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Nederlog

March 25, 2019

Crisis: No Evidence of Collusion, Ferlinghetti 100, On Russia-gate, Barr´s Summary, Victory for Trump


“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.







Sections

Introduction

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from March 25, 2019
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Monday, March 25, 2019. In fact, there are two changes in today´s NL:

First, 4 out of 5 items are about Mueller´s Report on Trump, and second I did not sleep last night at all (having ME/CFS I am sleeping badly since a very long time), which means the present NL is probably going to be short.

I suppose and hope both changes will disappear by tomorrow or the day after (depending on my sleeping).

1. Summary

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.

On the moment and since more than three years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and I shall continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are mostly well worth reading:

A. Selections from March 25, 2019:
1. Mueller Found No Evidence of Collusion
2. Lawrence Ferlinghetti Is Still Revolutionary at Age 100

3. ‘The Sleazy Origins of Russia-gate’

4. Attorney General Barr's Summary of the Mueller Report

5. Victory for Trump: Mueller report finds no evidence
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:

1. Mueller Found No Evidence of Collusion

This article is by James Risen on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. This is from near its beginning:

On Sunday, William Barr, Trump’s new attorney general, issued a summary of the findings of Mueller’s investigation, saying that the special counsel ultimately found no evidence that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.

While Trump predictably declared himself exonerated, the most important fact was that Mueller was able to complete his investigation. That the special counsel conducted a comprehensive inquiry and followed it through to its natural end is an important sign that the U.S. system of checks and balances is bouncing back, and that the slide into a Trump autocracy has been halted.

That was not always a sure thing. Early in his presidency, Trump appeared eager to bulldoze the traditions, norms, and checks and balances that regulate the U.S. government and limit presidential power. And it looked like he might just get away with it.

Well... I agree with the first quoted paragraph, and indeed have said similar things for a long time, in which I was strongly helped by articles from the VIPS. But I think that the other two paragraphs may be too optimistic although I am not certain.

Here is some more:

While he ultimately concluded that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Mueller’s investigation still led to a series of guilty pleas and convictions of a number of high-profile people in Trump’s orbit.

Yet Mueller’s most important legacy may be that he helped keep the system of checks and balances from dying just long enough for others to take up the mantle.

Again I agree with the first paragraph, and believe that the second may be too lenient. Indeed, I think it is too lenient unless - at least - Mueller´s full report gets published.

Here is some more:

Mueller’s full report has not been made public, but in his letter to congressional leaders summarizing the special counsel’s findings, Barr wrote that Mueller found that the Russians did try to intervene in the 2016 election through two main avenues. The Internet Research Agency, a Russian organization, conducted a social media disinformation campaign to interfere in the election, while the Russian government conducted computer hacking operations against the Democrats and then leaked Democratic emails through intermediaries, including WikiLeaks.

However, Barr wrote, “the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”

Well... I have also maintained that I agreed the Russians did some things, and this again supports me and - more imporantly - the VIPS, who articulated most of the evidence I relied on (together with the fact that I can program quite well).

Here is some more:

Mueller didn’t conclude that Trump had committed a crime, but also did not exonerate him, Barr wrote. Since Mueller didn’t make a decision, Barr noted, he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that there is not enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.

One factor in their decision was Mueller’s conclusion that the evidence didn’t show that Trump was guilty of an underlying crime related to Russian meddling in the election, Barr wrote. His letter provided very few other details about Mueller’s findings.

You´ll find Barr´s letter below. Then again, I repeat that if this is evidence of a return to democracy, that evidence would be much stronger if Mueller´s report gets published in full.

Here is the last bit from this article:

Of course, one critical reason that the system of checks and balances is recovering is that the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 mid-term election. Democratic control of the House means there can be aggressive congressional investigations into Trump for the first time.

This is quite true and this is a strongly recommended article.   


2. Lawrence Ferlinghetti Is Still Revolutionary at Age 100

This article is by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truthdig. It also is the only article I review today that has little to do with Mueller and Trump, and it is here because indeed Ferlinghetti did become 100, and because he was and still may be a socially rather important man and a well-known poet.

Here is the beginning of the article:

Legendary poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who turns 100 years old on Sunday, can be described by nearly enough epithets for every year he’s been alive. Just take a look at three-time poet laureate Robert Pinsky’s recent description of the centenarian in the New York Times:

Poet, retail entrepreneur, social critic, publisher, combat veteran, pacifist, poor boy, privileged boy, outspoken socialist and successful capitalist, with roots in the East Coast and the West Coast (as well as Paris), Ferlinghetti has not just survived for a century: He epitomizes the American culture of that century.

Well... possibly so (and there is more text by Pinsky in the article). I think I should also say that, while I have read some poetry (and more than most I have known, but the same goes for reading other things), I am not a great lover of poetry.

Then again, I did publish one bit of Ferlinghetti´s poetry, and I did so last year. It is here, and I think both the poetry and the social values are good.

Here is some more:

Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, who once worked at City Lights and has been a lifelong friend of Ferlinghetti, writes about the city’s festivities, “Lawrence turns 100 today and poetry owns the Barbary Coast in a wild romp of readings at bars, galleries, and other watering holes in North Beach around Broadway and Columbus where City Lights Bookstore still stands as the best rebuke to the slick mindlessness of capitalist culture that now overwhelms Ferlinghetti’s once beloved bohemian San Francisco.”

Yes indeed. Incidentally, Ferlinghetti identifies as a philosophical anarchist, as I do (in my case mostly in the tradition of Thoreau), and there is a saying of his in the Wikipedia article on him, namely this:
¨While Ferlinghetti has expressed that he is "an anarchist at heart," he concedes that the world would need to be populated by "saints" in order for pure anarchism to be lived practically. Hence he espouses what can be achieved by Scandinavian-style democratic socialism.¨
I mostly agree again, though my own attitide is not so much that ¨the world would need to be populated by "saints" in order for pure anarchism to be lived practically¨ but that it needs to be populated by people who are considerably more intelligent than the average (and alas it isn´t).

Here is a bit more on Ferlinghetti´s attitudes:

On top of the many hats Ferlinghetti has worn throughout his life, he always wears that of a World War II veteran, as Scheer notes. His experiences during the war led the poet to become an “instant pacifist,” in his words. Here’s an excerpt of Ferlinghetti’s retelling of his time in Nagasaki after the atomic bombing from a Scheer Intelligence episode.

When we went over to Nagasaki, it was total devastation. It was like a landscape in hell. What was left of bodies had all been cleared away by the time we got there, which was about seven weeks after the bomb had been dropped…. It was acres of mud, with bones and hair sticking up out of it. And as I’ve said before, it really made me an instant pacifist. Up to that time, I’d been a good American boy, in the boy scouts, etc…Nagasaki really woke me up.

Yes, I can well imagine this. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

A prominent voice of the wide-open poetry movement that began in the 1950s, Lawrence Ferlinghetti writes poetry, translation, fiction, theater, art criticism, film narration, and essays. Often concerned with politics and social issues, Ferlinghetti’s poetry counters an elitist conception of art and the artist’s role in the world. Although his poetry is often concerned with everyday life and civic themes, it is never simply personal or polemical, and it stands on his grounding in tradition and universal reach.
    (..)

He was a commander of three different submarine chasers in the Atlantic and saw action at the Normandy invasion. Later in the war, he was assigned to the attack transport USS Selinurin the Pacific. In 1945, just after the atomic bomb obliterated Nagasaki, he witnessed firsthand the horrific ruins of the city. This experience was the origin of his lifelong antiwar stance.

Quite so, and this is a strongly recommended article.


3. ‘The Sleazy Origins of Russia-gate’

This article is by the staff of Consortium News and the late Robert Parry. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:
From the “scandal’s” outset, Consortium News adopted journalistic skepticism, led by founding editor, the late Robert Parry, with Ray McGovern, Daniel Lazare, Patrick Lawrence, Joe Lauria and VIPS debunking much of the irresponsible mania that seized the land.

In the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report in which no one was accused of “colluding” with Russia to steal the 2016 U.S. presidential election, we begin a series of republication of articles originally appearing at Consortium News that called the entire fiasco into question. Bob Parry was in the forefront of Russia-gate skepticism,  recognizing its domestic and geopolitical dangers.
Yes indeed, and Robert Parry and his Consortiumnews are the other important props of my attitude towards Trump colluding with Russia to win the elections, indeed especially because Parry published most of the VIPS´ reports - which now also have been shown to be mostly correct, and indeed were written by some of the most knowledgeable Americans as regards both spying and programming.

There is a whole article by Parry (from 2017), and this is from its beginning:

An irony of the escalating hysteria about the Trump camp’s contacts with Russians is that one presidential campaign in 2016 did exploit political dirt that supposedly came from the Kremlin and other Russian sources. Friends of that political campaign paid for this anonymous hearsay material, shared it with American journalists and urged them to publish it to gain an electoral advantage. But this campaign was not Donald Trump’s; it was Hillary Clinton’s.
Yes indeed. And this is from the ending of the same article:
The journalistic problem is that everyone deserves to get a fair shot from reporters who are supposed to be objective and fair regardless of a person’s popularity or notoriety or what the reporter may personally feel. That standard should apply to everyone, whether you’re a foreign leader despised by the U.S. government or a politician detested for your obnoxious behavior.

There is no professional justification for journalists joining in a TV-and-print lynch mob. We also have seen too often where such wrongheaded attitudes lead, such as to the groupthink that Iraq’s hated dictator Saddam Hussein was hiding WMDs, or in an earlier time to the McCarthyism that destroyed the lives of Americans who were smeared as unpatriotic because of their dissident political views.

So, yes, even Donald Trump deserves not to be railroaded by a mainstream media that wants desperately – along with other powerful forces in Official Washington – to see him run out of town on a rail and will use any pretext to do so, even if it means escalating the risks of a nuclear war with Russia.
I mostly agree with Parry on journalism, but I also observe that at present there are less and less real journalists, and more and more ¨journalists¨ who call themselves journalists but who are in fact not objective nor fair, and this is in fact a great problem, for the simple reason that a real democracy can only function well if the voters know the truth about most things, which again they can only know from the media. And this is a recommended article.
4. Attorney General Barr's Summary of the Mueller Report

This article is by the Common Dreams staff on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Sunday afternoon sent congressional lawmakers a 4-page letter offering a summary of his initial review of the report submitted to the Justice Department by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday.

The initial headlines on the contents of the summary highlighted that Mueller's probe found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections, but that the Special Counsel's report "stops short" of exonerating President Donald Trump from allegations of obstruction of justice or other possible misdeeds.

According to Barr's letter, the Mueller report put it this way: "While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

In a statement from the White House, the administration characterized the Mueller report as offering "complete exoneration" of the president.

The letter was sent to the chairs and ranking members of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees: Sen Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.).

Read the full 4-page letter below:

Well... you can very probably read it, but my eyes are still not good enough to read 4 pages of black text on a white background, and I did not even try. (My eyes collapsed in June 2012, and at that time I could not look for a second at black text on a real white background without getting more pain in my eyes. Since then that has improved a lot, but my eyes are still not good.)

I suppose I will read it eventually, but it needs to be published on a non-white background for me to be able to read it. But this is a recommended article, and is the only article I found with the full text of Barr´s letter.

5. Victory for Trump: Mueller report finds no evidence

This article is by Andrew O´Hehir on Salon. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:

In a mixed verdict that President Trump has already declared to be a "Complete and Total EXONERATION," special counsel Robert Mueller has apparently informed the Justice Department that he found no evidence of a conspiracy between Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government.

Mueller’s report to Attorney General William Barr suggested, however, that Trump could have committed a crime by attempting to obstruct the various investigations into the Russia scandal, although it stopped short of directly accusing him. That detail suggests that the president’s legal troubles may not be over, although his numerous protestations of “no collusion” now appear to be supported by the results of Mueller’s 22-month investigation,

In a letter delivered to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees on Sunday, and then made public, Barr quoted Mueller as writing that his investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in election interference activities.¨

Yes indeed. Here is some more:
In an ensuing passage that is sure to be controversial, Barr went on to explain his own interpretation of the evidence presented by Mueller, writing that “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President has committed an obstruction-of- justice offense.” Barr further explained that their determination was not related to or guided by “the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.”

Democrats in Congress will surely seek the release of Mueller’s full report along with the underlying evidence.

I agree with the ¨Democrats in Congress¨ and my basic argument is that a real democracy requires the publication of almost all important political documents.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Impeachment is now pretty clearly off the table, and no one in Trump’s inner circle appears to be in any danger of criminal prosecution as a result of the Mueller investigation. Whether federal and state investigations in other jurisdictions, including the Southern District of New York, will still pose serious legal problems for the president is of course a different question.

Yes indeed: I agree. And this is a recommended article.

Note
[1] I have now been saying since the 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.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they 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 will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only 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 (!!).
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