from April 22, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
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.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from April 22, 2018
1. Bill to Restrict Trump’s War Powers Would Actually
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:
Worldwide War on Terror”
2. Ending Plastic Pollution in the Oceans, Land &
3. Fox in the Henhouse: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
4. Can Trump Fire Special Counsel Robert
5. 'What Am I Doing? How Did I End Up Here?'
to Restrict Trump’s War Powers Would Actually “Endorse a Worldwide War
article is by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
On Monday, three Republican
and three Democratic senators, led by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and
Tim Kaine, D-Va., released a draft of
a new “authorization for use of military force,” or AUMF.
This AUMF would repeal the
AUMF passed on September 14, 2001, which gave the president the power
“to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations,
organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed,
or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11,
2001.” It would also nullify the October, 2002, AUMF that authorized
the president to use the military to “defend the national security of
the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”
Not surprisingly, Presidents
George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have each taken this
extremely broad language and run with it. A 2016 Congressional
Research Service report found 37 examples in 14 different countries
of Bush and Obama using the 2001 AUMF to justify the use of military
And incidentally, a bit aside: I grant that abbreviations are
in ordinary language but I quite often dislike them because the
abbreviations do not sound like what they do abbreviate, or
indeed have been designed - as was the ¨PATRIOT Act¨ of 2001 - to
In the above quotation ¨AUMF¨ occurs no less than five times. I
blame Jon Schwarz, but I do think abbreviations are often used
obscure what is being abbreviated.
Here is more on the new ¨AUMF¨, which in fact seems a major
of the voters:
So, something needs to be
done about this. “For too long, Congress has given presidents a blank
check,” Kaine recently
said. “Our proposal finally repeals those authorizations and makes
Congress do its job by weighing in on where, when, and with who we are
That sounds good. But the
actual language of the Corker-Kaine bill appears to do almost the
opposite of what its authors claim.
According to the American
Civil Liberties Union, it may
be “far broader and more dangerous than even current law.” The
ACLU’s Christopher Anders calls it “a monumental shift that will
amp up war everywhere.”
Steven Vladeck, a
specialist in national security law at the University of
Texas School of Law, believes that “the bill risks doing
exactly what Congress refused to do in those first, tense days after
9/11 — write a blank check to this and future presidents to wage
offensive war, without any regard for whether such uses of force are
necessary or wise.”
I´d say: Precisely
that is. what the American
Civil Liberties Union (abbreviated as ¨ACLU¨, which sounds a lot less
relevant, but yes: this is an aside) says, and not what a fraud like Kaine
Here is how the ¨AUMF¨
First, it discards the
language in the 2001 AUMF which declares that force could only be used
against those involved the 9/11 attacks
This would essentially give
the executive branch post hoc approval for the ways presidents have
used the 2001 AUMF to date. But what’s worse, the bill gives the
president functionally unlimited power to add additional “associated
forces” at will.
These associated forces can
be anyone that “the President determines,” as long as the president
claims they are “a co-belligerent” with our previously named enemies,
or were once a part of them. They also can be located in any country
that the president names — meaning that once the president adds
them to the list, any amount of force can be used there, from
drones to all-out war.
Yes indeed. Here is one
Thus, the bill takes
Congress’s constitutional power to declare war, in which the president
can only act when provided congressional authorization, and inverts it,
by giving the president the ability to act unless a supermajority of
Congress stops them.
This is so bizarre that
Anders believes, “This can’t possibly be constitutional. A Congress in
2018 can’t turn the power the Constitution gave to Congress over to the
president in perpetuity.”
Actually, I don´t
see why ¨A Congress in
2018 can’t turn the power the Constitution gave to Congress over to the
president in perpetuity¨,
and my reasons are not logic,
consistency, clarity or honesty
(which seem to be missing in many of the bills that are
accepted), but the simple fact that Congress has not
powers that it has been given constiturtionally for about sixty years
And there is another
thing, although that is probably personal: I find this
fraudulent, extra-ordinarily dishonest lying, especially by the
Democratic degenerate fraud Kaine, so very
sickening that I
think I totally give up on both the
Democrats and the Republicans (except perhaps for one or two).
Plastic Pollution in the Oceans, Land & Our Bodies
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the
This Sunday more
than a billion people will celebrate Earth Day. This year’s theme:
ending plastic pollution by Earth Day 2020. Of the nearly 300 million
tons of plastic sold each year, about 90 percent ends up in landfills,
in the oceans—and in our bodies. Part of the focus will be
microplastics, those small bits of plastic that are seemingly
everywhere. We speak to Marcus Eriksen of the 5 Gyres Institute, who
has led 20 expeditions around the world to research plastic marine
pollution, and Priscilla Villa of the #BreakFreeFromPlastics movement.
Well... I like the
introductions with which Democracy Now! open their interviews, simply
because they are normally clear and objective, which is the reason I
normally reproduce them when I review an interview on Democracy Now!,
but the above introduction seems rather incredible to me on two
First, it is Sunday April 22 as I write it, but I completely
disbelieve that ¨more
than a billion people will celebrate Earth Day¨. I am sorry: Perhaps the worldchampionship soccer
will get as many ¨supporters¨ but not ¨Earth Day¨.
And second, plastic has been
polluting the earth for more than 50
years now: I think it is completely - totally, utterly -
irrealistic to aim at the ¨ending plastic pollution by Earth Day 2020¨ (within 2 years, that is).
And while I will not hold this against Democracy Now! I do
disbelieve both points.
Here is some more by Marcus Eriksen:
What you see here is a bunch of zooplankton and plastic. It’s the
same-size pieces we find inside the stomachs of these fish, the
lanternfish, the myctophids. Now, you’re here in the middle of nowhere,
and you still find this trash. The human footprint is everywhere,
everywhere you go. On top of mountains, the bottom of the ocean,
evidence of us.
My reasons to quote this
are that (i) I believe Eriksen, that is there is plastic ¨everywhere, everywhere you go. On top of
mountains, the bottom of the ocean, evidence of us.¨; that (ii) it
seems plastic cannot be broken down but can be reduced in size,
means that it enters the bodies of extremely many animals; and that
(iii) - once again - I see no means to get rid of the 270 million tons
of plastic that are now yearly
added to nature.
Of course, you can legally forbid the use of plastic, and a few
of these laws are under way, but what I am concerned with are the
trillions of tons that have been added to nature.
Here is more by Eriksen:
Well, the microbeads, that was a primary microplastic. They were
designed to be small. And those are the ones that we saw in our facial
scrubs and toothpaste. But Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act
in 2015. So, microbeads, we’ve been able to do away with, through some
great campaigning. But the microplastics are just everything that
breaks down into small particles. And we have found them in the middle
of the oceans, all the five subtropical gyres, Antarctica, the Arctic.
We have found them frozen in sea ice and the deep floor—deep sea floor
sediments. So the distribution has gone global of these small bits,
like as big as a grain of rice or smaller. They’re everywhere.
I do believe Eriksen, and once
again I repeat that I do not know
of anything that can
remove the trillions of tons worth of - very tiny - bits of
Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine but depressing article:
As I said: I do not know of anything
that can remove the trillions tons worth of - very tiny -
bits of plastic that are now in nature. And this is a strongly
GOODMAN: What is the
impact of plastics on human beings, Marcus?
ERIKSEN: On us, well, you
can say it’s twofold. One is the issue of plastics as waste, that
contaminates other living things, including fish, that the world
depends on. You know, I think one-sixth of the planet gets their
protein from fish. And we’re seeing this explosion, these clouds, this
smog of microplastics, impacting the food chain. And the toxins that
sticks to plastics are also polluting organisms in that food chain. But
as a pre-consumer product, which you might grab off the shelf, we’re
still finding some synthetic chemistry in those, like bisphenol A and
phthalates, that you don’t want in your body or the bodies of your
children. They’re endocrine disruptors. They’re carcinogenic. So there
is the pre-consumer and the post-consumer impacts of throwaway plastics
on human health.
in the Henhouse: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
This article is by Ellen Brown 
on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
On March 31 the Federal
Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the sixth time in three
years and signaled its intention to raise rates twice more in 2018,
aiming for a Fed funds target of 3.5 percent by 2020. LIBOR (the London
Interbank Offered Rate) has risen even faster than the Fed funds rate,
up to 2.3 percent from just 0.3 percent 2 1/2 years ago. LIBOR is set
in London by private agreement of the biggest banks, and the interest
on $3.5 trillion globally is linked to it, including
$1.2 trillion in consumer mortgages.
Alarmed commentators warn
that global debt levels have reached $233
trillion, more than three times global GDP, and that much of that
debt is at variable rates pegged either to the Fed’s interbank lending
rate or to LIBOR. Raising rates further could push governments,
businesses and homeowners over the edge. In
its Global Financial Stability report in April 2017, the
International Monetary Fund warned that projected interest rises could
throw 22 percent of U.S. corporations into default.
I say. Here is more:
If the Fed follows through
with its plans, projections are that by 2027, U.S.
taxpayers will owe $1 trillion annually just in interest on
the federal debt. That is enough to fund President Trump’s
original trillion-dollar infrastructure plan every year. And
it is a direct transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy
investors holding most of the bonds.
I think this is all
quite true. Here is more:
The notion that shrinking
the money supply will prevent inflation is based on another
controversial model, the monetarist dictum that “inflation is always
and everywhere a monetary phenomenon”: Inflation is always caused by
“too much money chasing too few goods.” That can happen, and it is
called “demand-pull” inflation. But much more common historically is
“cost-push” inflation: Prices go up because producers’ costs go up. And
a major producer cost is the cost of borrowing money.
Merchants and manufacturers must borrow in order to pay wages before
their products are sold, to build factories, buy equipment and expand.
And again I think all of this
is quite true. The article ends as follows, after a lot more:
The Federal Reserve calls
itself independent, but it is independent only of government. It
marches to the drums of the banks that are its private owners. To
prevent another Great Recession or Great Depression, Congress needs to
amend the Federal Reserve Act, nationalize the Fed and turn it into a
public utility, one that is responsive to the needs of the public and
I agree, but I do not
think the present Congress will ¨amend the Federal Reserve Act, nationalize the Fed and turn
it into a
public utility¨. And this is a
strongly recommended article.
4. Can Trump Fire Special
Counsel Robert Mueller?
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows (answering
the question in the title):
Yes, but at a huge cost to
our system, and to Trump’s presidency.
Begin with the law: Justice
Department regulations issued in 1999, in the wake of Kenneth Starr’s
investigation of Bill Clinton, say that only an Attorney General can
remove a special counsel, and not just for any reason. Such a removal
must be based on a finding that the special counsel was guilty of
“misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or
for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies.”
I did not know this. And here
is the ending of this - quite brief - article:
Yes, although this doesn´t say
much. The article is recommended because it did tell me something I did
There’s an alternative open
to Trump. He could simply order Attorney General Sessions to repeal the
special counsel regulations, and then Trump could fire Mueller himself.
But, as the Nixon saga
showed, these routes would be perilous – both for Trump’s presidency
and for our system of government, because they would undermine public
trust in the impartiality of our system of justice and in the office of
They would also further
divide the country between Trump supporters who believe the Mueller
investigation to be part of a conspiracy to undermine the Trump
presidency, and the vast majority of Americans who are more likely to
believe, as a result of these actions, that Trump has done something
that he wants to hide at all costs.
The question is whether
Trump is willing to risk it, nonetheless
Am I Doing? How Did I End Up Here?'
article is by Christoph Scheuermann and Matthias von Rohr. It starts
with a subtitle which I reproduce:
In a DER
SPIEGEL interview, former FBI Director James Comey discusses how U.S.
President Donald Trump resembles a mafia boss, the dangers of
egocentrism and why impeachment would let the American people off the
indeed. I will quote four bits of this interview (which consists in
fact of two webpages), and here is the first bit:
As I have explained many
times by now (the first time on March
14, 2016: more than two years ago) I am a
psychologist who agrees with - meanwhile - many psychologists
and psychiatrists that Trump
is not sane, simply because he satisfies 9 out of 9 observable criterions that are very
widely used to diagnose people as narcissists
DER SPIEGEL: You
have written a book about leadership, and while U.S. President Donald
Trump is certainly not the only focus, you do spend quite a bit of time
discussing him. Then, in your interview with ABC, you said Trump was
"morally unfit" to be president. Why?
Comey: The way I'd sum
it up is: Anyone who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who
speaks about and treats women like pieces of meat and who lies
constantly about things big and small, and then insists that America
believe it, in my view, is not morally fit to be president.
And my main reasons are my observations of him (by video) together with
his plainly narcissistic
lying, lying, lying and his lying about his lying: That is
sick. And I mean: mentally disturbed.
Besides, I also think - in fact also since 2016 - that Trump is a neofascist. That
is bound to be considerably less popular as a political
Trump is mad is a personal diagnosis) if only because there is on the
whole Wikipedia nothing (I could find) that has any
reasonable analysis of what the term ¨neofascist¨
might mean. (Presumably that is unimportant for Wikipedia.)
Here is my definition, once again:
Neofascism is a. A social system that is
marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where
the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that
propounds an ethics which has profit as
its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist,
anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist,
and that has a corporative
organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are
stronger than a national government or state, b. A political philosophy or
movement based on or advocating such a social system.
This definition was
written without any thought of
Donald Trump, but if you know
his policies you know that - once again - the
above definition is
true point for point about him.
Then again I only raised these two points to clarify my own
values about Donald Trump. Here is some more from the article:
I think the journalists of
Der Spiegel are mistaken here and Comey is right, if only about the
impression that Trump did make on him. (Also, there have been
few political leaders who have been compared to mafia bosses,
DER SPIEGEL: Isn't
the comparison of Trump to a mafia boss a bit overwrought?
Comey: I'm not trying
to suggest Donald Trump is out breaking legs or firebombing stores or
hijacking trucks. I'm trying to compare it to a leadership style where
loyalty to the boss is everything, where there are no external
reference points. Most leaders - all ethical leaders - have some
external reference points that they look to when making decisions,
whether it be philosophy, religion, logic, tradition or history. But
with a boss like the ones I've dealt with over the years, it's about
the boss. What can you do for me? How are you serving me? And I was
struck by the comparison of that leadership culture to his leadership
Here is some about loyalty:
Then came your famous one-on-one dinner with Trump, during which he
famously asked you to pledge loyalty to him. Why didn't you just tell
him that the question was inappropriate?
I think Comey is right
about Comey. (Clarification, in case this is needed: Comey had sworn loyalty
to the Constitution, which is the right way, and Trump was in fact
acting like a Mafia boss when he requested personal loyalty to him.)
Comey: That's a really
good question. Probably because I'm not as strong as I should be.
Here is the last bit I quote from this interview:
DER SPIEGEL: Are you
concerned that Mueller, the special counsel investigating the Trump
campaign, could be fired by the president?
Comey: Of course, I
worry about it. It would be an enormous mistake and an attack on the
rule of law. I also think it would be a mistake as a practical matter,
because as important as the special counsel is, I'm confident that the
work would continue. To stop the work, the president would have to fire
everyone in the Department of Justice and the FBI, and that's not
Yes, I think Comey may
be correct on this - and see item 4. This is a
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 (!!).
 I first
thought I would blow up here, but I will not.
Instead, I say that as long as the Wikipedia does not revise
its utterly sick and neofascistic redefinition
of ¨totalitarianism¨ I hold it has turned neofascistic, which is also
supported by the fact that they now describe the article they have on
Ellen Brown as ¨an advertisement¨. I am sorry: Wikipedia is sick,
and seems to be manipulated by the friends of the rich. (And
no: I am also much against anonymous contributors, against their
refusals to quote books as good references, and against their
pretensions of being valid for all.)