from April 17, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
This is a
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 17, 2018
1. What's in Those Seized Records? Trump's Biggest New Worry
The 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:
2. Democrats Love Trump's Wars, Too
3. The Corporate Plan to Groom U.S. Kids for Servitude
by Wiping Out
4. Mob Rule at the White House
5. Transcript: James Comey's interview with ABC News chief
in Those Seized Records? Trump's Biggest New Worry
article is by Jonathan Lemire and Catherine Lucey on The Associated
Press. It starts as follows:
President Trump and
his allies have hit a new level of anxiety after the raid on his
personal attorney’s office, fearful of deeper exposure for Trump, his
inner circle and his adult children — and more than concerned that they
don’t know exactly what is in those records and electronic devices
seized last week.
There is also some worry
that Michael Cohen, the self-described legal fixer who helped make bad
stories go away and took a leading role in Trump Organization projects
in foreign outposts, may strike a deal with prosecutors out of concern
about his own prospects.
“I think it’s a huge
minefield for Donald Trump and the Trump Organization,” said trial
attorney Joseph Cammarata, who represented Paula Jones in her sexual
harassment suit against President Bill Clinton. “I think this is on its
own track and this train is coming down the track with brute force.”
I say. I know a little
about this, but not much. Here is some more on Michael Cohen:
The federal raid, carried
out a week ago in New York City, sought bank records, information on
Cohen’s dealing in the taxi industry, Cohen’s communications with the
Trump campaign and information on payments he made in 2016 to former
Playboy model Karen McDougal and to Daniels, both of whom allege
relationships with Trump. The court proceedings Monday dealt with who
gets to look at Cohen’s seized documents and devices before they are
turned over to prosecutors.
And this is about
Mueller and ¨Russia-gate¨:
I think I agree with
Wisenberg, but I have no idea what may have been found on
Cohen´s computers. And I should add that (i) I never believed
in ¨Russia-gate¨ (and not because I believe the Russians are
incapable of it, but because there still is no evidence,
after 1 1/4 years), but (ii) I do believe that the Cambridge
Analytica facts - who took at least 87 million private dossiers
from Facebook, it seems mostly from Americans - may be quite
important for the elections of 2016.
Many in the White House
view the aftershocks of the Cohen raid as potentially more threatening
than Mueller’s Russia probe, fearful of what skeletons may be in the
lawyer’s closets, according to five officials and outside allies who
all spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private
“I agree with the consensus
forming that it’s very dangerous for the president, probably the most
serious thing yet,” said Sol Wisenberg, a defense attorney who was a
deputy independent counsel during the Starr special counsel
investigation into Clinton.
But I don´t know, and am curious to find out, especially about
Facebook + Cambridge Analytica.
There will probably more later on Michael Cohen´s records, and
meanwhile this is a recommended article.
Love Trump's Wars, Too
article is by Adam H. Johnson on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
American politicians on
both sides of the aisle love war. On Monday, an
In These Times survey found that 92 percent of U.S. Democratic and
Independent senators did not mount meaningful opposition to Donald
Trump’s April 13 air strikes against the Syrian government. The primary
point of contention that Democrats—and most of the partisan Democratic
media—leveled were vague legal or constitutional meta-objections that
Trump did not have the “authority” or should consult Congress. But the
bulk of the “resistance” did not raise meaningful objections to the
Only a handful of
Democrats—Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Christopher Murphy, D-Conn.,
Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.—opposed the air
strikes on substance. The vast majority, instead, relied on process
demands that Trump get congressional approval—without saying if the
strikes themselves were good or bad.
I say, which I do
because I did not know that there are - it seems - precisely
three Democrats and one
Independent (Sanders) - who really
objected, in fact on excellent legal grounds, to the recent air
strikes against Syria (which may have been triggered by propaganda),
which are contrary to Trump´s lacking the authority to order
air strikes, and who also did so before verifying that there
really was a gas attack in Syria.
Here is why the
Democrats are not doing their jobs
(and - I add - may have been bought):
Process critiques over
legality are useful as far as they go, but untethered to normative
critiques on the substance of that which is being called to a vote,
they amount to little more than busy work, a way of looking anti-Trump
without the mess of opposing air strikes that the Democratic
establishment—including former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton
and her primary messaging apparatus, Center for American Progress—have
been backing for years. It amounts to little more than vacuous hall
monitor-ism: Bomb away, but make sure you follow the rules.
Yes, I think this is entirely
correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
And again I say: Quite so.
And this is a recommended article.
This is consistent with
congressional Democrats’ total lack of substantive opposition to former
President Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s so-called war on ISIS—a war
that Trump has ratcheted up, matching Obama’s civilian death toll in
only his first
seven months in office. Just as with Trump’s manifestly illegal air
strikes on the Syrian regime, Democrats in Congress and the broader
liberal media have little to no substantive objection to Trump’s
unsanctioned wars abroad against ISIS and al-Qaida, both still
authorized by a one-page law passed three days after 9/11.
Corporate Plan to Groom U.S. Kids for Servitude by Wiping Out Public
This article is by Lynn Stuart Parramore on AlterNet and
originally on the Institute for New Economic Thinking. It starts as
It was the strike heard
‘round the country.
West Virginia’s public
school teachers had endured years of low pay, inadequate insurance,
giant class sizes, and increasingly unlivable conditions—including
attempts to force them to record private details of their health daily
on a wellness app.
Their governor, billionaire coal baron Jim Justice, pledged to allow
them no more than an annual 1% raise—effectively a pay cut
considering inflation—in a state where teacher salaries ranked 48th
lowest out of 50 states. In February 2018, they finally revolted: In a
tense, four-day work stoppage, they managed to wrest a 5% pay
increase from the state. Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky have
now revolted in
It’s the latest battle in a
contest between two countervailing forces: one bent on reengineering
America for the benefit of the wealthy, the other struggling to
preserve dignity and security for ordinary people.
I think this is more or
less correct. Here is more on the background - and Lafer and Temin are
professors who were finding out about ¨reengineering America for the benefit of the
In state after state, a
pattern was emerging of highly coordinated campaigns to smash unions,
shrink taxes for the wealthy, and cut public services. Headlines blamed
globalization and technology for the squeeze on the majority of the
population, but Lafer began to see something far more deliberate
working behind the scenes: a hidden force that was well-funded,
laser-focused, and astonishingly effective.
Lafer pored over the
activities of business lobbying groups like the American Legislative
Exchange Council (ALEC) – funded by giant corporations including
and Bank of America—that produces “model legislation” in areas its
conservative members use to promote privatization.
I think this also may
be more or less correct. And here is Lafer´s conclusions:
After five years of
research and the publication of The
One Percent Solution, Lafer concluded that by lobbying to make
changes like increasing class sizes, pushing for online instruction,
lowering accreditation requirements for teachers, replacing public
schools with privately-run charters, getting rid of publicly elected
school boards and a host of other tactics, Big Business was aiming to
dismantle public education.
The grand plan was even
more ambitious. These titans of business wished to completely change
the way Americans and their children viewed their life potential.
Transforming education was the key.
Perhaps so. There is
considerably more in the article, that is recommended.
Rule at the White House
article is by Michael Winship on Common Dreams. This is from near the
similarities between the current White House and the Mob: “The silent
circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them
worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to
some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above
the truth.” And in his ABC interview with George
Stephanopoulos Sunday night, Comey—with extensive past
experience prosecuting the Gambino family and John Gotti—said Trump was
“morally unfit to be president.”
Yes indeed - and in case
you are are interested: Item 5 is the
transcript of Stephanopoulos´s interview with James Comey.
Here is more from this article:
I did not know any
of these brief specifications, although I am aware for a long
time that Donald Trump and his family have been connected by various
persons to the Mafia.
New Yorker, journalist Adam Davidson discusses Trump’s “long
history of links to New York Mafia figures and other financial
irregularities,” and writes:
I am unaware of anybody
who has taken a serious look at Trump’s business who doesn’t believe
that there is a high likelihood of rampant criminality. In Azerbaijan,
he did business with a likely
money launderer for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In the
Republic of Georgia, he partnered with a group that was being
investigated for a possible role in the largest known
bank-fraud and money-laundering case in history. In Indonesia, his
development partner is “knee-deep in dirty politics”; there
are criminal investigations of his deals in Brazil; the FBI
is reportedly looking into his daughter Ivanka’s role in the
Trump hotel in Vancouver, for which she worked with a Malaysian family
that has admitted to financial fraud. Back home, Donald, Jr., and
Ivanka were investigated for financial crimes associated with the Trump
hotel in SoHo—an investigation that was halted
suspiciously. His Taj Mahal casino received what was then the
largest fine in history for money-laundering violations.
Here is some more on Mueller´s investigation:
The investigation of
special counsel Robert Mueller reaches further than ever and
increasingly zeroes in not only on Russia and obstruction of justice
but also allegations of widespread financial dirty tricks such as those
outlined above. Add to Trump’s troubles the defections from his legal
team and his lack of a single competent criminal lawyer to make his
case, plus the increasingly tangled role of fixer-wannabe Michael
Cohen, whose dedication to non-disclosure agreements on behalf of his
bosom buddy Trump (and Trump
donor, financier Elliott Broidy) takes sycophancy to new depths.
Yes indeed. Here
is the ending of this article:
But while we may not
be at the extraction point yet, increasingly there are those who think
the endgame for this administration is nigh—and indeed, that would be
the righteous outcome. As Tony Soprano would say, we’re sorry it had to
come to this, Donald, but you brought it on yourself. No man is above—
or in your case, below—the law.
Yes, I think this
is right (and were are not yet ¨at
the extraction point¨
because no one knows what is on Michael Cohen´s computers). And this is
a recommended article.
James Comey's interview with ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos
article is by ABC News. It starts with this introduction:
ABC News’ chief
anchor George Stephanopoulos’ interviewed former FBI director James Comey for a
special edition of “20/20” that aired on Sunday, April 15, 2018 ahead
of the release of Comey's book, "A Higher Loyalty." The following is
the transcript of the interview:
I have said already that I did not
see the interview George Stephanopoulos did with James Comey for the
simple reason that I detest watching most interviews. Then
again, when I found the present transcript, I decided to read through all
of it, because it is fairly important.
And I did. What I found is the following - and I am sorry if you have
read this before in other jpournalistic reports.
First, here is Comey on fairness, integrity and truth:
You lay out qualities of an ethical leader. What are they?
First and foremost, it's someone who realizes that lasting values have
to be at the center of their leadership. Whether they're in government
or in the private sector or leading a university, they have to focus on
things like fairness and integrity and, most of all, the truth. That
the truth matters.
I agree, although I doubt whether many leaders in the private sector
(that according to Milton Friedman has precisely one moral duty: to
make a profit) and indeed in the universities would - privately, at
least - agree with Comey.
besides, while I agree with what Comey is saying here,
I doubt his honesty (though very probably rather less than my
distrusting Trump´s honesty).
there is this about the title of Comey´s book:
Yes, that seems correct.
And-- and why the title, “A Higher Loyalty?”
Well, in part, the title comes from a bizarre conversation I had with
the president in dinner at the White House in January of last year,
where he asked for my loyalty personally as the F.B.I. director. My
loyalty's supposed to be to the American people and to the institution.
Then there is this about Comey´s comparing Trump to a mob boss
(and see item 4):
How strange is it for you to sit here and compare the president to a
Very strange. And I don't do it lightly. I-- and I'm not trying to
that, by the way, suggest that President Trump is out breaking legs
and-- you know, shaking down shopkeepers. But instead, what I'm talking
about is that leadership culture constantly comes back to me when I
think about my experience with the Trump administration.
the loyalty oaths, the boss as the dominant center of everything, it's
all about how do you serve the boss, what's in the boss' interests.
It's the family, the family, the family, the family. That's why it
reminds me so much and not, "So what's the right thing for the country
and what are the values of the institutions that we're dealing with?"
It's all about here.
think Comey is correct about this as well (and I might add that Trump
never had any political position in his life).
there is this about Trump´s assertions and monologues:
In fact, Stephanopoulos is
quite right, but he is (again) not a psychologist, and I am, and
therefore I add that it were precisely what Comey called
Trump´s (boldings added) ¨baffling,
unnecessary lies¨ that convinced me rapidly, now more than two years ago,
that there was something
quite wrong with Trump: Healthy people are far from honest,
but they do NOT need to tell - and what´s more: again, and
again, and again - the kinds of (extremely flattering) lies Trump tells
(..) It was him talking almost the entire time, which I've discovered
is something he frequently does. And so it would be monologue in this
direction, monologue in that direction, monologue in a different
direction. And a constant series of assertions that-- about the
inauguration crowd, about how great my inauguration speech was, about
all the free media-- earned media, I think was his term, that I got
during the campaign.
and on and on and on. Everyone agrees, everyone agrees, I did this,
the-- I never assaulted these women, I never made fun of a reporter.
And-- I'm sure you're wondering what question did I ask that would
prompt those? None, zero. I didn't ask any questions that I recall.
You call them baffling, unnecessary lies.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
And I say to this, as a
psychologist (with considerable experience with seriously disturbed
persons) that I agree with Comey that ¨Donald [is] Trump unfit to be president¨ but I disagree with his reasons.
You write that President Trump is unethical, untethered to the truth.
Is Donald Trump unfit to be president?
Yes. But not in the way m-- I often hear people talk about it. I don't
buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of
dementia. He strikes me as a person of above average intelligence who's
tracking conversations and knows what's going on. I don't think he's
medically unfit to be president. I think he's morally unfit to be
person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about
and treats women like they're pieces of meat, who lies constantly about
matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that
person's not fit to be president of the United States, on moral
grounds. And that's not a policy statement. Again, I don't care what
your views are on guns or immigration or taxes
Let me spell this out a little:
I agree with Comey that Trump is not in the ¨early stages of dementia¨; that he is ¨above average intelligence¨ (but
he is not brilliant and certainly not a genius, though I fear he may
think the last); and that he is medically fit (bodily) to be
Also, I know that people may be quite intelligent and yet
be wholly mad. But I also think that somebody ¨who lies constantly about matters big and
small and insists the American people believe it¨ is definitely quite abnormal, and having
seen, considered, and thought over the nine criterions which allow
psychiatrists and psychologists to conclude that someone who satisfies
5 out of these criterions may be classified as a narcissist
(aka megalomaniac), and having seen that Trump satisfies 9 out 9, I
concluded Trump is a
megalomaniac/narcissist, and for that reason should not
be president of any country.
In fact, here are
the nine observational criterions that psychiatrists and
psychologists use to decide whether someone is a narcissist/megalomaniac:
¨1. Has a
grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements
I think all of these are
true of Donald Trump - and in case I am mistaken about 9 out of 9, I
think I am correct about (at least) 5 out of 9.
and talents, expects to be recognized as superior
2. Is preoccupied with
fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or
3. Believe that he or she is
"special" and unique and can only be
understood by, or
should associate with other special or high-status
people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive
5. Has a sense of entitlement
6. Is interpersonally
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling
to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs
8. Is often envious of others
or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty
behaviors or attitudes."
Finally, this is a recommended article (though it is quite long).
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 (!!).