1. What's Next for
U.S.-Russia Relations? Stephen Cohen &
Ken Roth on Trump, Hacking
Emoluments Clause: Could Overturning 185 Years of
Precedent Let Trump Off the
3. Michael Hudson Names the Pathogens in Our Economic
4. The Scary Ghost of Ayn Rand Looms Over the
5. "Damn Corrupt":
Trump's Kids Attend Father's Meeting
with Top Tech Execs
is a Nederlog of Thursday, December 15, 2016.
is a crisis
log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is
about an interview Amy Goodman had with Stephen Cohen (and another
did not say anything interesting) and is about the totalitarian lies
about Russia that now appear as facts in the mainstream media; item 2
is about Trump's many businesses (I think he will continue to
them, directly or via his children, who now sit in on his dealings with
politicians and corporatists as if they are elected as well); item 3 is about an interview with Michael Hudson,
who seems mostly right on economics (it is not a real science,
most part, and it consists mostly of propaganda and lies); item 4
is about Ayn Rand, and quite correct in my view (that includes that
those who admire her morals have the morality of professional
criminals, and those who admire her style or her philosophy are simply
either totally incompetent or very stupid); and item 5
is about Trump's enormous corruptive potentials, that probably will
carried over into his presidency, with Kellyann Conway bleating it is
"presidential" because Trump does it.
part, for the moment --
In case you visit my
Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days and was so on most days in
But on 2.xii and 3.xii it was correct. Since then it mostly wasn't
case, I am now (again) updating
the opening of my site with the last day it was updated.
(And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times
last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. 
In case you visit my
Danish site: This was so-so till 18.xi
and was correct since then (most or all days).
I am very
sorry, and none of it is due to me. I
am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that
also went well for 20 or for 12 years.
keep this introduction until I get three successive days
in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen
for many months now.
1. What's Next for U.S.-Russia Relations? Stephen Cohen
& Ken Roth on Trump, Hacking & Tillerson
The first item
today is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
In fact, I will only copy and
some of the contributions of Stephen Cohen
(<-Wikipedia), because I think he is an interesting man who very
probably is right. Note Cohen is a professor of Russian. Here is his
COHEN: I don’t know
where to begin. Let me context it, because when we first—when you first
had me on, February
2014, I said we were headed for a new Cold War with Russia, and it
would be more dangerous than the last one. That has happened. We now
have three Cold War fronts that are fraught with hot war, the
possibility of hot war—the Baltic area, Ukraine and Syria—between two
nuclear powers. Things are very, very dangerous.
We desperately need in this country a
discussion of American policy toward Russia. We can’t keep saying an
untruth, that this new Cold War is solely the fault of Putin. We need
to rethink our policy, at least over 20 years, but over the last five
or six years, toward Russia. That has been made even more impossible
now with this slurring of anybody who disagrees from the official
American position of how the Cold War arose. The slurring began against
people such as myself two or three years ago. We were called Putin
apologists, Kremlin toadies, Kremlin clients. It moved on to even
accuse Henry Kissinger of that. And then, of course, when Trump come
along, this was a great blessing to these people, who are essentially
neo-McCarthyites. It’s spread to The New York Times.
That is, Stephen Cohen's complaint is
mostly against the combination of American lies, stupidity and
about Russia that now is spread as if it is fact by the
Whoever does not agree with the
American mainstream media and the government risks being painted as "Putin apologists, Kremlin toadies, Kremlin clients" - which I agree does happen and is both stupid and ignorant (but
there are far more stupid and ignorant people than intelligent informed
in my opinion , and this is - it seems to me - a
Here is Cohen on a report by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity that I
reviewed yesterday (which seems
likely to be correct, in my view):
COHEN: You know them.
And they issued a report
yesterday. I can’t judge it. I’m not an intelligence person in that
sense. But they believe this wasn’t hacking at all, but leaking, that
somebody leaked this stuff from the Democratic—in other words, somebody
in the United States. So, here we have no facts presented by the CIA.
Yes, that was my conclusion also. And this
is Cohen's complaint:
I think Cohen is right, but I should
a saying by Friedrich
COHEN: (..) We’re in the
most dangerous confrontation with Russia since the Cuban missile
crisis. It needs to be discussed. And at the moment, it can’t be
discussed because of these charges that everybody is a client of Putin
who disagrees with the mainstream opinion. And it’s coming from the
Senate. It’s coming from The New York Times.
der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens"
This means: "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" and
the more so if the people who are being stupid are blinded by ideology and egoism, as is the
And this is a recommended article.
Emoluments Clause: Could Overturning 185 Years of Precedent Let Trump
Off the Hook?
The second item is by Richard Tofel on Truthdig and originally on
This starts as follows:
ProPublica recently took
a look at the Emoluments Clause, the provision of the Constitution
which seems to ban payments from foreign countries to Donald Trump’s
businesses once he becomes president unless Congress consents.
The reasons for the Emoluments Clause - which
has been respected by the vast majority of U.S.
presidents - is to
prevent corruption, which is an excellent reason.
There is one lawyer named Tillman who argues otherwise, but I agree
with Tofel that his case is "considerably weaker than he believes, and
practice over the last 185 years is surely to the contrary" - which is to say that over the past 185 years (!!!)
were not receiving payments from foreign countries (and
probably would have had major troubles if they had).
I skip everything about Tillman, and only quote the ending:
I think it is by far the most
probable that Trump will continue to hold his businesses
"giving" these to his children, but then his children all
If Trump, in his announcement originally
scheduled for Dec. 15, does not sell his businesses altogether, or
retains a residual interest in the revenues those businesses receive
from foreign governments and foreign government entities, the debate
between those who may decide to agree with Tillman and those who disagree
could come quickly to the fore. Congress seems very unlikely to consent
to a complex set of Trump business deals with foreign powers and their
affiliates — especially as Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns
makes it almost impossible to understand the scope of these
The new president would then face a
choice about whether to declare himself the first chief executive in at
least 185 years, and perhaps the first in our history, exempt from this
provision of our Constitution. The alternative could be to subject
himself to possible impeachment.
are helping him as if they have been elected as well - and see item 5).
Trump also has not disclosed his tax returns (is that perhaps
so that no one can see he is not a billionaire?) and he
is already making a
mockery of being a real president: He refuses to read most
report; keeps on tweeting; and generally acts as if he is not
the new president of the USA but more
like the new Caesar (which is what I think he wants to be).
And that completely supports my diagnosis of him that in fact he is not
3. Michael Hudson on the Orwellian Turn in
The third item is by
Sharmini Peries on The Real News Network:
This starts as follows:
PERIES, TRNN: It's the Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries
you from Baltimore. Come January 20th Donald Trump is placed to take
power in Washington D.C., and there's one thing that everyone is
wondering about is what kind of economic policies will he implement
that we should really worry about it. Well there's been one economist,
Michael Hudson, who's been thinking hard and taking a close look on the
economics profession and how it misleads the general public in favor of
the top 1%.Michael Hudson joins us today to talk about his most recent
book, J is for Junk Economics: A Survivor's Guide to Economic
Vocabulary in an Age of Deception. Michael is a is a distinguished
Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas
City Thanks Michael for joining us.
To start with, here is Michael
(<-Wikipedia) explaining the main idea behind his book:
HUDSON: Well, Killing the Host
was basically a historical narrative of how the financial sector rose
to power and how it sought to take over government and resist the
tendency to democratization by really restoring a financial oligarchy
and rolling back in Europe what were the 1848 revolutions.
The whole essence of classical economics
was to say there’s a difference between value and price. Value is what
it really costs to produce goods and services. All that costs can be
expressed in terms of what it costs to hire labor and keep it alive.
Everything that’s not a real cost is just a privilege. It’s just a
legal right to put up a toll booth and extract rent.
So Killing the Host was how this fight
was waged politically and essentially what’s happened since Margaret
Thatcher and Ronald Reagan introduced neoliberalism that was followed
up by the Clinton’s, by Tony Blair and England, really by Europe today,
well J is for Junk Economics is sort of two things. It describes how
the economic vocabulary has been turned around in an Orwellian way to
mean just the opposite of what words used to mean. A free market now
means a market free for the landlords to charge whatever they want.
Free for the monopolists to charge whatever they want. Free of any
fact, there is a whole lot more to say about the difference
value and price, but the real debate is both fairly technical
some mathematical knowledge. I will not discuss this here, but
refer you to a - quite thin - booklet (99 pages in all) by Piero
Sraffa (<-Wikipedia): "Production
of Commodities by Means of Commodities", that was
originally published in 1960. (This will not resolve all
difficulties for you either, but - in case you are interested
economics - this is one of the main books to understand a rational
values and prices.)
Next, I agree completely with the
third paragraph, and indeed have been saying so for a long time
Nederlog. About the only thing that is missing in this quote is the Third Way
(<-Wikipedia), which is a summary of Bill Clinton's and
Tony Blair's lies.
As to Obama, there is first this:
HUDSON: For the last 8 years, the
entire Obama administration has been one downturn for the 95% of the
population. All the growth has been at the top. We’ve got to show them
Yes, indeed - and here is some of the evidence:
HUDSON: Yes the reason he’s so
much worse than President Bush or even President Clinton is this was a
potential turning point. When you look at who are the great presidents
in history, you really think who’s a president during a great war or
during a turning point. Obama promised hope and change. But that was
all demagogue. He didn’t have any hope and change. The hope was for
Wall Street. He delivered his constituency to his Wall Street backers
and instead of making a change, he turned the economy over to Wall
Street. He turned the treasury over to Robert Rubin and his Wall Street
gang who supported Bill Clinton, the most corrupt bank in the country,
CitiGroup, that Sheila Bair wanted to close down and turn into a public
option. He turned over the Justice Department to Wall Street factotums
like Eric Holder who refused to put any of the crooked bankers in jail.
So basically, he made it appear as if he
was representing the people where he slammed down hard on them.
indeed - and as I have been saying since 2009: What Obama
says to "the
public" is one thing; what Obama does in signing laws and
is quite another thing.
Finally, here is one bit from the next
interview, which I quote because it makes clear how the banks (and only
the banks) are interested in paying hardly any interests: They make huge
profits that way:
Yes indeed. There is considerably more text
in the interview and it is recommended.
HUDSON: The stock market has gone
up since 2008 in America, in Europe, all
over the world because the central banks have flooded the economy with
creating new money. They didn't create the money to hire workers. They
didn't create the money to build infrastructure, they didn't create the
money to invest in the economy. They didn't create the money to pay off
the mortgages of people who had junk mortgages and were exploitive.
They didn't create the money to write of student loans. All the money
that was created, every penny, was created to give to the banks. To the
Wall Street banks at 0.1% interests to create reserves at the Federal
Reserve so that the banks could then lend out money and what did they
do to who did they lend it to?
Well they lent to corporate [raiders].
So, part of the reason the
stock market has gone up is that corporate [raiders] have borrowed very
inexpensively 1%, say from a bank, and bought companies whose dividend
rates are 3% or 4 or 5% and they get what's called the arbitrage, the
4. The Scary Ghost of Ayn Rand
Looms Over the Trump Cabinet
The fourth item is by Kali Holloway on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
Ayn Rand was a terrible person who wove
a philosophy of selfishness and greed out of the threads of her own
psychopathy. Rand’s writings and speeches should be recognized as
rantings suited for an audience of a well-trained therapist, instead of
inflicted upon millions of English students.
Rand, who declared “altruism” a
national disease, wrote admiringly of
child-murderer William Edward Hickman's callous indifference toward
others and his “immense, explicit egotism.” Her contempt for the poor
and middle-class are pronounced
by anti-Robin Hoods who brag about stealing from "the thieving
poor” to give to "the productive rich." Rand defended Native American
genocide and murderous white supremacy, once
stating “any white person who [brought] the elements of
civilization had the right to take over this continent.” Objectivism,
Rand’s refutation of basic human decency in favor of pathological
self-interest and ruthless capitalism, was correctly identified as
“perfect in its immorality” by
Gore Vidal more than half a century ago. Today it’s the prevailing
ethos of the GOP, embraced by Republicans going back to Ronald
Reagan and especially beloved among the incoming Trump
I think - and I have read several
Rand's (<-Wikipedia) books in my early twenties, after being
told by Americans that
she was something special: indeed she was, but indeed more like
a raving idiot who couldn't write than like
anything else - the above is a correct diagnosis of Ayn Rand.
There is considerably more in the article,
that discusses various nominees of Trump and their relations to Ayn
Rand, which I skip and leave to your interests.
The article ends as follows:
“The fact that all of these men, so late
in life, are such fans of works that celebrate individuals who
consistently put themselves before others is therefore deeply
revealing,” Hohmann writes. “They will now run our government.”
Ayn Rand finally hit a wall through which
her delusions could no longer pass; by the time of her death in 1982,
she was enrolled
in both Medicare and Social Security. After a lifetime of pushing a
fever-dreamed philosophy, she was forced to reconcile with reality by
old age, illness, and the boundaries of her own personal wealth. The
GOP was all too happy to pick up the torch. Trump’s team of
millionaires and billionaires, bonded by a philosophy of cruelty, are
now running with it.
indeed. Here are two more remarks, namely on the characters
intellects of rich men who consider Ayn Rand "a great writer" or
If you are a rich man who subscribes to
Ayn Rand's doctrines of egoism, greed, and despising the poor because
they are poor, what you subscribe to is - in my personal
- the precise equivalent of the norms of criminals, who
also are greedy, also are egoistic, also
despise anyone who is poor,
and also project themselves as a special class of people
who are entitled to steal from the stupid rest.
And if you believe that Ayn Rand is in any
respect "a great writer" or "a great philosopher" and are sincere
(which I tend to believe most who say so are), it means you must have a
I am sorry, but I have read (at 66) more
anyone I've ever met, and also read more philosophy and more
philosophers than most, and this is what I think:
Ayn Rand is a very bad writer and a very bad
philosopher (and I think so since 1972/3 when I read two of her books,
including "Atlas Shrugged": Awful).
Finally, as the last link above makes
clear, she also was a hypocrite, for
she accepted Medicare and Social
Security when she needed it. And this is a
5. "Damn Corrupt": Trump's Kids Attend Father's Meeting with
Top Tech Execs
The fifth and last item today is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This has a subtitle:
"How can Trump's kids run his business
and yet be privy to presidential meetings...... damn corrupt!!"
Yes, indeed. Here is the explanation:
demands that Donald Trump create clear firewalls between the
involvement of his family, the operation of his business empire, and
his new responsibility as a public servant, the president-elect on
Wednesday invited three of his grown children—Donald Jr., Ivanka, and
Eric—to attend a
high-profile meeting with some of the nation's most wealthy and
powerful executives from the tech industry.
As first noted by Huffington Post
reporter Christina Wilkie on Twitter:
The meeting, reportedly
coordinated by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is married to
Ivanka, was a veritable who's-who of tech billionaires, including
Google co-founder Larry Page, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Apple CEO
Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella,
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Intel CEO Brian
Krzanich, Oracle CEO Safra Catz, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Incidentally, none of these
appears to have had either the morals or the courage to ask what these
kids of Trump were doing there, since none of them was
Here is more on Trump's corruption:
Last month, Ivanka's presence at a
meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resulted
in outrage, leading journalist Keith Olbermann to declare on Twitter,
Nobody else in your family was "elected." Get your daughter THE FUCK
OUT OF STATE MEETINGS."
As CNBC reports
this week, the head of the Office of Government Ethics determined that
even Trump's plan to simply hand the business over to his kids would
not be enough to remove the conflict of interest.
In a letter sent Monday to Sen. Tom
Carper (D-Del.), agency director Walter Shaub Jr. said transferring
control of Trump's businesses to his children "would not constitute the
establishment of a qualified blind trust, nor would it eliminate
conflicts of interest" under the primary federal statute.
own guess is that Trump will continue to act in his presidency
acted in his campaign; that he will keep his businesses, though he may
somehow "give" or "lend" them to his children; that his children
with him on most important deals; and that his presidency will be quite
unlike any other, and indeed may well destroy the USA as I've known it.
But this is my guess. We will soon find
out. And this is a recommended article.
this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for
months now. I
do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of
KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from
2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control
myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because
"you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which
is the perfect excuse never to do anything
am sorry if you disagree, but then you probably have an IQ under 130
(which is what 49 out of 50 - then - share with you). It is important
to see this (also if you are not intelligent) simply because both
honesty and ethics,
knowledge are needed to
get most things done in some reasonable way.
 In the second half of 1985, when I had
gotten quite a lot better because of vitamins, I got acquainted with a
considerable number of people who made a lot of money dealing
illegal drugs (nominally marijuana and hashish, but in most cases
in cocaine - and no, I don't use cocaine or any hard drug).
They liked me because I was clever and could converse really well and
what I found out talking with them is what I said: Each of them
was greedy, each of them was
egoistic, each of them despised anyone who is poor, and each of
them projected themselves as belonging to a special class of people
entitled to steal from the stupid rest.
I am not like that and had given them all up by the end of 1985, but
this was a real lesson to me, for I had not reckoned with this,
and especially not the last fact.