from April 4, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
Incidentally: I have to work rather fast today, because the local
electricity company announced there will be no electricity in my
neighborhood, from 8.30 till 14.00 hours.
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) 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 more than 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
I shall continue.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from April 4, 2018
1. How John Bolton Wants to Destroy the Constitution to
2. Jesse Jackson: How Dr. King Lived Is Why He Died
He Gave His Life in the Labor Struggle: MLK’s
Forgotten Radical Message
for Economic Justice
4. The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is Bad News for the Planet
5. How Low Can the Barons of High Finance Go?
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:
John Bolton Wants to Destroy the Constitution to Attack North Korea
article is by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
In fact, Bolton lied.
Several weeks before
President Donald Trump announced that John Bolton would soon become his
new national security adviser, Bolton wrote a peculiar
op-ed for The Wall Street Journal titled “The Legal Case for
Striking North Korea First.”
What made Bolton’s column
odd was not his belligerence — he’s always been the embodiment of
America’s violent id in human/mustache form — but rather his invocation
of “international law.” According to Bolton, it is now legal for the
U.S. to attack North Korea.
It is generally accepted that
states may engage in preemptive war if they face a so-called imminent
threat, under a classic formulation articulated by former U.S.
Secretary of State Daniel Webster in 1837. Webster wrote that a
pre-emptive attack is valid only if the “necessity of self-defense” is
“instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of
Moreover, Bolton obviously
doesn’t mean what he says in his op-ed. The “threat” part of the
imminent threat to the U.S., he writes, would be North Korea possessing
the capacity to strike America with nuclear weapons via
intercontinental ballistic missiles. The “imminent” part is that they
may have soon have this capacity. So it’s fine for us to obliterate
North Korea right now.
In other words, Bolton is
not arguing that North Korea is in fact about to attack us.
Rather, he contends that it is legal for a country to attack another if
the second country may soon possess the ability to attack the
former with nuclear weapons. But this would obviously mean that it’s
legitimate for Kim Jong Un to attack the nuclear-armed U.S.,
particularly after Trump threatened
to “totally destroy” North Korea at the United Nations in September.
Indeed, by Bolton’s standard, it would also be okay for any country on
earth to immediately nuke the U.S.
Yes indeed, and precisely
for Bolton's reasons: The USA can nuke any country.
more on the real import and background of U.S. law:
And - I think - Lincoln was quite
right. Except that it did not really help, in the long run:
Section 8 of the Constitution states that “Congress shall
have Power … To declare War.”
James Madison, the
Constitution’s main architect, explained
that the U.S. must maintain “a rigid adherence” to “the fundamental
doctrine of the Constitution, that the power to declare war including
the power of judging of the causes of war is fully and exclusively
vested in the legislature.”
Why? Because, said Madison,
the history of human beings shows conclusively that “the executive is
the department of power most distinguished by its propensity to war:
hence it is the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free,
to disarm this propensity of its influence.”
Abraham Lincoln later endorsed
this perspective, writing
that if Americans “allow the President to invade a neighboring nation,
whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an
invasion,” this means also allowing the president to do so “whenever
he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose”
– which therefore permits the executive “to make war at pleasure.”
Precisely. And from
1980 onwards, the U.S. laws on war effectively either collapsed or
might not have been there at all, although the laws were there:
The Constitution did, to
some degree, bind presidents for 150 years. The War of 1812, the
Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World
War II were all formally declared by Congress.
But after World War II, the
executive branch staged a breakout. President Harry Truman called the
Korean War, which began in 1950, a “police action,” and sent hundreds
of thousands of U.S. troops to Korea without any kind of formal
approval from Congress.
Presidents Ronald Reagan,
George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton then merrily started small wars with
little congressional opposition (although some members of the House of
Representatives unsuccessfully sued Clinton for violating the
restrictions of the War Powers Act in his bombing of Kosovo). Bush did
seek and receive approval from Congress for a large-scale conflict, the
1991 Gulf War.
Then came the presidency of
George W. Bush.
There is considerably
more in the article, that is strongly recommended.
Jackson: How Dr. King Lived Is Why He Died
This article is by Jesse Jackson
on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
the nation prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the
assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we should dwell
not merely on how Dr. King died but also on how he lived.
mobilized mass action to win a public accommodations bill and the right
to vote. He led the Montgomery bus boycott and navigated police terror
in Birmingham. He got us over the bloodstained bridge in Selma and
survived the rocks and bottles and hatred in Chicago. He globalized our
struggle to end the war in Vietnam.
he lived is why he died.
he sought to move beyond desegregation and the right to vote, to focus
his work on economic justice, antimilitarism and human rights, the
system pushed back hard. In the last months of his life, he was
attacked by the government, the press, former allies and the military
industrial complex. Even black Democrats turned their backs on him when
he challenged the party’s support for the war in Vietnam.
Yes indeed. Here is some more about the last day Dr. King
was raining cats and dogs, but the Mason Temple, part of the Church of
God in Christ, was nearly full. I was sitting behind Dr. King as he
preached from the pulpit. He spoke with such pathos and passion that I
saw grown men wiping away tears in the sanctuary. “I’m not worried
about anything,” Dr. King told the crowd of about 3,000. “I’m not
fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the
of us took those words as a premonition. We had heard similar
sentiments from him before. Maybe we were in denial. While danger was
all around, we never thought the Martin Luther King we knew and loved,
admitted to Morehouse College at 15, graduated and ordained at 19,
earning a Ph.D. at 26, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at 35, would be
dead at 39.
April 4, the fatal shot rang out just after 6 p.m. as we were about to
get into the cars to go to dinner. Dr. King was on the balcony of the
Lorraine Motel. I was in the parking lot below.
Quite so, and there is some more in the article, that
Gave His Life in the Labor Struggle: MLK’s Forgotten Radical Message
for Economic Justice
This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on
Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
Rev. Martin Luther
King Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago this week while in Memphis,
where he was supporting striking sanitation workers and building
support for his Poor People’s Campaign. We look at King’s long history
of fighting for economic justice, with the Rev. James Lawson and
historian Michael Honey, author of the new book “To the Promised Land:
Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice.”
Yes. Here is Michael Honey:
Most people don’t know that Dr. King was a strong union supporter from
his earliest days. And as Dr. Reverend Lawson was just saying, you
know, it’s part of the social gospel, about raising up people on the
bottom, the least of these. And King worked with major unions, from the
Montgomery bus boycott onward. The United Packinghouse Workers,
especially, came to his aid, and also the United Auto Workers union,
International Longshoremen’s union. He was in touch with eight or 10
different unions, and he spoke at their conventions regularly. And
people would call him up from Atlanta saying, “We need somebody out
here on the picket line with us in New York City for 1199, hospital
workers’ union. Would you come?” And he would come, speak on the picket
I think I knew that "Dr. King was a strong union supporter from
his earliest days" when Dr. King
was killed, and the reason was that both of my parents were - very
courageous - communists. Therefore, I knew some more about Dr. King
than most Dutchmen (at the time). Then again, I was totally unaware of
the details Honey gives.
Here is some more, also by Honey:
It came out of his
whole life’s experience, but his whole family’s experience. His
great-grandparents were slaves. A number of them were slaves. His
grandparents were sharecroppers and poor people who migrated to the
city. His father was a poor man from the rural areas of Georgia who
migrated to the city of Atlanta with nothing in his pocket. And, of
course, Martin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929 at the beginning of the
Great Depression, and so he lived through the ’30s as a young man
surrounded by neighborhoods that were quite poor.
Yes indeed, and this is a
Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is Bad News for the Planet
This article is by Ellen Brown on
Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Two new studies from
Europe show that the number of farm birds in France has crashed by
a third in just 15 years, with some species being almost eradicated.
The collapse in the bird population mirrors
the discovery last October that more than three quarters of all
flying insects in Germany have vanished in just three decades. Insects
are the staple food source of birds, the pollinators of fruits, and the
aerators of the soil.
The chief suspect in this
mass extinction is the aggressive use of neonicotinoid pesticides,
and clothianidin, both made by the Germany-based chemical giant
Bayer. These pesticides, along with toxic
glyphosate herbicides such as Roundup, have delivered a one-two
punch to monarch butterflies, honeybees and birds. But rather than
banning these toxic chemicals, on March 21 the EU
approved the $66 billion merger of Bayer and Monsanto, the U.S.
agribusiness giant that produces Roundup and the genetically modified
(GMO) seeds that have reduced seed diversity globally. The merger will
make the Bayer-Monsanto conglomerate the largest seed and pesticide
company in the world, giving it enormous power to control farm
practices, putting private profits over the public interest.
Quite so - and I must
say that I have been expecting what Ellen Brown
summarizes since the 1970ies, mostly as effects from the collapsing
of feedback circles. It may have taken a bit longer than I
in the 1970ies, but I think by now nature has started to
And of course there are
many more reasons than just Monsanto and Bayer, but I completely
Ellen Brown that these are co-responsible in major ways for the
collapse of nature, and in fact because they are dominated by their
profits, and not or much less by any other considerations.
Here is a bit of how
dominated by their own profits, and how they (ab)use these
to make even more profits:
As Massachusetts Sen.
Elizabeth Warren noted in a speech in December at the Open Markets
Institute, massive companies are merging into market-dominating
entities that invest a share of their profits in lobbying and financing
political campaigns, shaping the political system to their own ends.
Precisely. And this is
about Monsanto's major contributions to the collapse of
Yes indeed. And here is a
While Bayer’s neonicotinoid
pesticides wipe out insects and birds, Monsanto’s glyphosate has been
linked to more
than 40 human diseases, including
cancer. Its seeds have been genetically modified to survive this
toxic herbicide, but the plants absorb it into their tissues. In the
humans who eat the plants, glyphosate disrupts the endocrine system and
the balance of gut bacteria, damages DNA and is a driver of cancerous
mutations. Researchers summarizing
a 2014 study of glyphosates in the Journal of Organic Systems
linked them to the huge increase in chronic diseases in the United
States, with the percentage of GMO corn and soy planted in the U.S.
showing highly significant correlations with hypertension, stroke,
diabetes, obesity, lipoprotein metabolism disorder, Alzheimer’s,
Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, end stage renal disease,
acute kidney failure, cancers of the thyroid, liver, bladder, pancreas,
kidney and myeloid leukaemia. But regulators have turned a blind eye,
captured by corporate lobbyists and a political agenda that has more to
do with power and control them protecting the health of the people.
My ex and both fell ill in January 1979. We are both still ill - in the
fortieth year of our disease - but I suppose (although I
disagree) that psychologists like my ex and myself (who
were a lot more intelligent than the average in the Dutch universities,
and thus did both get (very good) M.A. degrees, although we never
had the energy to visit any lectures) are only allowed
since March 19, 2018, to say that we have
"a serious chronic disease"
(for in Holland medical doctors are always right).
We both fell ill with Pfeiffer's
disease in 1979, but that disease is
also still not fully known, and we were both quite healthy before
In any case: Quite a few of the diseases mentioned in the last
quotation are more prominent in people with ME/CFS, that is
unexplained (and is now - after "a mere forty years" of
having it - a
totally untreated "serious chronic
I do not know the cause of the disease my ex and I have since
years, but I would not be amazed at all if it is due to a
of genetics and agricultural poisons - and while I do not
know, I do
insist this might have been researched in the 40 years we were
insane ("psychosomatizers", which is not even medicine: we
supposed to hallucinate ourselves - for forty years, in
which we both
got brillliant psychology degrees - or else to be deceiving the
medical geniuses (in their own opinions) which we visited, even
we had no motive whatsoever to deceive anyone, and had
fallen ill in
the first year of our studies on study loans).
Anyway... (and yes: it may have other causes as well). And this
fine article that ends as follows, starting with a quote
I completely agree,
although I do not expect Trump will be rational or reasonable. And this
is a strongly recommended article.
Farmers and governments
have been comprehensively conned by the global pesticide industry. It
has ensured its products should not be properly regulated or even, in
real-world conditions, properly assessed. … The profits of these
companies depend on ecocide. Do we allow them to hold the world to
ransom, or do we acknowledge that the survival of the living world is
more important than returns to their shareholders?
President Trump has boasted
awards for environmental protection. If he is sincere about
championing the environment, he needs to block the merger of Bayer and
Monsanto, two agribusiness giants bent on destroying the ecosystem for
Low Can the Barons of High Finance Go?
This article is by Jim Hightower on AlterNet. It starts as
Question: What do
you get when you combine ignorance, ideological know-nothingism,
imperiousness and incompetence? Answer: Betsy DeVos.
Actually, I think DeVos is
worse than she is sketched here, but let that be. Here is more on the
Wall Street bankers (who are protected up to the hilt by Hillary and
All across the country, 5
million students -- largely single moms, veterans and other low-income
people targeted by this nefarious network of colleges, lenders and
collection agencies -- have defaulted on their student loan debt and
have had their credit ratings and job improvement prospects destroyed
by the profiteering private education system that DeVos carelessly
promotes. Her latest favor for them is an insidious new policy she
issued unilaterally asserting that her agency can pre-empt any state
laws designed to stop the blatant lies and abuses of these
In fact, "Greed is good" may well go back to Milton Friedman
who formulated his single norm in 1962: Profit and only profit, of private
running private corporations without any responsibility whatsoever
to anyone (except themselves):
DeVos is bad, but the
bankers she serves are even worse. "Greed is good," proclaimed Gordon
Gekko, the lead character in a 1987 film lampooning the low ethics
of Wall Street's barons of high finance.
You might think that, surely,
this Hollywood portrayal of big banker mentality is a gross
exaggeration, but check out an egregious example of Gekko-level greed
being pushed by today's finance industry. Big banks like Capital One,
Citi, Bank of America and Wells Fargo -- through their lobbying front,
the Financial Services Roundtable -- have been going all out to kill a
sensible labor department rule meant to protect people's retirement
accounts from the self-serving guile of financial manipulators.
could so thoroughly undermine the very foundation of our free society
as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility
other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible.
This is a fundamentally subversive doctrine. If businessmen do have a
social responsibility other than making maximum profits for
stockholders, how are they to know what it is? Can self-selected
private individuals decide what the social interest is?"
- we got
responsibility whatsoever except enlarging our own profits - is one
the reasons I think Friedman was a neofascist,
in my sense.
private individuals" cannot "decide what the social
interest is?" then no one
can. Besides, the
also are "self-selected
and they do understand what their
are: Their own
interests and no one else's, precisely as Friedman put it.
Here is Hightower's ending:
that they have a legal right to profit by deceiving and cheating their
own customers is a level of gluttony so gross that it would even gag
Gordon Gekko. To fight their absurd claim, connect with Consumer Federation of America.
I put in the last link to the Consumer Federation of America and this is a recommended
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 (!!).