1. Glenn Greenwald on Brazilian President
2. Glenn Greenwald: Regardless of Trump,
Must Do Their
Homework and Investigate Clinton
3. As France Lifts Municipal Burkini Ban, Let’s Ask Why
We Should Care What Other
4. After Trump
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, August 30, 2016.
is a crisis log. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item
is from an interview with Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now! about
Brazil (and there are other interesting interviews with him on the
current Democracy Now!); item 2 is also about Glenn
Greenwald on investigating the Clintons (he is for and so am I); item 3 is about France's burkini ban (which is
totalitarian bullshit, in my opinion); and item 4
is about Reich's expectations of what might happen after Trump is
defeated. (I don't agree but don't know either.)
1. Glenn Greenwald on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's
The first item today is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts with the following introduction
(and incidentally, there are several more interesting interviews with
Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now! today):
Embattled Brazilian President Dilma
Rousseff is slated to testify today at her impeachment trial—a trial
that many are calling a coup by her right-wing political rivals.
Rousseff has denounced the proceedings and called for early elections
to unite the country. Rousseff’s impeachment stems from accusations she
tampered with government accounts to hide a budget deficit. She was
suspended earlier this year and has maintained her innocence, accusing
her political opponents of spearheading the proceedings to shield
themselves from prosecution and undo years of progressive policies. The
Brazilian group Transparency Brazil says 60 percent of Brazilian
lawmakers are currently under criminal investigation or have already
been convicted of crimes ranging from corruption to election fraud.
Rousseff’s opponents now need 54 votes, or two-thirds of the 81-seat
Senate, to convict her of violating budget laws. Her impeachment would
end 13 years of left-wing Workers’ Party rule in Brazil and bring to
power interim President Michel Temer for the remaining two years of
Rousseff’s term. Temer is also deeply unpopular and currently under
investigation himself, accused of receiving illegal campaign
contributions linked to the state oil company Petrobras.
I am copying this because the
introductions on Democracy Now! are usually good, and also because I
assume you know a little about the current political affairs in Brazil.
(And here are two Nederlogs about it: This is the first and this the last in Nederlog on the topic. There are more
in the index.).
In what follows I try to update - rather
sketchily, I admit - the above information up to yesterday (the day of the
Here is Greenwald on the general
background of Dilma Rousseff's impeachment trial:
GLENN GREENWALD: So, literally this very
minute, at 9:00 a.m. local time, 8:00 Eastern, Dilma is arriving at the
Senate, where she will confront her accusers, in essence, and give her
final 30-minute speech as part of her impeachment trial. She doesn’t
need to do it; she chose to do it.
And it’s really quite remarkable, for so many reasons, including the
fact that, as you said, the majority of the Senate, just as was true of
the majority in the House that impeached her, the majority of the
Senate sitting in judgment of her are people who themselves are
extremely corrupt, if not outright criminals.
So you have a band of criminals removing this woman who became twice
the elected president of her country, in a country that had never
previously elected a woman, only 19, 20 months ago with 54 million
votes. It’s really extraordinary to watch it unfold (...)
Part of the reason it happens this way is
that Rousseff was forced to make a coalition government.
It are her rich and corrupt coalition partners who are trying to oust
her by the accusation that she is corrupt, which is an accusation that
is also directed at Lula, who previously won the Brazilian elections
for the Left.
Here are Rousseff's opinions on her
[translated] It isn’t an impeachment; it’s a coup. I did not commit
high crimes and misdemeanors. There is no justification for an
impeachment charge. I don’t have bank accounts abroad. I never received
bribes. I never condoned corruption. The trial against me is fragile,
legally inconsistent, unjust, unleashed against an honest and innocent
person. The greatest brutality that can be committed against any person
is to punish them for a crime they did not commit. No injustice is more
devastating than condemning an innocent. What is at stake is respect
for the ballot box, the sovereign desires of the Brazilian people and
the Constitution. What is at stake are the achievements of the last 13
I think that is quite justified, for the
following reason, which is quite independent of the validity of the
accusations against her (which I don't
take seriously, but which should
be investigated properly):
She is being impeached by her
coalition partners in the government, who are not proposing
new elections (as is normally the case if a leader
gets impeached), which indeed they would probably loose, but are simply
taking over the government
(in which they are a minority party), after which they can start
altering the laws and return Brazil to the rule of the rich and the
Here is Greenwald explaining it:
GLENN GREENWALD: The reason she’s being
removed is because she is an unpopular president. The economy of Brazil
is weak and is—a lot of people are suffering because of it. And as you
indicated earlier in the opening package, the party to which she
belongs, the Workers’ Party, has been in power for 13 years, and the
reason they’ve been in power for 13 years is because they’ve won four
consecutive national elections. And there is no way that the
opposition, which is composed of oligarchs and business interests and
media barons and conservatives and uber-nationalists—this opposition
faction has concluded that they are incapable of defeating this party
in the ballot box, meaning within the democratic process, and so they
are opportunistically using her unpopularity and the serious mistakes
she’s made to remove her undemocratically.
The vice president, who has now become the interim president, who’s
about to become the president, is not part of the Workers’ Party. He’s
part of the centrist party and has aligned himself with this right-wing
party, the PSDB, that has continuously lost
at the ballot box. Their candidates have been rejected. And yet, as a
result of this impeachment process, the very party and the very
ideology that the Brazilian people have over and over rejected, when
asked to vote, when asked to consider their candidates, is now
ascending to power. And their agenda of privatization and cutting
social programs and keeping taxes low to benefit the oligarchs is now
gradually being imposed (..)
Yes indeed. There's a lot more in this
article and also in other articles on today's Democracy Now! And the
present review was about the minimally required explanation I could
This is a recommended article, with a lot
2. Glenn Greenwald: Regardless of Trump, Journalists Must Do
Their Homework and Investigate Clinton
item is by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig and
also involves Glenn Greenwald:
This starts as follows:
Donald Trump has become “such a
kind of dangerous presence on the American landscape that a lot of
people have become afraid of doing their jobs and scrutinizing his
opponent,” Glenn Greenwald told “Democracy Now!”
I say. I am quite willing to believe it
(journalism is getting worse and worse in the USA, and not only there),
but it is of course complete nonsense not to investigate one candidate
because you dislike his or her opponent (for you never can trust any leading
politicians, and you should always be willing to investigate their
claims, that is: if you are a serious journalist).
Glenn Greenwald clearly is a serious journalist, and gives this example
of what he would like to see investigated about the Clintons:
Giving a demonstration of the kind of
scrutiny he wants his colleagues to practice, Greenwald asked why the Clinton Foundation accepted millions
of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia and other tyrannical states
in the Persian Gulf.
“Here you have Hillary Clinton and Bill
Clinton having this Clinton Foundation, with billions of dollars
pouring into it from some of the world’s worst tyrannies, like Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and other Gulf states,
other people who have all kinds of vested interests in the policies of
the United States government. And at the same time, in many cases, both
Bill and Hillary Clinton are being personally enriched by those same
people, doing speeches, for many hundreds of thousands of dollars, in
front of them, at the same time that she’s running the State
Department, getting ready to run for president, and soon will be
running the executive branch.
Yes indeed. And in fact I think it is
major corruption, while it may also be asked whether it is not
treason or a kind of treason to accept millions from
the government of - say - Saudi Arabia, for these millions are clearly
given because they expect repayments in some form by the Clintons. 
I said this should be asked, and investigated,
but precisely both the asking and the investigating are being
prohibited by both the Democrats and the Supreme Court on the basis of
the following argument:
“And so, the primary defense of
Democrats, which is, ‘Look, there is no proof of a quid pro quo. Yes,
Hillary Clinton did things that benefited these donors, but you can’t
prove that the reason she did them is because she got—the Clinton
Foundation got this money or her husband got this money.’ This is an
absurd standard. That has been the Republican argument for many years.
“Of course you can’t prove a quid pro
quo, because you can’t get into the mind of somebody and show their
motives. That was the argument of Antonin Scalia and John Roberts in
Citizens United, and Anthony Kennedy."
Actually I think you can prove a quid pro quo
(<-Wikipedia), for the simple reason that one doesn't need to go
into the mind of anyone. Here is the definition from the just mentioned
Wikipedia article (minus a note number):
Quid pro quo ("something
for something" or "this for that" in Latin)
means an exchange of goods or services, where one transfer is
contingent upon the other. English speakers often use the term to mean
"a favour for a favour"; phrases with similar meaning include: "give
and take", "tit for tat", and "you scratch my back, and
I'll scratch yours".
This doesn't mention intentions anywhere.
This doesn't mean they are not involved, but it seems to me that the
pattern that leads to a judgement
that politician X does engage in a quid pro quo with rich donors from
is as follows:
politician X receives - say - $10 million from the rulers of
country Y; and next
politician X decides upon policies that much benefit the rulers of country Y.
And that seems to be the principle on which the Clintons operate, and
indeed also the principle on the basis of which rich donors give them
Quid pro quo.
I don't say this is a complete proof, but
it is plausible enough, especially if
the receiving (quo) is rather incomprehensible without the giving (quid). ("Why would the Clintons have favored the
dictatorial Saudis? Because the Saudis paid them many millions.")
Here is Glenn Greenwald's appraisal of the
real process that is involved:
To put another name on it: It is corruption (<-Wikipedia).
“And so, the problem here is that the
Clintons have essentially become the pioneers of eliminating all of
these lines, of amassing massive wealth from around the world, and
using that to boost their own political power, and then using that
political power to boost the interests of the people who are enriching
them in all kinds of ways
3. As France Lifts Municipal Burkini Ban, Let’s Ask Why We
Should Care What Other People Wear
item is by Juan Cole on Truthdig and originally on Informed Comment:
First, see here:
This contains my own earlier response to the burkini ban (which I think
is pretty insane and quite totalitarian). And second please consider
that the title suggests similar other questions:
Note that the issue is not whether
"we" may disagree with what others think or say: Clearly, anyone
(who thinks at all) will disagree with quite a lot that some
others think or say, and in a democratic state of law  anyone
is allowed (within broad margins) to think and to say that he or she
disagrees with what others say or think.
- Let's Ask Why We Should Care What Other
People Should Think
- Let's Ask Why We Should Care What Other People Should
- Let's Ask Why We Should Care What Other People's
Skin Color Is
The issue as formulated is that some people think that they should
have the right to prescribe to others what they should
think or should say or indeed how they should dress
themselves when bathing.
And I think that such people are usually not democrats but
totalitarians. And the reason they are is the following:
thinks and how someone dresses are generally not harmful to
anyone else, and acts that are not harmful to anyone else
should not be forbidden, but be protected, for they are or may
be part from one's personal freedoms to differ from
Also, this is part and parcel of the ordinary democratic rights one has
in a democratic state of law: One can do as one pleases as long
as one doesn't
- physically - harm others (within broad margins). 
And indeed the French Counsel of State agrees:
The Counsel of State found that
wearing a Burkini creates no trouble for public order and is simply not
illegal in current French law. In response, the French right wing
has demanded that the National Assembly enact anti-Burkini
legislation. L’Express worries that the French executive, or at
least the ministry of interior, might be inclined to appease the
Islamophobic and anti-immigrant right wing on this issue.
Well, in that case "the
French right wing"
simply is totalitarian (and I question whether they may not also want
to decide what the proper skin color should be, for proper French).
There is also this (and Cadène seems to belong to the French Ministry
Cadène said that it is
disquieting to see these reactions. He pointed out that August
26, the date of the verdict, is the anniversary of the 1789
Declaration of the Rights of Man. Article 10 says, “10. No
one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his
religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the
public order established by law.” He said the members of the
National Assembly just are not reacting in accordance with the Rights
of Man, which has constitutional force.
In fact, I don't think that "not disturbing the public order" is the proper norm: The proper norms are personal
freedoms, and no person's freedoms are in any way abrogated by the
manner in which another person dresses (possibly within very broad
Finally, there is also this bit, which I quote because it is funny and
is also in line with the earlier Nederlog, in which I said:
In fact, I don't think
this crazy dresscode should be forbidden at all, for the same
kinds of reasons as I don't
think the crazy dresscodes of catholic priests and nuns should be
forbidden: It is a matter of personal freedom - in a real
state of law - how you want to dress
yourself (apart from nakedness), also
if this appears quite crazy for those who don't
share your faith.
it is also at least a
bit ironic that now a bikini seems to be the politically
dress on sunny beaches for catholic French women, while the bikini was
rejected as such till well into the Sixties by most catholics
Here is the bathing dress of politically
correct French women of 1893:
Let me also point out that the
French Third Republic was founded in 1870, and that this swimsuit for
women was proposed in 1893 in the French specialty publication, the
Fashion Monitor (Le Moniteur de la mode : journal du grande monde):
4. After Trump
item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
I don't know. That is, I don't know
whether Trump will lose the election and I also don't know
whether Trump will disappear, although I agree with Reich that he "needs attention the way
normal people need food".
I recently got a call from a political
Washington. “Trump is dropping like a stone,” he said, convincingly.
Election Day, he’s history.”
I think Trump will lose the election,
but I doubt he’ll be “history.”
Defeated presidential candidates
typically disappear from public
view. Think Mitt Romney or Michael Dukakis.
But Donald Trump won’t disappear. Trump
needs attention the way
normal people need food.
But I don't know whether the media are willing to pay much
attention to a man who is soundly defeated (in Reich's opinion) and who
has been revealed to be a grandiose narcissist most of whose statements
are total lies.
To be sure, Reich has more:
For starters, he’ll dispute the election
results. He’s already warned
followers “we better be careful because that election is going to be
and I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or it’s going to be
campaign ad, released last week, features an image of
a polling site with the word “rigged” flashing onscreen less than two
after the spot begins.
OK - but this is before the elections have
been decided. There is also this:
Incidentally (I corrected it, for I know
German): It is "Breitbart". Here is what Reich thinks is the current
Reportedly, Trump is also considering
launching his own media network. He’s
already hired two of the nation’s most infamous right-wing fight
Roger Ailes, the founder and former CEO of Fox News, and Stephen
pugilistic former head of Breitbart News – who’d take to such an
like alligators to mud.
According to one source,
rationale is that, “win or lose, we are onto something here. We’ve
base of the population that hasn’t had a voice in a long time.”
Most likely to remain after Trump
are the economic anxieties Trump exploited. Globalization and
technological displacement will continue to rip
away the underpinnings of the bottom half of the population, creating
fodder for another demagogue.
I would have formulated this quite
differently, but I agree with what was said in the second paragraph:
The rich in the USA will not invest in policies that will not
contribute to their riches, and this includes education, wages,
livable incomes, environmental programs, and indeed a lot more. 
The real problem isn’t globalization or technological change per se.
It’s that America’s
moneyed interests won’t finance policies necessary to reverse their
– such as a first-class education for all the nation’s young, wage
subsidies that bring all workers up to a livable income, a massive
“green” jobs program, and a universal basic income
Here is what Reich thinks will happen after November 8:
My own expectation is that Trump will
soon disappear if he doesn't win the elections, simply because
he has lost and is a lying extremist. But I may be mistaken, and we
Trump, our politics seems likely remain as polarized as before –
but divided less between traditional right and left than between
establishment and anti-establishment.
Trump will leave the GOP sharply split
between its corporate donor
class and its working class. Clinton will preside over a party
divided only somewhat less dramatically between its own donor class and
vocal progressive base.
Which raises an intriguing,
if unlikely, scenario. What if Trump’s authoritarian populists join
with progressive populists to form an anti-establishment third party
dedicated to getting big money out of American politics?
The combination could prove
an invincible force for wresting back the economy and democracy from
And I consider Reich's scenario as he does it: Quite "unlikely", but
I may be mistaken as well.
 As to "treason or a kind of treason": I am merely inquiring, but it does not seem very
unlikely to me that some politician of the USA who accepts millions
from dictatorial regimes, and who seems to reward these millions with
special treatments of these regimes, is in fact committing treason.
I really don't know, and I am asking because lots of people - like Edward Snowden - have been accused of treason, in quite a few reasons without being guilty.
 I am making here two fairly strong assumptions: That a state is a democracy, and that it is a state of law,
and the only point I want to make here is that English misses the
German and Dutch term "Rechtsstaat", that seems to express what is
meant better than "state of law".
 This makes
"(not) doing physical harm" to others a quite important criterion. I
agree, and there is considerably more of this in John Stuart Mills "On Liberty" (which is on my site). And incidentally: I did repair the backgrounds to "On Liberty" and its Notes today.
I know there are margins (although the feelings about what these should
be differ rather a lot). I am not interested in what they are or should
be, but am interested in the fact that no one is physically harmed by whether someone wears a skirt or trousers, or a bathing suit that covers a lot and one that covers little.
 In fact, many corporations seem only interested in what will profit them, and in little else (and Milton Friedman agreed). But again I ask, in case maintaining your own best profit rate entails that you will not invest anything in education, wages,
livable incomes, environmental programs, the middle class etc. etc. and are in fact against anyone spending any money on them at all (for that would cost you profits, again), whether you are not
committing treason of some kind? For example, because your actions only
benefit the rich, and harm the non-rich? And again I am only asking,
and don't know.