in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from February 21, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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 three 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:
. Selections from February 21, 2019:
1. Trump’s Idea of a Middle East Nuclear
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. Trump Admin’s Secretive Talks to
Sell Saudi Arabia Nuclear Technology
3. The End of the American Republic
4. We've Sleepwalked Into a Constitutional Crisis
5. An "Exciting But Dangerous Moment" for Medicare for All
Idea of a Middle East Nuclear Deal
This article is by The Editorial
Board of The New York Times. It starts as follows:
To the best of my knowledge, all
of the above is true, and there is more on this below.
An interim report from the House Oversight Committee paints a
familiar picture of Trump associates skirting the law to curry favor
with people who can make them richer. This time, the dealing doesn’t
involve Russians but Saudis, and it is not about a lavish tower in
Moscow but the sale of nuclear power reactors.
Negotiations were conducted
people who would stand to gain millions, in apparent disregard of the
Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which sets out explicit procedures and
criteria for nuclear cooperation agreements and is intended to thwart
proliferation of atomic weapons. Their conflicts of interest “could
implicate federal criminal statutes,” according to the
By ramming through the sale
as much as $80 billion in nuclear power plants, the Trump
administration would provide sensitive know-how and materials to a
government whose de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has
suggested that he may eventually want a nuclear weapon as a hedge
against Iran and has shown little concern for what the rest of the
The report also warned,
the United States, strong private commercial interests have been
pressing aggressively for the transfer of highly sensitive nuclear
technology to Saudi Arabia — a potential risk to U.S. national security
absent adequate safeguards.”
It has been known for
time that the administration has been
discussing a nuclear cooperation deal with Saudi Arabia. But it took
Democratic control of the House, and the committee, to shine a light on
these dark dealings in the report, which draws on claims by multiple
whistle-blowers and documents.
Here is some more from this article:
never produced a
nuclear weapon, it had a robust nuclear
program until it agreed to an international deal in 2015 that curbed
its activities. The deal, opposed by the Saudis, is now hanging by a
thread because Mr. Trump abrogated America’s commitment.
I think the above is also true
but the NYT is getting worse and worse: its frontpage is much
diminished recently for those reading it on line, and I would not be
than one bit directly, although I do not know this.
Efforts by the Obama
administration to negotiate a nuclear cooperation
agreement faltered over the Saudis’ refusal to make a legally binding
commitment to forgo uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing. It’s
no surprise that the Saudis would prefer to negotiate over nuclear
technology with Mr. Trump, who seems to care far more about profits
than about halting the spread of nuclear weapons.
It seems I will soon cease to follow the NYT altogether, as I have done
Mother Jones, because that made itself uncopyable. Anyway... this is
a recommended article, and there is more on this problem in the next
Admin’s Secretive Talks to Sell Saudi Arabia Nuclear Technology
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the
title. It starts with the following introduction:
House Democrats are
the Trump administration of moving toward transferring highly sensitive
nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of U.S. law.
Critics say the deal could endanger national security while enriching
close allies of President Trump. Saudi Arabia is considering building
as many as 16 nuclear power plants by 2030, but many critics fear the
kingdom could use the technology to develop nuclear weapons and trigger
a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. We speak with Democratic
Congressmember Ro Khanna of California and Isaac Arnsdorf, a reporter
with ProPublica. Arnsdorf first wrote about the intense and secretive
lobbying effort to give nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in 2017. His
reporting was cited in the House report.
Yes, and this article
may be taken as a - longer, more thorough - continuation of the subject
of the previous article. Also, I will not quote Arnsdorf in this
Here is more:
Congressmember Ro Khanna, let’s begin with you. What are you doing on
the House Oversight Committee? What is the leadership doing there?
RO KHANNA: Well, it’s a very
serious matter. Here’s why people should care. The Saudis have been
giving arms to al-Qaeda in Yemen. There’s reports of that. And the last
thing we want to do as a country is to transfer nuclear secrets to
Saudi Arabia, which could lead to proliferation and a threat to our
And as the journalist you
have on has reported, there is a lot of financial conflict of interest
here. Tom Barrack, who headed up the president’s inaugural committee to
raise $100 million-plus, is also pushing for this deal and has
financial interest in the deal. So the Oversight Committee is going to
have an investigation to see what are the financial interests that are
driving this administration to potentially sell nuclear secrets to the
Saudis and what laws have been violated, because, as you know, they
have to come to Congress, under the Atomic Energy Act, and offer
certain guidelines, which they haven’t done.
I think the above is
all correct. Here is some more:
RO KHANNA: Well, we need to find
out more facts. That’s why we need an investigation. We need to know
who was in that meeting, what was discussed, whether they followed the
law that the Atomic Energy Act requires. I mean, even when we transfer
nuclear technology to allies, such as India, when George Bush did that,
it requires years of process. It requires the consultation of Congress.
Here you’re talking about the potential sale of nuclear secrets to the
Saudis, who aren’t an ally, who have engaged in the proliferation of
weapons that are being used against our own troops, and there is no
process for notification of Congress. And you have extensive reporting
of people who gain—stand to gain billions of dollars from these
Again I think all of the
above is correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
REP. RO KHANNA:
(...) It’s all about money, whether it’s selling them arms sales or
selling nuclear secrets. There’s no moral consideration. I mean, Tom
Barrack, as recently as a week ago, was out there defending the
Khashoggi murder and defending the Saudi regime’s murder of Khashoggi.
He actually said, appallingly, that the United States has done worse,
which I totally disagree with. But it gives you a sense of what’s
driving this. It’s financial interests. It’s selling interests into the
Saudis for money, and no concern for our security and no concern for
the morality of the Saudis’ policies.
I mostly agree with this, and
there is considerably more in
the article, that is strongly recommended.
End of the American Republic
This article is by
Jacob Bacharach on Truthdig. This is from near its beginning (and you
are supposed to know what Trump's "national emergency" is):
[Trump] declared a state
national emergency and said he was going to take a few billion out of
the bottomless billions already allocated to the American military to
build at least a few miles of defensive fortifications against the
barbarian invasions he and his party conjure up when they talk about
the Southern border. He then gave a rambling press conference during
which he casually but explicitly stated that his emergency was not an
Yes, this is mostly correct.
It also could be seen as a continuation of the previous two articles,
but it is a bit too unspecific for that. Also, there are quite a few
paragraphs on the history of Rome, which I myself do not think
very relevant, but then I have read all of Edward Gibbon's
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" (which I can very
I will quote one paragraph of
Bacharach on ancient Rome:
(..) Rome’s history is
outsize egos and insufficient intellects, of governing institutions
almost entirely compromised by personal avarice, and of a social and
economic elite that oversaw the destruction of its sacred offices in no
small part because it continually refused to make even superficial
concessions to the lower orders. Men like Julius Caesar inspired
personal cults not because of their populist governance, but because
the state to which Roman citizens had given their devotion had by then
become a hollow shell, the best bits long ago auctioned off to the
Perhaps - but this says that
the Roman state had "become a hollow shell" at or before 50 BC, which
is some 450 years before the
Western Empire fell.
Anyway. Here is the ending of
tendencies we see in Trump, after all, are not just a matter of
personal temperament: They are the natural outgrowth of a feckless,
callow legislature that has ceded more and more authority to executive
offices over the last half century. Trump’s interlocutors aren’t
incorrect when they point out, in defending his resort to emergency
decree, that the law conferring such boundless authority on the
president was passed by Congress in the first place!
None of it bodes especially
well for the next hundred years, and I worry that a revivified, if
still inchoate, socialism that does not forcefully confront empire may
secure the dole—Medicare-for-all, perhaps, instead of Roman
grain—without slowing the rapid slide into tyranny.
I do not think that
Jacob Bacharach is optimistic.
Neither am I, but I do not think this is a good article.
Sleepwalked Into a Constitutional Crisis
This article is by
Juan Cole on Truthdig and originally on Informed Comment. It starts as
I think the above is mostly
correct. Here is some more:
From Trump’s very inauguration
day speech, written for him by the fascist gadfly Steve Bannon and
man still without a prom date Stephen Miller, it was apparent that the
45th president was a constitutional crisis waiting to happen.
And now, without our
realizing it for the most part, the constitutional crisis is here.
The Constitution gives
Congress the right to spend money and to designate how it may be spent.
Republicans used that authority to stop the Obama administration from
closing the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, denying the president
the funds necessary to shut it down.
Having the power of the
purse lie with the legislature goes back to British parliamentary
practice of the late medieval and early modern period. Making the king
go to parliament for permission to institute a new tax for some new
royal enterprise is a feature of the Magna
Carta, the ‘Great Charter’ imposed on the king by the barons
Trump’s ‘Declaration of
Emergency’ over his trumped up border wall crisis is an attempt to
sidestep constitutional principle and to have the president instead of
Congress decide how appropriated monies will be used.
Yes, I agree, at least in so far
as Trump's declaration of emergency is concerned. Here is the ending of
It seems that Congress will
attempt to over-rule Trump. Some 16 states are already suing over the
so-called emergency, and the House of Representatives may also sue.
Congress may also attempt to stop Trump with legislation, and if he
tries to veto it, they will attempt to over-ride the veto in both
houses of Congress.
Trump will either get his
way on the declaration of emergency or not, but either way he has
provoked a constitutional crisis.
Well... I think this may
be a little strong, though I agree that Trump's national emergency is
a constitutional crisis. I also think (as a psychologist) that Trump is insane, but I have
no idea what Cole (who is not a psychologist) thinks about that.
Trump is of course creating
numerous constitutional crises. He call for ‘retribution’ on Saturday
Night Live in response to a skit by Alec Baldwin making fun of his wall
obsession. In genuine democracies the president does not threaten
satirists with ‘retribution.’ That is something Field Marshal al-Sisi
would do (and has done) in Egypt. Satirist Bassem Youssef had to
abandon his television show lest he face retribution from al-Sisi.
Trump’s attack on the First
Amendment and also his calling his top Justice Department and FBI
personnel are all part of the general constitutional crisis.
"Exciting But Dangerous Moment" for Medicare for All
This article is
by Michael Winship on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Dr. Adam Gaffney is
the brand new president of Physicians for a National Health Program
(PNHP), the national, Medicare for All advocacy group of medical
professionals and others committed to single-payer—universal healthcare
“provided equitably as a public service rather than bought and sold as
In the announcement of his
election, Dr. Gaffney said, “We’ve been so successful in popularizing
the idea of ‘Medicare for all’ that everybody wants in on the
slogan—even if they have something completely different in mind, like a
public option. But tweaks won’t solve the fundamental problems of
American health care: persistently high uninsurance, rising
underinsurance, unaffordable drugs, narrow provider networks, and the
growing corporate domination of health care that prioritizes profits
Yes indeed: I
think all of the above is quite correct. Also, I found
the interview that follows interesting and I will quote some bits of
it, but it is too long to excerpt properly in Nederlog.
Here is the first bit I quote:
So you are
completely convinced that single-payer is the best way to go?
Yes, I think all of that
is correct. In Holland, where I live, the system is a bit like
the Englihsh NHS, but the premiums are much higher than they were
before 2000, but then those with very
Yes. I am also completely
convinced that imposing costs on patients at the time of healthcare use
has no useful purpose. That seems like a radical idea, and even people
on the liberal-left side of the spectrum sometimes say, well, having a
reasonable copay is not such a bad idea to ensure that healthcare is
not used sort of frivolously. I think some people think a system where
you don’t impose costs is pie-in-the-sky and unrealistic. It’s of
course not unrealistic, considering that in the UK this already exists.
In the UK, there are no copays for doctor’s visits, no deductibles, no
payments to hospitals. In Scotland, you don’t even pay for parking at
the hospital if you’re visiting a loved one. It’s clearly doable and I
think it’s a better system.
At the end of the day, maybe
people paying for healthcare only really affects working class and poor
people because well-off people are always going to be willing to pay a
forty-dollar copay, right? It really is just a way of punishing the
sick and the poor.
little money, like myself, get substantial financial support for their
Here is some more:
Let’s talk about
the 2020 elections. In the PNHP announcement of your presidency it’s
said that Medicare for All has become such a catchphrase that some
candidates may be misusing it.
We’ve had the idea for a long
time. But what happened was that the idea has become very popular,
something that everyone is rallying behind. So I do think there’s an
effort to steal some of that thunder and use the branding on other
types of healthcare proposals that fall well short of what we’re
We’re talking about a national
health insurance program that covers everyone in the country. These
other proposals are not that. Some of them still might help many
people but they’re not what the country needs. They wouldn’t fix the
fundamental problems of the US healthcare system.
I think that is
correct. Here is the ending of the article:
Finally, I wanted
to ask you about immigration. PNHP is calling for coverage of all
undocumented and documented immigrants.
Yes, I quite agree
and this is a recommended article.
We are calling for coverage of
all US residents. I think that’s important. Look, everyone needs
healthcare. You’re not going to deny people healthcare simply by virtue
of the country they were born in, nor should we. Healthcare is a human
right. That’s imperative. At the end of the day, the reality is that
unless you’re willing to push people away from the doors of hospitals
and call in the goons to throw them into the streets, you need to take
care of people, right? It’s just common decency.
The irony is there’s also some
research that immigrants actually pay more into the healthcare system.
If that wasn’t the case it wouldn’t change my opinion but it is a funny
irony. The reason is pretty simple – immigrants in general are younger
and healthier, they use less healthcare and they pay more into the
But that’s not the motivation.
The motivation is to envision healthcare as a human right that everyone
deserves by virtue of belonging to the human race.
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 (!!).