A. Selections from July 23, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Sunday, July 23,
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 five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
July 23, 2017
items 1 - 5 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:
Reasons Why Extraordinary Presidential Powers Make It Very Difficult to
Nail Trump, His Family or His Team
This is by Kali
Holloway on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
The Trump team has
established a consistent pattern when confronted with evidence of their
own wrongdoing. The strategy involves not just lying and denying, but
also trying to kill—politically speaking—the messenger. The New
York Times reports that Trump’s lawyers are currently on a mission
to dig up old dirt to smear special counsel Robert S. Mueller and
others on his investigative team. Coupled with the research into the
scope of Trump’s pardoning powers his legal team is investigating, per
Post, it’s hard to see how this president will actually have any
accountability for wrongdoing.
In other words, if you’re
hoping to see Trump—or his sons or associates—in prison stripes any
time soon, you should know just how unlikely that looks.
Here are five reasons
Trump will get off scot-free after all is said and done.
The five reasons are
these, and I merely give the reasons and not the text, except for the
1. He may
obstruct the investigation by firing Mueller.
2. He may begin issuing pardons—for
himself and his family.
3. He has a complicit Republican party.
4. Ditto the DOJ and FBI.
5. Trump believes
laws are for the little people.
All politicians lie and
obfuscate, but it's rare to see an operator who cares not one whit
about the appearance of impropriety. Ryan J. Reilly at the Huffington
Post offers a laundry list of ways Trump ignores the laws that bind the
rest of us, and presidents who came before:
Does Trump have massive conflicts of interests? Well, the president is exempt
from conflict-of-interest laws. Do officials think Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner,
shouldn’t be given permanent security clearance? Well, Trump has
the power to grant him clearance anyhow. Does someone want to sue
Trump for his actions before he became president? Well, his lawyers say they can’t (a questionable claim). Did Trump violate
the law? Well, the sitting president is
This is not a president
who abides by the law or thinks it applies to him. So much
investigation into pardons and mudslinging at this stage of the game
suggests a tremendous wrongdoing may be revealed. It’s just unlikely
we’ll be able to do much about it.
I think the main
reason is the fifth. This is a recommended article.
Trump and the Coming Fall of American Empire
This is by
Jeremy Scahill on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
And this is the
beginning of a long interview, that is recommended.
Even as President Donald
Trump faces ever-intensifying investigations into the alleged
connections between his top aides and family members and powerful
Russian figures, he serves as commander in chief over a U.S. military
that is killing an astonishing and growing number of civilians. Under
Trump, the U.S. is re-escalating its war in Afghanistan, expanding its
operations in Iraq and Syria, conducting covert raids in Somalia and
Yemen, and openly facilitating the Saudi’s genocidal military
destruction of Yemen.
Meanwhile, China has
quietly and rapidly expanded its influence without deploying its
military on foreign soil.
A new book by the famed
historian Alfred McCoy predicts that China is set to surpass the
influence of the U.S. globally, both militarily and economically, by
the year 2030. At that point, McCoy asserts the United States Empire as
we know it will be no more. He sees the Trump presidency as one of the
clearest byproducts of the erosion of U.S. global dominance, but not
its root cause. At the same time, he also believes Trump may accelerate
the empire’s decline.
McCoy argues that the
2003 invasion of Iraq was the beginning of the end. McCoy is not some
chicken little. He is a serious academic. And he has guts.
Demolition of U.S. Global Power
This is by Alfred
McCoy on AlterNet and originally on TomDispatch.com. It starts as
The superhighway to
disaster is already being paved.
From Donald Trump’s first
days in office, news of the damage to America’s international stature
has come hard and fast. As if guided by some malign design, the new
president seemed to identify the key pillars that have supported U.S.
global power for the past 70 years and set out to topple each of them
in turn. By degrading NATO, alienating Asian allies, cancelling trade
treaties, and slashing critical scientific research, the Trump White
House is already in the process of demolishing the delicately balanced
architecture that has sustained Washington’s world leadership since the
end of World War II. However unwittingly, Trump is ensuring the
accelerated collapse of American global hegemony.
There is considerably
more in the original.
Kaczynski Is Driving Poland Away from Europe
This is by Jan Puhl on Spiegel International.
It starts as follows:
The nucleus of Poland's
political power lies not in the parliament in Warsaw, not in the
presidential palace, but in a windowless, slightly strange looking
building that most resembles a multistory car park. It's not quite part
of Warsaw's city center, although downtown's many new glass and steel
skyscrapers are still just in sight.
Every day, an official
car picks up Jaroslaw Kaczynski from his apartment in the Zoliborz
neighborhood and brings him to this office block at 84-86 Nowogrodzka.
The building houses a sushi restaurant, a copy shop and an insurance
company -- and the headquarters of Kaczynski's ruling Law and Justice
Its chairman uses a
separate entrance. In the mornings, a team of young staff members
supplies him with books, newspapers and printouts. All in Polish,
because Kaczynski only reads Polish sources. At midday, a procession of
black limos starts arriving, delivering ministers -- and occasionally
the president of the Polish National Bank -- to the Nowogrodzka office
to pick up directives and seek advice.
Despite holding no formal
government office, Kaczynski is Warsaw's undisputed leader. Together
with his late twin brother, Lech, he founded the PiS party in 2001 and
twice led it to victory. In 2015, he hand-picked its presidential
candidate Andrzej Duda, at the time an unknown member of the European
Parliament, who went on to win the vote. He also personally selected
current Prime Minister Beata Szydlo. Both politicians are widely seen
as Kaczynski's willing stooges.
The ruling PiS party is already doggedly distancing Poland from
Europe's central values. It has restricted the power of the country's
highest constitutional court and filled top positions in public radio
and television as well as major state-owned companies and the
intelligence services with loyalists. In the past week, it turned its
attention to reforming the independent Polish judiciary with the aim of
giving parliament, in which the Law and Justice has a majority, and the
president, chosen by the Law and Justice party, the power to appoint
judges -- even in the Supreme Court -- who were previously nominated by
the independent National Judiciary Council.
is considerably more in the original.
won on “white fright”: Why identity politics win elections
This is by David Masciotra on
Salon. It starts as follows:
The United States of
America has become a giant church basement where members of Alcoholics
Anonymous congregate to commiserate over their self-made problems.
Sobriety never lasts, because white Americans continue to redefine
their bottom. In October of 2016, anyone reasonable would have assumed
that the election of a grotesquely ignorant and incompetent clown would
inspire rehabilitation, but the protectors of white fragility and the
enablers of white ignorance quickly came to the rescue.
America’s problem is not
racial resentment, mainstream reportage and even progressive reaction
insisted, it is economic anxiety. “No one saw the election of Trump
coming,” countless analysts proclaimed — but they should have, they
whined, because of growing dissatisfaction with globalization,
international trade and wage stagnation.
Parker, a political scientist at the University of Washington,
not only predicted the nomination and presidential victory of Donald
Trump. He also accurately forecasted the flatulent rise of the white
reactionary constituency when the Tea Party was in its embryonic stage.
This is the start of an
interesting interview that is recommended.