campaign and after he
became president of the United States, when he said repeatedly that he
had no deals in Russia, that he had nothing to do with Russia, and that
he knew of no contacts between his campaign and Russians.
This seems correct. This is
from the ending:
With Donald Trump, it’s
always about the money. He is not going to sit in the White House and
watch his business empire suffer the same fate as Paul Manafort, who
forfeited $46 million to the government as part of his plea deal. He’ll
resign with an assurance that he is pardoned for his crimes in the
Russia investigation, the same way Nixon resigned with a pardon for his
crimes in Watergate.
Quite possibly so, but I
think that the title says considerably more than the article.
for All' would save US $5.1 trillion over 10 years
This article is by Jake
Johnson on AlterNet and originally on Common Dreams. It starts as
Confronting the question
most commonly asked of the growing number of Americans who support
replacing America's uniquely
inefficient and immoral
healthcare system with Medicare for All—"How do we pay for it?"—a
paper released Friday by researchers at the Political Economy
Research Institute (PERI) shows that financing a single-payer system
would actually be quite simple, given that it would cost significantly
less than the status quo.
Yes, although I do not
think that "Medicare
for All" amounts to
"replacing America's (..) for-profit healthcare system", though it is
lot better than what is there.
Here is more:
According to the 200-page
analysis (pdf) of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) Medicare for All Act
of 2017, the researchers found that "based on 2017 U.S. healthcare
expenditure figures, the cumulative savings for the first decade
operating under Medicare for All would be $5.1 trillion, equal to 2.1
percent of cumulative GDP, without accounting for broader macroeconomic
benefits such as increased productivity, greater income equality, and
net job creation through lower operating costs for small- and
The most significant
sources of savings from Medicare for All, the researchers found, would
come in the areas of pharmaceutical drug costs and administration.
I think this is
plausibe and - in any case - I think Medicare for All is a better
system tthan the present one.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Incidentally: There is
another reason why Lighty and Sanders very probably are
that the U.S. system is the most expensive in the world, and pays
considerably fewer medical services than most other countries,
including Europe. And this is a recommended article.
"The most fundamental goals
of Medicare for All are to significantly improve healthcare outcomes
for everyone living in the United States while also establishing
effective cost controls throughout the healthcare system," Pollin said.
"These two purposes are both achievable."
As Michael Lighty, former
director of public policy for National Nurses United, put it during The
Sanders Institute Gathering on Friday, "We really can get more and pay
"Medicare for All
promises a system that is fairer, more efficient, and vastly less
expensive than America's bloated, monopolized, over-priced and
under-performing private health insurance system."
—Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University
Trump may have just lied his way into prison
is by David
Cay Johnston on AlterNet and originally on DC Report. It starts as
Pay close attention
to the front page story in Wednesday’s
New York Times about Paul Manafort’s lawyer cooperating with
Trump’s lawyers. It may well prove to be very important news just a
short way down the road.
Its sole named source is Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s television lawyer.
Giuliani acknowledged that information gleaned from Manafort’s meetings
with FBI agents and prosecutors as a cooperating witness was being
passed to Team Trump by Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing.
That one fact could well
doom Trump’s presidency and perhaps land Trump and others behind bars.
In fact, this covers a
somewhat similar ground as item 2. It is here
especially because of David Cay
Johnston who seems to be a sensible man, and who certainly
great amount about Donald Trump.
Here is more:
After Manafort was convicted
of eight federal felonies last August and was about to endure the
costs of a second federal trial, the former Trump campaign manager agreed
in September to cooperate with Muller’s prosecution team.
We call that “flipping”
because you switch sides, from criminal to law enforcement. Flipping
requires criminals to be completely truthful in every detail with
prosecutors about known crimes as well as disclosing still hidden
its plea agreement with Manafort, the special prosecutor’s office
said that after flipping sides, Manafort
lied to FBI agents and prosecutors again and again. They promised a
detailed recitation of these additional crimes in their pre-sentencing
report on Manafort.
This means - I
would say - that Manafort did not flip (and may be reckoning
with a presidential pardon).
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
As I showed in my 2016
Making of Donald Trump, he has a long and well-documented history
of just making stuff up even when he is under oath, trying to bluff his
way out of situations and, especially, counting on prosecutors and
plaintiff’s lawyers not being fully prepared and determined to pin down
Fed the misinformation by Team Mueller—which it has every right and
duty to if it will flush out crimes—Trump would be inclined to embrace
fake facts and use them in an effort to escape responsibility for his
If I’m right about this, it
may become crucial for state-level prosecutors in New York, Virginia,
and the District of Columbia to indict Manafort sooner rather than
later for felonies that he admitted under oath in his now broken
cooperation agreement with Mueller.
That way, if Trump pardons
Manafort, or grants him clemency, state authorities can arrest him
before he is released from federal custody, closing any window of
opportunity he might use to flee the country.
Yes, I think this is
sensible advice and this is a recommended article.
the Free Press From Wall Street Plunder
is by Jim Hightower on Common Dreams and originally on OtherWords. It
starts as follows:
A two-panel cartoon I
recently saw showed a character with a sign saying: “First they came
for the reporters.” In the next panel, his sign says: “We don’t know
what happened after that.”
It was, of course, a retort
to Donald Trump’s campaign to demonize the news media as “the enemy of
the people.” But when it comes to America’s once-proud newspapers,
their worst enemy isn’t Trump — nor is it the rising cost of newsprint
or the “free” digital news on websites.
Rather, the demise of the
real news reporting by our city and regional papers is a product of
their profiteering owners.
Not the families and
companies that built and nurtured true journalism, but the new breed of
fast-buck hucksters who’ve scooped up hundreds of America’s newspapers
from the bargain bins of media sell-offs.
These hedge-fund scavengers
know nothing about journalism and care less. They’re ruthless Wall
Street profiteers out to grab big bucks fast.
They slash journalistic and
production staff, void employee benefits, shrivel the paper’s size and
news content, sell the presses and other assets, and triple the price
of their inferior product — and then declare bankruptcy, shut down the
paper, and auction off the bones before moving on to plunder another
Yes, I think Hightower
is quite correct about this.
Here is more:
By 2014, America’s two
largest media chains — GateHouse and Digital First — weren’t venerable
publishers with any commitment to truth or civic responsibility.
Instead, their managers believe that good journalism is measured by the
personal profit they can squeeze from it.
As revealed last
year in an American Prospect article, GateHouse
executives demanded that its papers cut $27 million from their
operating expenses. Thousands of newspaper employees suffered in large
part because one employee — the hedge fund’s CEO — had extracted $54
million in personal pay from the conglomerate, including an $11 million
Note (bolding added)
the adjective in "personal
profit", and next note that
just a single person "had extracted $54 million in personal pay from the
conglomerate" - after
wich the Gatehouse executives demanded that the papers they
should pay half of the "$54
million in personal pay" just one executive had extracted - or so it
seems at least from the above.
Here is more:
The core idea of the “civic
commons” is that we are a self-governing people, capable of creating
and sustaining a society based on common good. A noble aspiration!
But achieving it requires a
basic level of community-wide communication — a reliable resource that
digs out and shares truths so people know enough about what’s going on
to be self-governing. This is the role Americans have long expected
their local and regional newspapers to play — papers that are not
merely in our communities, but of, by, and for them.
The irony in the first
quoted paragraph is quite clear - and so I may add that indeed the
does consist of "a
self-governing people, capable of creating and sustaining a society
based on common good",
it should be added that these people are the 5 to 10% of the
while it doesn't apply to the 90 to 95% of the rest, for these are too
As to the papers:
I agree that these are
necessary for any real democracy and are to
function in any real
democracy as "a reliable
resource that digs out and shares truths so people know enough about
what’s going on" to
a rational and informed way.
But while I agree with
this (and had a Dutch daily for forty years, until 2010, when I gave it
up because it was lying all the time and did not print all the news) I
certainly never believed that the papers were "of, by, and for" me or the rest of the readers, and that was not
necessary either to apprreciate and buy them as long as they were
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
For example, Digital First,
a huge private-equity profiteer, snatched the St. Paul Pioneer
Press and, demanding a ridiculous 25 percent profit margin from
its purchase, stripped the newsroom staff from a high of 225
journalists to 25!
As the Prospect’s
Robert Kuttner reported, these tyrannical private equity firms
produce nothing but profits for faraway speculators.
He notes that the blandly
named entities only exist “thanks to three loopholes in the law.” The
first lets them operate in the dark; the second provides an unlimited
tax deduction for the massive amounts of money they borrow to buy up
newspapers; and the third allows them to profit by intentionally
bankrupting the paper they take over.
Our right to a free press is
meaningless if Wall Street thieves destroy our communities’ presses.
Yes indeed, although
there also is a rather important fourth factor: The ignorance, the
of interest or the desire not to pay a cent for "news" that seems to
move many Americans (and non-Americans). And this is a recommended
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 (!!).