from July 11, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from July 11, 2018:
1. Inside the Right-Wing History of Trump’s Supreme Court
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:
America’s Three Addictions
3. Kavanaugh Despises Net Neutrality and Loves Mass
4. What We Can Do About Trump’s Escalating Lies
5. Judge Asks ACLU for "Possible Punishment" Ideas For Trump
the Right-Wing History of Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the
President Trump has
nominated federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Anthony Kennedy’s seat
on the high court. Kavanaugh has deep ties to the Republican Party and
will push the Supreme Court further right if he is confirmed. Kavanaugh
served as a senior aide under President George W. Bush in the White
House Counsel’s Office. He has similar credentials to Supreme Court
Justice Neil Gorsuch. Both clerked for Anthony Kennedy, and both are
backed by the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, who drew up a
list for Trump in 2016 of suitable right-wing judges to consider for
the Supreme Court. We speak with Ian Millhiser, senior fellow at the
Center for American Progress Action Fund and the editor of
ThinkProgress Justice. His latest piece is headlined “Who is Brett
Kavanaugh, Trump’s pick to replace Anthony Kennedy?”
Yes indeed. Here is more:
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In a move to push the
Supreme Court further to the right, President Trump has nominated
federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the
high court. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, it would create a bloc of five
right-wing justices, likely making it the most conservative court since
the 1930s. Critics warn this could lead to a major rollback of civil
rights, environmental regulations, gun control measures, voting rights
and reproductive rights, including possibly overturning Roe v. Wade.
Again yes indeed, but I
also have a question: Why are Supreme Court judges nominated for
life? For indeed that is the main problem: While presidents
be nominated every four years, and are now limited as presidents to
eight years, a Supreme Court judge, who may be nominated at 40, is
supposed to remain there for life, also if he or she gets to be 85 or
Personally, I see no reason whatsoever for that, and especially
not as Supreme Court judges tend to be nominated not on judicial
but on ideological
grounds. And being nominated for life - and I am argueing here entirely
in the abstract, and irrespective of a leftish or rightish ideology -
has another setback: It protects judges who have been nominated, but
who turn out to be not very competent, or at least not as
competent as Supreme Court jugdes should be.
Then again, I raised this question not because I expect it will
solved, or indeed be taken up, but simply because they seem to me to be
rather fundamental questions.
Back to the article:
Brett Kavanaugh has also argued that sitting presidents should be
shielded from criminal or civil investigations. In a 2009 article
for the Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh wrote, “I believe
that the President should be excused from some of the burdens of
ordinary citizenship while serving in office,” unquote. He went on to
write, “The indictment and trial of a sitting President, moreover,
would cripple the federal government.”
I strongly disagree with
Kavanaugh, and my main reason is that in a real democracy, and indeed
also in any state of law, no individual should be above the law:
That position is only compatible with kings or ceasars or
And here is Senator Warren:
I entirely agree with
this. And here is Ian Millhiser:
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: He is hostile to healthcare for
millions of Americans. He is opposed to the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau and corporate accountability. He is opposed to the
rights of women, workers and consumers. He is hostile to just about
anyone who isn’t wealthy and powerful. He thinks presidents like Trump
should be above the law.
(..) [T]his guy looks like he was grown in a vat by the Republican
establishment. He literally went to the same elite prep school with
Neil Gorsuch. I think they might have even been in the exact same
class. You know, he graduated from Yale twice, clerked for Justice
Kennedy. He worked for Ken Starr, the Clinton inquisitor. He worked at
an elite law firm, was a very senior aide to President Bush. And then,
for these last—this last decade, he’s been on the D.C. Circuit, the
second-most powerful court in the country, where he was a consistent
antagonist of environmental regulations, where he said that he would
have struck down—he didn’t just say he would strike down net
neutrality, he said that net neutrality violates the First Amendment,
where he was a big proponent of gun rights and moved to strike down
D.C. gun laws. So, on issue after issue—abortion, birth control—he’s
got a really thick record, and he’s very consistently voted with the
right on issue after issue.
I take it this is all
quite correct, and indeed there is considerably more by Millhiser in
the rest of the article, that I leave to your interests.
But I want to make one more formal point here (and by ¨a formal
I mean one that seems quite relevant to me, but that will also very
probably not be discussed at all). It is this:
As far as I can see, neoconservative interests in the First Amendment
have very much increased after (i) the Supreme Court in
that money = votes, which again meant the rich now can invest
much money to see to it that only those are elected whom the rich like,
and also after (ii) the
Supreme Court in effect decided that the First Amendment may be
interpreted so as to benefit the quasi-persons that are corporations as
much as possible, on the ground that these quasi-persons are real
persons and deserve rights as real living persons. (And I think
both points are totally mistaken.)
I merely notice this, simply because I don´t think it will be
but it does show to what extent the recent decision of the Supreme
Court have been for the rich and for the rights and liberties of
corporations, while the rights of the non-rich and of living persons
have been neglected.
And this is a recommended article.
article is by Tom Engelhardt on Truthdig and originally on TomDispatch.
It starts as follows:
When you think of
addiction in America today, one thing comes to mind: the opioid
epidemic. And it should. It’s serious. According to the National Center
for Health Statistics, almost 64,000 Americans died of
opioid overdoses in 2016 (more than died in the Vietnam
War), an average of 175 people a day. In that year, the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that 11.5 million
Americans “misused” pain medication. (..) This crisis of addiction
has already cost the country an
estimated $1 trillion since 2001 and might, in the next three years
alone, cost more than half that much again.
I completely agree
this, and like to remark, as an aside in the present context, that
these ¨opioid overdoses¨
have been prescribed on mostly false grounds and false
thoroughly corrupt medical
doctors who were much more interested in
getting rich themselves than in defending the human or medical rights
of their patients - and see e.g. "Hope in a
Bottle" - Components of Purdue
Pharma Stealth Marketing Campaign
from two days ago for backgrounds.
Here is more:
This country (and
above all its media) is addicted to Donald J. Trump in a way that no
population, no media, possibly not even the Communist Chinese press in
the days of Mao Zedong, ever was to any figure. Since he rode that Trump Tower
escalator into the presidential race in June 2015 to the tune of Neil
Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” and took out after Mexican “rapists” and
future Great Walls, no one — nothing — has
ever been covered or attended to this way, online or off, in daily life
or in our increasingly shared, increasingly addictive media life. (Yes,
the Internet and social media are undoubtedly addictions of some sort,
too, but let’s not head down that road or I’ll never stop writing!)
Well... no, I disagree
I disagree mainly because ¨addiction¨ is abused in two incompatible
First, there is physical addiction, as is the case with
opioids, mentioned above, and also with heroine, morphine, cocaine and
opium: These are physically strongly habit forming, which also entails
that - trying to - getting rid of these physical
addictions is quite painful, quite sickening and quite difficult.
And second there is metaphorical addiction (to elect a term),
which in the end are based on strong likes or strong habits or strong
values and which are for that reason difficult to get rid off,
which are not physical addictions.
Since I am a psychologist, I think the distinction is quite important,
but unfortunately Engelhardt seems not aware of the difference, and if
he is, he never mentions the difference.
Also, and thirdly, I think myself that Engelhardt is mistaken
amounts of propaganda
that have supported political leaders. And I
think the propaganda for Stalin, for Hitler and for Mao all were
stronger than for Trump, because disagreement
with these first three
kinds of - often wild, often phantastic - propaganda meant serious
trouble with the authorities (often the secret police) simply for
disagreeing. And the USA under Trump is not there - yet.
Here is one example of Engelhardt´s confusions:
When it comes to the
media in particular, Donald Trump is the opioid
crisis. He’s their drug of choice. He gets them high. They can’t help
themselves, nor can they stop. As head of CBS Leslie Moonves put it during election
campaign 2016: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for
CBS.” And then he added, “The money’s rolling in and
this is fun. I’ve never seen anything like this, and this [is] going to
be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But
bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”
For this is confused on
several levels. First, Engelhardt explicitly denies the -
pretty important - distinction between physical and metaphorical
addiction I drew above. And second, he also confuses the
heads of the CBS (or other media corporations) who gave free rides to
Trump because this made them a lot of money through advertisements with
the experiences of ordinary voters who simply could get little else
Here is the same confusion at work:
Tell me, then, if
this isn’t an addiction, what is it? And what’s the one thing you know
about addictions? Whatever high they give you — and let’s not deny that
Donald Trump offers us a constant set of highs (whether as rushes of
agreement and pleasure or horror and dismay) — if you can’t stop
yourself from taking the drug, day after day, night after night, there
will be a price to pay. Somebody better have the equivalent of naloxone
I will tell you. It is not
physical addiction, but it is habituation, and that
turn, is based on the mainstream media providing daily overdoses (so to
speak) of Trump while also appealing to the stupidity, ignorance,
thinking of a great many of their normal viewers.
And here is more of the same confusion once again:
And then there’s
that other twenty-first-century all-American addiction, in some ways
far stranger than the Trumpian one and likely to be no less costly in the long
run: addiction to war. Almost 17 years after the Global War on Terror
was launched, the highs — the invasion of Afghanistan! The taking of
Kabul! The smashing of Iraq! The capture of Saddam Hussein! — are long
gone. Now exhausted and discouraged, those hooked nonetheless remain
unable to stop.
I shall not repeat my
for they are just the same as above. There is a lot more and it is not
all bad either, but it ends as follows:
So, addiction? If
you don’t think this country has an addiction crisis (other than
opioids), think again.
Well, I am a
psychologist and my
opinion is that you either do not know or do not want to use the proper
distinction between physical addiction and metaphorical addiction aka
Despises Net Neutrality and Loves Mass Surveillance
article is by Jake Johnson on AlterNet and originally on Common Dreams.
It starts as follows:
In addition to the mountain
reasons the American public should be alarmed by President
Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh—from his
anti-abortion views to his past opinions favoring the interests of big
polluters—advocacy groups are warning that the 53-year-old judge's
established record of hostility to net neutrality and support for mass
surveillance shows that his confirmation would spell "disaster
for internet freedom."
"Trump's SCOTUS pick Brett
Kavanaugh is an enemy of net neutrality and has sided with big cable
companies in the lower courts," noted Demand Progress on Twitter
following Trump's official selection of Kavanaugh Monday night, citing
his previous argument that net neutrality rules violate the free speech
of internet service providers.
First, for some more on
Kavanaugh, see item 1 above. And second, Jake
Johnson is quite correct. Here is more:
In an analysis of
Kavanaugh's past opinions late Monday—which include his assertion that
net neutrality rules are "unlawful and must be vacated"—Slate's
April Glaser notes
how the record of Trump's pick for the court reveals a judge who is
vastly more "sympathetic to the handful of companies that control the
internet...than to the hundreds of millions of Americans who use it."
While the net neutrality
protections established in 2015 were officially
rolled back by FCC chair and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai
last month, this telecom-backed move is facing a slew of legal
challenges from advocacy groups and state attorneys general that could
ultimately make it to the nation's highest court.
"If any of those cases do
make it to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh probably feels that net
neutrality isn't something the federal government should take strides
to preserve," Glaser writes.
Yes indeed - I think
all of this is quite correct. Here is more:
While Kavanaugh's past
rulings as a federal appeals court judge demonstrate his concern for
the rights of giant corporations, they also lay bare his apparent
contempt for the privacy rights of Americans.
As Politico reported ahead
of his nomination, Kavanaugh "has a history of embracing warrantless
surveillance and rejecting Fourth Amendment challenges to it."
In a concurring opinion in
2015, Kavanaugh argued that the National Security Agency's warrentless
metadata collection program—which was exposed by whistleblower Edward
Snowden in 2013—is "consistent with the Fourth Amendment" and insisted
that "critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy
occasioned by this program."
Quite so. And I
with Johnson that Kavanaugh is quite dangerous (for those of
mildest leftish or liberal values). As I said, also see item 1
above, and this is a strongly recommended article.
4. What We Can Do About
Trump’s Escalating Lies
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
As the political season
Trump is ramping up his lies through his three amplifiers: Fox News,
According to The
Checker’s database, the average daily rate of Trump’s false or
misleading claims is climbing.
The problem isn’t just the
or flagrancy of the lies – for example, that Putin and the Russians
in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump, or that the Mueller
part of a Democratic plot to remove him.
And it’s not just that the
are about big, important public issues – for example, that immigrants
more crimes than native-born Americans, or trade wars are harmless.
The biggest problem is his
lies aren’t subject to the filters traditionally applied to
statements – a skeptical press, experts who debunk falsehoods, and
politicians who publicly disagree.
Yes, I think this is
mostly correct, but I do have an addition because I am a psychologist:
To the best of my knowledge there are currently at least 70,000
psychologists and psychiatrists who agreed that Trump is not sane - see the
last link, from December 2016.
And I am a
psychologist, and while I do not have a high opinion of
psychology as a real science, while I also have a low opinion
of psychiatry, which hardly is a real science, I also insist that the
more or less standardized judgements of these (as expressed e.g. by the
although far from perfect also are the best we
currently have, and certainly are both better and more informed
than the opinions of random persons or random journalists on
so-and-so´s mental characteristics.
Here is more on Trump
and his presidential habits:
(..) Trump doesn’t hold
conferences. He doesn’t meet in public with anyone who disagrees with
him. He denigrates the mainstream press. And he shuns experts.
Instead, his lies go out to
of millions of Americans every day unmediated.
TV and radio networks
simply rebroadcast his rallies, or portions of them.
Quite so. And here is
At his most recent rally in
Falls, Montana, Trump made 98 factual statements.
According to the Washington Post’s fact checkers, 76
percent of them were
false, misleading or unsupported by evidence.
Meanwhile, over 50 million
Americans receive his daily tweets, which are also brimming with lies.
I agree, and there is
This needs at least two
additions, namely: especially not with so many voters who are quite
and also especially not with so many voters who do
Fox News is no longer
intermediating between the public and Trump. Fox News is Trump.
Many of his lies originate with Fox News; Fox News amplifies the ones
that originate with Trump.
Fox News’s Sean Hannity is
Trump’s de facto top advisers. Trump has
just appointed Bill Shine, the former number two at Fox News, as his
chief of staff for communications.
No democracy can function
a continuous bombardment of unmediated lies.
Here is the last bit of Reich´s advice:
Fourth, write to
Twitter and tell its executives to stop enabling Trump’s
lies. Its contact information is here.
is different (but I am a very intelligent academically educated
person): If you tweet, you must be an idiot who believes that
communications of tweet-length are rational. They are not, and I will
never tweet until it has become an ordinary mail without
users and sadists. And this article is recommended.
Asks ACLU for "Possible Punishment" Ideas For Trump
article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed. I do not
have a realistic
opinion about ¨a possible punishment¨ for Trump, simply because I do
not know enough American law, but my opinion is that the sooner a
madman and a neofascist like
Trump is removed, the better it will be
for most Americans and nearly all non- Americans.
Donald Trump and administration
officials took to social media to celebrate the news that 12 Thai
children and their soccer coach will be reunited with their families
after being trapped in a cave for 18 days, the White House didn't even
come close to meeting Tuesday's court-imposed deadline to reunite
102 children under the age of five with their parents after they
were separated by Trump's cruel
Federal judge Dana
Sabraw—who issued the ruling that set the Tuesday deadline—asked the
ACLU to "submit
a proposal for possible punishment" against the Trump
administration for failing to meet the target date.
Rebuffing White House
requests, Sabraw also declined
to extend the deadlines for reunification, declaring that they are
"firm deadlines" not "aspirational goals."
Speaking to reporters just
before his flight to Europe for the NATO summit, Trump blamed his
administration's failure to meet the court's deadline on the detained
families themselves, saying
the "solution" to the crisis he created is "don't come to our country
Here is what the professional sadists from ICE
succeeded in doing (I
think in part because many of the addresses of the children or the
parents were either not taken at all or destroyed):
According to court
filings, the Trump administration had reunited just four families
by Tuesday afternoon and is expected
to reunite 34 more by the end of Tuesday.
"The Trump administration's
failure to meet the court's deadline to reunite families separated at
the border shows the administration's ongoing neglect and disregard for
the wellbeing of immigrants," Javier Valdés, co-executive director of
Make the Road New York, said in a statement.
"We demand immediate reunification of these families, an end to the
so-called 'zero tolerance' policy, and once and for all we must end
To put what I just said in
some perspective: If you are ordered to unite 102 very young
your government has kidnapped, and you united at the time you
ordered to have done so just 1 in 3 of these very young children, my
only rational explanation is that you or your menials must be sadists.
And this is from the ending
of this article:
Yes. The above means Trump´s goverment kidnapped
children from their parents, and this is a recommended article.
"The Trump administration
was ordered to reunite more than 100 children with their parents by
today," Rep. Pramila Jayapal noted
in a tweet on Tuesday. "They've missed the deadline and must be held
In total, an estimated 3,000
children were separated from their parents as a result of Trump's
so-called "zero tolerance" policy.
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 (!!).