in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from April 20, 2019
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 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 April 20, 2019:
1. Glenn Greenwald vs. David
Cay Johnston on Trump-Russia Ties
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. The Destruction of the Palestinians
Will Be Israel’s Undoing
3. Pentagon Spending Set to Hit Near-Record Levels
4. Amazon—and 56 Other Corporations—Took Your Tax Dollars
5. Welcome to the Fourth Reich
Greenwald vs. David Cay Johnston on Trump-Russia Ties
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It
starts with the following introduction:
The Justice Department
released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s
448-page report detailing Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the
Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia and President Trump’s attempts to
impede the special counsel’s investigation. The report states the
campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen
and released through Russian efforts,” but Mueller concluded, “the
investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign
conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election
interference activities.” Mueller also outlined at least 10 instances
where Trump attempted to impede the special counsel’s investigation,
but Mueller came to no definitive conclusion on whether Trump broke the
law by obstructing justice. In the report, Mueller suggests that this
is a decision for Congress to make. We host a debate on the report’s
findings between two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists: Glenn
Greenwald of The Intercept and David Cay Johnston, who has covered
Donald Trump since the 1980s. His most recent book is “It’s Even Worse
Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.”
Yes, indeed. And in
fact this is a long interview, which implies that it is too
long to be decently excerpted in Nederlog. Then again, I also
think I will come to at least one fairly firm conclusion.
To start with, there is
lawmakers are accusing Attorney General Barr of mischaracterizing some
of Mueller’s findings. House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler has
announced plans to issue a subpoena for the full, unredacted Mueller
report and to request Mueller testify before the committee. Nadler
spoke in New York Thursday.
Even in its incomplete form, however, the Mueller report outlines
disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of
justice and other misconduct. Contrary to the attorney general’s
statement this morning that the White House, quote, “fully cooperated,”
unquote, with the investigation, the report makes clear that the
president refused to be interviewed by the special counsel and refused
to provide written answers to follow-up questions, page 13 of volume
two; makes clear that his associates destroyed evidence relevant to the
Russian investigation, page 10, volume one. The report concluded there
was “substantial evidence,” in quotes, that President Trump attempted
to prevent an investigation into his campaign and his own conduct, page
76, page 78, page 90, page 157, volume two.
I agree with Nadler's
desire to see the "the full,
unredacted Mueller report".
Here is some more from the
GREENWALD: (..) And over
and over and over, from the Trump Tower meeting to all of the
post—Russian connections after both the convention and the election,
Mueller used the same language over and over and over again, which is
that there’s no evidence, or the evidence does not establish that these
conspiracy theories actually happened.
Now, you can continue to
believe in them. It sort of feels almost like arguing with people who
have adopted religious beliefs, that they’re going to believe in their
view of how the world works, no matter how much evidence you present
them that it didn’t happen. But Democrats and proponents of this theory
got what they wanted, which is the Mueller investigation, and now most
of the Mueller report and his findings. And his findings are that he
looked for 22 months as hard as he could and didn’t establish that
these theories were true.
I think that is correct.
Here is some more from
(..) Now, I don’t think Donald Trump is going to be impeached, because
there aren’t the votes to convict him. But that Donald Trump was eager,
and his son Don Jr. and others in his campaign were eager, to get help
from the Russians, the report explicitly states. That the Russians were
eager to make sure that Hillary Clinton didn’t win, that they help both
Trump and Bernie Sanders, is clearly stated in the report. So, to
suggest that there’s nothing here and we should forget all this and
it’s corrupted our politics, Glenn and I just fundamentally disagree
about that. I think this report makes very clear that Donald Trump
behaved in ways that are not loyal to the United States. He urged his
staff, contrary to what Attorney General Barr said about complete
cooperation, to lie, to deny, to cover up, to destroy records. He would
not sit for an interview. He would not respond to further questions.
And the answers in writing that he provided are artful, lawyerly-like
arguments that evade.
In fact, Johnston agrees
with Greenwald on the chances that Trump is going to be impeached: It
will not happen, quite simply because the Senate is run by the
Republicans, who will not convict him.
Here it is spelled out:
Yes, I agree. In fact, I
agree with both Johnston and Greenwald, namely
on the thesis that Trump will not be impeached (before 2020),
basically because of the Senate. And this is also the fairly
firm conclusion I said I would reach: I agree. Also, this is a
recommended article in which there is much more.
GOODMAN: Well, David Cay
Johnston, do you think the House should move to impeach President Trump?
Well, I don’t think they’re going to, because there aren’t votes in the
Senate to convict. And so it would be pointless. You need 67 votes. And
the Republican senators are simply not going to vote, even though, in
private, many of them have made it clear, in conversations with people,
that they are deeply disturbed and think Donald Trump is unfit to serve.
Destruction of the Palestinians Will Be Israel’s Undoing
article is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
is at the heart of politics not only in the Middle East, but in the
United States. As the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu moves
further toward the hard right with the support of U.S. President
Donald Trump, the plight of Palestinians is reaching a new level of
urgency. Journalist and filmmaker Mariam
Shahin, the daughter of Palestinians, has dedicated much of her
life’s work to documenting Palestinians’ stories through film as well
as in her book “Palestine: A Guide” (Interlink Books, 2006). Truthdig
Editor in Chief Robert Scheer describes Shahin’s films as poignant
portrayals of “the forgotten people of every intrusion, every war.”
I take it the above is
correct, and indeed selected this article because of its title,
with which I agree. Also, in fact this is a long interview, which implies
that it is - again - too long to be decently excerpted in Nederlog.
So I will only select a
few bits, and this is the first:
Hi. This is Robert Scheer with another edition of “Sheer Intelligence,”
where the intelligence comes from my guests. In this case, journalist
and author Mariam Shahin, who is, I say, a Palestinian, yet you were
born in Berlin, I guess. Your father, as with many Palestinians and
many Jewish people, lived in the diaspora because of events in their
home country. A highly educated man, a cancer researcher and so forth.
Yet you visited Palestine and what you have managed to do in your work,
I should say you’re a very famous journalist. Your work has appeared in
everything from CBS to Al Jazeera. You’ve made, I don’t know what, some
huge amount of documentaries, I think 80 or something. You’ve studied
at Harvard and all sorts of places. But what I loved about your work in
preparation for this and as I was familiar with some of it before, is
you capture, dare I say it, the ordinary person living in a place like
Gaza. How they eat, how they survive. Male, female, children. These are
not people who invented the situation. These are not people who have
agency of any significance.
Well, I did not know
about Mariam Shahin before reading this, but I am willing to trust the
above. Also, I agree that "ordinary
person[s] living in a place like Gaza" are in fact quite important, simply because they
are, on the one hand, "not people
who have agency of any significance",
yet they also are the people who get killed or maimed in
the ongoing international conflict they have been made a mostly
unwilling part of.
Here is some more:
always object when you draw parallels between people. But what hit me
about being a witness to a part of the Six-Day War and so forth, were
what you just said about the Palestinians, of course, is what drove the
idea of a Jewish state. There are people who denied that there was a
Jewish people until they, so many of them were exterminated. At that
time, in the Six-Day War, I recall this vividly. The people who
represent, who led Israel, the dominant Labor party, were people that I
felt very comfortable with. They were on the left, they were
socialists. I remember Moshe Dayan. He actually knew Arabic. I remember
being with him. He said, very clearly he told me when I interviewed
him. He said, “If you come back and we’re still occupying here, it will
destroy Israel.” Whether he believed that or not, I don’t know. But the
Labor Party people claimed at that time that they were not occupiers.
That they understood the risk of being an occupier. What it would do to
your national character.
Yes indeed, or at least I
recall something similar in Holland (and was 17 in 1967). I
also think that since then the Israelis have more and more moved to the
right, although I grant that this may be a little loosely expressed
(but indeed I did not research Israel a lot in the last 50
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
the past, you mentioned and I recognize that in my 25-year history with
Israel. There wasn’t a call for annihilation. There was a call for
sidelining, for maybe expelling. For killing, but not en masse. Today,
there is a mentality, a right-wing mentality which has gripped many,
many societies across the world or all shades and religions. That
includes Israel. There are calls to kill an entire people. There’s no
reprimand. There’s nothing. This is really scary.
One the one hand, you have
a move to the right. On the other hand, you have a greater number of
people who are saying, “Stop. This is not OK. We’re in the 21st
century. We can’t go back. Going back is not an option.”
OK. There is a lot more
in the article, which is recommended.
Spending Set to Hit Near-Record Levels
This article is by
Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
Yes indeed - and also the
Pentagon receives more than 50% of the taxes Americans pay. Taking
both facts together, my own conclusion is that - at least - the
present Trump government seems to be preparing for a large war.
Pentagon spending is on
track to grow significantly for the fifth consecutive year, but "very
few in Congress are questioning" how the U.S. can afford it.
That's according to the Washington
Post's Jeff Stein and Aaron Gregg, who reported
Thursday that "the United States is expected to spend more on its
military in 2020 than at any point since World War II, except for a
handful of years at the height of the Iraq War."
In his 2020 budget request,
Trump called for $750 billion in Pentagon spending. Democrats countered
with a $733 billion offer, which would still represent a substantial
increase over the Pentagon's
Either number would bring
U.S. military spending to "near-historic highs," according to the Post.
"Earlier this year, the
Congressional Budget Office projected the United States would spend
more than $7 trillion on defense over the next decade," the Post
reported, "which is in line
with both the White House's and House Democrats' budget plans."
Also, one of the crazy things about all these preparation for war
(quite misleadingly called "Defense") is that it undercuts a lot of
the non-war-related governmental spendings:
I agree with "Public
Citizen". Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Consumer advocacy group
Public Citizen tweeted that the "establishment says we can't afford"
Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, but apparently has "unlimited"
funds for the military.
As Common Dreams
reported, Democratic leaders such as House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and DCCC chair Cheri
Bustos (D-Ill.) have both raised alarm about Medicare for All's
supposedly high "price tag"—but neither have raised similar alarm about
soaring military spending.
Well... I think the
first paragraph is a mistake, for the simple reason that the tax
money either goes to the Pentagon or else it does not, which in turn
means that you simply cannot increase both the enormous
subsidies the Pentagon receives and increase "domestic social
spending" by the same amount. Then again, Jayapal is correct and this
is a recommended article.
Progressives demanded an
increase in domestic social spending in line with the Pentagon's budget.
"We need to prioritize our
communities, not our military spending," tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal
(D-Wash.), co-chair of the CPC. "Progressives aren't backing down from
56 Other Corporations—Took Your Tax Dollars
This article is by
Leo Gerard on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Well... yes and no.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Bernie
Sanders, castigator of the one percent, is a millionaire now. So are
Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Big whoop. There’s a crucial
difference between these candidates seeking the Democratic presidential
nomination and the super wealthy – particularly 60 gigantic, massively profitable
U.S. corporations. The candidates faithfully pay federal taxes. The
That’s right. Sixty
profitable corporations paid no federal taxes in 2018, twice the number
paid nothing in the years before the 2017 tax breaks took effect.
In fact, it’s worse than that. Fifty-seven of these corporations
demanded rebates from the government – which means taxpayers like you
and me paid them to exist. These are corporations on the dole. They
claim to hate socialism if it means Medicare for All, but they sure as
hell love socialism when it’s welfare for them.
Yes, the corporations are in fact stealing from the people, for the
simple reason that corporations which are profitable must pay taxes,
and corporations which are profitable and do not pay taxes in fact are
stealing from the taxes, especially if they do not just not pay
taxes and are profitable, but on top of thay also get subsidized by tax
But no, this is not "socialism for the rich" and to say so is to
give some sort of - extremely vague -
meaning to the term "socialism" which that term
just does not have: Capitalists
who help capitalists to get more of the
tax-money non-capitalists pay are not
socialists at all in any of the many senses "socialism" may have, but are acting as capitalists.
In fact, here is the background sketched in, of how the
capitalists made this bid of capitalists helping capitalists to more
Yes, this is correct. Here
is more on the same process:
But too many U.S.
the U.S. Supreme Court has anointed with human rights, refuse to
acknowledge their concomitant obligations. Corporations and the super
wealthy pushed hard for the tax breaks Republicans bestowed on them in
2017. Fat cats paid untold tens of millions to dark money groups that
served as cash cows for GOP candidates who, once elected, shepherded
those tax breaks.
Yes again - but "corporations [that] shirk their obligations" are not being socialists in any
sense I acknowledge: They are capitalists who indulge in
And now the deceit is
exposed for the grotesquerie it was. The U.S. Treasury reported that
corporations paid $92
billion less in federal taxes in 2018 than they did in 2017, a 31
percent drop off.
To put that in perspective,
decline is the second largest since 1934, which was during the
Great Depression. The only larger swoon was 55 percent at the outset of
the Great Recession from 2008 to 2009.
Bad things happen when
corporations shirk their obligations. One is that workers end up
bearing more of the cost.
Here is some more:
Precisely: this was a "perverse wealth transfer, from the poor and
middle class to the rich and corporations", and this was not socialism in any sense I
acknowledge. O, in case you wander what "socialism" might mean,
check this: Crisis: On Socialism
The deficits grow like
Amazon, the online marketplace, made
nearly $11 billion last year and instead of paying the current, low
21 percent corporate tax rate on that income, it demanded that
taxpayers give it $129 million. Which they did. It wasn’t a rebate
since Amazon paid no taxes. It was a big fat, gift withdrawn
involuntarily from workers’ pockets, wrapped in a fuzzy, flocked Amazon
smiley bag, and deposited directly into corporate coffers. This is
perverse wealth transfer, from the poor and middle class to the rich
Here is some more:
Yes indeed. Here is the
ending of this article:
Of the 60 profitable
corporations that paid no taxes, 57 got payments like this from
workers. Amazon’s wasn’t even the largest. Ten companies took more,
including Duke Energy, which set an infamous record for itself by
grubbing the most – $647 million. On about $76 billion in pretax income,
the 57 forced taxpayers to give them $4.3 billion.
This is also correct - and
once again: This was not socialism, but it was
super-capitalism, where the "super-" mostly refers to the fact that
this kind of capitalism proceeds by falsifying the laws. Anyway,
this is a recommended article.
The crucial difference
you and Amazon is that you paid your fair share, and Amazon took your
tax dollars. So, no, the roads and bridges won’t get fixed this year
to the Fourth Reich
article is by Chauncey DeVega on Salon. I abbreviated the title. It
starts as follows:
Well... I agree with the
second quoted paragraph but not with the first, for the simple
reason that I believe Trump does possess an ideology, and in
fact is is neofascism,
as I defined it. For more, see here: Crisis:
Donald Trump is a megalomaniac neofascist (I think)
Donald Trump is not an ideologue or a person who possesses
a coherent or sophisticated understanding of political theory, history
or philosophy. He is all impulse and id, a man gifted in manipulating
the fears of ignorant and insecure white people in the service of
expanding his power and his fortune. Trump's enforcers, including
Attorney General William Barr, White House senior adviser Stephen
Miller and the right-wing media machine, are then tasked with
transforming the president's most base impulses into public policy.
As we have seen throughout Trump's presidency -- and as we
see now in Robert Mueller's report, with its extensive litany of
borderline corruption and its numerous instances of blatant obstruction
of justice -- the president and his allies disregard the law whenever
it is inconvenient, and enforce it with callous cruelty when it serves
In fact, I defined a neofascism as
Neofascism is a. A social system that is
marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where
the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that
propounds an ethics which has profit as
its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist,
anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist,
and that has a corporative
organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are
stronger than a national government or state, b. A political philosophy or
movement based on or advocating such a social system.
in the crisis issue given before that I argued why I think
Trump agrees with all of the above points (and did so already
in 2015, if not earlier).
Here is some more:
I more or less agree. Here
is some more:
Donald Trump's handpicked attorney general, William Barr, has decided that refugees can be held
in detention indefinitely. This appears to be a violation of
federal law and constitutionally protected rights to due process.
Trump has also suggested using human beings as political
weapons by transporting migrants, refugees and immigrants from Latin
America -- a group of people Trump has slurred as a "race" of rapists
and murderers and a human infestation -- to "sanctuary cities" as a way
(as he sees it) to punish Democrats.
Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor at New York
University and an expert on fascism, authoritarianism and propaganda,
explained the danger of Trump's recent actions to me in a recent email:
This latest threat, and asking officials not to obey the
law, and assuring them of a pardon, is just a new threshold of the
contempt for law and democratic norms Trump has always shown, and an
escalation of his white nationalist ideology and governing-by- vendetta
I mostly agree
with the first part of the above quotation, but - as a European with a good
grasp of European history - I do not see that "Trump's regime is echoing one of the most
grotesque examples of a failed democracy in modern history: the fall of
the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Third Reich and the Nazis".
This behavior feels new
most Americans. But in reality, such an assault on the rule of law, and
the elevation of a man and a movement above the normal political
process, are common around the world in failing democracies. Moreover,
Trump's regime is echoing one of the most grotesque examples of a
failed democracy in modern history: the fall of the Weimar Republic and
the rise of the Third Reich and the Nazis.
Here is some more:
I more or less agree - but
compare what I said on Trump's neofascism above.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
The Trump administration is ordering the United States
military to build more concentration camps for nonwhite immigrants,
migrants, and refugees.
In their fundraising emails and other materials, Trump
describes his supporters as constituting a "movement" that will somehow
"restore" and "protect" America against liberals, progressives,
Democrats, nonwhite people, and others who are a threat to his American
Apartheid "renewal" project. Absolute devotion and loyalty to Donald
Trump is required for this plan to be successful.
I fear this may well be
mostly correct and this is a recommended article.
As new public opinion research by PRRI and Pew shows, the
American people are extremely divided between those who understand the
value of a more cosmopolitan, forward-thinking, "racially" diverse, and
inclusive society and those others (mostly white Republicans and other
Trump supporters) who want America to be a white conservative Christian
country where other people are subordinated to second-class
citizenship, and thus considered peripheral to and therefore outside of
the national community.
Donald Trump and his allies are warping and breaking the
law to advance this grotesque vision of the American democratic project
by mining white rage and white backlash identity politics for personal
financial and political gain.
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 (!!).