A. Selections from July 26, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
Wednesday, July 26,
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.
explained, the crisis files will have a different
format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items
I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one
selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit
of a taste of the item linked.
So the new format is as follows:
Link to an item with its orginal title,
One selection from that item (indented)
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
July 26, 2017
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:
Promise to Amend Israel Boycott Bill After Backlash
This article is by
Ryan Grimm on The Intercept. And in fact it is less about Israel than
about killing free speech in the USA. This article starts as follows:
Well... I think Cardin
is a politician; nearly all politicians are enormous liars; so I think
Cardin is lying. And to the best of my knowledge his law is an attempt
to kill all free speech about Israel that does not
speak in terms of
Benjamin Netanyahu, and that tries to kill it by proposing
for speaking freely that are much worse than punishments
for murder in
Holland, Denmark or Norway.
The lead author of the controversial Israel
Anti-Boycott Act, Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, is open to
amending the legislation to address concerns raised by the American
Civil Liberties Union, he told The Intercept Monday evening.
The ACLU warned last week that the measure,
the BDS movement, was unconstitutional and would have a chilling
effect on free speech. In the wake of that warning, and a
subsequent article by The Intercept, co-sponsors of
the bill have begun to re-examine their support for it.
Cardin said that the ACLU had misinterpreted
his legislation, but if it needed to be clarified, he would take the
steps to do so. “A lot of the co-sponsors are pretty strongly committed
to the freedom of speech,” Cardin said. “We’re certainly sensitive to
the issues they raise. If we have to make it clearer, we’ll make it
He and the ACLU, he said, disagreed about
what the bill would do. “I respect greatly the ACLU. I think that many
of their points are just not correct. We don’t want to do anything to
infringe freedom of speech,” he said.
One issue of contention is whether criminal
penalties such as a 20-year prison sentence would apply to those who
violate the law.
Here is some background:
Again, Cardin is a politician; nearly all
politicians are enormous liars; so I think Cardin is lying. And
a recommended article.
On Monday night, in
an op-ed in the Washington Post, two top officials at the ACLU stood by
their legal interpretation. “Violations would be punishable by civil
and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison,” write David Cole and Faiz Shakir,
the ACLU’s legal and political directors, respectively.
“We thought we only dealt
with civil penalties, not criminal penalties,” Cardin told The
Intercept. “But if that’s not clear, we’re willing to deal with these
If the bill were amended to clarify that no
criminal penalties could be applied, violators would still face a
$250,000 civil fine or more.
Cardin also said that individual American
citizens who backed a boycott of Israel would face no legal
consequences, and made that point in a letter penned with co-sponsor Sen. Rob
Portman, R-Ohio, which was sent to colleagues on Friday.
But the text of the bill bans actions “which
have the effect of furthering or supporting restrictive trade practices
or boycotts fostered or imposed by any international governmental
organization against Israel or requests to impose restrictive trade
practices or boycotts by any international governmental organization
It’s not hard to see how the ACLU read that
as a broad ban that criminalized speech.
Radicals Were Always Right: Now Is the Time to Decriminalize All Drugs
This is by Mike Ludwig on
Truthout. This starts as follows (but if the title is right, I was fifty
years too early with my opinions on drugs):
The Partnership for
Drug-Free Kids recently startled me with a blog post titled, "Why You
Shouldn't Use the Word Addict." Drug addiction is a disease, the blog explains. People shouldn't be defined by
having an illness, so it's better to use first-person language and say
"someone with diabetes" rather than "diabetic." The same should go for
the word "addict."
In other words, the ad
was saying, we shouldn't stigmatize people living with addiction by
identifying them based on one condition with which they struggle. I was
startled by the blog because stigmatizing drugs and drug users is
exactly what the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids did for years under its
previous banner, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
Thanks to the Partnership and its allies, young people like myself
learned that smoking marijuana would deflate
you like a balloon, and using drugs was like cracking your skull
open and frying your brains on a hot skillet. Short on facts but heavy
on scare tactics, these ads warned against becoming a "junkie" or an
"addict," all while portraying drug users as "criminals" and "losers."
This is just the type of stigmatization the Partnership warns against
I am sorry, but I am
startled by a journalist who claims to be startled by something
since fifty years. Besides, why should a journalist use ads
And the following also
sounds extremely naive to me:
The idea that
criminalizing drug users causes more harm than good is no longer
considered radical. The World Health Organization, the American Public
Health Organization and dozens of global leaders have all called on
governments to end criminal penalties for possessing drugs for personal
use, and to focus their efforts on public health solutions to society's
drug problems instead. The time to decriminalize drugs is right now,
and many reformers see a clear political path to achieving this goal,
despite the current political situation in Washington.
No. The "time to decriminalize drugs" was fifty
years ago - and see e.g. the Wootton report,
that helped to make up my mind, around 1969.
This seems to be an
advertisement-stimulated ignorant opinion by some young journalist who
doesn't seem to know any facts about drugs, addiction, or drugs
Bright Spots and Optimistic Thinkers Challenge the Dark Future of Trump
This is by
AlterNet staff on AlterNet. This starts as follows:
We all recognize the
darkness that has descended upon us as the Trump administration
reveals its reactionary intentions, levels of corruption and
destructive and chaotic approach to governing. Some
people are feeling apocalyptic about the future, as we have covered.
It is easy to get
depressed and discouraged by everything that is happening. It's
tempting to embrace a "glass half empty" world view. But it
is vital for progressives to look beyond the shadows of Donald
Trump, into our past and present achievements, to spur on future
progress and keep hope alive.
In the interest of
looking for positive visions of the future, what follows are
13 visions that while reality-based, do not succumb to our
darkest impulses. Instead, these writers and figures articulate
visions and paths to a better future—even though the path forward may
I say. Well... I definitely
tend to feel considerably more pessimistic than optimistic,
precisely because "the
Trump administration" has revealed "its reactionary
levels of corruption and destructive and chaotic approach to
Then again I have nothing
in so far as it is fact based. Here is Noam Chomsky,
as one of the thirteen:
Chomsky, New York Times
don’t think things are quite that bleak. Take the success of the Bernie
Sanders campaign, the most remarkable feature of the 2016 election. It
is, after all, not all that surprising that a billionaire showman with
extensive media backing (including the liberal media, entranced by his
antics and the advertising revenue it afforded) should win the
nomination of the ultra-reactionary Republican Party.
campaign, however, broke dramatically with over a century of U.S.
political history. Extensive political science research, notably the
work of Thomas Ferguson, has shown convincingly that elections are
pretty much bought. For example, campaign spending alone is a
remarkably good predictor of electoral success, and support of
corporate power and private wealth is a virtual prerequisite even for
participation in the political arena.
campaign showed that a candidate with mildly progressive (basically New
Deal) programs could win the nomination, maybe the election, even
without the backing of the major funders or any media support. There’s
good reason to suppose that Sanders would have won the nomination had
it not been for shenanigans of the Obama-Clinton party managers. He is
now the most popular political figure in the country by a large margin.
There is considerably more
in the rest. (But I remain far more pessimistic
than optimistic as long as the NSA and 17 other secret services can
plunder the computers of everyone, which they have been abled to do
Maneuvers on the New Cold War
is by Dennis J. Bernstein on Consortiumnews. This is from near the
Possibly so, though this
tends to undermine Macron's originality some: "any of the contenders in the recent French
election would have followed the same path". But this is a fairly interesting interview, as shown
by the following bit:
Bernstein: Diana, please give us your response to the recent Trump
visit to Paris to meet with Emmanuel Macron.
Diana Johnstone: Well,
first of all, it is clear that Emmanuel Macron has seen an advantage in
being the only friend of the friendless Trump. It is clear that this
can strengthen Macron’s hand in dealing with Germany, the main part of
his mandate being to influence Germany in changing EU policy.
Also, Macron is in a
position to be an intermediary in this rapprochement between Trump and
Putin, which of course the War Party in Washington is doing everything
to obstruct. So Macron has situated himself in an interesting position.
I think that any of the
contenders in the recent French election would have followed the same
path. It was absolutely in the cards for France to change its foreign
I agree and this is a
DB: Give us your analysis
of this Russia-gate madness.
DJ: Well, I am not a
psychiatrist, but seen from over here in Europe, it’s unbelievable. I
just saw Tucker Carlson’s interview with Max Boot on Fox News. This
raving maniac on foreign affairs is on the Council of Foreign
Relations, when he ought to be undergoing psychiatric treatment.
Of course, the Clinton
machine has taken over the Democratic Party and made it into the War
Party. What in the world is wrong with people talking to members of
another country? The whole idea that it is something traitorous to talk
to Russians is completely insane. At every time in history, even when
governments were actually at war with each other, they had some sort of
contact, just for simple intelligence reasons.
Group Tells Members It's OK to Break Silence on Trump's Bizarre Behavior
This is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump continues to behave bizarrely and erratically—attacking
his own attorney general, launching
into a political tirade during a speech to Boy Scouts, bringing
his 11-year-old son into the burgeoning Russia controversy—a
professional association of psychoanalysts is telling its
members to drop the so-called Goldwater rule and comment publicly on
the president's state of mind if they find reason to do so.
The Goldwater Rule was
formally included in the American Psychiatric Association's "Principles
of Medical Ethics" following the 1964 presidential campaign, during
which a magazine editor was sued for running an article in which mental
health professionals gave their opinions on Republic presidential
candidate Barry Goldwater's psychiatric state. The rule deems public
comments by psychiatrists on the mental health of public officials
without consent "unethical."
In a recent email to its
3,500 members, the American Psychoanalytic Association "told its
members they should not feel bound by" the Goldwater Rule, which some
have characterized as a "gag rule," STAT's Sharon Begley reports.
"The statement," Begley
notes, "represents the first significant crack in the profession’s
decades-old united front aimed at preventing experts from discussing
the psychiatric aspects of politicians’ behavior. It will likely make
many of its members feel more comfortable speaking openly about President
Trump's mental health.
Actually, until today
I did not even have an inkling that there is an American
Psycho- analytic Association (APA), in fact since 1911. I do
know, indeed since over 40 years, that there is an American Psychiatric
Association (APA) and indeed also that there is an American Psychological Association (APA).
In any case - and as
far as I know - it is especially the American Psychiatric
Association that anounced the gag rule in 1964 (of course given
to the public in terms of utter propaganda,
viz. as "Principles of
Medical Ethics"), and that makes the big money with its DSM-5,
and that also is heavily involved in misleading the public in many ways
(that seem all to add money to psychiatrists' incomes).
Then again, Begley seems
right that - in over 50 years (!!) - this (bolding added) "represents the first significant
crack in the profession’s decades-old united front aimed at preventing
experts from discussing the psychiatric aspects of politicians’
As I said, this was a gag
order since 1964. And since I am a psychologist who thinks that Trump is insane, I welcome
the small openining for psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts
to speak the truth about political leaders without risking
prosecution or dismissal by their own leaders.
But I am not very optimistic, though this is a recommended article.