in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from March 20, 2019
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 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:
A. Selections from March 20, 2019:
1. ACLU: The U.S. Is Acting Like an
The items 1 - 5 are today's
selections from the 35 sites that I look at
everyorning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. The Secret to Funding a Green New
3. What Republicans and billionaires mean when they say
4. The performative bickering of Kellyanne and George Conway
5. Evidence Of Trump's Personality Disorder?
The U.S. Is Acting Like an Authoritarian Regime
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the
title. It starts with the following introduction:
Yes indeed, and I published on
this before: see here. This is from
the beginning of this interview:
The Trump administration
has barred International Criminal Court
investigators from entering the United States. Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo announced Friday that the U.S. will start denying visas to
members of the ICC who may be investigating
alleged war crimes by the U.S. military in Afghanistan. In September,
national security adviser John Bolton threatened U.S. sanctions against
ICC judges if they continued to
investigate alleged war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
A 2016 ICC report accused the U.S. military
of torturing at least 61 prisoners in Afghanistan during the ongoing
war. The report also accused the CIA of
subjecting at least 27 prisoners to torture, including rape, at CIA prison sites in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania
and Lithuania. We speak with Jamil Dakwar, director of the Human Rights
Program at the American Civil Liberties Union.
(..) It’s great to have you with us. Your response to this announcement?
OK. I think this is unprecedented. This is the first time that the U.S.
government is targeting foreign judges and prosecutors, personnel of an
international—one of the most respected international judicial bodies
in the world, with a travel ban. As far as we look back, there hasn’t
been any kind of precedent for such a thing. They’re not only doing
that. They’re also saying anyone who assisted the ICC,
who worked or will work to push for accountability for investigation
before the ICC with regard to the situation
of Afghanistan, particularly looking at U.S. involvement in war crimes,
will be subject to the same visa restrictions. So this is an act of a
country that—similar to authoritarian regime. When you have—when you’re
crushing dissent, when you’re going after those who are disagreeing
with you, when you’re trying to punish and retaliate and intimidate
those who are trying to hold you accountable, you use your powers in
order to limit the way that they can do that. And that’s really very
outrageous and very concerning to us, that this is reaching to this
But it also speaks to what
this administration has been doing. I mean,
this administration threatened with prosecuting judges and the
prosecutors of the ICC for doing their job,
and for doing the job that the United States should have done—that is,
to investigate, credibly and thoroughly, war crimes and crimes against
humanity that were committed in the course of the war in Afghanistan,
including the use of black sites, not only in Afghanistan.
So, we will see—we will see how this will play out. We’re very happy
that the responses so far, in just the last few days, from members of
the court, particularly European countries, have been very strong in
condemning the Trump administration and upholding the independence and
legitimacy of the court, and that any actions to deter prosecutors and
the judges, that would be not acceptable and will be rejected by U.S.
allies, particularly in Europe.
Precisely: I completely
agree. Here is more - and González has it quite right, I
GONZÁLEZ: (..) This is not just refusing to cooperate.
This is actually punishing people who are trying to get to the facts of
what’s happened. In terms of what can be done in response by the
international community to what, in essence, is the United States
saying, “No one has a right to judge what we do abroad”?
DAKWAR: Well, first of
all, let’s start with what Secretary Pompeo said. He said it’s an
attack on our sovereignty. I don’t think that anyone attacked U.S.
So, it’s not an issue of U.S. sovereignty. It’s not also an issue of
protecting the constitutional right of American citizens who could be
tried abroad. That’s not something that we see again and again. If you
committed a crime abroad—you could be committing it anywhere in the
world—you could be held accountable by those countries where you
violated their criminal laws. And therefore, there is no such a thing
of attacking or undermining American sovereignty.
The second thing is, is
Secretary Pompeo is saying there was no consent of the governments,
that being—their nationals being prosecuted or investigated by the ICC in the future. Since when war criminals have
to get their consent to a criminal investigation? That’s unheard of.
So, the nature of the attacks, as you said, they are punitive, they’re
So it is really a serious threat to the system that we created. The
United States was responsible for creating systems after World War II,
after the horror of the Holocaust, that would fight impunity, that
would combat the worst crimes. And now the U.S. is leading the charge
in attacking the judges. And being cheered by what countries? Cheered
by Sudan, Burundi, the Philippines.
And again I also completely
agree with Dakwar. Finally, since I am a psychologist as
well, I also
like to quote this bit:
GOODMAN: Can you talk
about how psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen could be
implicated in the investigation, who reaped tens of millions of dollars
for designing torture techniques for the CIA?
DAKWAR: So, these two
individuals, who are psychologists in their private practice, were
hired by the CIA after the terrorist attacks
on 9/11 in order to help implement—design and implement a torture
program. They have come up with, really, based on pseudoscience—it was
really junk science—a theory of how to break down detainees and how to
break down those suspected in involvement in the 9/11 attacks. There
has been clear evidence, that we have exposed in our lawsuit, the ACLU lawsuit against the two individuals, that was
settled a couple of years ago, that showed that this—that the
information that they relied on, the science there was really out of—in
line with any scientific—and that its purpose was really to coerce and
to lead detainees to say things they may have not done. And, in fact, I
think the—again, the Senate torture report has confirmed that the
program, the whole program, not only was costly, was not effective, but
it was also—was misleading in the way that it presented as if those two
individuals—so, these two individuals made over $80 million off this
Again quite so,
although Dakwar is a bit less clear here. There is considerably more in
this article, that is strongly recommended.
2. The Secret to Funding a Green New Deal
This article is by Ellen Brown
on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed, and I agree
with Modern Monetary
Theory in the sense that I agree that (quite obviously, also) ¨the government does not need to collect taxes
before it spends¨.
As alarm bells sound over
the advancing destruction of the environment, a variety of Green
New Deal proposals have appeared in the U.S. and Europe, along with
some interesting academic debates about how to fund them. Monetary
policy, normally relegated to obscure academic tomes and bureaucratic
meetings behind closed doors, has suddenly taken center stage.
proposal for a Green New Deal submitted to the U.S. House of
Representatives by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., does not
actually mention Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), but that is the approach
currently capturing the attention of the media—and taking most of the
heat. The concept is good: Abundance can be ours without worrying about
taxes or debt, at least until we hit full productive capacity. But, as
with most theories, the devil is in the details.
MMT advocates say the
government does not need to collect taxes before it spends. It actually
new money in the process of spending it; and there is plenty of
room in the economy for public spending before demand outstrips supply,
driving up prices.
Then again, while Ellen Brown explains more about Modern Monetary Theory in this article, I
will be staying away from the theory because I did not read
it, and I also do not consider economics - which has at
different foundations that are all supposed to be ¨economics¨ - a real
science, even though it is mathematical.
But here is Brown on the Green New Deal (happily unabbreviated):
Yes indeed. One problem with
this is that while there are public banks in the USA, which
rather successful, there are not many, and they also are
opposed by the
To fund a project as
as the Green New Deal, we need a mechanism that involves neither
raising taxes nor adding to the federal debt; and such a mechanism is
proposed in the U.S. Green New Deal itself—a network of public banks.
While little discussed in the U.S. media, that alternative is being
debated in Europe, where Green New Deal proposals have been on the
table since 2008.
There is quite a bit more about Modern
Monetary Theory in this article, which I leave to my readers´
interests, and the article ends as follows:
I think that is correct
and this is a recommended article.
A network of public
including a central bank operated as a public utility, could similarly
fund a U.S. Green New Deal—without raising taxes, driving up the
federal debt or inflating prices.
Republicans and billionaires mean when they say ‘freedom’
This article is by
Thom Hartmann on Common Dreams and originally by the Independent Media
Institute. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:
America is having a heated
debate about the meaning of the word socialism. We’d be better served
if, instead, we were debating the meaning of freedom.
reported last week that fully 156,000 families are on the edge of
homelessness in our small-population state. Every one of those
households is now paying more than 50 percent of its monthly income on
rent, and none of them has any savings; one medical bill, major car
repair or job loss, and they’re on the streets.
While socialism may or may
not solve their problem, the more pressing issue we have is an entire
political party and a huge sector of the billionaire class who see
homelessness not as a problem, but as a symptom of a “free” society.
The words freedom
and liberty are iconic in American culture—probably more so
than with any other nation because they’re so intrinsic to the
literature, declarations and slogans of our nation’s founding.
Yes indeed. I basically
agree with Hartmann, although I also expect there will be
more about socialism than about freedom in the press and the media, and
one important reason for that is that the term ¨socialism¨ is still
used to scare people.
Here is more by
But what do those words
If you ask the Koch
brothers and their buddies—who slap those words on pretty much
everything they do—you’d get a definition that largely has to do with
being “free” from taxation and regulation. And, truth be told, if
you’re morbidly rich, that makes a certain amount of sense,
particularly if your main goal is to get richer and richer, regardless
of your behavior’s impact on working-class people, the environment, or
the ability of government to function.
On the other hand, the
definition of freedom and liberty that’s been embraced by so-called
“democratic socialist” countries—from Canada to almost all of Europe to
Japan and Australia—you’d hear a definition that’s closer to that
articulated by Franklin D. Roosevelt when he proposed, in January 1944,
a “second Bill of Rights” to
be added to our Constitution.
Yes indeed, and as to the
first quoted paragraph: In fact this started with Reagan, in 1980,
also insisted that ¨government is the problem, not the solution¨.
As to the second quoted
paragraph: I more or less agree, but I do not think that ¨Canada [and] almost all of Europe [and] Japan
and Australia¨ are
socialist¨ countries at all, nor even ¨social democracies¨.
So I think this is a mistake,
and in fact I would myself say that the countries Hartmann mentions are
mostly liberal democracies - and the same applies to Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, whose “second Bill of Rights” I also strongly
recommend you read:
FDR’s proposed amendments
included the right to a job, and the right to be
paid enough to live comfortably; the right to “adequate food
and clothing and recreation”; the right to start a business
and run it without worrying about “unfair competition and domination by
monopolies”; the right “of every family to a decent home”;
the right to “adequate medical care... to achieve and enjoy
good health”; the right to government-based “protection from
the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment”;
and the right “to a good education.”
Roosevelt pointed out that,
“All of these rights spell security.”
Precisely (but the “second
Bill of Rights” was never made into law, alas).
Just prior to FDR winning
the White House in the election of 1932, the nation had been treated to
12 years of a bizarre Republican administration that was the model for
today’s GOP. In 1920, Warren Harding won the presidency on a campaign
of “more industry in government, less government in industry”—
privatize and deregulate—and a promise to drop the top tax rate of 91
percent down to 25 percent.
He kept both promises,
putting the nation into a sugar-high spin called the Roaring ’20s,
where the rich got fabulously rich and working-class people were being
beaten and murdered by industrialists when they tried to unionize.
Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover (the three Republican presidents from
1920 to 1932) all cheered on the assaults, using phrases like “the
right to work” to describe a union-free nation.
Yes, quite so. Also, the
same Republican recipe was started by Reagan in 1980, and
continued now for nearly 40 years, also through Democratic governments
- Clinton and Obama - basically because these two presidents also
for the rich rather than the poor in quite a few of their
while both the Senate and the House meanwhile have been heavily
Finally, here is an excellent
sum-up by Hartmann of what real freedom and real liberty
mean in terms
[W]e got halfway toward his
notion of freedom and liberty here in the United States:
You’re not free if
you’re old and deep in poverty, so we have Social Security (although
the GOP wants to gut it).
You’re not free if
you’re hungry, so we have food stamps/SNAP (although the GOP wants to
You’re not free if
you’re homeless, so we have housing assistance and homeless shelters
(although the GOP fights every effort to help homeless people).
You’re not free if
you’re sick and can’t get medical care, so we have Medicare, Medicaid,
and Obamacare (although the GOP wants to gut them all).
You’re not free if
you’re working more than 40 hours a week and still can’t meet basic
expenses, so we have minimum wage laws and the right to unionize
(although the GOP wants to gut both).
You’re not free if you
can’t read, so we have free public schools (although the GOP is
actively working to gut them).
You’re not free if you
can’t vote, so we’ve passed numerous laws to guarantee the right to
vote (although the GOP is doing everything it can to keep tens of
millions of Americans from voting).
The billionaire class and
their wholly owned Republican politicians keep trying to tell us that
“freedom” means the government doesn’t provide any of the things listed
Precisely, and this is a strongly
performative bickering of Kellyanne and George Conway
This article is by
Rachel Leah on Salon. I abbreviated the title. Before excerpting this
article, a small introduction:
This is about the married partners Kellyanne
Conway. Kellyanne is Counselor to the President (Trump) and defends
him in various ways, often with lies; her husband George Conway attacks
president Trump (since 2018), and insists, quite correctly in this
psychologist´s eyes, that he
is not sane, and specifically that he has a narcissist
personality disorder, which is what I think.
You will find out more about George Conway in the next
item, that is a
video by The Young Turks. I will comment on that at the start of the
Here is the start of the present item:
Yes indeed, though I have
no ideas about Leah´s parents. But Leah is right that
between the Conways seems - at least - a bit strange.
I had been convinced that there was no odder couple than
my parents, who've long been separated and whose personalities and
livelihoods could not be more divergent, until conservative
lawyer turned chronic President Trump critic George Conway began
to gain popularity for his fervent and relentless Trump takedowns, on
social media and in
op-eds, despite the fact that he is married to Kellyanne Conway,
one of Trump's closest aides.
The tension hit a boiler point Tuesday when the president
weighed in with a typical insult, calling
Conway a "total loser" on Twitter.
Here is more:
Yes, I mostly agree,
although I think myself that a narcissist
corresponds to what in proper English is called megalomania
(but the psychiatrists who currently write the articles on psychiatry
on the Wikipedia have even succeeded of having that term deleted
from Wikipedia, where it was at least until the end of 2016) and is or
may be real, while I think the antisocial
personality disorder is fundamentally a political
notion, meant to make critics of government seem insane, and so I
will not discuss the antisocial personality
disorder further in this article.
But as Trump's Twitter fingers moved at a mile a minute
this weekend, George Conway suggested the response was indicative of
the president's declining mental state with the succinct assessment, "His condition is getting worse." Conway also
retweeted an endless roll of Trump criticisms, many of which remarked
on the unusual volume of vitriol coming from the president's Twitter
Conway began sprinkling in more of his own commentary on
Monday when CNN commentator Ana Navarro-Cárdenas said
that the president had tweeted 28 times on Sunday and asked if that
meant the Mueller investigation was coming to a close. Conway replied,
"Don’t assume that the things he says and does are part of a rational
plan or strategy, because they seldom are. Consider them as a product
of his pathologies, and they make perfect sense."
Conway then shared the
of the fifth edition of the DSM-5 and two more tweets on the specific
diagnostic criteria for someone who suffers from narcissistic
personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.
Here is more on Trump and the Conways:
This public triangulation
between Trump and the Conways is not only weird, it's now a frequent
dynamic. Kellyanne has gone on TV several times to publicly
defend Trump while George took to Twitter to do the exact opposite.
This is not to say that partners are expected to share political
ideologies and leanings, but it seems pretty rare that a couple's job
titles and goals would not only be in total opposition to each other,
but that they would actively undermine each other in public like this.
Yes, I agree. Here is
bit I quote from this article:
While neither Conway
admit it, it's hard not to wonder if this whole persona is a grift of
some kind — a way for George to elevate his profile and formulate a
fairly easy exit strategy for his wife, should the Mueller
investigation prove damning, or should Trump face impeachment or simply
lose his bid for reelection. I can already picture the heartfelt
interview with the Conways on Fox News, where they reveal that
Kellyanne actually shared George's concerns the whole time. She
was just trying to do her job, but George operated as the family's
moral compass, they might say.
Possibly so, but I have
no ideas about the Conways possible deeper ideas. Then
again, I agree
with George Conway about president Trump (what I´ve read) and
incidentally, so does Robert Reich, to a large extent at least, and see
5. Evidence Of Trump's
This is not
article but a video by The Young Turks,
of 13 min and 18 sec. It is
here in part because it supports George Conway´s opinions about
president Trump, that are also explained by the previous
In fact, as far as psychology is concerned - in which I got a
M.A. - George Conway agrees with me and some 70,000 other
psychologists: Trump is
insane and his madness is called (by
psychiatrists) a narcissist
personality disorder, with which I agree, based on 6 years
of psychology, extensive experiences with several insane persons, and
It turns out that Cenk
Uygur, the leader of The Young Turks now agrees
with me and 70,000 other psychologists that yes, Trump is insane,
and yes, that is a huge problem,
especially because Trump can start a
I entirely agree, indeed since the beginning of 2016 (see here), and
Uygur also gives fairly decent explanations of his reasons to
Also, I agree with him that intelligent persons who do have access to
the definition of a narcissist
personality disorder in the DSM-5 (and I provide access in my Trump is not sane, from the
end of 2016, which is strongly recommended) can make a
diagnosis as trained psychologists can make, in considerable part
because in Trump´s case his having a narcissist
personality disorder is very clear (and I scored Trump as
satisfying 9 out of 9 criterions, where 5 is sufficient for a
diagnosis). Also, it should be added that the criterions of the DSM-5
are in terms of observable behavior.
And I like this video and strongly recommend it.
Finally, on The Young Turks:
I know of them since 2009, which is when I finally got fast internet,
which also enabled me to see their daily videos, and I did select a
reasonable number of videos then. I liked them better then than I do
but this may be because (i) they mostly provide for young people while
I am nearly 69; because (ii) I like to review what I present,
and that is
not well possible with videos; and (iii) also because I can find no
the videos they do publish.
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 3 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 (!!).