in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from February 17, 2019
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 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:
. Selections from February 17, 2019:
1. Trump's Latest Power Grab Triggers
Calls for Impeachment
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. How the New York Amazon Deal Fell
3. John Oliver on What'd He Say to Donald Trump
4. The FBI Came Close to Staging a Coup
5. The Real Danger to the Green New Deal
Latest Power Grab Triggers Calls for Impeachment
This article is by
Julia Conley on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams. It starts as
Yes, and I think Boyle
be right. I also suppose Robert Reich - see here
- agrees with Boyle. And here are Boyle's reasons to impeach Trump:
While Democrats are
preparing to propose a joint
resolution challenging President Donald Trump’s national
emergency declaration in order to obtain funding for a border wall, one
legal scholar is
among those arguing the time has come to pursue a far more direct
and effective method of combating the president’s lawlessness:
With Trump’s national emergency
declaration [issued] Friday morning, international law professor
Francis Boyle said there is no time to lose.
“This should be initiated
immediately,” said Boyle. “All you need is one brave member of the U.S.
House of Representatives to meaningfully assert that body’s Power of
the Purse. Trump’s indications that he will override that legislative
power and the seeming acquiescence by some Democrats is illegitimate
and dangerous and subverts a fundamental premise of the Constitution."
I think Boyle is right
this is a recommended article.
Boyle—who worked closely with former
Rep. Henry Gonzalez (D-Texas) to introduce
a resolution to impeach President George H.W. Bush for high
crimes and misdemeanors after he initiated the first Gulf War—said
Congress has a solid case for bringing charges against Trump over his
violation of the U.S. Constitution:
A Bill of Impeachment
could consist of articles including for (1) violating Article 1,
Section 7 of the United States Constitution: “All Bills for raising
Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives…” (2) Article
1, Section 8 of the Constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the
Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law…” (3) It
also violates the Federal Anti-Deficiency Statute.
With Trump preparing to
unilaterally take control of government funds by declaring a national
emergency, Boyle said, lawmakers’ “most direct remedy is impeachment.”
the New York Amazon Deal Fell Apart
This article is by
Joe Pisani on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It
starts as follows:
In early November, word
began to leak that Amazon was serious about choosing New York to build
a giant new campus. The city was eager to lure the company and its
thousands of high-paying tech jobs, offering billions in tax incentives
and lighting the Empire State Building in Amazon orange.
Even Governor Andrew Cuomo
got in on the action: “I’ll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that’s
what it takes,” he joked at the time.
Then Amazon made it
official: It chose the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens to build
a $2.5 billion campus that could house 25,000 workers, in addition to
new offices planned for northern Virginia. Cuomo and New York Mayor
Bill de Blasio, Democrats who have been political adversaries for
years, trumpeted the decision as a major coup after edging out more
than 230 other proposals.
But what they didn’t expect
was the protests, the hostile public hearings and the disparaging
tweets that would come in the next three months, eventually leading to
Amazon’s dramatic Valentine’s Day breakup with New York.
Yes indeed: I think all
of the above is correct. Here is some more:
Some of the same
politicians who had signed a letter to woo Amazon were now balking at
the tax incentives.
“Offering massive corporate
welfare from scarce public resources to one of the wealthiest
corporations in the world at a time of great need in our state is just
wrong,” said New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris and New York City
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Democrats who represent the Long Island
City area, in a joint statement.
The next day, CEO Jeff
was on the cover of The New York Post in a cartoon-like illustration,
hanging out of a helicopter, holding money bags in each hand, with cash
billowing above the skyline. “QUEENS RANSOM,” the headline screamed.
The New York Times editorial board, meanwhile, called the deal a “bad
bargain” for the city: “We won’t know for 10 years whether the promised
25,000 jobs will materialize,” it said.
Yes, and I agree
Gianaris and Van Bramer. And this is a recommended article.
Oliver on What'd He Say to Donald Trump
This article is by
Tim Marcin on Newsweek. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:
Watch John Oliver do his,
well, John-Oliver-Thing and you get the sense that he’s telling you the
room is on fire and the doors are locked, but we've got this cup of
water and, come on, you've gotta admit it's gonna be funny trying to
put these flames out.
In other words: Tune in to
Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and you’re often going to learn
something that’ll send you into an outrage—but somehow you’ll laugh.
His comedy show has managed to do extended monologues on student debt,
immigration courts, opioids and just about every other awful thing you
can imagine. Again, it’s a comedy show. And a good one, at that.
It’s a careful balance of comedy and journalism—and it produces a show
known for putting out 20-minute, informative, laugh-out-loud, scathing
segments that can help shift the conversation surrounding some of
America’s toughest subjects.
I do not
(or try to cover) Newsweek, but I like John Oliver and the above
introduction seems correct to me.
Here is some from the
How do you go about
making the Trump administration funny?
That’s a good question
because, normally, the job of comedy is to take something substantial
and kind of break it down into comedy. Whereas, when you have the
president say something that he doesn’t mean, or things that are
objectively false all the time, you end up having to go through a
different system where you’re trying to inject meaning into something
that he said that’s objectively meaningless. And then [you] justify why
you’ve just done that. And then you write a joke.
That’s the problem. It’s so
much vacuous nonsense that you feel like he’s just chumming the water
I think that is correct,
here is Oliver on interviewing Trump:
If you had 20
minutes alone with Trump, what would you say to him?
I wouldn’t. I’ve got no
interest in talking to him. Interviewing him is pointless.
I agree, and my reason is
that he is lying
most of the time. Here is the last bit that I quote
from this article:
I think this is correct as well.
And Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" starts its sixth season this evening
(February 17) on HBO. This is a recommended article.
In the news
environment today, there are all of these things happening
all at once, do you try to pick something for a story that you know
will have an impact? Something that you think people are missing?
I mean… not really. It’s
not so much that people are missing it, because whenever we do a story
there’s reporting on it but maybe it’s not broken through to people’s
consciousness. We can act as a positive amplifier in that situation.
Like when we did a piece on civil forfeiture, there was a shitload of
good reporting from local news outlets, and I think The Washington
Post, but we felt like it slid by people and we could turn
people’s attention to it.
FBI Came Close to Staging a Coup
This article is by
Kiriakou on Consortium News. It starts as follows:
Former FBI deputy
director Andrew McCabe, in an explosive interview with CBS’s “60
Minutes,” said that in early 2017, in the aftermath of President
Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, he and other
FBI officials discussed the possibility of recruiting a cabinet
secretary to help push the president out of office by using the
Constitution’s 25th Amendment
Yes indeed. Here is Kiriakou's comment on the above:
contended that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offered to wear a
wire when he was around Trump in order to gather evidence against
him. (Rosenstein denies the allegation.) McCabe said that
Justice Department officials believed at the time that Trump may
have obstructed justice by firing Comey, and they worried that Trump
was somehow under the influence of the Russian government. In the
end, nothing came of the plan.
Regardless of one’s
feelings toward President Trump and his policies, what McCabe
is describing is nothing less than a coup attempt. It’s something that
happens in weak or nascent democracies, following interference by the
CIA perhaps. It should never happen here.
I don't know, and
my point may be formulated as follows: I agree with Kiriakou
that in a real democracy a coup attempt as described above should
not and very probably also simply cannot happen.
But then the USA is not a real democracy anymore while Trump
does seem to be a disaster for the USA (except for the richest
1 to 10%) and quite possibly also for the whole world.
Here is some more by Kiriakou on the FBI, the CIA and the NSA
community—the FBI, CIA, the NSA and other three-letter agencies—are too
powerful, too entrenched and two well-funded. And they have far too
little oversight. They’re a threat to our democracy, not the saviors of
it. That is why it pains me to see Democrats lining up behind
them to attack Trump.
I agree with Kiriakou
that "the FBI, CIA, the NSA" etc.
are too powerful - but my conclusion seems to be
slightly different from Kiriakou's, for I say that - then - it
follows that the USA is not a real democracy anymore, as a matter of
Another matter about which I might disagree with Kiriakou is that I do
think Trump is very dangerous as president, because I
am a psychologist who agree with many other psychologists that Trump is mad (and the last
link contains some good explanations).
Then again, I also think that Kiriakou is correct about the
Even worse, these
same organizations—the FBI and the CIA—are the ones that have sought to
undermine our democracy over the years. Don’t forget programs
the FBI’s operation to force Martin Luther King Jr. to
suicide; the infiltration of peace groups; the CIA’s efforts to
control the media with Operation
Mockingbird; the CIA’s illegal spying
on American citizens; the CIA hacking
into the computers of the Senate
Intelligence Committee; and the Agency’s extrajudicial assassination
program; to name a few.
The links are well worth reading - but as I said, my
own conclusions are that precisely because the FBI, CIA
and the NSA are so powerful and so well funded, real democracy is dead
in the USA, while Trump is a
very dangerous madman.
Anyway, here is Kiriakou's conclusion:
The FBI is perfectly
free to investigate collusion. That’s what they ought to be doing. But
they ought not plot the overthrow of a president, no matter how quirky
and offensive he may be. That’s anti-democratic and illegal and
it harkens back to the bad old days of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover
and the CIA before the reforms of the Church Committee.
Yes, but impeachments are
legal as well in the USA. Anyway, this is a recommended article.
We have a way to depose
presidents. They’re called “elections.” The FBI should
familiarize itself with them.
Real Danger to the Green New Deal
This article is
by John Atcheson on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts
Predictably, Trump came out
against the Green New Deal with a bombastic – and ill-informed – rant
in a campaign style rally in El Paso. Here’s what he had to say:
"I really don't like
their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane
rights, of 'let's hop a train to California,' of you're not allowed to
own cows anymore!"
Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell
intends to introduce the GND Bill in the Senate, and Republicans,
pundits and politicians of most stripes are predicting the bill will
hurt the Democrats’ chances in 2020.
But as usual, the
inside-the-beltway crowd is way behind the people on this issue;
polling clearly shows a
large majority of the people support it. In fact, when key
elements underpinning the GND were unpacked, Americans overwhelmingly
supported nearly all of them, with many provisions polling above
80 percent favorable.
I think all of
the above is correct, but I really dislike "GND", first because
it is an ad hoc abbreviation, and second because this abbreviation -
"Gee En Dee" - does not mention the New Deal.
And besides, while I agree with Atcheson that the reception of
the Green New Deal by the American people was quite good, I also
think that the USA is no longer a real democracy under Trump.
Anyway. Here is more Atcheson:
But the real
political danger to Democrats isn’t the Republican assault on the GND,
it is that they’ll do what they did with Obamacare—run from the issue
and allow the Republicans set the terms of the debate. That approach
caused the Party to experience record losses at every level of
government in 2014, and it looks like the neoliberals in charge of the
party are about to do the same with the GND.
Yes, I quite agree
with Atcheson. Here is more by him:
For example, here’s what
Nancy Pelosi had to say about the Green New Deal: “…The green dream, or
whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they're for it,
right?" The rest of the Democratic leadership is following her lead,
and the party's old guard is following them.
Much of the press and
is taking the same approach, and the general message from both the
Washington cognoscenti and the press seems to be it’s not “practical”
or “politically feasible,” forgetting that’s exactly what they said
about Bernie Sanders’ progressive platform, positions that are now
wildly popular with the people, and that form the basis of Democrat's
victories in 2018.
Republicans and some
neoliberals are also raising the specter of the GND ushering in
socialism, government despotism, and control of our daily lives and
choices. And while it will demand unprecedented cooperation, it need
not imply limits on our democracy. As Joseph Romm pointed out in a recent
article, a World War II level effort is both possible and necessary
if we are to preserve ou[r] Democracy. Indeed, nothing threatens our
freedoms more than the human and economic catastrophes that would
result from NOT mitigating climate change.
Yes again. Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I think I agree and this is a strongly
The “realists” and
“pragmatists” who are advocating caution and warning that embracing the
GND will result in Trump winning in 2020 have it exactly wrong. The
only way Trump wins is if the Democrats abrogate their responsibility.
The people are ready; the technology is at hand; the time is now.
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 (!!).