from December 10, 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 three 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 10, 2018:
1. Surviving a Criminal Presidency
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. Democrats Raise Prospect of
Impeachment, Jail for Trump
3. The psychology of disinformation and how to protect yourself
4. Donald Trump could go down in history as a worse traitor
5. More Than a Thousand Arrested as Yellow Vests Across France
a Criminal Presidency
This article is by
Charles M. Blow on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
is very possible that the president of the United States is a criminal.
And it is very possible that his criminality aided and abetted his
assumption of the position. Let that sink in. It is a profound
week, prosecutors made clear in a sentencing memo for Donald Trump’s personal lawyer,
Michael Cohen, that Trump himself had directed Cohen to break campaign
Well... this indeed is the beginning of the
but I do not think this is impressive, ¨a profound revelation¨
indeed worth stopping.
But I do so because I am asked to, and so I insist that
I think these or very similar things for nearly three years now
- here is the beginning - and
that (ii) I think everyone who
has been following this as well or halfly as well as I have done must
have similar notions, provided he
or she is more or less rational and not
full of prejudice.
Anyway. Here is more:
likes to say on the issue of immigration that if we don’t have a
border, we don’t have a country. I say that if we don’t have justice,
we also don’t have a country.
is a country of laws, and if we are to believe that, and not allow that
to become a perversion, no man or woman can be above the law.
Thomas Paine wrote in his 1776 pamphlet “Common Sense”:
America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is
law, so in free countries the law ought
to be king; and there ought to be no other.”
Again I have to say well... simply because all of the
above is strongly idealized, and the above says nothing
about the large differences between the rich and the poor, nor about the large differences between the whites and the blacks.
Then again, here is more, and this is factual:
to prosecutors, Trump directed Cohen to commit a felony. Then he lied
about it and either allowed or instructed others to lie about it on his
behalf. He misled the American people through a conspiracy of lies, and
he did so to help attain, and then maintain, his presidency.
The New York Times pointed out on Saturday, prosecutors
have “effectively accused the president of defrauding voters,
questioning the legitimacy of his victory.”
I think this is correct. Then there is this:
I am under no illusion that Trump will be indicted as a sitting
president or that any efforts to impeach him will prove successful.
at some point his term will end, and at that point the statute of
limitations may not have expired. As The Times put it, “The prosecutors
in New York have examined the statute of limitations on the campaign
finance violations and believe charges could be brought against Mr.
Trump if he is not re-elected, according to a person briefed on the
This is also correct, although this does not
strong to me. Indeed here is the last bit that I quote from this
statute of limitations for campaign finance violations is five years.
Re-election may well be Trump’s only hope of evading justice.
that also gives voters enormous power in 2020. They won’t just be
selecting the next president and determining the direction of the
country. They may also be deciding whether or not a president will be
tried, convicted and imprisoned for the first time in the country’s
Alternatively put, if Trump is re-elected, then the
statue of limitations will stop his prosecution for the above
possible felonies. Anyway... this is recommended, and here is more:
Raise Prospect of Impeachment, Jail for Trump
This article is by
Hope Yen on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It starts
Top House Democrats
on Sunday raised the prospect of impeachment or almost-certain prison
time for President Donald Trump if it’s proved that he directed illegal
hush-money payments to women, adding to the legal pressure on the
president over the Russia investigation and other scandals.
“There’s a very real
prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice
Department may indict him, that he may be the first president in quite
some time to face the real prospect of jail time,” said Rep. Adam
Schiff, the incoming chairman of the House intelligence committee. “The
bigger pardon question may come down the road as the next president has
to determine whether to pardon Donald Trump.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler, the
incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, described the
details in prosecutors’ filings Friday in the case of Trump’s former
personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as evidence that Trump was “at the
center of a massive fraud.”
“They would be impeachable
offenses,” Nadler said.
Yes, and in fact I
think the above is considerably clearer than the previous
Nadler, D-N.Y., said it was
too early to say whether Congress would pursue impeachment proceedings
based on the illegal payments alone because lawmakers would need to
weigh the gravity of the offense to justify “overturning” the 2016
election. Nadler and other lawmakers said Sunday they would await
additional details from Mueller’s investigation into Russian election
interference and possible coordination with the Trump campaign to
determine the extent of Trump’s misconduct.
Regarding the illegal
payments, “whether they are important enough to justify an impeachment
is a different question, but certainly they’d be impeachable offenses
because even though they were committed before the president became
president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining
the office,” Nadler said.
Yes again, but one
problem Nadler and the Democrats have is that the Senate is both
necessary to convict Trump and is Republican and - so far at least -
strongly pro-Trump (in spite of the evidence against him).
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Nadler indicated that
Democrats, who will control the House in January, will step up their
own investigations. He said Congress, the Justice Department and the
special counsel need to dig deeper into the allegations, which include
questions about whether Trump lied about his business arrangements with
Russians and about possible obstruction of justice.
“The new Congress will not
try to shield the president,” he said. “We will try to get to the
bottom of this, in order to serve the American people and to stop this
massive conspiracy — this massive fraud on the American people.”
Yes, I guess that is
correct and this is a recommended article.
psychology of disinformation and how to protect yourself
is by Valerie Tarco on AlterNet. This starts as follows:
genuinely care about truth. I don’t mean that we tell the truth all of
the time—though most of us mostly do—but that we very much want to know
what is real. Reality can knock you flat if you don’t see it coming.
In fact, this is by a
psychologist. I am one as well, and I don´t think the above is
correct, and my main reason is that it is all very vague:
¨Most people¨ - yes, probably so, but how much is ¨most¨? And
¨truth¨ - well, yes but ¨most people¨ are not scientists and
are not theologians yet have strong beliefs about some
scientific topics and about religion. Besides, the vast
majority of persons seem to protect their families and friends, also if
they know they have somehow failed.
And ¨most of us mostly¨: possibly, but if both ¨mosts¨ are slightly
above average this is a very weak claim. Finally, ¨most¨ are
interested to know ¨what is real¨: well... yes, but ¨most¨ do not
know science, and indeed seem to care little about its
pronouncements, and besides ¨most¨ do not know ¨most¨ of
reality and are interested only in parts of what we believe we know.
So this introduction is much too vague. Here is more:
other words, was written into our genetic code long before it was
written into our moral and legal codes. Why, then, is it so
easy for social media flurries, conspiracy theories, religions, viral
ideologies, or political disinformation campaigns to get us believing
Well, first of all ¨our genetic code¨ is part of
nature, while ¨our moral
and legal codes¨ are part
of human civilization, and quite different from our genes. And
and this is new in history, which
also seems to be a fact Tarco misses - especially ¨social media¨ are written by the ignorant and
who never had that manner of
voice before, and I
see no reason whatsoever why especially
these people would
or factual, or informed,
or honest, or fair, or indeed
would write under their own name.
Besides, there are at least two billions of this type on Facebook
alone. Also - I am sorry - I detest Facebook; I hardly ever
I have two excellent academic degrees and a very high IQ, and I
dislike to be thrown in with ¨us¨ who write on Facebook: I don´t, never
did, and never will.
Here is more:
we see other people embrace and spread ideas or “facts” that seem
obviously false to us, we often assume they either don’t care about
truth or are flat-out liars. But that is lazy thinking, and more than a
little arrogant. Yes, people on the other side are less than fully
truthful. So are you. And yes, some people are habitual liars or even
sociopaths. And yes, people who aren’t sociopathic sometimes decide for
one reason or another that the end justifies the means. But when people
spread falsehoods—even stuff that seems like transparent hooey from the
outside, they mostly believe what they say. A lie can travel
half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,said
Mark Twain. But lies travel only when people believe them. That is why
most propaganda uses partial or decontextualized truths to create
misconceptions or distorted priorities.
No, I am not ¨we¨
and no, I strongly dislike to be thrown automatically on the big heap -
and besides, if Tarco does believe about herself what
me I should believe about myself, what reason would
anyone have to believe her?!
And besides: I doubt that - provided ¨people¨ are not quite stupid and
to start with - that if ¨people
spread falsehoods¨ then ¨they
mostly believe what they say¨.
But then again, I admit I made the fairly strong proviso that ¨people¨ are not quite stupid
very ignorant to start with, but Tarco does not mention
ignorance even once.
Here is more:
Social media provide
fertile ground in which insider knowledge takes root, and—as we all
know—falsehoods (especially partial truths masquerading as whole
truths) spread like invasive weeds. Some of these falsehoods are
deliberately seeded by ideologues, propagandists,
others spring up naturally from the constant shift and flow and
recombination of information in the human ideosphere. Once seeded, all
viral bullshit exploits weaknesses in how the human mind determines
what’s real. These include:
Once again, ¨social media¨ are currently the main source of information of
than 2 billion persons who never had any way to express themselves with
any hope to be heard by more than a few of those they know.
Now each of the more than 2 billion persons who never had any way to
themselves with any hope to be heard can - often anonymously -
they please, also while very few have any idea about
their knowledge, their rationality, their
education, their degrees, their veracity,
their religion, their
political ideals and indeed very often their real
name and address.
This is wholly new, but it seems Tarco doesn´t realize this. Then
again, she does list twelve weaknesses. I list them all, but
or most of the explanatory texts:
networks largely determine what information flows past us.
we are, meaning our genetics and lived experience, our interests and
values, our cognitive strengths and weakness, and our emotional makeup
all play roles in determining what gets our attention.
possible, again for the sake of efficiency in information processing,
we let other members of our tribe do the analysis for us and consider
the task done. (...)
Yes, these are all
important (but they are quite different for an IQ of 85 with
little real knowledge or understanding, and for a physicist with an IQ
of 150 and six years of university).
Here are seven more:
In fact, I distinguish
quite a few more (and also different ones), but I did so in Dutch,
namely here: Over Geestelijke Gezondheid En
Gestoordheid. I think that is much better
indeed it also is in Dutch and much longer, namely 300 Kb.
Hierarchies—We bypass thinking altogether by looking to
trusted authorities which can be individuals, institutions, or sacred
texts—not necessarily relevant experts—and accept as fact what they say.
Trump could go down in history as a worse traitor than Benedict Arnold
is by Chauncey DeVega on AlterNet and originally on Salon. I
abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:
Robert Mueller's investigation into the Donald Trump
campaign's possible collusion with Russia to steal the 2016
presidential election marches onward. Trump and his alleged
co-conspirators, defenders and allies appear to be encircled.
Yes, this is mostly
correct, and here are some questions one may ask (at this point
Beginning last week, there
have been a series of events which could spell doom for Donald Trump.
His attorney, personal fixer and consigliere Michael Cohen has agreed
to fully cooperate with Mueller's investigation. Court documents reveal
that Cohen has admitted to lying about Trump's real estate dealings in
Russia and other business matters. Cohen has also admitted that Donald
Trump was fully briefed and involved in these real estate and other
dealings (including, perhaps a cover-up), despite Trump's repeated
denials that he had any connections to Russia and that he would
not profit from them while a candidate or president.
I think all these
questions are sensible, and here is a link with information about Seth Abramson,
whom I did not know anything about.
What comes next in the
Russia scandal and Mueller's investigation into Donald Trump and the
president's inner circle? When will Mueller's investigation end, and
with what outcome? How do Trump's denials, lies and evasions about his
relationship to Russia and Vladimir Putin fit a broader behavior of
criminal behavior and a compulsive criminal personality? Why does
Donald Trump behave like a mafia boss? What does this indicate about
his ability to corrupt those around him while demanding their loyalty
to them? Is Donald Trump a traitor to the United States? What
strategy are Trump's lawyers using to protect him from the
consequences of his actions? Will Donald Trump ever actually face
consequences of any kind for his alleged and potential crimes?
In an effort to answer these
questions I recently spoke with Seth Abramson. For nine years he served
as a criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator.
Here are some questions + answers:
I believe this is probably correct (although I don´t know).
Here is more:
With all of the
recent developments in Mueller's investigation, where are we in the
timeline of the Russia-Trump scandal?
It is unlikely, even if things
proceed pretty expeditiously, that we could reach the terminus of this
story before the very beginning of 2020.
I believe this is also probably
correct. And here is more:
Donald Trump and
his allies are acting like he is guilty. Trump's public behavior and
that of his inner circle seems to be enough to indict him for
obstruction of justice and likely other crimes as well.
Legal professionals --
whether they’ve done criminal investigative work or criminal trial
advocacy -- would likely see this as high comedy if it were not a
national tragedy. Every single fact that emerges fits a pattern where
they are inculpatory, meaning indicative of guilt.
There is virtually no sign
anywhere of exculpatory evidence.
is making it even more obvious that there is a criminal class in the
United States, one comprised of rich people who have one standard of
law for themselves and another for everybody else.
That’s always been my
approach. I do not think that this is a national emergency primarily
from a policy standpoint. Let me be clear: I personally object to
basically every policy position Donald Trump pretends to hold. The real
emergency here is whether the rule of law will stand or whether
America's democracy will be permanently weakened by a single man and
As you said, it is a
corruption question. I would not be writing the things that I'm writing
about Trump if, for example, Mike Pence were president. Now, I might
then oppose Pence's entire policy agenda, but I wouldn’t be saying that
Mike Pence is a threat to the rule of law, a threat to our democracy
and possibly a national security and even global security threat
because he has been compromised by the Russians and has his finger
on the nuclear button.
I agree, indeed
both with the question and the answer. Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
Yes indeed: I completely
agree. There is considerably more in the article, that is strongly
To me, from what I see as a
legal professional -- not a medical professional -- Donald Trump is in
fact someone who is pathological. He is apparently, to me, a malignant
narcissist, a pathological liar and someone whose instincts are
effectively criminal instincts. Donald Trump will always act for his
own personal gain. Usually, it’s something venal, sometimes it's for
women, but almost all the time it’s money. There’s actually no
consideration whatsoever for the country or the well-being of anyone
outside his immediate family. And sometimes I even question whether he
cares about most of the people in his family.
That’s what scares me the most
about Donald Trump. Donald Trump is a deeply broken, antisocial
individual whose finger is daily on the nuclear button. That’s why this
is a national emergency (...)
Than a Thousand Arrested as Yellow Vests Across France
is by Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
people were arrested in France on Saturday as more than a
hundred thousand took to the streets—leading
to a lockdown and armored vehicles pouring into Paris—as part of
the "Yellow Vests" or "Gilets
Jaunes" movement that
initially came as a response to French President Emmanuel Macron's
attempt to raise taxes on gasoline and diesel, which critics warn would
primarily impact the working- and middle-class.
The movement's name comes
from many supporters wearing the yellow high-visibility vests that all
drivers in France are required to keep in their vehicles. Although
Macron's centrist administration announced
last week that it was suspending fuel and electricity hikes for six
months, outrage over growing inequality across the country has
continued to produce massive protests.
In fact, I chose the
present article because I am European and think that the events in
France are quite important. I also think that the above is basically
correct, but then I also admit that I do not know much about
the French events nor about the ¨Yellow Vests¨.
Here is the other bit
that I quote from this article:
Since the demonstrations
kicked off four weeks ago, BBC News noted,
"protests have also erupted over other issues, including calls for
higher wages, lower taxes, better pensions, and easier university entry
requirements." While it began as backlash to Macron's climate policy,
"the movement's core aim, to highlight the economic frustration and
political distrust of poorer working families, still has widespread
Outlining the movement, its
supporters, and their demands, the Guardian reported
Protesters have largely
come from peripheral towns, cities, and rural areas across
France and include many women and single mothers. Most of the
protesters have jobs, including as secretaries, IT workers, factory
workers, delivery workers, and care workers. All say their low incomes
mean they cannot make ends meet at the end of the month.
The movement is
predominantly against a tax system perceived as unfair and unjust (...)
I think the above is
also correct, and this is a 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 (!!).