from December 28, 2017.
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, December 28,
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 two years (!!!!)
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
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from December 28, 2017
Former Federal Judge: Trump Is Packing the
2. Trump's Cabinet Members Are Operating in Unprecedented
3. As Wealthiest Amass Another $1 Trillion in 2017, Calls for
'Strike Back' Against Oligarchy
4. Will A War With North Korea Be Our Political Leaders’
5. Donald Trump Did Not Play Golf Today
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:
Federal Judge: Trump Is Packing the Courts with Unqualified
This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on
Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
confirmation of a 12th circuit court judge earlier this month, Trump
set a record for the most appellate judges confirmed in a president’s
first year in office. Early in his first year, Trump appointed
conservative Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. But legal experts say
Trump’s appointments to the lower courts will have the most impact on
American life because they decide nearly all cases, ranging from voting
rights and contraception to gay rights and immigration. Meanwhile,
Trump’s nominee to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. District Court in
Washington withdrew from consideration, after widely circulated video
showed he was unable to answer basic questions about the law and had
never tried a case in court. We get response from Judge Shira
Scheindlin, former United States district judge for the Southern
District of New York, where she served for 22 years.
As I have said several
times: I usually copy the introductions to the interviews on Democracy
Now! simply because they are good.
It is the same here, and the subject is the systematic judicial
corruption that Trump's government is indulging in.
Here is Judge Scheindlin:
Yes indeed. And here is
the basic explanation why Trump's government can do it, indeed
unlike Obama's government and previous other governments:
SCHEINDLIN: A lot is
happening right now—and, as you already said, at record speed. You
mentioned that 12 circuit judges have been confirmed. The previous high
was three, and that was President Obama, got three circuit judges
confirmed in his first year. So, we are seeing a rapid effort to pack
the courts with what can only be termed very conservative judges and
We have one Supreme Court
justice, and everybody pays a lot of attention to that, but the reality
is that the lower courts is where the action is. So, on the 13 circuit
courts, they write 60,000 opinions. The Supreme Court writes 62. So,
you can see that the final word in most cases is at the appellate
level. The trial courts write several hundred thousand opinions per
year. There are a total of about 179 circuit judges throughout the
country, 677 district court judges. And as you know, a Supreme Court
vacancy is a very rare event.
So, if those lower courts
become filled with very conservative judges, all of whom who have life
tenure, all of whom will serve 30 to 40 years, then the impact of these
appointments will last for decades.
Now, what has changed? What has changed is we don’t have the filibuster
rule. This is very important to explain. It used to take 60 votes, but
now it takes only a bare majority. Now, that changed under the
Democrats in 2013, but they had to do it. They had to use that nuclear
option, because their picks were being blocked in the Senate. And while
they knew they did that at their own peril, that it would come back to
haunt them, there are many who believe, even if they hadn’t done it, it
would be done now. The Republicans would do the same thing. So, six of
the Trump judges have already been confirmed with far less than 60
votes. They would never have been confirmed before.
Precisely. There is more
in this article, that is recommended.
Cabinet Members Are Operating in Unprecedented Secrecy: Report
article is by Hunter on AlterNet and originally on DailyKos. It starts
So this is yet another way in
which Trump's government is destroying the American notions of
democracy and of decent government, and I entirely agree.
You can chalk it up to
simple, bumbling incompetence or you can chalk it up to corruption, but
Donald Trump and his Republican minders are very consistently making a hash of our democracy and our notions of government.
A POLITICO review of the
practices of 17 Cabinet heads found that at least eight routinely
decline to release information on their planned schedules or travels —
information that was more widely available during the Obama and George
W. Bush administrations. Four other departments — Agriculture, Labor,
Homeland Security and Education — provide the secretaries’ schedules
only sporadically or with few details.
Here is the beginning of the explanation:
There are only two
possible reasons for these acts, and they boil down to the same two
choices as always. One option is Trump's top-level Republican nominees
are so staggeringly incompetent that they can't even muster basic
record-keeping duties in their posts at the top of our
government—and the consistency of these acts across multiple federal
agencies seems to be an indicator against that theory. The other is
that they are hiding who they are meeting with and which trips
they are taking on the taxpayer dime because they believe there is a
reason to hide those things.
And this is the
alternative that holds:
In an administration
in which the Republican president himself is earning cash from
everything from foreign lobbyists booking his hotels to the Secret
Service's own duties securing his commercial clubs, during his
presence, however, it's further evidence of the Republican descent into
grift as governing ideology. There's no way longtime politicos
like Scott Pruitt don't know federal transparency rules; if they're
hiding that information, it's because they specifically demanded it be
I quite agree, and this is
a recommended article.
Wealthiest Amass Another $1 Trillion in 2017, Calls for a 'Strike Back'
article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It has a subtitle which I
"We can have a world where
everyone has a decent home, the chance for an education, and access to
healthcare. Or we can have billionaires. We can't have both."
indeed, and I quoted this because I agree with it:
there will be, as there are now (and if mankind survives), a few tens
or hundreds of
billionaires, plus some 5 or 10% of the total population who get a
somewhat decent living
serving them, while 90% of the people are effectively poor and have to
work all day, or else the 90% get their fair share, while the
1 to 10% who are profiting now are made to stop profiting.
considerably more, see my Crisis:
Socialism, 11 hypotheses about the causes of the crisis (and in fact this is part of my argument for a - liberal - kind
article starts as follows:
As the gap between the
world's richest and poorest people has widened to an extreme not seen
since the Gilded Age, the 500 wealthiest people have gotten $1 trillion
richer in 2017, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.
The richest people in the
world have been able to amass huge wealth this year thanks to a booming
stock market, as billions of poor and working people around the world
have seen little if any benefit from strong markets. Even in the
world's major economies, including Japan, the U.K., and the U.S.,
workers have seen their wages stagnate
or decline in recent years.
Efforts by the very rich to
contribute to the lower classes through charity, while commendable,
have also done little to halt the growing wealth gap in a global
economy in which the world's five
control $425 billion,
or one-sixth of the U.K.'s gross domestic product.
Yes indeed. Here is the
The wealth gap has grown
large enough to leave some advisers of the rich wary of a potential sea
change in the coming years, as the degree of inequality becomes
unsustainable and leaders take action to stop markets from favoring the
wealthy few—similar to how monopolies were broken up in the U.S. in the
early 20th century.
I more or less agree,
that is, I hope that "the monopolies" will be "broken up in the U.S. in the early 20th
century", but I also think that the chances are around 50/50 that this
will not happen without a revolution, that was avoided
twice in the 20th century, namely by Theodore and by Franklin Roosevelt.
Here is one question that was
asked in a tweet (that I generally avoid):
How do we convince
just 500 of our planets 7.7B people to forego their $5.3 TRILLION
wealth to ensure everyone is adequately fed, housed, educated, receives
healthcare, and lives in an unpolluted environment?
--— Marc Bowden
answer ought to be clear from considering the rich the last 2000
You cannot convince them. Either you force them to help
others by legal punishments, if you can, or else
you have to make a revolution if you cannot force them to help others.
see my Crisis: Robert Reich,
Socialism, 11 hypotheses about the causes of the crisis, and this is a recommended article.
A War With North Korea Be Our Political Leaders’ Greatest Regret?
article is by Lisa Fuller on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
President Bill Clinton’s greatest
regret was his failure to respond to the Rwandan genocide. He estimated
that U.S. intervention could have saved 300,000 lives.
The Vietnam War was former
Secretary of Defense Robert
He wrote an entire book
to explain why he was “terribly wrong.”
Former Senate Minority
Reid, Sen. Tom
Harkin, and Sen. Walter
Jones have all said that they deeply regret authorizing the
war in Iraq. Jones once lamented, “I helped kill 4,000 Americans, and I
will go to my grave regretting that.”
In each case, government
leaders regretted their complicity in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
In each case, they had chosen to prioritize politics above ethics.
Today’s political leaders are about to make the same mistake.
We are now on the verge of
another unnecessary war — this time with North Korea — and it is likely
to wreak more havoc than Vietnam, Iraq and Rwanda combined.
In fact, I am rather
skeptical about politicians who try to wash themselves clean after it
has become clear to many that they made major mistakes. But I let this
stand, in part because I believe some, such as McNamara, and in
also because it is leading up to a good point:
North Korea seems to
the next military war, and in this case it may very well be a nuclear
war and also a world war.
Here is someone who
knows about the risks on a nuclear war:
I agree - and indeed I am
less afraid of Sagan's prediction "that one million people could die on the
first day" than of the many
millions that are
likely to be killed in the first few days or the first week, and the
many more that will die later.
Top nuclear security expert
Scott Sagan warns
that the risk of war is far higher than during the Cuban Missile
Crisis, and predicts that one million people could die on the first day
- a figure that exceeds the death
toll of the entire Rwandan genocide. Even more worryingly, Russia
are making military preparations, suggesting that a Korean war could
quickly escalate into a world war.
Despite this horrific
scenario, President Trump continues to ratchet up tensions by issuing
bombastic threats and overseeing provocative
Here is Lisa Fuller's basic argument:
Put simply, war
could be inevitable if Trump remains in power. Government leaders
therefore have an ethical obligation to remove him from office before
he fulfills his dream
of using nuclear weapons.
I fear that is correct,
and I also fear that three months - which is all Fuller believes is
available - are too short to remove Trump.
The expectations are
dire, but this is a recommended article.
Trump Did Not Play Golf Today
article is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. It starts as follows:
Note first that the
president of the USA is - once again - lying through his
indeed is a simple fact.
Donald Trump denied that he
would be golfing this week:
This is hilarious, of course,
but I think it’s mainly an example of who Trump is addressing when he
But I do not think it is likely that this is "mainly an example of who Trump is addressing
when he speaks": I am a
psychologist who agrees with many other psychologists and psychiatrists
that Trump is very probably
quite mad, and I see this mostly as a sign
of his madness rather than as an indication of whon he thinks
In case you disagree, my suggestion is that you read this (by psychlogists and
Here is a bit more by Drum:
He’s not really
speaking to the press, or to you and me, or to anyone on Capitol Hill.
He’s speaking to his fans. They won’t see him golfing, and newspapers
won’t splash it on the front page, and Fox News won’t cover it. So
tomorrow or the next day Trump will tweet about how the lying media
says he was golfing, and his fans will believe him.
I agree with the first
paragraph, but I guess myself - I have to speak of my guesses,
for the mad are difficult to understand - that Trump himself
believes he is right in saying or tweeting whatever he says or
tweets, and this is in fact worse than if he were normally conscious
of his lying.
But what about the rest of us?
That’s the funny thing. I suspect that Trump likes the fact that we all
know he’s lying.
But Drum also may be right, and so the choice is between a somewhat
rational president who lies much of the time - see here: Trump’s
Lies - and a mad
president who does not know anymore (usually) whether he lied
or not, and who also doesn't care.
My own psychlogist's guess is the second alternative. And this
is a recommended article.
have now been
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 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
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 (!!).