in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from March 15, 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:
A. Selections from March 15, 2019:
1. Erik Prince, Perjury, and the
Secret Trump Tower Meeting
The items 1 - 5 are today's
selections from the 35 sites that I look at
everyorning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. Impeaching Trump: Pelosi Says It’s
“Not Worth It”
3. Why Cohen should fear for his life
4. 'Major Rebuke of Trump's Authoritarianism'
5. Chris Hedges: Democrats may well lose to Trump again
Prince, Perjury, and the Secret Trump Tower Meeting
This article is by
Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed, but the text of this
article is too long to properly excerpt in Nederlog. Therefore
quote three bits from the beginning of the article, and leave it to my
readers to read the rest.
Erik Prince, the founder and CEO of the world’s most notorious
mercenary company, Blackwater, landed in hot water during a recent
interview with Mehdi Hasan at the Oxford Union in the U.K. Prince
repeatedly claimed to have disclosed an August 2016 meeting at Trump
Tower to the House Intelligence Committee—a claim not backed up by the
official transcripts of his testimony before Congress. On this week’s
show, Mehdi Hasan speaks with Jeremy Scahill, author of “Blackwater:
The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” about Prince’s
career and possible future plans. Mehdi also speaks
with Rep. Joaquin Castro, who sits on the House Intelligence
Committee, about the possible fallout from Prince’s contradictory
statements. The two also discuss Castro’s bill to cancel Trump’s
emergency declaration, which will be taken up by the Senate this week.
Also, I strongly dislike Erik Prince and Blackwater
(now called Academi): I think Prince is a major ciminal, and I think
Blackwater was a criminal military organization. Then again, I refer
you to the above two Wikipedia references for more.
Here is more from the article:
Yes, I agree with the
Here is some more:
MH: Welcome to
Deconstructed. I’m Mehdi Hasan. This week the founder and former boss
of the private security firm Blackwater — the controversial super
mercenary and hardcore Trump supporter Erik Prince was back in the news
after a rather lively interview that I did with him for my Al Jazeera
English TV show. He could now be in a lot of trouble as my guest today,
Congressman Joaquin Castro explains.
Joaquin Castro: Erik
Prince like at least a few other witnesses, I think, were not fully
honest with the House Intelligence Committee and perhaps other
committees in the Congress. After I saw your interview, I do have to
wonder what the legal consequences could be for Erik Prince.
MH: My Intercept
colleague Jeremy Scahill also joins me on Deconstructed to unpack
Prince’s ties to the Trump administration and to explain to us why all
of this matters so much.
Jeremy Scahill: Erik
Prince is a guy who has operated forces that have committed war crimes.
And I think it would be a step forward to get him in any way you can
into the crosshairs of prosecutors.
MH: It’s been a bit
of a crazy few days for me. I did an interview with Erik Prince,
founder and former CEO of the world’s most notorious mercenary company,
Blackwater; brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; and big Trump
donor. He spent something like a quarter of a million dollars helping
get Trump elected in 2016. It’s an interview which has since landed
Prince in some hot water, both politically and legally. Because he’s
not just friends with Trump and Steve Bannon and others in that circle,
but also with the Emiratis and the Saudis. And Robert Mueller, the
Special Counsel in the Russia investigation has interviewed Prince, and
gone through his cellphones and laptop, while the House Intelligence
Committee took testimony from the former Blackwater boss in November
2017 — testimony at which he admitted to a secret meeting in the
Seychelles, organized by the United Arab Emirates, with a close pal of
Vladimir Putin’s, just nine days before Trump’s inauguration.
What he didn’t tell them
was that before that, he had another secret meeting, at Trump Tower, on
August 3rd, 2016, in the middle of the election campaign, three months
before election day, a secret meeting (...)
I take it this is quite
right, not because I know, but because the above is strongly
by Prince´s own testimony, though this seems also partially
false (as Hasan pointed out).
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Yes indeed: These are good
questions. And there is a lot more in the article, that is
MH: So, why does
all of this matter? Well, number one, as Schiff pointed out there, Bob
Mueller could charge Prince with perjury — lying to Congress under oath
is a crime. And it does look like Prince lied to Congress, and then, of
course lied to me about not lying to Congress. Though of course lying
to me isn’t a crime. It’s just rude.
Number two, why is it that
all of these Trump people keep getting caught lying about meetings with
foreign governments, with Russians and the rest? Michael Flynn, George
Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, and now, perhaps,
Erik Prince. Why the lies? What do they have to hide?
And number three, we often
talk about collusion in the context only of Russia — but the Erik
Prince meetings, at Trump Tower and in the Seychelles, they show, Gulf
countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were as keen
as the Russians to see a Trump, not a Clinton, presidency in 2016. Why?
Many would say it’s because they want a war with Iran – and Prince told
me that they were discussing “Iran policy,” him and Don Jr. and a
representative of the Emiratis and the Saudis, in Trump Tower that day.
Which is kinda scary.
Trump: Pelosi Says It’s “Not Worth It”
This article is by Amy Goodman
and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts
with the following introduction:
Democratic lawmakers are
continuing to push for the impeachment of President Donald Trump,
despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking out against impeachment in
an interview earlier this week. Impeachment rumors have been swirling
since the Democrats regained control of the House in January.
Congressmember Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said last week that she will
formally introduce articles of impeachment this month. We speak with
John Bonifaz, an attorney and political activist specializing in
constitutional law and voting rights. He is the co-founder and
president of Free Speech for People, one of the organizations calling
for Trump’s impeachment.
Quite so - and I
normally copy the introductions to the interviews on Democracy Now!
that I review, simply because they
are good summaries.
Here is more:
SHAIKH: (..) Pelosi told The
Washington Post Monday she is not planning on launching
impeachment proceedings against Trump, saying, quote, “He’s just not
worth it,” and that it was too divisive. She called Trump “ethically
and intellectually unfit” for the presidency, but said Congress would
require an overwhelming and bipartisan reason for impeachment.
But some Democratic lawmakers
have pushed back on Pelosi’s comments. Washington congressmember and
Progressive Caucus co-chair, Pramila Jayapal, said that congressional
investigations should determine the appropriate course of action and
that evidence of a, quote, “consistent pattern of abuse of power, [or]
of obstruction of justice,” would be grounds for impeachment.
Congressmember Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said that she would continue
with plans to formally introduce articles of impeachment this month.
Yes, and I agree with
and Tlaib, indeed because I think that if you agree, as Pelosi
that your current president is ¨“ethically
and intellectually unfit” for the presidency¨ I think he should be removed - and besides, I am a
psychologist who thinks since more than three years that Trump is insane, and also
see the next item.
Here is some more:
GOODMAN: Well, for more,
we’re joined by John Bonifaz, attorney and political activist
specializing in constitutional law and voting rights; co-founder and
president of Free Speech for People, one of the organizations calling
for Trump’s impeachment; co-author, with Ron Fein and Ben Clements, of The
Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump.
Amy, thanks for having me. The president is a direct and serious threat
to our republic. He is, almost on a daily basis, attacking our
Constitution, our democracy and the rule of law, and he has created a
constitutional crisis through this conduct. So, for Speaker Pelosi to
say that we’re not going to focus on impeachment, in the midst of this
constitutional crisis, is a real abdication of her responsibility, the
oath she took to defend and protect our Constitution as a member of
Congress. The Framers placed the impeachment power in the Constitution
precisely to address this kind of constitutional crisis we face today.
And it is not a question of waiting for an election to deal with that
crisis, when you have a present threat to the republic. When you have a
president who so defies the rule of law, and the multiple impeachable
offenses he has committed, Congress must address that crisis now
through the impeachment process.
Yes, I completely agree
Bonifaz, whose arguments also may be strengthened by (i) the
convictions of currently some 70,000 psychologists and psychiatrists
that indeed Trump is not sane, and I am a psychologist
who agrees, and
by (ii) that it is - indeed - a matter of responsibility to try to
impeach a madman, and not a matter of mere calculation whether you will
win such an impeachment procedure.
Here is the last bit I quote
from this article:
GOODMAN: And Nancy Pelosi
saying you just don’t have the numbers, we would not do this unless it
was bipartisan? Do you think she has good cause here to be opposed to
impeachment at this moment?
BONIFAZ: I mean, what’s
happening here, Amy, is that Speaker Pelosi is completely ignoring
history. If the bipartisan requirement had been placed in 1973 before
the U.S. House Judiciary Committee by the House leadership at that time
in investigating whether or not President Richard Nixon should face
impeachment, there never would have been any impeachment proceedings
against Richard Nixon. Less than 30 percent, in polling, supported
impeachment proceedings against President Nixon at that time, and yet
the House Judiciary Committee moved forward and started Judiciary
Committee proceedings. Further, there was no evidence whatsoever at
that time that 67 senators would vote to convict President Nixon.
Yes, I agree with
although he cannot say with certainty that what happened in 1973 will
happen again in
- say - 2020. Also, I refer to my above two arguments, to which I can
add a third: Since I am a psychologist who thinks that Trump
I think he is much more dangerous than other Republicans who may
similar set of policies or priorities as Trump has, but who are not
insane. And this is a strongly recommended article.
Cohen should fear for his life
This article is by
Chauncey DeVega on AlterNet and originally on Salon. I abbreviated the
It starts as follows:
Yes, I mostly agree but not
quite. I agree that Trump´s speechs was ¨a delusional, nightmarish monologue, full of
lies and violent images, manifestly the work of someone who lives in
his own reality¨ (and this
last point implies he is not sane), but I do not quite
with the second quoted paragraph, which I don´t because I am a
Last weekend, Donald Trump
delivered a big speech at the annual CPAC political carnival. It was
the longest and perhaps the most memorable of his entire political
career. It was also a delusional, nightmarish monologue, full of lies
and violent images, manifestly the work of someone who lives in his own
Trump’s audience at CPAC,
and around the country, was enthralled. This is one of the most
prominent attributes of a political cult: Its members worship their
leader and are bound together with him in a state of collective
pathology and mass psychosis. The cult leader also promises safety and
salvation. Donald Trump did this as well last Saturday when, near the
conclusion of his speech, he said, “I’ll protect you.”
I do not think that the around 60
American followers of Trump, who indeed may be fairly said to believe
in a kind of political cult also are (60 million of them,
give or take
a few millions) ¨in a
state of collective pathology and mass psychosis¨, and I do so for two reaons:
First, I am a psychologist (and not a psychiatrist) who
simply does not
believe that there tens of millions people living ¨in a state of collective pathology and mass psychosis¨ (psychiatrists may well
believe so), and secondly there is a much better explanation: Most
of the followers of Trump are stupid and/or ignorant,
which I think is
Back to the article:
Yes, and while I also do not
trust Cohen, I think the above is a fair
sketch of Donald Trump.
Several days before
CPAC speech, Donald Trump’s personal fixer and former attorney of many
years, Michael Cohen, testified before the House Oversight Committee.
During his testimony, Cohen explained that Donald Trump acts like a
Mafia boss, using threats, violence and intimidation to get his way and
control his underlings. Cohen also provided evidence of Trump’s likely
criminal behavior in the form of a personal check used by Donald Trump
to pay hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels. In total, Cohen
offered a personal account of Donald Trump as a man who is an impulsive
pathological liar, a con artist and a threat to American democracy and
Actually, I do not
think that Frank
is much of ¨a physician¨, apart from having a B.A. in
medicine, although I do not know this.
I recently spoke with Dr.
Justin Frank, a former clinical professor of psychiatry at the George
Washington University Medical Center and a physician with more than 40
years of experience in psychoanalysis. He is the author of the
bestselling books “Bush on the Couch” and “Obama on the Couch.”
His most recent book is “Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of
And for a psychologist like I am, who was taught in Holland (like most
Dutch psychologists educated in the 1980ies or 1990ies) that psychiatry
is not a real science: I simply agree. (You may disbelieve
that, but not
without reading my DSM-5: Question 1 of
most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis")
This is also why I can - more or less - work with diagnoses in observational
terms (which is what the DSMs
deliver), but usually not
with psychiatric theories (of which I know quite a large number, of
quite a number of schools).
Anyway, here is more by Frank:
Well... Frank is a
radical, it seems, at least in judging or diagnosing Trump. I agree
with some of what he says, but I do not think that what he
says can be
deduced from psychiatry.
What were you
thinking when Michael Cohen told Congress that Donald Trump will not
peacefully leave the presidency?
He is right. Donald Trump
will not leave easily, if at all. If Trump does have to leave the White
House he will do very destructive things afterwards. Donald Trump is
not trustworthy, and should be forced to wear an ankle monitor like a
person who is on parole. Luckily, Trump cannot remember all the secrets
he now knows because his memory is impaired. But Donald Trump is a
danger to our country.
Here is more by Frank:
I think the first of the
above paragraphs again contain many (dis)qualifications of Trump that
do not follow from psychiatry (in any - more or less -
Donald Trump is more than a sociopath. Donald Trump is a
narcissist, liar, sociopath, racist, sexist, adulterer, baby,
hypocrite, tax cheat, outlaw, psychopath, paranoid, fraud, ignorant,
vengeful, delusional, arrogant, greedy, contemptuous, unsympathetic,
without empathy, learning-disabled, cruel, obstructer of justice,
threat to the Constitution, a traitor.
That is who Donald Trump
is. He is untreatable. Until people understand that this situation is
not normal and that Donald Trump, the president of the United States,
is not manageable or treatable unless he’s quarantined or marginalized
to make him not dangerous, there is really nothing to be done.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Perhaps. I think myself
that the chances that something will happen to Cohen in prison are
larger than 50%, but I cannot rationally say more. Anyway, this is a
recommended article (although I would not want to be
If Cohen reached
out to you for advice what would you tell him?
I would tell Michael Cohen
that he has every reason to be scared. Cohen should make it a condition
of his providing testimony and other evidence that he receives
protection while in prison. Michael Cohen is not safe. He has been
called a “rat” too many times. Likewise, the United States is not safe
under Donald Trump.
Rebuke of Trump's Authoritarianism'
This article is by
Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
I more or less agree
above, in my case mostly because this happened in the Senate, which is
controlled by the Republicans.
Rights groups celebrated a
"historic rebuke" of an unconstitutional power grab Thursday after the
Senate voted to terminate President Donald Trump's national emergency
declaration by an overwhelming bipartisan margin.
"Today's vote is a major
blow to President Donald Trump's autocratic ambitions," said Robert
Weissman, president of Public Citizen. "The American people don't want
a racist border wall, and by overwhelming numbers they oppose Trump's
emergency declaration. They rose up and made their voices clear."
The final vote count was
59-41, with 12
Republicans joining Democrats to pass the resolution of disapproval.
Next, Trump tweeted the next day that he would veto the Democrat
inspired resolution. Here is one reaction:
I agree with Einhorn, I
and this is a recommended article.
In a statement, MoveOn.org
campaign director Emma Einhorn said Trump's veto promise means the
fight against his power-grab is far from over.
"Trump has already shown,
in so many ways, his complete disregard for the law and the will of the
American people," Einhorn concluded. "If Trump vetoes this legislation,
we call on Congress to override it, and to do everything in its power
to defund hate by cutting agents, detention beds, and demilitarizing
our border in the 2020 budget fight."
Hedges: Democrats may well lose to Trump again
This article is
by Chauncey DeVega on Salon. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
Yes, I agree with
the above, although junk politics depend on several factors, of which
one is the practice of the mainstream aka corporatist media to indulge
in junk politics if they do politics, and one other is the fact that many
Americans are either stupid or ignorant or
America is a country beset by junk politics. This is one
of the main reasons Donald Trump is president. Junk politics is many
things. It is an obsession with the "horse race" of campaigns and
elections, rather than a substantive discussion of the real
issues that affect the lives of the average American and the country as
a whole. Junk politics is a form heavily defined by spectacle,
distraction, superficiality and novelty. It is not a space for
serious, sustained, and in depth discussion of serious matters of
public concern. Junk politics is personality-driven and its preferred
mode of communication is short slogans and sound bites.
Twitter offers a pre-eminent example of how literacy has
been gutted by that platform's arbitrary limit of 280 characters or
There is more to say about junk politics, but I also strongly agree
with DeVega´s diagnosis of Twitter: For me you must be insane, or
stupid, or else quite blind to want ¨to communicate¨ in a form where
you can only use 280 characters, which again means that you cannot
argue rationally at all, and are almost certainly bound
communicate¨ in slogans or sound bites.
Here is more:
I think Hedges is quite
intelligent (unlike most journalists) and a good writer (again unlike most journalists), and I
often agree with him (more or less), which is the reason I quote
more from this good and interesting interview than I would have done in
In this wide-ranging conversation, I spoke with Chris
Hedges about America's junk politics. He is the author of numerous
award winning and bestselling books including "Empire
of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,"
"Death of a Liberal Class," "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,"
Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" and "Days of
Destruction, Days of Revolt."
Hedges has also written for the New York Times, the
Christian Science Monitor and NPR.
Here is more:
Well... I agree
Hedges on the Democrats, and indeed also think like him that the
Democrats are somewhat less objectionable than the Republicans because
there are a few honest Democrats and because the theories of
Democrats are not as insane as Trump´s theories.
disregard Trump, Cohen and the Republican Party have for the rule of
law is obvious.
I would say that is also
true of the Democrats as well. The difference is that Trump and his
administration are just a naked kleptocracy. The Democrats did it with
more finesse. The Clintons are con artists and crooks too -- they are
just classier versions of it with Ivy League pedigrees.
I think this is the great
failing on the part of the Democratic Party. The Democrats do not grasp
the very legitimate rage in this country.
The followers want the cult
leader to be omnipotent. You want them to be able to break all the
rules, because you identify with them to such an extent that their
increase in power is an increase of your own power. You believe that
that fealty to the cult leader means that you are protected.
That's what Trump has going for him. I don't think people
have quite figured it out
As to cults, first see above. Here is some more
All cults are personality cults. All cults are really
whoever the cult leader is. So, whatever the prejudices, the worldview
and the ideas of the cult leader are they will be chanted back at him
by the crowd. Until massive social and economic inequality as well as
the betrayal of the country by the elite are confronted and remedied,
this yearning for a cult leader will not go away. Desperate people are
looking for somebody to save them.
I agree with this (but I tend to explain most -
all - cults im terms of stupidity, ignorance or
mental blindness rather
than madness or insanity).
Here is more:
Trump is not the instigator. He clung on to a very
dangerous social phenomenon that has been building up over the last
three decades. These Christian right-wing fascists have been organizing
to take power.
And they now have power with Trump. They are rapidly
filling the ideological vacuum created by Trump -- a man who has no
real ideology of his own. The Christian right is filling that vacuum.
Kavanaugh is the perfect example. The whole reason Kavanaugh was put on
the Supreme Court is because they know he would overturn Roe v Wade.
Other senior people in Trump's White House such as Mike Pompeo, Mike
Pence, Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson and others all come out of the Christian
I more or less agree with Hedges, and you can find out more
about Hedges and Christian fascism here: Crisis: Christian Fascism,
Criminology, Intel Vets, Food & Drugs, TiSA (in the first item).
Here is more:
There are gradations, of course, to the rich. But they are
bred with a sense of entitlement, they believe that they are above the
law. They're devoid of empathy. They're utterly self-absorbed,
narcissistic. The wealth among the super-rich, as you point out,
encourages behaviors that are pathological -- and now they have
uncontested power. They are reconfiguring the society using their
power, privilege and wealth to amass more power and to accrue even more
The fraternity of the super-rich do not understand the
norms of society. There's no restraint. They don't understand limits.
And because they're so unplugged from reality, they live in artificial
bubbles. This class of people will push and push and push until society
collapses -- which is what they're doing.
I very probably know fewer rich persons than Hedges, but I
think I more or less agree. Here is the last bit that I quote from this
I think that Bernie is mistaken. I think he's very naive.
There's no way the Democratic Party will allow him to be the nominee
because the Democratic Party is funded by the same retrograde corporate
interests that fund the Republican Party.
People like Pelosi and Schumer hold power because they are
the conduit of that money to the anointed Democratic candidates. And
every once in a while we'll see Ocasio-Cortez or others rise up as
insurgents. I don't think that Bernie Sanders is corrupt like most of
the other potential candidates.
I think it is considerably more likely than not that Hedges
is correct, and I appreciate and agree with Hedges that Sanders and
are not corrupt.
is a strongly recommended article, in which there is
considerably 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 3 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 (!!).