in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from March 1, 2019
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 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 March 1, 2019:
1. What Trump Got Wrong, and Right,
on North Korea
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. Michael Cohen Accuses Trump of
Lying, Racism & Illegal Activity
3. The Most Harrowing Revelation of the Cohen Hearing
4. Benjamin Netanyahu to Be Indicted on Corruption Charges
5. Victor Serge: Indispensable Critic of Leftist Illusion
Trump Got Wrong, and Right, on North Korea
This article is by
The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
Yes, this seems all
correct - and one reason to review this article is that I am myself not
at all sure "what Trump got wrong and right on North Korea".
no sugarcoating the failure of President Trump’s second summit meeting
with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
the buildup — Mr. Trump’s fawning over the love notes they exchanged,
the “beautiful” relationship they share and the predictions of great
success — the “Joint Agreement Signing Ceremony” the White House had
planned was canceled, and the scheduled news conference with Mr. Kim
went forward as a solo act by Mr. Trump.
you have to walk,” he told reporters in Hanoi as two days of talks
intended to put curbs on North Korea’s nuclear program came to an end.
was a restrained, sensible reaction from a president who seemed to be
in a headlong rush for any deal that would give him at least the
appearance of a foreign policy victory.
Then again, my position seems to be widely shared:
Yes, but this presumes
that "the American
explanation is correct." I don't know. It may well be but two
additional difficulties are that the talks were mostly private,
while indeed my trust in North Korea is on a similar level as my trust
in Donald Trump.
made the meeting collapse isn’t yet certain. If the American
explanation is correct — that North Korea wanted all economic
sanctions lifted in return only for dismantling its nuclear complex at
Yongbyon — then Mr. Trump made the right call in walking away.
Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, holding a rare news conference,
said his government made a “realistic” proposal for a partial removal
of sanctions. But when the Americans “insisted that we should take one
more step beyond the dismantlement of nuclear facilities at Yongbyon,”
he said, it became clear the United States “was not ready to accept our
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I more or less agree and this is
a recommended article.
was a good sign that the president
discussed the outcome in calm and measured tones. Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo, who leads the negotiating effort, spoke of making
“real progress,” without defining it, and expressed hope that the two
sides “will get back together in the days and weeks ahead and continue
to work out what’s a very complex problem.”
suggests a willingness on the American side, at least, to continue
working-level negotiations, which are the only way to achieve an
agreement on complex issues. For that to have a chance, North Korea
must concur and continue its 400-plus-day self-imposed moratorium on
nuclear and ballistic missile testing. Mr. Trump said Mr. Kim planned
to do that. Even if he does, the situation is far from stable, since
the North continues to produce nuclear fuel and missiles.
Cohen Accuses Trump of Lying, Racism & Illegal Activity
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts with
the following introduction:
I think this is an excellent
summary, but it misses one thing: The 5-hour hearing was only a
minor part of other evidence Cohen gave, that was not public.
In an explosive 5-hour
on Capitol Hill Wednesday, President Trump’s former personal attorney
Michael Cohen accused his old boss of committing multiple criminal acts
before and during his presidency. Cohen provided evidence that Trump
had violated campaign finance laws by paying hush money to women,
accused the Trump Foundation of committing fraud by using the
tax-exempt organization for personal purposes, and said Trump lied when
he said he couldn’t release his tax returns because they were being
audited. He also claimed that Trump had advance knowledge that
WikiLeaks was preparing to publish a trove of emails to hurt Hillary
Clinton’s campaign in the run-up to the 2016 election. Cohen confirmed
the president repeatedly checked in about the status of a proposed
Trump Tower Moscow project well into the 2016 campaign, despite public
claims to the contrary. But he said he had seen no direct evidence that
Trump had colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign. The testimony
came two months before Cohen is scheduled to begin a 3-year prison
sentence for lying to Congress, a series of financial crimes and
campaign violations. We speak with Marcy Wheeler, an independent
journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. She runs
the website EmptyWheel.net.
And in fact this is a fairly long article of which I will only quote
two more parts. Then again, the next article is also about the Cohen
Here is something by Cohen:
I say, for this is fairly
strong. Then again, Cohen has already been convicted to three years of
jail, and may get more, and I suppose - but do not know
- that he is mostly telling the truth about himself, indeed mostly (I
think) because he does not expect any more help from Trump.
Cohen told Congress he was
ashamed of his own failings.
COHEN: Never in a
million years did I imagine, when I accepted a job in 2007 to work for
Donald Trump, that he would one day run for the presidency, to launch a
campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance, and actively win. I
regret the day I said yes to Mr. Trump. I regret all the help and
support I gave him along the way.
I am ashamed of my own
failings and publicly accepted responsibility for them by pleading
guilty in the Southern District of New York. I am ashamed of my
weakness and my misplaced loyalty, of the things I did for Mr. Trump in
an effort to protect and promote him. I am ashamed that I chose to take
part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my
I am ashamed, because I
know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a con man. And he is a
cheat. He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was
talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop on Democratic
National Committee emails.
And I do not think that he is telling the truth about Stone and
Assange, for both deny Cohen's story. That is far from conclusive
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I think I agree
with Wheeler, and this is a recommended article (with considerably more
than I quoted). Also, the next article is also about Cohen's testimony:
GOODMAN: (..) Marcy,
welcome to Democracy Now! Overall, respond—as you tweeted up
a storm yesterday, following every line—what you thought was most
important about this explosive five hours before the House Oversight
and Reform Committee.
WHEELER: Well, it was kind
of overwhelming, because, you know, there are additional details of
financial fraud that you weren’t even able to hit on because there was
so much there. I think what was most surprising is that Cohen came off
more credibly than, certainly, the Republicans who were trying to
damage his credibility. Yeah, is he still, you know, a thuggish liar?
Yeah. Do we all know what a creep he was during 2016? Absolutely. Yeah,
was yesterday a performance? Absolutely. But did he come off at least
credibly enough to make what he was saying about Trump generally seem
true? And I think he did.
Most Harrowing Revelation of the Cohen Hearing
This article is by
Paul Jay on Truthdig and
originally on The Real News Network. It starts as follows:
PAUL JAY: Welcome
to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay.
Well, Michael Cohen finally
made his long-awaited appearance before the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee. And while there’s a ton to dig into in
terms of his accusations against Donald Trump, who–I guess everyone has
heard by now–he said he is a racist, a conman, and a cheat. But perhaps
the most explosive thing that Cohen said came at the very end, when he
said about a man, Trump, that he’s worked with for over 10 years, in a
statement that was vetted by his lawyers, he said–at some point he was
asked about that. He says that if Donald Trump loses the election in
2020–Well, here’s what he said.
MICHAEL COHEN: Given
my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the
election in 2020 that there will not be a peaceful transition of power.
PAUL JAY: That’s
essentially saying that if he loses the election there will be a coup.
There will be another declaration of national emergency.
Perhaps, and it
certainly is a possibility. Also, this is a rather long interview with
five people that is too long to properly excerpt in Nederlog. In fact,
I found Jay's opinions and statements the most interesting, for which
reason I have suppressed the opinions and statements of the other five
(which you can read by going here).
Anyway, here is some more by Jay:
Yes, I think that is correct.
Also, I am glad that Jay agrees with me (and many other psychologists
and psychiatrists) that Trump
is a megalomaniac. Besides, I like it that Jay
PAUL JAY: I
mean, one of the things that Cohen said today is that Trump never
expected to win. This was all a marketing ploy to build up the Trump
brand. As he started get moving–once he wins the nomination, takes on
Pence, which gives him a deal with the Koch brothers, who in the
beginning wanted nothing to do with him. But Pence is a Koch brother
guy, and now he’s got Pompeo, which is a completely Koch brother
creation. But once he becomes president, he becomes a vehicle for so
many different political forces. Evangelicals see him as a vessel. The
neocons now see him as a vessel. And everything feeds into his
megalomania. And so it is a convergence of this guy’s personal, as I
say, megalomania, and some much more sophisticated political interests,
in the context of a very degenerating, overall, political system, so
that–you know, this corruption of Trump is just a tip of the iceberg of
pervasive systemic corruption throughout the whole system.
uses the term "megalomania" because that has been removed from
Wikipedia, in spite of the fact that it is a proper English term since
1895, in preference for the much longer psychiatrese "narcissistic
personality disorder" (and this is one of the - quite many -
reasons why I do not trust Wikipedia, but that us an aside).
Here is some more by Jay:
Yes, I mostly agree with
this. Here is a bit by a member of the House:
PAUL JAY: And
I think it’s something specific about the overtness of the Republican
Party and Trump, and the GOP has really degenerated. Any
voices–certainly in the Republican primary there were many who were
very critical of Trump, but the elected, both in the House and the
Senate, Republican Party has actually realized that this overt, naked,
reactionary, fascistic message works for enough people to get elected.
Well, that is at least
clear and simple. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
RO KHANNA: I
just want the American public to understand the explosive nature of
your testimony in this document. Are you telling us, Mr. Cohen, that
the President directed transactions in conspiracy with Allen
Weisselberg, and his son Donald Trump Jr, as part of a criminal–part of
a criminal conspiracy of financial fraud. Is that your testimony today?
MICHAEL COHEN: Yes.
Yes indeed: quite
so, and this is a strongly recommended article, with a lot
more text than I quoted.
You know, it’s not enough just to look at campaign financing. It’s not
enough to look at corruption at the level of politicians. The big
picture is the state of the militarization of the U.S. economy, and the
state of the financialization of the U.S. economy. And between Wall
Street and the military industrial–and many people add
congressional–complex, the level and depth of systemic corruption. I
mean, how many big bankers go to jail after outright fraud in the
Netanyahu to Be Indicted on Corruption Charges
This article is by
Aron Heller on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It
starts as follows:
Israel’s attorney general
on Thursday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
with bribery and breach of trust in a series of corruption cases, a
momentous move that shook up Israel’s election campaign and could spell
the end of the prime minister’s illustrious political career.
Attorney General Avichai
Mandelblit announced his decision after more than two years of intense
investigations and deliberations.
Police had recommended
indicting Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three
different cases that ranged from accepting expensive gifts from wealthy
allies to allegedly trading influence for more favorable press coverage.
“The attorney general has
reached his decision after thoroughly examining the evidence,” his
I say! Well... I dislike
Nethanyahu since a long time, so this news is quite welcome to
Here is some more:
An indictment would mark
the first time in Israeli history that a sitting prime minister has
been charged with a crime. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert served
time in prison for corruption, but had already resigned by the time he
Netanyahu doesn’t look to
go that quietly. He denies any wrongdoing and calls the various
allegations a media-orchestrated witch hunt aimed at removing him from
office. He has vowed to carry on and is deadlocked in the polls, 40
days before Israelis go to vote.
I strongly hope he
looses the elections, but these are only my own values.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
I only note that
Mandelblit is the attorney general of Israel and that he has "thoroughly examin[ed] the evidence". And this is a recommended
While Israeli prime
ministers are not required by law to resign if charged, the prospect of
a prime minister standing trial while simultaneously running the
country would be unchartered territory.
Mandelblit’s decision could
either galvanize Netanyahu’s hard-line supporters who see him as a
victim of an overzealous prosecution or turn more moderate backers
against him who have tired of his lengthy rule tainted by long-standing
accusations of corruption and hedonism.
Serge: Indispensable Critic of Leftist Illusion
This article is
by Mitchell Abidor on The New York Review of Books. It starts as
When Victor Serge died of
heart attack in the back of a Mexico City cab on November 17, 1947,
there were said to be holes in the soles of his shoes. They spoke of
the poverty of his last six years in Mexico, but they also symbolized
the peripatetic life of this perpetual exile.
I selected this article
mostly because I know at least 50 years about Serge, whom I
think was an interesting and intelligent man, who also was a good
writer. In case you are interested about Serge, I think it makes sense
to read the Wikipedia about him (see Victor Serge)
for that article seems quite decent.
Also, I doubt
many know who he was, since he died more than 70 years ago, but I guess
some may remember reading about him in George Orwell's
"Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters" for Orwell liked him as
well, and wrote several times about him.
Here is some more about
Serge sided with Trotsky
against Stalin after Lenin’s death, which resulted in his internment in
a camp in the Urals and his expulsion to the West in 1936, thanks to a
protest campaign of intellectual and political activists. He then
abandoned Trotskyism, which had by then hardened into a dogma, and
adopted an independent revolutionary socialist line. This was
exemplified by his backing in the Spanish Civil War of the
anti-Stalinist POUM, the opposition Communist group George Orwell
Yes, I believe that is
Here is the main reason for
this article: A reprint of Serge's "Notebooks 1936-1947" that were
discovered in 2010, and are available in French, but this is an
English translation. I think that was a very good idea, and
here is some more:
1936–1947 offer the clearest account of this shift and of
just how radical it was; read along with his correspondence and
articles of the period, they provide us with a complex picture.
In his final years, hatred of
the Communists, who attacked him mercilessly and who he believed
blocked publication of his novels, and who he feared wanted to
assassinate him, became one of his central tenets. But Serge never
wavered in his belief that socialism was necessary. Unlike many on the
left, both Stalinist and anti-Stalinist, Serge insisted that the nature
of socialism had to be rethought.
The Serge of the Notebooks saw
that freedom and democracy were not mere bourgeois tricks: they were
the essence of the radical project, the preconditions without which no
permanent, positive change could occur. As early as October 1941, Serge
was contemplating such heretical notions.
Yes, I agree with
that - and in case you wonder that in the 1940ies "freedom and
democracy" were not seen as essential parts in a real
socialism, you should realize (and also see Orwell, in the books
mentioned above) that especially in England
there were then many communist intellectuals, who were often
and who thought that socialism could (and may be should) do without
"freedom and democracy".
Here is more on Serge:
The old schemas were out
date and, later that same month, Serge admitted to feeling an
“astonishment tinted with discouragement” at the “linear and
mechanically traditional understanding” of revolution on the part of
his comrades. Classical Marxism needed revision: “The schematism of two
essential classes is largely outmoded,” he believed, and if “we must
expect powerful awakenings of the European masses, it must also be
admitted that their deep-rooted moderation, their immediate practical
sense opposed to combative ideology, and their traditional ideologies
will remain important political-psychological factors.”
Yes indeed - and I agree
with Serge on the above. (In fact, "the schematism of two essential classes" was already outmoded
by World War I, for that was fought on the basis of nationalism
and not on the basis of socialism, communism, or radicalism,
although real workers who were convinced of socialism should
have refused a capitalist war that in fact was to be fought by
German and English workers.)
Here is more on Serge:
His heresies grew more
as he said that “socialism must renounce the ideas of dictatorship and
worker hegemony and become the representative of the large numbers of
people in whom a socialist-leaning consciousness is germinating, one
obscure and without a doctrinal terminology.” And to crown it all,
“That in the immediate coming period the essential thing would be
obtaining the reestablishment of traditional democratic freedoms,”
which alone can create the conditions for the rebirth of socialist and
I agree with this as
well. Here is the last bit on Serge that I quote from this article:
The former Bolshevik was
categorical about the enemy: “Stalinism… constitutes the worst danger,
the mortal danger which we would be mad to pretend to confront on our
own.” Not capitalism, not the Western democracies, Stalin and his
agents were the enemy of a new Europe. Serge considered the defeat of
Stalinist Communism a precondition for the formation of socialist
I think Serge also saw
this (more or less) correctly. And this is a strongly
recommended article (in which there is much more than I quoted).
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 (!!).