from June 9, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
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
These are five crisis files
that today are mostly not well worth reading, but OK - and I
A. Selections from June 9, 2018:
1. Elizabeth Warren v. the District of Corruption
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. We the Corporations
3. Just Say No to an Illegal War on Iran. The U.S. House Did.
4. Is Trump Becoming a Dictator? He's Already Showing 7 of 10
An Ode to The Feeble Corporate Apology
Warren v. the District of Corruption
article is by Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept. This starts as follows:
Yes indeed, though in fact I do not
think this was a very good interview. Besides, and I
about it before, basically because it just is not clear: What
poor formatting of these interviews on Intercept? Why is the only
formatting I see one with bold only, but without any indents
whatsoever? And besides, where is the end of the present interview?
Between appointing his
daughter and son-in-law to senior White House positions, engaging in
business deals with foreign governments, and “encouraging” diplomats
and dignitaries to book rooms in his hotels, Donald Trump’s
administration is setting new records for executive malfeasance. When
corruption is so widespread, so pervasive, so ingrained in the
political culture in Washington, D.C., and the executive branch, how do
you push back? Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a thorn in the side of
Wall Street who is widely assumed to be considering a 2020 run for the
presidency, joins Mehdi Hasan in an exclusive interview on this week’s
episode of Deconstructed to discuss her anti-corruption legislation and
how she plans to drain the corporate money out of Washington.
Warren: Money is going to drown our democracy, and if we don’t
start fighting back, and fighting back more aggressively, then we are
part of the problem as well.
I am just asking, although I think that if my utterly unpaid
self can put in formatting, so can Intercept.
Anyway, the presently reviewed article starts as follows:
Mehdi Hasan: Welcome
to Deconstructed. I’m Mehdi Hasan. Today on the show: The C-word. No,
not Samantha Bee’s C-word about Ivanka Trump. No. And not Robert
Mueller’s C-word in relation to Trump and Russia. Today’s show is not
about collusion. But it is about something perhaps just as bad:
corporations and their Republican allies are working overtime to roll
back basic rules that protect the rest of us. So, why is this
happening? The answer’s pretty simple. Corruption.
MH: That’s my guest
today. Yes, you may have recognized her voice, Senator Elizabeth
Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, banker-basher-in-chief for the
Democrats and possible presidential candidate come 2020. I’ll be
talking with her about her new plan to clean up U.S. politics.
So, let’s talk corruption
in Trump’s America.
O Lord.... "The
C-word." But - boldings added - "not Samantha Bee's C-word" and "not
Mueller’s C-word". No, no. The present "C-word" is "perhaps just as bad:
corruption", namely as saying or
writing "cunt" in public, in the USA.
I am sorry, but I am 68 and
Dutch, and I strongly dislike this nonsense. I live in a
country where women started saying around 50 years ago that
this was cunt, and that was cunt (in a depre- ciatory manner, always)
and it doesn't shock me, and indeed did not shock me 50 years ago.
But why not simply leave
it out if the USA is still as backward as "forbidding" it?
Anyway, here is some more:
MH: Earlier this
year, you called the Trump administration the “most corrupt
administration ever.” Would you extend that description to Donald Trump
himself? He’s the most corrupt president ever?
EW: So far as we
know. That’s what the data show. And I think of it because corrupt is a
very special word for people who are in government. This is about
people who feather their own nests instead of the public good.
Elizabeth Warren is
- which isn't so bad as saying "cunt" in public
in the USA, but still seems to be quite bad (I'm sorry, but I am
ironical, after so many horrible "C-words") - indeed seems to
present root of American politics-as-played in the House and the
Senate, since there seem to be something like 10 lobbyists per
representative, and they are all trying to buy the people's
representatives to vote for some very rich corporation,
that now has
been allowed since 2010 to invest millions into politicians.
And they do. Here is
what they do because they are now legally allowed to do
EW: OK. So let me
start with the problem I’m trying to clean up.
Let’s say spill on aisle
three, here. You know, we get everybody over to look at what’s wrong
here. Rich and powerful corporations figured out decades ago that they
could have a business model that was about: Oh, let’s come up with a
great product, let’s sell that product, let’s put some money into R
& D and let’s put some money into capturing government to work for
us, to make the rules on us just a little easier.
Because it turns out that
investing money and lobbying Washington, investing money in influencing
Washington, invest, hey, $100 million and it can pay back in the
MH: Oh yeah.
EW: Even trillions
Right now, people get
bribes from their companies to come work in government. I’ll give you
an example of that: Gary Cohn was being mentioned as an economic
advisor. Goldman Sachs said: Hey baby, go do this and we will give you
more than a quarter of a billion dollars to do that. That’s just a
pre-bribe, so that he would go in and advise the president and while
he’s advising the president.
Yes indeed: This is
true. But it is also near the ending of the present interview, that
seems to be only there in part, and anyway - for what I saw of
it - was not good.
2. We the
article is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
In this week’s
episode of “Scheer
Intelligence,” host and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer
welcomes Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA’s
School of Law and the author of “We
the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights.”
His new book tells the 200-year history leading up to the Citizens
United Supreme Court case, which gave corporations a controversial
right to political speech.
In their conversation,
Winkler tells Scheer that corporations have been highly successful in
obtaining rights in part because they have been able to hire very
capable and creative lawyers.
“Corporations have always
been able to hire those good lawyers, and file risky lawsuits that even
if they have a strong chance they’re going to lose, they may be worth
part of the cost of doing business, if you will, for corporations,”
Winkler says. “And so they’ve been able to finance litigation over and
over and over again, and one of the surprising things that really comes
out of that is that as a result, corporations have often been
innovators and first movers in American constitutional law, often
helping to breathe life into certain constitutional provisions that
only later would be read broadly by the court to protect women and
minorities and you and me.”
Winkler adds that a
constitutional amendment to ban corporate rights would be a mistake
because corporations do need some constitutional protections, including
the right to due process and free speech.
I like Robert
Scheer and I also usually like his interviews. But this is an interview
I did not like very much, and my reason is not Scheer but his
interviewee, a professor of law called Winkler, who sounds to me
most professors of law in Holland sound, namely much in favor
of their own rights (as professors of law), but usually pretty
restrained about the rights of everyone else, for - hey! - "good
lawyers" can upset anything, with sufficient funding.
O, and as to the last
paragraph I just quoted: The point is not (it seems to me,
apart from a
after a successful socialist revolution) "to ban corporate rights", but to limit them so that they are
restrictive on corporative freedoms to destroy the rights of living
But no, Winkler play
is all the time (i.e. quite a few times) as if the case
against corporate rights is one of banning their rights.
Here is some more
(still from the introduction):
I think Scheer is right.
Here is a bit about Winkler:
And Winkler and Scheer
discuss the use of the 14th Amendment to protect corporations—an
amendment created to protect freed slaves.
“The obscenity that your
book describes is that this court system, which is this branch of
government which we somehow have come to think of as the saving grace
of democracy, actually destroyed the meaning of this amendment,” Scheer
says. “Really, now, you can’t put too fine a point on it. Because the
idea that this amendment was used primarily for the first, what, 70 or
80 years or longer to benefit corporations while keeping black people
in bondage—slavery, or segregation, certainly—while keeping women in an
indentured servant’s status, as objects. What your book details, you
don’t put that harsh a point on it, it’s not a rhetorical book, but the
fact is, it’s the subversion of the 14th Amendment, by the
corporations, by the rich.”
“That’s right,” Winkler says.
I started writing the book after the Citizens United case, in 2010. And
when the Supreme Court said that corporations have the same rights as
individuals to spend their money to influence elections, it sort of
raised the question: how did corporations come to win our most
fundamental rights? And so I wanted to write a book that sort of looked
at that history. We know the stories of, say, the Civil Rights
Movement, or how women won equal rights, as being sort of central
stories in the narrative of America. But there’s also been a story
about how corporations have won constitutional rights, and corporations
for 200 years, like women and minorities, have been fighting for equal
rights. Although, unlike racial minorities, they didn’t risk their
lives to do it; there’s no moral equivalency between these civil rights
movements, if you will. But corporations have been fighting in the
Supreme Court to win the rights of people. And we think of the Supreme
Court as a bulwark for the protection of minority rights, but the truth
is, if you look back through American history, the Supreme Court’s
mostly exercised its power to help out the most wealthy and powerful
interests in America. And the corporate rights movement is a really
very interesting, but overlooked example of this phenomenon.
This is correct, to the
best of my knowledge. Here is the last bit I quote from this much
longer interview, from Robert Scheer:
I mean, we have to face the fact that our Constitution–and this really
confounds the originalists–was a deeply flawed document. I happen to
argue it’s also the most interesting limitation on government that the
world has ever seen; I respect the Constitution very much, I don’t
think any other government has this clear definition of the ability of
power to corrupt, and the need to restrain power, and so forth. So I’m
a great admirer of it. But the strict interpreters of it, the so-called
conservatives on the court, really are strictly interpreting a racist,
misogynist document that protected the richest people in this society.
I think this is quite
worthy of discussion, namely (i) the Constitution is "deeply flawed",
yet (ii) it also is possibly the best "definition of the ability of
power to corrupt, and the need to restrain power", while also (iii) at present it is often used (by the
majority of the Supreme Court) as "a racist,
misogynist document that protect[s] the richest people in this society".
But in fact
hardly discussed in the interview. In brief, I found it disappointing,
but it did remind me a lot of the Dutch professors of law I have
quite a lot about. (I dislike them.)
Say No to an Illegal War on Iran. The U.S. House Did.
article is by Marjorie Cohn on Truthdig and originally on Truthout.
This starts as follows:
Well... quite possibly
this is an amendment of "the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019", but - to the best of my knowledge - it
is and has been the law for a long time that only
Congress could start a war (and not a president of a government)
for which reason this seems to be like a repeated vote that, yes
indeed, Congress agrees that 2+2=4.
In a little noticed but
potentially monumental development, the House of Representatives voted
unanimously for an
amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019
(H.R. 5515) that says no statute authorizes the use of military force
The amendment, introduced
by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), states, “It is the sense of
Congress that the use of the Armed Forces against Iran is not
authorized by this Act or any other Act.”
A bipartisan majority of
the House adopted the National Defense Authorization Act on May 24,
with a vote of 351-66. The bill now moves to the Senate.
If the Senate version
ultimately includes the Ellison amendment as well, Congress would send
a clear message to Donald Trump that he has no statutory authority to
militarily attack Iran.
And indeed there is this bit as well:
Again I say "Well..."
because I fail to appreciate what
it means if the majority of
Congress insists on something that is the law since a long time.
stating, “Congress is sending a clear message that President Trump does
not have the authority to go to war with Iran. With President Trump’s
reckless violation of the Iran Deal and failure to get Congressional
approval for military strikes on Syria, there’s never been a more
important time for Congress to reassert its authority. It’s long past
time to end the White House’s blank check and the passage of this
amendment is a strong start.”
Moreover, the Constitution
only grants Congress the power
to declare war. And the War Powers Resolution allows the president
to introduce US Armed Forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities
only after Congress has declared war, or in “a national emergency
created by attack upon the United States, its territories or
possessions, or its armed forces,” or when there is “specific statutory
Trump Becoming a Dictator? He's Already Showing 7 of 10 Notable Signs
article is by Chris Sosa on AlterNet. This starts as follows:
Trump may fail to qualify as a dictator, but it’s not for lack of
In late 2016,
Harvard University's Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international
relations Stephen M. Walt wrote a 10-point list for analyzing whether a
president is a dictator.
half-way through his first term, Trump has fulfilled seven of the 10
I say. Chris
Sosa is not on Wikipedia, but he is the present senior editor
of AlterNet. He
so a brief time ago after the previous executive editor of AlterNet,
Don Hazen, was dismissed by the end of 2017, on the ground of "sexual harassment allegations". (Hazen is also not on Wikipedia.)
something like two months now I have been reading tweets
up as articles by a program that calls itself "Cody Fenwick". This
program produces some 20 or so Tweets a day for "AlterNet". (It may be
a person, but I do know that anything signed "Cody Fenwick" that I read was total
and I totally stopped reading this program-or-person.)
AlterNet was also sold a brief time ago, but - you'll be not
it already said "it will go on as before", I suppose with very many
more tweets dressed
up as articles
by "Cody Fenwick".
So... what to
think of the present article? Well, it is a considerable joy it is not
a Tweet by "Cody Fenwick". Then again, I never heard of
Belfer and Wait, and I do not see any reason to trust their "10-point list for analyzing whether a
president is a dictator"
nor indeed any evidence about their reasons or motives.
All I will do
is print the 7 out of 10 criterions designed "for analyzing whether a
president is a dictator".
There is some text associated with each item, but I'll leave that to
your own interests:
Systematically Attempts to Intimidate the Media
Trump Politicizes Domestic Security Agencies
Trump Used State Power to Punish an Opponent
Trump Stacked the Supreme Court
Trump Regularly Fearmongers
Trump Engages in
Selective Law Enforcement
attitude is: I don't need this article, and if AlterNet
being written by "Cody Fenwick" it will soon be deleted from the sites
I read every day. (It's a pity, but it was sold.)
Ode to The Feeble Corporate Apology
article is by Matt
Taibbi on Common Dreams and originally on Rolling
Stone. It starts as follows:
Three of America's biggest
companies – Facebook, Wells
Fargo and Uber – have been offering up vague apologies via
television commercials in recent weeks. If you watch the Cavs-Dubs game
tonight, you'll probably catch one or all of them.
Have a bucket handy.
All three entities are
apologizing for recent scandals, all three are pledging to change their
ways and all three are basically rolling out the same script:
Hi, America. We were
awesome for a long time. Here are some culturally representative shots
of people like you smiling and enjoying our services. After repeated
denials, we recently had to admit to violating your trust, but the
unelucidated bad thing doesn't have to come between us. We promise: we
fixed that shit. You will now wake up feeling refreshed in 3,2,1…
There are times when
corporate apologies are appropriate and can be taken at face value.
After the Tylenol murders in the '80s, for instance, Johnson
& Johnson created a new standard in introducing safety caps and the
brand (rightfully) survived. That scandal wasn't the company's fault,
but it did the right thing anyway.
The three companies
apologizing now are a little guiltier.
Yes indeed: quite so.
And no, I do not accept any apologies by Facebook: I think it
deeply criminal set-up that should be forbidden. (And yes, that is
I do think, though indeed I grant immediately that what I like is very
probably not going to happen.)
Here is some more:
Yes indeed. And there is
this on the every lying
When the smart CEO appears
after a scandal, it's usually to deny responsibility, not accept it.
The textbook case came eight years ago, when Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd
Blankfein traveled to Washington to testify in the wake of the "Big
Blankfein and his firm
stood accused of betting billions against their own clients, as
detailed in a devastating 650-page Senate report. The CEO faced
intense questioning by the chair of the committee that produced that
report, Michigan Senator Carl Levin, who threw haymaker after haymaker.
"You are taking a position
against the very security that you are selling and you are not
troubled?" Levin thundered. "And you want people to trust you?"
Blankfein winced, squinted,
shrugged and looked almost like he didn't understand the question. He
completely blew off Levin and dared him to do something about it.
America mostly found it gross, but the Goldman board dug it – Blankfein
is still in charge.
Blankfein's performance has
since been held up as a textbook example of how to
successfully non-apologize in a crisis.
Quite so (bolding added): "It's [Facebook]'s core business model that's
offensive." For that is
constructed around deception; stealing
personal private mails and much
more; and rewarding obedient members with free advertisements
save a few pennies with.
Facebook's new ad basically
says: We created Facebook to help people get together, and when we did…
We felt a little less
alone [heart emoji!]…
But then the bad thing
happened. What exactly?
You had to deal with
spam, clickbait, fake news and data misuse [angry face emoji]…
Facebook says, "That's
going to change. From now on, Facebook will do more to keep you safe
and protect your privacy."
The problem with the
Facebook ad is that it's not in trouble for a mistake. It's the
company's core business model that's offensive.
Moreover, the bigger issue is that these massive private spying
operations exist at all. Most of them long ago agreed to partner with actual spy agencies like the NSA. Wake me up
when Facebook and the NSA run a joint ad apologizing for that during
the NBA finals.
The rest Taibbi says is also correct, and there is considerably more,
and this is a recommended article.
 I have
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 (!!).