This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
2018. 1. Summary
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:
This article is by
Eric Tucker on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It
starts as follows:
Trump has provided the special counsel with written answers to
questions about his knowledge of Russian interference in the 2016
election, his lawyers said Tuesday, avoiding at least for now a
potentially risky sit-down with prosecutors. It’s the first time he has
directly cooperated with the long investigation.
The step is a milestone in
the negotiations between Trump’s attorneys and special counsel Robert
Mueller’s team over whether and when the president might sit for an
The compromise outcome,
nearly a year in the making, offers some benefit to both sides. Trump
at least temporarily averts the threat of an in-person interview, which
his lawyers have long resisted, while Mueller secures on-the-record
statements whose accuracy the president will be expected to stand by
for the duration of the investigation.
The responses may also help
stave off a potential subpoena fight over Trump’s testimony if Mueller
deems them satisfactory. They represent the first time the president is
known to have described to investigators his knowledge of key moments
under scrutiny by prosecutors.
Yes indeed. I think
most of the above is clear, but I will answer two possible points:
First, what about "the threat of an in-person interview, which
his lawyers have long resisted"?
I think - and this is fairly certain - that Trump's lawyers assume,
probably correctly, that Trump does not know enough law or is
too stupid (or both) to answer Mueller's questions in person. Also, I
think Trump's lawyers are correct in their assumption.
And second, what is
a subpoena? Incidentally, the question also arose yesterday - see here - when I did not answer it
explicitly, relying on my knowledge of American law. I checked today,
and this is the answer of Wikipedia:
A subpoena (..) or
witness summons is a writ issued
by a government agency, most often a court, to compel testimony by a
witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure. There
are two common types of subpoena:
subpoena ad testificandum
orders a person to testify before the ordering authority or face
punishment. The subpoena can also request the testimony to be given by
phone or in person.
subpoena duces tecum orders a
person or organization to bring physical evidence before the ordering
authority or face punishment. This is often used for requests to mail
copies of documents to requesting party or directly to court.
Well... I was right
(though the above states a little more than I knew), and now you know
Also, I think I should add that a subpoena is important, in the sense
that it assumes - quite correctly - that the person to whom it is
issued is under the law.
And for Trump himself that seems not true: He seems to assume that a
president of the USA is beyond the law (which also includes his
repeated assertion that if he is convicted of anything as president, he
can pardon himself).
I think Trump is quite mistaken: In a state of law everyone falls under
Here is more from the article:
Mueller left open the
possibility that he would follow up with additional questions on
obstruction, though Trump’s lawyers — who had long resisted any
face-to-face interview — have been especially adamant that the
Constitution shields him from having to answer any questions about
actions he took as president.
Trump’s lawyers say it’s
time for the investigation to end, but Mueller’s team may well press
for additional information.
In fact, Trump's
lawyers, who "have been
especially adamant that the Constitution shields [Trump] from having to
answer any questions about actions he took as president" seem to share this
of the president of the USA (in a democratic state of law, that is).
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
“Mueller certainly could
have forced the issue and issued a subpoena, but I think he wants to
present a record of having bent over backwards to be fair,” Wisenberg
The Supreme Court has never
directly ruled on whether a president can be subpoenaed to testify in a
criminal case. Clinton was subpoenaed to appear before the Whitewater
grand jury, but investigators withdrew the subpoena after he agreed to
On the matter of subpoenas
again see yesterday - here - because
Ralph Nader thinks that Mueller made a serious mistake in not
subpoenaing Trump. (I do not know whether that is true, but I am quite
certain that Nader knows a whole lot more about American law
than I do.)
As to the Supreme Court: I think that from a principial legal point
of view, there ought to be no doubt that any president
in any democratic state of law is subject to the laws of the land,
and therefore can be subpoenaed.
Then again, with an effectively Republican Supreme Court (in majority)
this may be contentious, it seems especially because the Supreme Court "has never directly ruled on whether a
president can be subpoenaed to testify". This is a recommended article.
is by Jake Johnson on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams. It
starts as follows:
The Trump White House conceded defeat
in its authoritarian
effort to revoke CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s
press credentials on Monday, but with that concession came yet another
attack on the media’s ability to simply do its job—this time in the
form of press “decorum” rules that one commentator denounced as “dictatorial.”
According to the new
restrictions—which were met with a mixture of bafflement and
outrage by reporters and civil libertarians—journalists will only be
permitted to ask a “single question” with no follow-ups, unless
explicitly allowed by Trump or the White House official running the
Reporters will then be
required to yield the floor by “physically surrendering” the microphone
to White House staff.
If journalists refuse to
comply with these rules, the White House decreed, they may be suspended
or have their press passes revoked.
I say. I do not know
whether this is "dictatorial", but it is both "draconian" and
Here is more:
In response to the new
rules, which were crafted without any input from
the White House press corps, the ACLU wrote,
“The White House belongs to the public, not the president, and the job
of the press is to ask hard questions, not to be polite.”
“These rules give the White
House far too much discretion to avoid real scrutiny,” the ACLU continued.
“Asking an ‘unauthorized’ follow-up question cannot be the basis for
excluding a reporter. The rules should be revised to ensure that no
journalist gets kicked out of the WH for doing her job.”
is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. I have shortened the title. It
starts as follows:
nationwide day of action on Tuesday, both incoming and incumbent House
Democrats are being called on to embrace the growing demand of New
Green Deal in order to answer a simple questions: Are they on the side
of the fossil fuel industry or that of a sustainable, green energy
future that will create millions of new, good-paying jobs?
The youth-led climate
action group Sunrise Movement has planned more
than 350 events targeting Democrats, pressuring the party that
claims to support climate science to prove their commitment by backing
New Deal—the bold set of proposals aimed at investing in green
infrastructure, technology, and jobs to both curb the fossil fuel
emissions fueling the climate crisis and strengthen the U.S. economy.
Well... I think I like
the Sunrise Movement, though I am not quite sure, and I also like the Green New Deal although my guess is that it asks - at
present, at least - too much. Then again, I do agree with
is young and fears their life may be destroyed by the ecology or
nuclear arms. (I think both expectations are plausible, and I fear the
future, but I am also 68, and certainly no longer young.)
Here is more:
Jeremy Ornstein, a
Massachusetts teenager whose
impassioned plea to Democrats went viral last week after he
demanded lawmakers "get out of the way" if their "hands are too deep in
the pockets of the fossil fuel executives" to take meaningful action to
solve the climate crisis, released a video calling on young people to
take part in the mass mobilization.
"The momentum for this is
rolling and we're winning victories every day," Ornstein said, pointing
to the growing number of representatives who have expressed support for
the Green New Deal. "That's why we cannot stop now. We have too much on
the line—our futures, our homes, we've been living in fear of a climate
catastrophe, in anger about the corruption and negligence of our
politicians for far too long. We can't back down."
I do not know how much
I agree with Ornstein, but he is right that "our futures [and] our homes" are seriously threatened by the
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
"We have the momentum to
make a Green New Deal real, but we need a critical mass of
Congresspeople to support the proposal," the Sunrise Movement wrote on its website.
The Green New Deal would
million jobs over 10 years in low- or no-carbon energy sectors like
solar and wind power, building on the current trend of growing job
creation in those fields—compared with the coal industry, which only
employs 92,000 Americans today.
"America cannot continue
this unsustainable course," wrote Greg Carlock and Emily Mangan in
their report on the Green New Deal for the progressive think tank Data
for Progress. "The time is over for debating the reality of climate
change, the threats to the environment or public health, and the lack
of justice. The time is also over where we could accomplish our goals
through incremental change."
Well... I agree that "The time is over for debating the reality of
climate change, the threats to the environment or public health, and
the lack of justice", but I did not get enough information in
article to decide whether I agree with the Green New Deal. This is a
Yet the difference in
Trump’s prevarication seems to be found not in the quantity or enormity
of his lies, but in the way that Trump
uses his lies in service to a proto-authoritarian political
Well... I too am a
philosopher (who was refused his M.A. in philosophy because I
criticized my utterly incompetent teachers of philosophy, which is the
reason I then took an M.A. in psychology) and I think I studied philosophy, truth, belief etc. considerably
longer than McIntyre.
And one of my problems
with McIntyre is that he uses a lot of terms that he does in no
way define, even though he should know the terms are unclear.
Here is an example:
I recently wrote a book,
about what happens when “alternative facts” replace actual facts, and
feelings have more weight than evidence. Looked at from this
perspective, calling Trump a liar fails to capture his key strategic
Any amateur politician can
engage in lying. Trump is engaging in “post-truth.”
Well... what is
""post-truth""? And what are ""alternative facts""? (I think both are
doubly quoted, but am not sure about "post-truth".)
Here is an answer to my
first question (minus note numbers) and there is considerably more in
the link (which is about politics):
politics (also called post-factual politics and post-reality
politics) is a political culture in which debate is
framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the
details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals
are ignored. Post-truth differs
from traditional contesting and falsifying of facts by relegating facts
and expert opinions to be of secondary importance relative to appeal to
emotion. While this has been described as a contemporary problem, some
observers have described it as a long-standing part of political life
that was less notable before the advent of the Internet
and related social changes.
I think this is
basically nonsense, although the explanation of the terms is more or
Also, it would seem to
me that those who believe that "post-truth" is something new
special are basically like postmodernists,
who also seem to believe
that putting a "post-" before a term damns the original term to
Besides, what really is
different today, namely the internet and the incredible
amount of new
writers, has little to do with post-truth, and a lot with ideology, emotion, stupidity, and ignorance of
relevant information of the vast
majority of modern "writers", especially on Facebook and Twitter. (I
agree all of this is quite problematic, but the problems this does pose
are not solved by a term like "post-truth".)
And "alternative facts"
but is itself a lie
are real, which they are not.
Here is more:
Citing a 2,000 percent
spike in usage – due to Brexit and the American presidential campaign –
defined post-truth as “relating to or denoting circumstances in
which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion
than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
Ideology, in other words,
takes precedence over reality.
When an individual believes
their thoughts can influence reality, we call it “magical
thinking” and might worry about their mental health. When a
government official uses ideology to trump reality, it’s more like
propaganda, and it puts us on the road to fascism.
Well... in the first
place, for any political ideology and anyreligion,
indeed for nearly all facts, (bolding added) "objective facts are less influential
in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief" and they always have been,
for the last 2500 years.
The difference is that
there also were some (a small minority) in the last 2500 years
interested in the real factual truth, namely those who were scientists,
and who tried to find the truth, or at least
approximate it, and while
doing so at least had some more relevant knowledge than non-scientists.
In other words
"ideology" always "takes
precedence over reality", except
in the case of science, and of people who know what scientific
reasoning is, and who apply it.
Finally, to write that "When a government official uses ideology to
trump reality, it’s more like propaganda, and it puts us on the road to
fascism" is very
and quite imprecize:
First, for most
government officials (of any time and any place) there is no
distinction between their ideology and their reality,
for - like the
vast majority - they accept their ideology as a good
the truth (also if that is quite false).
Second, it is - at
least for most of the government officials - not like
propaganda, except if they add some propaganda to
it (which they quite often do, nearly always, at nearly all places).
And third, how this
would put us "on the road
to fascism" is a
complete riddle to me, as is the meaning of "fascism" for McIntyre.
(He may mean at least 21 different things by it. See here.)
Here is more:
The point of a lie is to
convince someone that a falsehood is true. But the point of post-truth
is domination. In my analysis, post-truth is an assertion of power.
journalist Masha Gessen and others have argued, when Trump lies he
does so not to get someone to accept what he’s saying as true, but to
show that he is powerful enough to say it.
First of all, people normally lie because they want
other people to believe certain things they themselves think are not
true and they do so almost always to increase the probability that
they will get what they want, or to decrease the probability
that they are found out.
Clearly, Trump is lying in the first sense.
Second, about power and truth: Of course Trump lies to convince most of
his followers. I agree he does not care about being found out, but this
indeed is because he is the president.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Even if all politicians
lie, I believe that post-truth foreshadows something more sinister. In
his powerful book “On Tyranny,”historian Timothy Snyder
writes that “post-truth is pre-fascism.” It is a tactic seen in
“electoral dictatorships” – where a society retains the facade of
voting without the institutions or trust to ensure that it is an actual
democracy, like those in Putin’s Russia or Erdogan’s Turkey.
In this, Trump is following
the authoritarian playbook, characterized by leaders lying, the erosion
of public institutions and the consolidation of power. You do not need
to convince someone that you are telling the truth when you can simply
assert your will over them and dominate their reality.
This article is by Amanda
Siebert on The New York Times. It starts as follows (and while it can
be plausibly maintained that cannabis does not belong to the
crisis, I think it does for me - and for more see ME in Amsterdam).
This starts as follows:
When Canada fully
legalized recreational cannabis on Oct. 17, the internet giddily
reimagined the CN Tower in Toronto
peeking out from a thick haze and swapped the flag’s red maple leaf
for its jagged-edged green cousin. Outsiders might titter about an
entire populace turning into potheads, but legalization means some of
the country’s brightest can now turn their minds to pot.
the first G-7 nation to slacken cannabis laws, Canada has bolted to the
front lines of the plant’s methodical scrutiny and investigation. No
longer at risk of censure or lacking access to specimens, researchers
can transcend the narrow parameters of scientific study once considered
acceptable, namely, clinical research, to explore social, biological,
genetic and agricultural questions. From botanists to phytochemists,
microbiologists to epidemiologists, scientists of all sorts are free to
openly pursue a greater quantity and quality of cannabis science than
This is more or less correct, although quite clearly
the "entire populace" of Canada will not turn "into
potheads" - and I know, for I am living in Holland where the
use of marijuana and hashish, although it still is illegal, has
not been criminally prosecuted for users in the last
years. (It is different for dealers.)
Also, the second quoted paragraph is mostly quite
correct, although I think I should mention that both usage and research
of marijuana was all quite legal until - I believe - 1904. Then again,
the means and the knowledge of science have vastly increased in
the last 110 years - but indeed with little effect on marijuana, for
that could not or hardly be scientifically researched.
Here is more:
brand-new legislation, the Cannabis Act, replaces a restrictive system
that treated researchers like would-be drug dealers. Scientists
intending to cultivate their own plants can now simply apply for a specific class of
rather than toil for an exemption from the retrograde Controlled Drugs
and Substances Act, which, among other demands, required criminal
In fact, I have not
the Cannabis Act, but this sounds quite good. Here is more:
Already, more than 130 companies
have been approved, with hundreds more in
line. The industry’s leaders have opened large-scale trials,
including exploring the plant’s power to alleviate chemotherapy-induced
nausea and reduce seizures in epileptic children. A multimillion-dollar
university professorship has been established to investigate a
cannabis solution to the opioid overdose epidemic.
Yes, although I think I
can definitely say that there will not be "a cannabis solution to the opioid overdose
epidemic" and my reason is
that cannabis does not result in physical addiction, whereas
opioids do. (It may help, but it will not give a "solution". Again, I
say so on the basis of 50+ years of experience with the Dutch approach
The scholarship on
cannabis will finally advance now that a developed, Western society has
welcomed back an ancient drug plant, says Jonathan Page, a
Vancouver-based plant biologist and a leader of the cannabis genome
project. Therapeutic marijuana application dates back thousands of
years, according to archaeological and
And again yes. This is a recommended article.
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 (!!).