1. An Impeachable Offense? Questions Swirl as Trump Accused of
Sharing Top Secret Intel with Russians
2. Beyond the Madness of King Donald
3. Dutch Documentary Part II: Blood on Trump and Kushner's
4. If You Think Corporate Media Is Bad Now, Wait Until This
Monster Merger Goes Through
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, May 17, 2017.
This is a crisis
with four items and six dotted links: Item 1 is about an interview on Democracy Now! on the possibility of impeaching Trump; item 2 is about an article by Paul Street on Donald Trump's madness; item 3 is about a brief article about Part II of a series about the Trump family; and item 4 is about corporate media, that soon may lie systematically in 3 out of 4 American homes.
And in case you missed it, which is probable: Today - the 17th of May - is Norway's National Day. I remember it because I lived nearly three years in Norway in the 1970ies, and it still is - by far, also - the best country I've lived in. 
is the usual about the updating problem that I am now plagued with for more
than 1 1/2 years, though now only at one of my two
May 17: As to the
The Danish site was again on
time today. The Dutch site was not on time today, probably
because it is not
Sunday, for that is the only time my site has a half-decent chance of
beinh properly updated: It's still stuck on Sunday last.
1. An Impeachable Offense? Questions Swirl as Trump Accused of Sharing Top Secret Intel with Russians
well from 1996
2015, updating within minutes at most and without any
problem, as indeed is the work of ISPs.
they totally stopped doing this to limit the
readings of my site. I think (but I don't know
anything whatsoever about "xs4all") they now update once
which means that they are - for me - over
10,000 times worse
than they were between 1996 and 2015.
happen now for the 16th month in
succession. And they happen on purpose, because it is extremely simple to do this properly,
and it was done properly from
1996 till late in 2015. (If you want these
horrors, then sign in with
"xs4all.nl"; if not, avoid them like the plague.)
And what changed is that you have to refresh (and refresh and refresh
and refresh) to get the latest, which is again NOT as it was
before, from 1996 till 2015, and which for me this only
serves to make it extremely difficult for naive users to get
the latest from my site - that for them may seem to have stuck
somewhere in 2016 or 2015.
And I have to
add that about where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others
I have NO idea AT ALL: It
2015. (Xs4all wants immediate
payment if you are a
week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying
my site now for over
a year. I completely distrust them, but I also do not
know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
article today is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts with the following introduction:
Senior White House officials were apparently so alarmed by President
Trump’s disclosures of classified intelligence to Russia that they
called the CIA and National Security Agency
afterward to warn them of what had happened. Officials said they were
concerned Trump’s comments would jeopardize a critical source of
intelligence on the Islamic State. We speak to Columbia Law School
lecturer Scott Horton and Stanford professor Larry Diamond of the Hoover
Institution. Diamond served as senior adviser to the Coalition
Provisional Authority in Baghdad.
This was just for background. Here is what is involved with regards to "classified intelligence":
And indeed I would say that it does seems to follow (merely in logic, which does not by far have the illusory "validity" of believing what you please) that if
(according to Trump) Hillary Clinton is unqualified for the presidency
because she leaked classified information (which in fact I do not know,
but suppose), then also (according to Trump) Donald Trump is unqualified for the presidency, namely for the same reason.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Stanford University in Northern California, as we continue to talk about The Washington Post exposé
revealing how President Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence
to Russian officials last week. I want to go to Donald Trump when he was
campaigning for president. Here he is last September.
We also need the best protection of classified information. That is the
worst situation. Hillary’s private email scandal, which put our
classified information in the reach of our enemies, disqualifies her
from the presidency.
Then again, it is a little more complicated, as Scott Hortion explains:
Well, on one level, it’s just a remarkable display of hypocrisy, of
course. I mean, we have him pledging to be very cautious in the
management of national security information and criticizing his rival
ruthlessly over this, and, on the other hand, behaving in a very
cavalier fashion with the most serious sorts of secrets.
But I’d say both of these incidents—that is, the investigation into
the Clinton emails and the controversy now surrounding this meeting with
Kislyak and Lavrov in the Oval Office—also serve to demonstrate an
important feature of the way the classification system operates. That
is, it exists to bind and tie those well down the list of authority. But
as we approach the apex of the system, involving Cabinet officers and
the president and the vice president, there’s actually much less
constraint. The president has an absolute right to declassify anything.
If he shares information, you could say it would be deemed declassified.
So we can get out of the way immediately the question of illegality. So
there’s no illegality in what he’s done. Yet it may be a breathtaking
And going back to the things that Larry Diamond said, I think very
correctly, earlier, it does raise very fundamental questions about his
judgment, and it does raise some legal issues. But they’re at the
highest level. They’re at the level of legality that goes to his oath of
office, his pledge to uphold the Constitution and laws, and preserve,
protect and defend the United States. And that is impeachment territory.
I have three remarks on this.
First, I am not much impressed by "the classification system" Horton appeals to, were it only because the most powerful generally are a lot more free from the restraints that bind the less powerful (in fact, if not in law).
Second, it sounds fairly odd to me that "[t]he president has an absolute right to declassify anything", also in combination with the possible fact that, even so, "it may be a breathtaking
Third, supposing Trump did not do anything illegal, then (i) he still may have broken his oath of office, while (ii) the presidents that were impeached - Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton - were both impeached on the ground that they broke their oaths of office.
And there is this on the possibility of impeachment:
But then one of the main problems (at present) with the possibility of impeachment is the fact that the Republics hold both the House and the Senate:
You talked about impeachment territory. What exactly do you mean? And
how do you see this possibly happening? Do you see this as the beginning
of the end, Scott Horton, for the Trump presidency?
I think so. I talked about the oath a little bit earlier. So,
impeachment proceedings that have occurred historically have—when they
involve the president, they do—they always involve whether the president
has satisfied or fulfilled his oath.
AMY GOODMAN: Larry Diamond, do you really see this happening in Washington with a Republican majority in the House and the Senate?
No, I see almost no prospect of it. I think either Trump would have to
do something so massively criminal or dangerous that even the shockingly
loyal Republican leadership, shocking in its loyalty to Trump, would
defect, probably to save their own necks in advance of the midterm
election, or, more likely—and keep in mind this was certainly the
pattern during Watergate, as you well know, Amy—it will only be when and
if there is a Democratic Congress that the Congress is able to act to
defend the Constitution.
This seems all realistic. And this is a recommended article.
2. Beyond the Madness of King Donald
The second article is by Paul Street on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
President Frankenstein, Donald Trump, has been pretty much the bizarre “insane clown president” (Matt Taibbi’s phrase) that I and many others expected. He’s only shocked me twice: his weird Twitter meltdown alleging that Barack Obama wiretapped his phones and his appallingly timed firing of FBI Director James Comey on grounds that seemed to take us all for complete idiots.
This is clearly Paul Street speaking for
himself. And while I probably agree more with him than not (although I
would express myself differently), my own personal reactions to Trump were a bit different: He appalled me from the start, but I was not especially shocked.
But OK. This is Paul Street on Comey's dismissal:
Lack of outward devotion to the new commander in chief is what got Comey canned. His sin was insufficient fealty to Herr Donald.
Quite possibly so, although I don't know. And this is from Evan Oznos, who got quoted by Street, on some of Trump's characteristics:
Rarely venturing beyond the White House and Mar-a-Lago, he measures
his fortunes through reports from friends, staff, and a feast of
television coverage of himself. Media is Trump’s “drug of choice,” Sam
Nunberg, an adviser on his campaign, told me recently. “He doesn’t
drink. He doesn’t do drugs. His drug is himself.”
Again possibly so, but what moved me - an M.A. in psychology - to believe that Trump is a narcissist, on March 14, 2016, when I (who is not American and who lives in Europe and who until then had not heard much about Trump, but who had
seen some videos of him as presidential candidate) read a good
description both of him and of what psychiatrists mean by saying
someone is a narcissist, and noted immediately that he met all nine of the nine citerions obviously (and as I said, I am a psychologist).
“There is no one around him who has the ability to restrain
any of his impulses, on any issue ever, for any reason,” Steve Schmidt, a
veteran Republican consultant [said] (..)
So I agree since then with the following:
It is the on-record opinion of many mental health professionals that
Trump exhibits hallmark characteristics of the psychological condition
known as “malignant narcissism … characterized by grandiosity, a need
for admiration, sadism, and a tendency toward unrealistic fantasies,”
Malignant narcissists live in bizarre defiance of reality and of
anything that doesn’t fit their lavish sense of their own superiority
and excellence. They delight in the humiliation and even the crippling
and killing of others.
Yes, although I should add that in fact I prefer the term megalomania
for Trump's psychological problems, which certainly is better English
than "grandiose" or "malignant narcissism", which is psychiatrese
rather than English, and is not much liked by me. (But the Wikipedia -
rather oddly - has since deleted the term "megalomania" and now links
you directly to "narcissism" if you key in this term.)
There is also this:
I would add another psychological dimension here: the “Dunning-Kruger effect.” As Wikipedia explains:
This is “a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from
illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher
than it really is. Psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger
attributed this bias to a metacognitive incapacity, on the part of those
with low ability, to recognize their ineptitude and evaluate their
On this last characteristic, recall Trump’s “locker room” comment: “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” Remember also his campaign statement that he could stand on New York’s Fifth Avenue “and shoot somebody” and still not lose voters.
But I would not, if only because (i) illusory superiority is a characteristic of megalomania (aka narcissism), and (ii) Dunning and Kruger is just one report, whereas people with megalomania or narcissism have been studied for a far longer time, and (iii) having one
adequate explanation for a person who obviously displays an ilusory
superiority (namely: he is a megalomaniac) is sufficient, at least for
Then there is this:
How excited should we on the left be at the possibility of Trump being
removed prior to the next presidential election? It is certainly
desirable that we not have a wicked moron and malicious narcissist with
his fingers on the U.S. nuclear arsenal. From that perspective, Trump
cannot be defenestrated from the Oval Office soon enough.
Yes, I entirely agree, and indeed especially because I am a psychologist who agrees Trump is a megalomanica aka narcissist, which is for me more than enough to infer that he is totally unfit to be president of the USA, simply because he is a narcissist. (And indeed the same
argument would have held if he was a Democrat: I want someone who is -
at least - responsible and sane while having the power to blow up
everyone, indeed regardless of his political opinions.)
Then there is this:
You don’t have to be a Marxist to understand that U.S. politics and policy have been subject to an “unelected dictatorship of money”
over the past three-plus decades. Six years into Obama’s presidency,
the liberal political scientists Martin Gilens (Princeton) and Benjamin
Page (Northwestern) reported the U.S. political system has become “an oligarchy,”
where wealthy elites and their corporations “rule.” Examining data from
more than 1,800 different policy initiatives in the late 20th and early
21st centuries, Gilens and Page found that wealthy and well-connected
elites consistently steer the direction of the country, regardless of
(or even against) the will of the U.S. majority, and regardless of which
party holds the White House or Congress.
Hm. I am not a Marxist, but I do
recognize the power of money in the USA, where the few with very much
money generally have very much power, and the many with little money
have virtually no power.
Then again, while I also agree that the powers of the rich have
increased a lot - all very intentionally and usually also furthered
quite dishonestly - since Reagan was elected, in fact the rich have always
held disproportionally much power in the USA, and also elsewhere,
although indeed the extent of their power varied considerably.
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
Given capitalism’s systemically inherent war on livable ecology —emerging now as the biggest issue of our or any time—the
formation of such a new and united left-wing popular and institutional
presence has become a matter of life and death for the species. “The
uncomfortable truth,” the Hungarian Marxist philosopher István Mészáros rightly argued 16 years ago, “is that if there is no future for a radical mass movement in our time, there can be no future for humanity itself.”
I agree that ecology is one of the two major threats at present (the other is nuclear arms), and I also agree
that the capitalist mode of production is the main cause of ecological
problems (together with the sheer number of human beings).
But I do not see much of a Real Leftist opposition, for most of the present left is not Leftist in the classical sense ,
but only "leftist" (pro political correctness, pro abortion, pro
equality but with hardly a position on exploitation and the changing on
the laws and the ethical premisses of capitalism).
This may change, but it so far hasn't happened. And this is a recommended article.
Dutch Documentary Part II: Blood on Trump and Kushner's Hands
The third article is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
I reviewed Part One here and this is Part Two. There is this on the first and the second part:
The Trump family’s business partners have blood on their hands owing
to deals with notorious diamond brokers who operate mines in wartorn
Africa and own jewelry stores in London, Moscow and Amsterdam.
That's the premise in Part Two of a documentary series by the Dutch TV network Zembla, The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: King of Diamonds.
The first part of
the documentary series focused on Trump’s ties to Russian mobsters and
oligarchs. That eye-opening report showed how Trump nurtured deals with
oligarchs seeking to get their riches out of Russia and revealed how
Trump signed off on international money-laundering schemes, including
one set up by the law firm of ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. In
the second part,
we see how Trump is willing to make deals with anyone who can offer him
a return, regardless of the suffering involved. The documentary also
shines a light on Kushner’s relationships, which blend business,
politics and religion.
And there also is a video link (and "first part" is a video link to the first part):
The article ends as follows:
The Dutch documentary series
raises questions one can only hope congressional investigators and the
FBI will take up and provide answers to. Viewing these programs makes it
clear that Trump’s business empire and family fortune is based on deals
with extremely unsavory characters, some of which could violate U.S.
laws if fully scrutinized. In the meantime, one can only wonder how
Trump’s sordid past will shape White House policies today and tomorrow.
Two general questions "congressional investigators"
should take up are Trump's still undeclared taxes, and the nomination
of unqualified family members to positions of high presidential trust,
both of which are normal for authoritarian presidents but not normal
for democratic presidents.
And this is a recommended article.
4. If You Think Corporate Media Is Bad Now, Wait Until This Monster Merger Goes Through
The fourth and last article today is by Alexandra Rosenmann on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
Sinclair's proposed acquisition of
Tribune Media for $3.9 billion would allow the right-leaning broadcast
group to reach nearly three-quarters of American homes.
For Democrats and progressives, the consequences could prove disastrous.
As to the first paragraph: Yes, indeed. And this would the greatest or one of the greatest mergers in broadcasting.
As to the second paragraph: Possibly so,
but if so, the main reason for these supposed "disastrous"
"consequences" is that it is presupposed (correctly, it seems to me)
that "the American people" are in majority rather stupid and rather
ignorant, and that these
are the main reasons that so many Americans can be propagandized and deceived so very successfully.
And in fact I agree - except that hardly anyone except Bill Maher does mention the - in my (highly educated) eyes - frightening stupidity and the shocking ignorance so many Americans do display.
But OK. Here is a little more on how the propaganda is going to be served onto three- quarters of the American homes:
Yes, but why do so many Americans fall for totally obvious historical lies, that anyone with just a little
historical knowledge can see through as false balderdash? Because the
great majority of Americans have little historical knowledge and very few of them see any reasons to repair that in themselves.
"There are some ramifications [of the deal], especially when you
consider the fact that they force the networks they work with to run
these (very obviously right-leaning) must-run ads," explained "Young
Turks" co-host Ana Kasparian on Monday.
"Must runs," as the New York Times calls them,
are "short video segments that are centrally produced by the company
[worked] into the broadcast over a period of 24 or 48 hours." One of
Sinclair's most propagandist ads in the past year included a package
urging voters not to support Hillary Clinton and the historically "pro-slavery" Democratic Party.
know there are a lot of democrats who did not like Hillary, but they
felt that way due to justifiable reasons," noted Kasparian. "The
Democratic Party being historically in favor of slavery is not one of the reasons why people did not want to vote in favor of Hillary."
is a classic propaganda lie that people who are right-wing put out
there for the purpose of deceiving you," added Cenk Uygur, followed by a
brief overview of major party switches in political history.
I am - alas - Dutch. I do not like Holland for several reasons, but
especially because the Dutch Social Democrats have introduced in
1987/1988 a totally corrupt drugssystem that allowed them to turn over at least 25 billions of euros in diverse kinds of illegal drugs each and every year since then, and sells them all over Europe, and pretends to sell them legally in Holland, from "coffeeshops" with special "personal permission" by the mayor, to fuck the Dutch laws.
But hardly any Dutchman seems to care, as long as they are not themselves gassed or threatened with murder, as I was, over a course of 3 1/2 years, all of which was allowed by the mayor, the police and the bureaucrats of Amsterdam.
So I have given up on the Dutch. (And by the way: I also have lived in England.)
 I am sorry, but I know:
Two of my grandparents were lifelong anarchists; one grandfather was a
communist, and murdered by the Nazis; my father was a communist since
1935; my mother was a communist since 1940 or 1941; and while I lost
that belief when I was 20, for very sound intellectual reasons, I also
studied philosophy and still am a radical. You may not know, but it is
very probable that you know a lot less about the Real Left than I do.