A. Selections from July 22, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Saturday, July 22,
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.
explained, the crisis files will have a different
format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items
I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one
selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit
of a taste of the item linked.
So the new format is as follows:
Link to an item with its orginal title,
One selection from that item (indented)
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are six crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
July 22, 2017
items 1 - 6 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at
every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
Is Reported to Be Discussing Possibility of Pardoning Himself,
Relatives or Aides
This is by Emily
Wells on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Just when you think
Donald Trump’s presidency can’t get any stranger, it does.
After the partial
transcript of his odd
interview with The New York Times was released Wednesday, The
Washington Post reported that Trump is discussing
with lawyers the possibility of pardoning himself, his family and
close aides in order to undercut special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe
into allegations that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with
Russia to influence the 2016 election—an investigation that Trump has
long called “a witch hunt.”
In the Times
interview, Trump says he believes Mueller would be going too far
with the investigation if he looked into the Trump family’s personal
[MICHAEL S.] SCHMIDT:
Last thing, if Mueller was looking at your finances and your family
finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line?
Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?
TRUMP: I would say
yeah. I would say yes.
I say! Well... I have also
said, nine months ago meanwhile, that Donald Trump is an extremely dangerous megalomaniac
and an evident neofascist (in my
sense, which you get by clicking the last link).
And I think so far he has
been implementing his insanity and his neofascism quite succesfully.
There is also this, which
seems to strongly consist that "the law" in the USA is an utter mess:
If Trump does choose to
pardon family members or aides, shielding them from potential
prosecution, it would raise a plethora of legal questions. According to
discussions of pardoning authority by Trump’s legal team are purely
theoretical, according to two people familiar with the ongoing
conversations. But if Trump pardoned himself in the face of the ongoing
Mueller investigation, it would set off a legal and political
firestorm, first around the question of whether a president can use the
constitutional pardon power in that way.
“This is a fiercely
debated but unresolved legal question,” said Brian C. Kalt, a
constitutional law expert at Michigan State University who has written
extensively on the question.
If Trump pardons family
members and close aides to cover up possible crimes, the action could
be seen as acting “corruptly” according to federal
obstruction statutes, and he could be charged with obstruction of
would say, any man who can pardon himself or his family
members is a dictator, and not a leader of something that
has anything to do with a real democracy.
And this is a
Department’s Demand for Extreme Secrecy in Reality Winner Trial
Contested by Defense
This is by
Trevor Timm on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Department is seeking to impose extreme secrecy rules in the trial of
alleged Intercept source and whistleblower Reality Winner that could
prevent her defense team from citing countless publicly available news
articles in appearances before the court — and even prevent Winner
herself from seeing evidence relevant to her defense.
This is another example
of the neofascism
(my sense) that Trump seeks to impose on the USA: It seeks to make
the defense of anybody who did anything against the American government
Winner was accused last
month of leaking a classified
National Security Agency document to The Intercept that describes
attempts by alleged Russian hackers to gain access to election
infrastructure in the United States. She faces charges under the
Espionage Act, a 100-year-old law meant
for spies and saboteurs, which the government has
warped into an anti-leaking statute used to go after sources of
journalists attempting to inform the American public. Winner’s trial is
for the end of October.
Here is how:
As I said, this is
A protective order
surrounding discovery material, by itself, is fairly standard
procedure. However, the government is going a step further: They are
arguing that the defense would be barred from discussing any
information that has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York
Times, or any other newspaper if the defense “knows or have reason to
know” any of that information is also contained in classified
discovery documents they will receive.
The protective order
would restrict “our right to cite and quote information in the public
domain, such as articles in newspapers, broadcast journalism and online
publications,” the defense wrote in their brief. “The order proposed by
the Government imposes upon Defense Counsel the duty to question the
source of reports in the New York Times or matters discussed on Morning
Joe and then to confer with the security officer before repeating or
citing these facts even though the information is clearly in the public
Critics of Israel: Congress Considers Sweeping Bills to Fine & Jail
Backers of BDS
This is by Amy Goodman
on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
U.S. lawmakers are
seeking to criminally outlaw support for the Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions campaign against Israel. If a proposed bipartisan law is
passed, backers of BDS could face up to 20
years in prison and a million-dollar fine. We speak to Rabbi Joseph
Berman of Jewish Voice for Peace and Ryan Grim of The Intercept. His
latest article is titled "U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw
Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel."
As I have pointed out, not
even murderers get a punishment of 20 years imprisonment in Dutch law,
whereas in Norway twenty years imprisonment is the maximum punishment
that can be imposed even on a mass murderer.
In the present USA you may
soon risk 20 years of imprisonment plus a million dollar fine if
you say you dislike Netanyahu.
This is pure totalitarianism.
After the above
introduction, the article + interview starts as follows:
GOODMAN: Civil rights
groups are warning a pair of bipartisan bills targeting boycotts of
Israel and Israeli settlements would criminalize free speech and
peaceful protest. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act would make it a felony
for U.S. citizens to support boycotts of Israel and Israeli
settlements, punishable by at least a $250,000 fine, with a maximum
penalty of a fine of $1 million and 20 years in prison. So far, 46
senators—31 Republican, 15 Democrat—and 234 congressmembers, from both
sides of the aisle, support the legislation. The American Israel Public
Affairs Committee, known as AIPAC,
reportedly helped craft the bill and has made its passage one of the
group’s top lobbying priorities for the year.
In a letter Monday, the
American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU,
urged senators to oppose the bill’s passage. The ACLU
quote, "We take no position for or against the effort to boycott Israel
or any foreign country, for that matter. However, we do assert that the
government cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, punish U.S.
persons based solely on their expressed political beliefs," unquote.
The bill has received
backing from many prominent senators on both sides of the aisle.
Democrats backing the bill include Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and
Kirsten Gillibrand, both of New York, as well as Ron Wyden of Oregon,
Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Maria Cantwell of Washington.
Republican backers include Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska,
Marco Rubio of Florida.
I say! Well... out
go Chuck Schumer and Ron Wyden: As totalitarian as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. (And no,
I will not forget this.)
There is considerably
more in the interview, that is recommended.
Study Declares American Empire Is 'Collapsing'
This article is by
Nafeed Ahmed on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
extraordinary new Pentagon study has
concluded that the US-backed framework of international order
established after World War II is “fraying” and may even be
“collapsing,” leading the United States to lose its position of
“primacy” in world affairs.
solution proposed to protect US power in this new “post-primacy”
environment is, however, more of the same: more surveillance, more
propaganda (“strategic manipulation of perceptions”) and more military
document concludes that the world has entered a fundamentally new phase
of transformation in which US power is in decline, international order
is unravelling, and the authority of governments everywhere is
lost its past status of “pre-eminence,” the US now inhabits a
dangerous, unpredictable “post-primacy” world, whose defining feature
is “resistance to authority.”
comes not just from great power rivals like Russia and China, both
portrayed as rapidly growing threats to American interests, but also
from the increasing risk of “Arab Spring”-style events. These will
erupt not just in the Middle East, but all over the world, potentially
undermining trust in incumbent governments for the foreseeable future.
report, based on a year-long intensive research process involving
consultation with key agencies across the Department of Defense and US
Army, calls for the US government to invest in more surveillance,
better propaganda through “strategic manipulation” of public opinion,
and a “wider and more flexible” US military.
fact, this shows that all control on whether the Pentagon propagandizes
itself or whether it's pronouncements have any factual basis
(outside their enormous hunger for ever more money) is
totally gone: This is pure propaganda for the crazy desires of the
Pentagon's generals, in my opinion.
is a lot more in the article, that is recommended.
Alert: Team Trump Unveils Anti-Planet, Anti-Worker Corporate Wish List
is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
controversy over the burgeoning investigation into President Donald
Trump's alleged Russia ties, groups are raising the alarm after the
Trump administration on Thursday quietly unveiled its plan to roll back
hundreds of Obama-era regulations aimed at shielding workers and the
planet from corporate abuse.
This is the n-th deregulation that have now been
happening since 1980. As I said (and will be saying) the
deregulations gave most of the power and most of money to the very few
rich, while the very few rich have been busy since Reagan of
breaking down Keynesianism and reinstituting the exploitative
capitalism of the 1890ies, with the differences that the very
rich meanwhile have killed the trade unions, the workers' movements,
and the idea of socialism.
than 800 planned and existing regulations the White House is set to
scrap "govern everything—from the basics of everyday living, such as a
product safety standard for mattresses' flammability when it comes to
cigarettes, to what sort of precautions construction firms should be
required to take so their workers are not run over by other vehicles on
site," the Washington Post summarized.
agenda "shows yet again that even though the president said
he'd put working people first, his administration is acting
to elevate corporate and financial
industry interests, boosting corporate profits and enriching corporate
insiders," Owens concluded. "Working people are last, not first, as the
president initially promised—an especially cruel irony during the
administration's so-called 'Made in America Week.'"
In addition to slashing
protections for workers and the environment, the Trump administration's
agenda also appears
to kill an Obama-era effort
to limit the pay of Wall Street
became of the summer of love?
This is a review by Mick
Brown, of a book by Daniel Goldberg that I have discussed before, here and here.
This is from the beginning:
By then [the
summer of 1967 - MM] the Haight, as the district was known, was to all
intents and purposes finished. Hippies had been the subject of a cover
story in Time magazine,
and the Haight was fast being populated by teenage runaways,
panhandlers, drug dealers and assorted charlatans, a human zoo for
gawping tourists in Gray Line buses, pausing only to buy ‘Love Burgers’
from an enterprising merchant.
The summer of love was
giving way to the winter of exploitation. In October 1967, a group of
community ‘elders’ organised a mock funeral procession through the
Haight to mark the passing of ‘Hippie, devoted son of the media’,
suggesting that from now on the acceptable term would be ‘free men’. It
would never catch on.
San Francisco, flowers in
your hair, free love — it all seems as remote and unreal as a
Danny Goldberg was a
teenager in the 1960s, growing up in New York in a liberal Jewish
family. He was exposed to drugs and student radicalism, became a rock
journalist, then a record executive and the manager of Nirvana. Old
enough to have savoured 1967 without fully digesting it, he has written
a book that sits halfway between social history and memoir.
I don't think Mick Brown
has lived through the Sixties, although I don't know that. He certainly
is less sympathetic to the summer of lover or to its ideas and values
than Goldberg is.
There is also this:
In October 1966, the
American government outlawed LSD. Three months later, in January 1967,
more than 30,000 people gathered in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to
protest against the new law at the first ‘Human Be-In’, or ‘Gathering
of the Tribes’, as it was called: the tribes, in this case, being
hippies from the Haight, anti-war radicals from across the Bay in
Berkeley, unreconstructed Beats from an earlier generation, Hells
Angels, assorted free-thinkers and oddballs and the Diggers — an
anarchist group, named after the 17th- century English radicals, who
advocated the abolition of money and pioneered free food programmes on
the Haight. It was at this gathering that Timothy Leary uttered what
would become the mantra of the movement — ‘turn on, tune in, drop out’.
I think I agree with
Emmett Grogan - see his Ringolevi - that Timothy Leary was a fraud, and
indeed I thought so by 1967 or 1968.
As to the Diggers, I
wrote about them here and here, and will do so again (although I have
to add that I disagree with their taking hard drugs, which I
never did, which I think they should have avoided, and which makes my
likings of them considerably less).
Here is the last bit
that I'll quote from this article:
I don't think I share
much with Mick Brown, but this may be more or less correct.
What Goldberg’s book
vividly illustrates is that there was much that was foolish, misguided
and naive about the hippy movement (the origin of the hippy folk myth
that smoking bananas would get you high is chronicled here in exacting
and hilarious detail). But there was also much that was innocent, and
pure, borne of what Goldberg calls ‘communal sweetness’. And what makes
this book ultimately beguiling is its absence of cynicism, and
Goldberg’s touching faith in the original hippy idea.