A. Selections from
November 10, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Friday November 10,
This is a crisis
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 will
continue with it.
moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from November 10, 2017
Trump, Aiming to Coax Xi Jinping, Bets on
2. In China, Trump
Talks Trade & North Korea
3. Does U.S. Want a Blank Check
to Wage Illegal
4. The Corporate
Class Doesn't Need or Deserve a
Massive Tax Break
5. New Study Shows
Urgently Needed 100%
Renewable Transition More Feasible
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:
Aiming to Coax Xi Jinping, Bets on Flattery
This article is by
Mark Landler, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Jane Perez on The New York
Times. It starts as follows:
President Trump heaped
praise on President Xi Jinping of China on Thursday, blaming past
American administrations for China’s yawning trade surplus with the
United States and saying he was confident that Mr. Xi could defuse the
threat from North Korea.
Mr. Trump’s warm words, on a state visit to China replete
with ceremony but short of tangible results, showed a president
doubling down on his gamble that by cultivating a personal connection
with Mr. Xi, he can push the Chinese leader to take
meaningful steps on North Korea and trade.
a more or less decent result, Iīd say, although I also think that it is
unlikely that Xi will do more than he does now. (But that may
nuclear war the next three years, and that seems realistically possible
and is very desirable.)
some more on Trump and China:
In public, Mr. Trump projected an air of deference to China
that was almost unheard-of for a visiting American president. Far from
attacking Mr. Xi on trade, Mr. Trump saluted him for leading a country
that he said had left the United States “so far behind.” He said he
could not blame the Chinese for taking advantage of weak American trade
Behind closed doors, American officials insisted, Mr. Trump
forcefully confronted Mr. Xi about the chronic trade imbalances between
the two countries. He also pressed China to take tougher measures
toward North Korea, including a suspension of oil shipments.
In neither case did the Chinese make significant
concessions, nor did Mr. Trump express dissatisfaction with their
All in all this
seems mostly as if no definite results were booked, neither for
nor for China (which again seems somewhat positive to me).
Then there is
this on Trump and China:
It was a remarkable moment in the story of China’s rise and
America’s response to it, with Mr. Trump’s performance suggesting a
tipping point in great-power politics. By concluding that the United
States can better achieve its goals by flattering a Chinese leader than
by challenging him, Mr. Trump seemed to signal a reversal of roles: the
United States may now need China’s help more than the other way around.
seems also realistic, for the USA has far more debts to China,
China has to the USA.
here is a bit on Xi and Trump:
Mr. Xi, for his part, did not return Mr. Trump’s fulsome
personal praise, seeming to treat him like any other American leader.
“I told the president that the Pacific is big enough to
accommodate both China and the United States,” Mr. Xi said, after
reciting his well-worn line that the two countries could peacefully
coexist if they respected each other’s different political systems.
Xi is right in the second paragraph of the last quote. I do not know
whether he did right in not returning Trumpīs praise, but that may be
more a question for psychiatrists than for politicians.
case, this visit to China seems to have been going mostly well, so that
is - at least - a slight advance. There is more in the article, that is
China, Trump Talks Trade & North Korea, Ignoring Climate Change
& Crackdown on Human Rights
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! It starts with the
We go to Beijing for an
update on President Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping as
part of his five-nation trip to Asia. Trump used the talks to call on
China to sever ties with North Korea, and address the U.S. trade
deficit with the country he once accused of “raping” the United States.
Human rights activists have urged him to use his trip to discuss
climate change and challenge China over its crackdown on dissidents and
call for the release of political prisoners. We speak with Joanna Chiu,
China correspondent for Agence France-Presse, and Rajan Menon,
professor of political science at the Powell School at the City
University of New York and senior research fellow in the Saltzman
Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.
Incidentally, when I
review an article by Democracy Now!, that are mostly interviews, I like
to copy their introductions to such articles, simply because they are
usually quite clear and quite fair. It is the same here.
Here is Amy Goodman:
GOODMAN: (...) Human
rights activists and even Trump’s fellow Republicans have urged him to
use his trip to challenge China over its crackdown on dissidents and
call for the release of political prisoners. Senator Marco Rubio and
Congressman Chris Smith issued a statement urging him to raise the
forced isolation and ongoing surveillance of the wife of the late Nobel
laureate Liu Xiaobo.
Since arriving in China,
where Twitter is banned, Trump has tweeted at least five times. A White
House official said Trump would, quote, “tweet whatever he wants.”
In fact, it seems
from the previous item as if Trump did not discuss human rights
Xaobo at all, while it also seems the case as if the Chinese did
room for Trumpīs tweeting (for Trump has tweeted from China).
Here is Joanna Chiu,
CHIU: (...) So, as far
as we can tell, the visit was successful. And Trump and his counterpart
seem to have reached some consensus on some of the big issues that have
been points of tension between the two countries. I think a highlight
was trade. We were—some reporters were surprised at the tone that Trump
gave during his remarks today. While it was softened from what he was
like during the campaign trail, it was quite tough. At the same time,
he also lavished a lot of praise on Xi Jinping, and the two leaders
seemed very comfortable around each other. So, it seems like it went
well. As you said, human rights wasn’t brought up as a focus. Neither
was the climate.
And that seems a fair
summary (also having seen item 1).
Here is Rajan Menon
with what seems to be a sound analysis:
I think that is correct.
And here is Joanna Chiu on human rights in China:
MENON: To hear Mr. Trump
say it and the American foreign policy establishment say it, you would
think that if Xi Jinping picked up the phone and called Kim Jong-un and
said, “I want you to dismantle your nuclear facilities,” he would do
that. That is a complete myth. For one thing, there’s an enormous
amount of bad blood between North Korea and China. And the tougher
China is and we are on North Korea, the more likely they are to hang on
to their nuclear weapons. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is that the
Chinese already voted for the very tough U.N. sanctions in August and
September. Ninety-six percent of North Korea’s trade is with China, but
the Chinese don’t want to asphyxiate, to choke the regime to death, for
fear that it will collapse.
That seems also quite
correct. Finally, here is Rajan Menon again:
SHAIKH: And, Joanna,
could you, very quickly—you’ve been writing about this. The human
rights situation in China now under President Xi Jinping?
CHIU: Well, it’s quite
severe under Xi Jinping’s first five years as president. We have seen
an unprecedented crackdown on people in civil society, from lawyers to
bloggers to journalists to primary school teachers.
There is a very big contrast between the tone and the demeanor that
Trump struck in South Korea and in Japan compared to China. He clearly
does not want to do anything at all to embarrass Mr. Xi. He did not
meet with dissidents. He didn’t bring up the issue of human rights. He
soft-pedaled, as you noted, as you noted earlier, the trade deficit.
And so, I would say, from the Chinese standpoint, this summit has gone
very well for them. Less so, I think, for Mr. Trump.
Quite possibly so,
though I think - much as I dislike Trump - he did this better
And this is a
recommended article with considerably more text.
Does U.S. Want a Blank Check to Wage Illegal
This article is by Marjorie
Cohn on Truthdig and originally on Truthout. It starts as follows:
Defense Secretary James
Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee on Oct. 30 that the Trump administration has all
the legal authority it needs to kill people anywhere in the world. But
just in case Congress wishes to update its old Authorization for the
Use of Military Force (AUMF), Mattis and Tillerson told them how to do
it: Write a blank check to the president.
I say, for to the
best of my knowledge Mattis and Tillerson were - grossly and
impertinently - lying:
Legally speaking, any declaration of war must
be made by Congress, and not by the president.
And there has been no
declaration of war since WW II, even though American troops are
watching over American interests in 80 or 85% of all countries
are, and American troops are currently fighting, and have
for as much as sixteen years, in no less than seven
These are the reasons
why Mattis and Tillerson were either grossly lying or simply dreaming,
at least in legal terms, although the practical terms
different from the legal terms, at least since 9/11 (but also before
Here is another
lie-or-dream by Mattis:
Mattis insisted that
Title 10 of the US Code grants authority for train-and-advise missions
anywhere in the world. But the War Powers Resolution (WPR), passed by
Congress in the wake of the Vietnam War, specifies that the president’s
authority to order US troops into hostilities cannot be inferred from
any provision of law that does not specifically authorize the use of US
forces in hostilities. And Title 10 does not.
Here are more details:
In fact, what Mattis and
Tillerson seems to want is that Trump can start wars on anyone he
pleases at any time he pleases, rather like the Roman Ceasars:
The WPR allows the
president to introduce US Armed Forces into hostilities or imminent
hostilities in only three situations:
First, after Congress has
declared war, which has not happened since World War II. Second, in “a
national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its
territories or possessions, or its armed forces,” which had not
occurred prior to the killings of the US troops in Niger. And third,
when there is “specific statutory authorization,” such as an
Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
I doubt whether that will stop
Trump, as it did not stop Obama or Bush Jr. either.
In other words, Mattis
and Tillerson want Congress to give the president a blank check to make
war anytime, anywhere on Earth, as he sees fit. They seek the
imprimatur of Congress for perpetual war with the whole world as the
However, they are
conveniently forgetting that in addition to the WPR, the president must
comply with the UN Charter, a treaty the US has ratified. The charter
requires that states settle their international disputes peacefully and
prohibits the use of military force except in self-defense.
But this is a recommended article, and the brief of it seems to be
Yes, the president of the USA wants to start wars wherever he pleases,
but there are legal difficulties (which may be set aside, in practice,
Corporate Class Doesn't Need or Deserve a Massive Tax Break
This article is by
Jim Hightower on AlterNet. This is from near the beginning:
[There is] Trump's
towering redo of our country's tax law -- and, no surprise, his plan is
truly golden. For the super-rich, that is, revealing in hard numbers
whom his presidency really serves: Not just the 1 percent, but
especially the 1-percent-of-the-1-percent who are multimillionaires and
billionaires... like -- guess who? -- him.
First and foremost, the
Trump tax plan slashes the payments that giant corporations make to
support our nation. He claims that this will let corporate elites raise
the wages of workers and create jobs, winking at the fact that, of
course, the elites will pocket every dime of Trump's tax giveaways. And
he doesn't mention a little secret gotcha: A third of his corporate
benefits would go to foreign owners of American corporations.
Incidentally, this is also
a very old lie that was also used by Reagan and
Thatcher: If you tax
the rich, you have their taxes and you can
redistribute them; if
you donīt tax the rich (as much), you donīt have their
and you can only appeal to their hearts to get a bit from what
them. And generally such appeals fail completely.
And there is also Supreme
Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who famously said: "Taxes are what we pay for civilized
- which is to say: If we do not want a civil society - but
a brutish one in which the few rich rule and exploit all because they
are rich - then you should not pay taxes. Which is what
Google, Windows and Facebooks all refuse to do for the most part.
Back to the article:
luxurious new tax structure eliminates many benefits for middle class
families, such as tax deductions for medical expenses, college tuition
and interest paid on student loans. He wants modest-income families to
pay more, so he can eliminate current taxes on his own uber-rich
family, including killing the alternative income tax paid by the rich
and the estate tax.
And that seems wholly
correct. And here are four questions by Jim Hightower, that I shall
answer after quoting them, in the tradition of the billionaires that
have most powers:
Here's a question you
might want to ask our Trumpestuous President and his mousey Trumpeteers
in Congress: "Why are you even considering giving more tax breaks to
First, the self-serving
corporate class is wallowing in warehouses of wealth, greedily hoarding
it in offshore tax shelters and stock-buyback schemes, refusing to
invest their unconscionable profits to benefit the vast majority of
people they've been knocking down and holding down.
Second, you shouldn't
give away our public treasury when our nation has a budget deficit and
faces a frightening backlog of crying needs for public investment --
from our deteriorating infrastructure to our disappearing middle class.
Third, our people's sense
of equality and social unity has been severely fractured by 30 years of
gross wealth inequality, so intentionally widening the wealth gap is
criminally stupid and dangerous.
Fourth, why would you
think over-paid, over-pampered CEOs deserve more pampering? They've
become imperious potentates who feel entitled to gouge, cheat, defraud,
lie and otherwise run over us commoners.
Here are my
ĻanswersĻ to these questions, from the point of view of the very
First, because the richer a man is, the more superior a man is. The
rich are simple better and more superior people than the non-rich, and
should get all the liberties to exercise their superiorities.
Second, because the
poor are inferior people they should not have any command over the
money of the rich.
Third, the sense of
equality of the non-rich is completely irrealistic: All that counts to
establish a manīs size and worth is
the profit one makes. People who make no profits are
losers. Only the
rich make profits.
Fourth, once again:
The rich are very superior people who should be allowed to do all they
In fact, I
of these answers, but I also believe most rich are strongly
inclined to give these answers to defend their own riches.
Study Shows Urgently Needed 100% Renewable Transition More Feasible
This article is by Julia
Conley on Common Dreams. This starts as follows:
A transition to
100 percent renewable energy by 2050—or even sooner—is not only
possible, but would also cost less and create millions of new jobs,
according to new research presented in Bonn, Germany on Thursday.
The results of the study, according to a
forward written by EWG's president Hans-Josef Fell, show "that a 100%
renewable electricity system is an effective and urgently needed
climate protection measure. A global zero emission power system is
feasible and more cost-effective than the existing system based on
nuclear and fossil fuel energy."
say, for I did not know this, and this is a considerable
clearly, it is mostly due to technological advances that have been made
in the last 20 years or so.
is some more:
In an interview
with Deutsche Welle published Thursday, author and 350.org
co-founder Bill McKibben agreed
with the study's assertion that a complete shift from fossil fuels is
necessary to avoid even more dangerous effects of global warming than
those the planet is already experiencing.
"If we have any hope of
preventing absolute civilization challenge and catastrophe, then we
need to be bringing down carbon emissions with incredible rapidity, far
faster than it can happen just via normal economic transition,"
think McKibben is quite right, but there are considerable
difficulties, that mostly amount to the riches of the fossel fuel
industry, combined with their dedication to profits for themselves:
I think McKibben is right in that as well. There is more in the article
that is recommended.
While entirely possible
from an economic standpoint as the new research shows, the political
feasibility of the transition is another story. "That depends entirely
on whether we can build movements large enough to break the power of
the fossil fuel industry that holds us where we are," said McKibben.
I have now been saying since
end of 2015 that
xs4all.nl is systematically
ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds,
as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between
two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been
there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any
other Dutch provider is any better (!!).