from December 22, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
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 22, 2018:
1. Trump’s Policy of Chaos Sends US
Spiraling Toward Shutdown
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. Andrew Bacevich on Mattis
3. Trump’s End
4. Jeremy Scahill's Top 10 Takeaways on Mattis Exit
5. In One Wretched Day, All You Need to Know About Donald J.
Policy of Chaos Sends US Spiraling Toward Shutdown
This article is by
William Rivers Pitt on Truthout. It starts as follows, after the
pm Eastern Time, per The
Washington Post: A partial government shutdown is assured. House
lawmakers left the Capitol Friday night without passing a budget
agreement, ensuring funding for several key government agencies will
lapse at midnight.
Yes indeed: it has
happened. There are quite a few articles about Trump, Mattis, The Wall,
and the breakdown of the American government. I found the following
article one of the clearest (on the 35 sites I consider every day).
Here is the article´s
If you wanted mayhem for
Christmas, it’s your lucky day. In the span of one week, Donald Trump
- Presided over the slow,
groaning collapse of the stock market as all economic
indicators scream “recession” thanks to his tariffs, his generally
lawless behavior and his deliberate disruption of long-standing foreign
- Abruptly ordered all US
troops out of Syria without consultation with aides or allies, losing
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in the process.
- Boxed his fellow
Republicans into a corner by celebrating the preposterous anti-Affordable
Care Act ruling in Texas, once again making
the GOP look like what it is: the party that wants to destroy your
- Outraged his xenophobic base by seeming to waver on his
- Blown up the budget
process by suddenly pivoting
away from a deal to avoid a looming federal
government shutdown, to the dismay of many non-Freedom Caucus Republicans in Congress, because Fox
News told him to.
All this, of course, comes
after the White House chief of staff resigned with no successor in
place, Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to prison at
a hearing where the bagman made it clear who
gave him the bag, and a federal judge delivered a scalding
come-down-the-mountain scolding to Trump’s former national security
adviser Michael Flynn.
As I said, this seems a
good summary to me. Here is some more on the
consequences of a partial government shutdown:
Portions of the federal
government that include insignificant piffles like the State
Department, the Justice Department, the Transportation Department, the
Agriculture Department and the Department of the Interior will shut
down tonight if the White House and congressional Republicans fail to
get out of their own way. If this comes to pass, hundreds of thousands
of federal employees will get Christmas cards from Grover Norquist
after watching their jobs get drowned in Trump’s bathtub.
As the first lines of
this review indicated, this has happened: The American
government has partially shut down. The reason seems to be that
Trump - who promised his followers he would make Mexico pay for
the wall (that is itself a totally ridiculous project)
- cannot get the money for the wall from either the Democrats or the
majority of the Republicans:
It did not have to be this
way. Earlier this week, it became clear that the $5 billion Trump
wanted for his border wall was a political impossibility. The Democrats
were not the problem; there were and still are not enough Republican
votes. Trump signaled his acquiescence
to this reality, and the Senate passed a budget stopgap,
minus the wall money, punting the larger questions down the road to
Then Trump met with Freedom
Caucus leader Rep. Mark Meadows, who told him flat out that the base
would revolt if Trump signed the Senate’s stopgap measure absent
funding for the wall. Come February, Nancy Pelosi and the new House
majority guarantees the wall’s final doom; if that money is not
appropriated in this bill, it’s all over, and every red hat who chanted
“Build That Wall” at the rallies will forever spit at the mention of
I think Pitt is correct
in the above first paragraph, and he may be correct in the
second paragraph though I have no certainties about the vast
majority of the 2016 voters for Trump other than that they are stupid and/or ignorant, and
seem loyal to Trump because they mistake ¨the media¨
for the medium they do read or watch, which is Fox News.
Here is the last bit of this
article that I quote:
Perhaps. In any case, there is
more on Trump´s possible end in item 3 and item 5 below, and this is a recommended article.
This is a portrait of
chaos. A White House without a functioning chief of staff and defense
secretary — indeed, a White House where the last remaining voices
trusted by the president belong to known fascists like Stephen Miller —
may as well be one of those inflatable bouncy houses that blow away in
a high wind … and the wind is rising.
Bacevich on Mattis
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
Secretary of Defense
Mattis has announced he will resign at the end of February, in a letter
publicly rebuking President Trump’s foreign policy. Mattis resigned one
day after President Trump ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S.
troops from Syria and on the same day that reports emerged that Trump
has ordered the withdrawal of about 7,000 troops from Afghanistan. The
New York Times reports Mattis is the first prominent Cabinet member to
resign in protest over a national security issue in almost 40 years.
Much of the Washington establishment expressed shock over Mattis’s
resignation. We speak with Andrew Bacevich, a retired colonel and
Vietnam War veteran. He’s the author of several books, including his
latest, “Twilight of the American Century.” His other books include
“America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History” and
“Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War.” He is professor
emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University.
Incidentally, I did read Mattis´s letter of resignation to
president Trump, but - in my opinion - while there is
some criticism of Trump in the letter, the criticism is mostly
implied rather than stated.
Here is more:
As I said: I think Mattis´s
criticisms are implied rather than stated, but it also
seems that the New York Times is correct in stating that ¨Mattis is the first prominent Cabinet member
to resign in protest over a national security issue in almost 40 years¨.
In his resignation letter,
General Mattis, four-star general, implicitly criticized President
Trump’s foreign policy. He wrote, “My views on treating allies with
respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and
strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four
decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to
advance an international order that is most conducive to our security,
prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the
solidarity of our alliances,” unquote.
Mattis went on to say,
“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views
are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it
is right for me to step down from my position,” he said. In the letter,
Mattis did not make a direct reference to Syria, but he did call out
Russia and China.
The New York Times
reports Mattis is the first prominent Cabinet member to resign in
protest over a national security issue in almost 40 years.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I agree, and there is
considerably more in this article, that is recommended.
BACEVICH: Well, this is an
interesting situation. I have to think that Trump must have expected
that this abrupt announcement of a withdrawal from Syria would lead to
Mattis’s resignation, and it probably is something that Trump welcomes.
There is no question that Mattis has been an obstacle to Trump’s
efforts to reorient U.S. policy, particularly U.S. policy in the Middle
You know, Mattis’s letter
of resignation, that you quoted, when he talked about his four decades
of engagement with these matters, is very telling. He represents the
establishment’s perspective, that has evolved over the course of those
Now, I’m in the camp who thinks that we ought to wind down these wars,
that we’ve got more important things to do. My only problem with
Trump’s decision is that, like so many of Trump’s decisions, it’s done
impetuously, overnight, not having been thought through, not having
been coordinated. Yes, let’s get out of Syria, but that doesn’t mean we
shouldn’t have a policy with respect to the civil war in Syria. I think
that the way Trump is approaching this thing, we don’t have any policy.
And that’s going to be a problem.
3. Trump’s End
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
I say, for I did not
know that the Republicans are getting as critical of Trump, indeed in
the Senate, as Reich´s friend says they are. Also, while this is
just one Republican friend of Reich,
This morning I phoned my
friend, the former Republican member of Congress.
ME: So, what are you
HE: Trump is in deep
ME: Tell me more.
HE: When it looked like he
was backing down on the wall, Rush and the crazies on Fox went
ballistic. So he has to do the shutdown to keep the base happy. They’re
his insurance policy. They stand between him and impeachment.
ME: Impeachment? No chance.
Senate Republicans would never go along.
HE (laughing): Don’t be so
sure. Corporate and Wall Street are up in arms. Trade war was bad
enough. Now, you’ve got Mattis resigning in protest. Trump pulling out
of Syria, giving Putin a huge win. This dumbass shutdown. The stock
market in free-fall. The economy heading for recession.
I think since almost three years (as a psychologist) that Trump is insane, and since
I am by far not the only psychologist or psychiatrist who has
said so in public, maybe now some powerful Republicans are
(finally) agreeing, though I do not know whether this is true.
There is more that is interesting in the above quote, such as the
stock market being in free fall and the supposed fact that ¨the
for recession¨, but I skip these and turn to the next bit:
I do not know whether
Reich´s Republican friend is right, but he may well be, if only
because Pence has a very similar political ideology as Trump
has, while he does not appear to be insane. Then again, I have not
much of a confirmable idea about what the Republicans really
ME: But the base loves him.
HE: Yeah, but the base
doesn’t pay the bills.
ME: You mean …
HE: Follow the money,
ME: The GOP’s backers have
HE: They wanted Pence all
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I say. Well... I think all in all this is
Good News, though it also is mostly speculative. And this
is a recommended article.
HE: So they’ll wait until
Mueller’s report, which will skewer Trump. Pelosi will wait, too. Then
after the Mueller bombshell, she’ll get 20, 30, maybe even 40
Republicans to join in an impeachment resolution.
ME: And then?
HE: Senate Republicans hope
that’ll be enough – that Trump will pull a Nixon.
ME: So you think he’ll
HE (laughing): No chance.
He’s fu*king out of his mind. He’ll rile up his base into a fever.
Rallies around the country. Tweet storms. Hannity. Oh, it’s gonna be
ugly. He’ll convince himself he’ll survive.
ME: And then?
HE: That’s when Senate
Republicans pull the trigger.
ME: Really? Two-thirds of
HE: Do the math. 47 Dems
will be on board, so you need 19 Republicans. I can name almost that
many who are already there. Won’t be hard to find the votes.
Scahill's Top 10 Takeaways on Mattis Exit
is by Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
has built a career reporting on
American militarism and imperialism across the globe—turned to Twitter
on Friday to weigh in on a few major foreign policy developments over
the past 24 hours: the resignation
of Defense Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis, and President Donald
Trump's consideration of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and
Yes. I like Common
Dreams a lot, and I strongly hope they survive, but I
have some disagreements with them and one is their heavy reliance on Twitter.
I also do understand that,
up to a point, but I generally avoid quoting Twitter (which is
in my eyes a crazy instrument of ¨communication¨ because it limits what
you can say on it to slogan-size, and because each and everyone who
uses it seems spied upon), and I certainly will not quote anyone I
think uses a false name, but here are four of the ten points
Scahill summarized his top
takeaways on Mattis, Syria, and Afghanistan in a 10-point list posted
5. This is an opportunity for progressive forces to assert
an alternative vision for US foreign policy.
6. Trump is a crooked charlatan. But these withdrawals would represent
a dent in the armor of the bipartisan war machine.
7. This chaos presents opportunity.
10. For those who somehow think this is Trump opposing the
war machine, I point you to his massive escalation of drone strikes,
his easing of rules for killing civilians, his use of ground troops in
Yemen and Somalia and his use of criminal weaponry like the MOAB in
I think this may all
be quite correct.
One Wretched Day, All You Need to Know About Donald J. Trump
This article is by Michael
Winship on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
As the hero croons
in that classic old musical Brigadoon, what a day this has been, what a
rare mood I’m in.
I agree with Winship on ¨the feckless, foolish witlessness of the
monumental blockhead¨ of
Donald Trump. In fact, he gives seven points, that are all
marked by ¨>¨. I will not quote all seven points, but
will mark the ones I quote as Winship does:
But that guy was singing that
his mood was almost like being in love. On Thursday night, the mood I
was in was almost like being in complete frustration and despair,
reeling at the feckless, foolish witlessness of the monumental
blockhead we have in the White House. He and his apparatchiks despoil
the country and democracy like the Vandals sacked Rome.
During the course of Thursday
in Washington -- mind you, this one single day:
> After a deal seemed in place to pass a
continuing resolution that would keep the government open and running
into February, a petulant Trump blew it up because the Senate version
doesn’t include money for his ridiculous wall. He was responding to an
angry response to the deal from the hard-right Freedom Caucus of the
House, criticism from Ann Coulter and the brain trust at Fox News,
commentary in the mainstream media that he had caved to Chuck Schumer
and Nancy Pelosi (OMG, a woman!), or succumbing to his own inner
demons. Maybe all of the above. Hundreds of thousands of federal
employees are about to be forced on unpaid furlough just in time for
the holidays. Thank you, Ebenezer Trump.
All of this seems correct
or quite possible. Here is more:
> Meanwhile, AP and The Wall Street Journal
reported Thursday that William Barr, the man chosen by Trump to replace
the acting AG (and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions), wrote an
unsolicited, 20-page memo on June 8 attacking Mueller’s investigation
of possible presidential obstruction of justice as “fatally
misconceived.“ So the acting and future attorneys general are each on
the record as critical of and potentially injurious to Mueller’s
crucial work. Gosh, wonder why Trump chose them?
Yes, I agree with
the implication, but I do not know what chance Trump has to
Here is more:
> Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen
Nielsen revealed Thursday that those legally seeking asylum at the
southern border no longer will be allowed to enter the United States
while their cases are decided but will instead be held in Mexico. The
ACLU tweeted, “This is the latest ruthless move by the Trump
administration that offends our commitment to provide protection to
those fleeing persecution. Apparently this administration will stop at
nothing to keep people of color it deems unworthy out of the country.”
Yes indeed, although I
seem to remember this has already been denied by a judge. Here is the
last point I quote from Winship´s list:
> Although the Farm Bill passed without going
after SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program formerly
known as food stamps, in another move straight out of the Scrooge
playbook, Trump’s Department of Agriculture proposed a rule that would
require harsher work requirements for receiving SNAP, thus worsening
food insecurity for at least 755,000 struggling Americans. That’s the
real War on Christmas, my friend, and decidedly NOT what Jesus would do.
Yes, I quite
agree. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Thursday was, as a
cabdriver said to me back at the height of the Iranian hostage crisis,
a whole lotta chaotic. Yet this seems much, much worse than that
disaster. This is a Perfect Storm of ineptitude and malice that is
truly frightening. All the grownups have now left the building.
Yes, I agree - and I said
nearly two years ago, at the start of Trump´s presidency, that my
personal probability that Trump would not start a nuclear war was 1/2,
and I still think so, for the basic reason that as a
psychologist (I think that) I know that Trump is insane. And this
is a recommended article.
In the wake of the day’s
craziness, the Dow closed down 464 points. The market, it’s said, is
headed for the worst December since the Great Depression. But
intractable in his ignorance, Trump may go on in this shambles of a
presidency for at least another 25 months, unless before its official
end, he destroys us all.
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 (!!).