from April 20, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Friday,
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
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.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from April 20, 2018
1. Will Media Suppress the Call for Criminal Prosecution of
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. Here Are 16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe
-- And the
Right-Wing Lies Behind Them
3. These Are the Four Paths to the End of Trump's
4. A Third Party? How Not To Settle For
The Lesser Of Two Evils
5. A 'Defining Moment' to Stand Against Torture as Human
Demand Senate Reject Gina
Haspel for CIA
Media Suppress the Call for Criminal Prosecution of Clinton, Comey and
article is by Ray
McGovern on Truthdig and originally on
Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
referral by 11 House Republicans of former Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton as well as several former and serving top FBI and Department of
Justice (DOJ) officials is a giant step toward a Constitutional crisis.
Named in the referral to
the DOJ for possible violations of federal law are: Clinton, former FBI
Director James Comey; former Attorney General Loretta Lynch; former
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe; FBI Agent Peter Strzok; FBI Counsel
Lisa Page; and those DOJ and FBI personnel “connected to” work on the
“Steele Dossier,” including former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates
and former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente.
I say, which I do (i) because
I had no idea of this and (ii) because this means that Clinton,
Comey, Lynch, McCabe etc. may end up in prison, although this
indeed will take time and considerable publicity.
Here is more:
This is no law-school
case-study exercise, no arcane disputation over the fine points of this
or that law. Rather, as we say in the inner-city, “It has now hit the
fan.” Criminal referrals can lead to serious jail
time. Granted, the upper-crust luminaries criminally “referred”
enjoy very powerful support. And that will come especially from
the mainstream media, which will find it hard to retool and switch from
Russia-gate to the much more delicate and much less welcome “FBI-gate.”
As of this writing, a full
day has gone by since the letter/referral was reported, with total
silence so far from The New York Times and The Washington
Post and other big media as they grapple with how to spin this
major development. News of the criminal referral also slipped by Amy
Goodman’s non-mainstream Democracy Now!, as well as many
These are two
paragraphs. On the first, I have few comments, most of which I will
repress, except for saying that in my eyes ¨Facebook-gate¨
is better than ¨FBI-gate¨ (for Facebook enabled that Cambridge
Analytica could get 87 million personal data sets, that seem to be
mostly American, and may have been used to switch the elections to
Trump, which I consider a far more likely explanation than
On the second: Yes
indeed! I had not noticed it, simply because I did not know it, but
McGovern is certainly right that it is very odd to see a ¨total silence so far from The New York
Times and The Washington Post and other big media¨: Surely, this news is quite
Then there is this bit,
of which I only print the first sentence:
The media will be key to
whether this Constitutional issue is resolved.
I don´t print the rest
of the paragraph, simply because its meaning is unclear to me. As to
what I quoted: Yes indeed - and especially if the mainstream
media choose not to report it. Then again, although I know they
have done so often before, I do not think so they will do so now.
Here is another bit
from this quite interesting article that I quote:
None of the leaking,
unmasking, surveillance, “opposition research,” or other activities
directed against the Trump campaign can be properly understood, if one
does not bear in mind that it was considered a sure thing that
Secretary Clinton would become President, at which point illegal and
extralegal activities undertaken to help her win would garner praise,
not prison. The activities were hardly considered high-risk, because
candidate Clinton was sure to win.
But she lost.
I am rather certain
that McGovern´s point is that - indeed - Clinton´s camp undertook quite
a lot of ¨illegal and
extralegal activities¨ that
would have been waived away if she had won, but
that now will
be subject of an inquiry by the Department of Justice.
We shall see what
happens. Also, here is the last bit that I quote, which I quote for a
I think it can be said that
readers of Consortiumnews.com may be unusually well equipped to
understand the anatomy of FBI-gate as well as Russia-gate. Listed below
chronologically are several links that might be viewed as a kind of
“whiteboard” to refresh memories. You may wish to refer them to any
friends who may still be confused.
My reason is that below
this no less than 13 articles on Consortiumnews are named and
linked (of which I reviewed at least 6 in Nederlog), all of which are warmly
recommended. And the present article is strongly recommended.
2. Here Are 16 of the Dumbest Things
Americans Believe -- And the
Right-Wing Lies Behind Them
article is by Sarah Seltzer on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Americans are often
misinformed, occasionally downright dumb, and easily misled by
juicy-sounding rumors. But while the right wing is taking full
advantage of this reality, the Left worries that calling out lies is
Precisely - or almost
so, for my experiences with the (extreme) ¨Left¨ in the
¨University¨ of Amsterdam taught me that at least the extreme ¨Left¨ in
the ¨U¨vA (who had the power in that ¨University¨ between 1971 and
1995) was quite as prone as the Right to lie and deceive and did
so much of the time. Then again, these are my personal
experiences in an academic environment.
Then there is this:
It feels like no one
with a loud enough megaphone has the courage to call a spade a spade,
or more accurately a lie a lie.
agree, but have another personal remark:
We’ve gone far beyond
Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness”
into a more “truth-be-damned” environment; what Rick Perlstein described
in the Daily Beast as a “mendocracy. As in, rule by liars.”
My fundamental opposition to
the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam started on August 25, 1978
(40 years ago
this year) because I and everyone who was listening was told by
the sick liar and neofascist
professor Brandt, who was chosen to open
the academic year 1978-1979 in a public lecture, the utterly
sick strongly neofascistic total lie that (literally, apart
Note this was in a
university (originally) dedicated to science and rationality!
According to Brandt, in 1978, there was no
truth, there was no science, there were only tales, and the most convincing one would
win, just as in advertisement
and other kinds of stark and utter lying.
- Everybody knows
that truth does NOT exist.
Then again, that ¨Everybody
knows that truth does NOT exist¨ was THE teaching
that ruled almost the
complete ¨University¨ of Amsterdam between
1978 and 1995. And I know - because I started a
student party, that was the only party with a scientific and rational program
in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam between 1971 and 1995, and that
party got as much as 5% of the votes
of the students, because the vast
majority of the students were not
interested in science nor in rationality: They were interested in
political leftist propaganda and
in the easiest possible academic degrees. (And I gave up after
experiencing that outcome.)
Back to the article:
Just as the election
season began heating up earlier this year, Newsweek published
a list of “Dumb Things Americans Believe.” While some of them are
garden-variety lunacy, a surprising number are lies that were fed to
Americans by our leaders on the far-Right. This demonstrates that
media-fed lies can easily become ingrained in the collective memory if
they’re not countered quickly and surely.
In fact, the last link is
to an article of 2010, so something is not quite
correct here, but in any case I will quote about half of the list that
And if I say that many
Americans are stupid
I mean items like the above seven utter idiocies. (As I said, Seltzer
lists quite a few more.)
- Nearly one-fifth of
Obama is a Muslim. Thanks, Fox news, for acting like this was a
matter of opinion, not fact.
- 25 percent of
believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution while less than 40
percent do. Consider the fact that several of our newly elected
officials, specifically newly elected Kansas Governor Sam Brownback,
share that belief.
- Earlier this year,
nearly 40 percent of Americans still believed the Sarah
Palin-supported lie about "death panels" being included in
- As of just a few years
half of Americans still suspected a connection between Saddam
Hussein and the attacks of September 11, a lie that was reinforced by
none other than Dick Cheney.
- While a hefty amount of
this demonstrable cluelessness gets better as the respondents get
younger, all is not well in the below-30 demographic. A majority of
“young Americans” cannot identify Iraq or Afghanistan--the places their
peers are fighting and dying--on a map.
- Two out of five
Americans, despite the whole separation
of church and state being a foundation of our democracy thing,
think teachers should be able to lead prayer in classrooms. So it seems
those right-wingers clamoring to tear down the wall between church and
state aren’t the only ones who don’t know their constitutional
- Many Americans still
believe in witchcraft, ESP and other supernatural phenomena.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
No, not quite.
We’ve entered a bizzarro
world in which calling out lies is considered rude, says Perlstein, so
liars are allowed to sit tight and dominate the discourse. This gels
with Bill Maher’s critique of the Rally for Sanity, that calling for
“balance for balance’s sake” ignores two important aspects of news
reporting: facts and evidence.
Blaming Americans for being
ignorant unwashed masses--or taking potshots at an education system
that doesn’t teach critical thinking-- would be the easy answer to this
But the reality is that if
messaging has such a big effect on Americans, then messaging matters.
Folks on our end have to counter the lies with well-told, unabashed
unironic, truth-telling. And we have to demand that our media, and our
politicians, call out the other side.
As for “balance for
balance’s sake”: This leads directly to: You say 2+2=4. And he says
2+2=22. Well, we split the difference - 2+2=13 - because we “balance for balance’s sake”. (In other
comes first; balancing only applies in fairly rare cases.)
As to ¨being ignorant (..) masses¨ and ¨taking pot shots" at the education
system: Possibly this is ¨the
easy answer¨ - but what if it is true, that
is: Many more Americans are ignorant because
the education they received was quite bad? (And I think this is
As to the third paragraph: If the ¨messaging¨ means I have to become a
member of Facebook or Twitter, I say: No, thank you very much, but for
me these are neofascistic
corporations that are out to destroy
democracy, honesty, rationality and fair and honest discussions and
communi- cations, and besides: Those who still are members of
Facebook or Twitter apparently either are morons or want to be morons,
and I give them up.
Anyway. Apart from this last bit this is a quite decent article and is
Are the Four Paths to the End of Trump's Presidency
This article is by Lucian Truscott IV on
AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as follows:
The next time you
walk out to your car, or head down the street to the subway, or cross
the parking lot on your way to the grocery store, look up and squint
your eyes, and you’ll be able to see the end of the Trump presidency. It’s still
a moving target, kept out of reach and out of focus by Trump’s chaotic
daily delivery of distractions and dissembling, but it’s out there, and
at this point it’s coming toward us, rather than headed in the other
I say, in part because
either I do not think so or else because I am less optimistic than Truscott is. But I am
listen, and here is some more:
I think this is less
likely because - after 1 1/2 years - there still is no good
(at all, in fact, to the best of my knowledge) that Trump entered into
a ¨conspiracy with the
Russians to steal the election¨. (He may have, with Stephen Bannon, using the
Cambridge Analytica materials, but the Cambridge Analytica folks are not
Russians, and seem to have worked for rich Americans).
So how might the end game
play itself out? There are at least four possible scenarios.
The first scenario is that
Mueller will come up with enough evidence that Trump has committed
crimes, whether obstruction of justice or conspiracy with the Russians
to steal the election, and will indict the president in office.
Here is more:
The second scenario
is that Mueller could issue a finding that Trump had committed crimes
while in office without indicting him. In this case, Mueller’s report
would be forwarded to the United States Congress and the House of
Representatives would be faced with the decision whether or not to
impeach him. In this scenario, much would depend on the 2018 elections.
Democrats may retake the House, and many are predicting they will. In that case, a
vote to impeach Trump would seem assured, although conviction in the
Senate would be less than a sure thing.
I agree with this (but
this depends mostly on the outcome of the elections of 2018).
Here is more:
The third scenario
is that Mueller’s investigation would lead to indictments of people
close to Trump, such as Michael Cohen, or even Jared Kushner and/or
Donald Trump Jr. Trump could preemptively pardon these individuals (or
anyone else charged, for that matter) (...)
I do not know
American law to pronounce on this.
A pardon of a man like Michael
Cohen might save Trump from the possibility that Cohen would flip and
testify against him rather than face trial. But an argument could be
made that having been granted a pardon would relieve Cohen of his Fifth
Amendment protection against self-incrimination, and he could still be
compelled to testify against Trump. So Trump may not be able to pardon
his way out of trouble in a showdown with Mueller after all.
And here is more:
Possibly so, but how
Which brings us to scenario
number four. This one is based on the belief among many long-time Trump
watchers that the only thing that really matters to Trump is his
personal fortune. In this scenario, Trump will do anything to protect
his business and his lifestyle once he leaves office. He may yet face
charges that would follow him after he leaves the presidency. Federal
and state charges could threaten not only to send him to prison, but
lay siege to his empire.
Here is the ending of the article:
History books have
always talked about men being “elevated” to the presidency, but when
descended that escalator in Trump Tower in 2015, he dragged us into his
pit of scandal, disgrace and criminality when he assumed office. But
the end game is coming. Squint your eyes and tell me if you don’t see
an escalator out there ahead of us. It’s going up.
Well... I squinted my
eyes, but did not see an escalator. Then again, I began this
saying I am probably less optimistic than
Truscott, and this is a recommended article.
4. A Third Party? How Not
To Settle For The Lesser Of Two Evils
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
I say: Not so fast, Robert
Reich! The real underlying points about the present American
system of elections seem to me to be these:
Are you happy with the
electoral choices provided you by the two major parties? If not, should
you vote for a third party candidate?
Not so fast. Remember what
happened in 2016, when Libertarian Gary Johnson got 3.2 percent of the
popular vote and Green Party candidate Jill Stein got 1.06 percent.
Enough votes that, had they gone to Hillary Clinton, she’d have won the
Electoral College, and Donald Trump wouldn’t be in the White House.
Oh, and anyone remember what
happened in 2000, when the votes that went to Ralph Nader all but
sealed the fate of Al Gore, and gave us George W. Bush.
(1) the system itself is very dishonest and not
(2) the candidates of both parties are extremely heavily
financed by the rich; and
(3) all the above examples may show is that a quite dishonest, quite
undemocratic system may
get even more dishonest and undemocratic if
some smaller party or parties enter the race.
And I do not think this system is honest or democratic, and
as most people who get elected get quickly corrupted.
Then there is this:
You see the problem?
In a winner-take-all system like ours, votes for third party candidates
siphon away votes from the major party candidate whose views are
closest to that third-party candidate. So by not voting for the lesser
of two evils, if that’s what you want to call them, you end up with the
worse of two evils.
Of course I see the
problem. But (i) I reject this system of undemocratic voting
(especially with the enormous corruptions of politicians that
become ¨legal¨), and (ii) I really don´t trust either the
Republicans or the Democrats.
I agree with Reich when an extra-ordinarily bad candidate like
offers himself for elections, but then again I should remind him that
the vast majority expected that Clinton would win
makes voting for a third party candidate a lot more acceptable).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I more or less agree with
Reich, although my own reasons are not his but these: Trump is
a horrible president and a horrible candidate, and
must be stopped, at
least, from getting a second term, and while at present I agree with
Reich because of Trump, I do not know what I will think
if a third
party candidate offers himself (Sanders?), who has a lot of money.
You don’t have to settle
for the lesser of two evils. But in order to get the candidates you
want elected you need to get involved, now. In the primaries. And in
changing your state to ranked-choice voting.
It’s our democracy. Whether it
works, is up to us.
'Defining Moment' to Stand Against Torture as Human Rights Groups
Demand Senate Reject Gina Haspel for CIA
This article is by
Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
As Gina Haspel,
President Donald Trump's pick to head the CIA, continues to face
intense scrutiny over her "central"
role in the Bush administration's torture regime ahead of her May 9
Senate hearing, more than 40 national human rights and civil liberties
organizations sent a letter
(pdf) to every U.S. senator on Thursday demanding that they refuse to
confirm an author of "one of the darkest chapters in American history."
Haspels is an obscene choice (probably most loved by the most sadistic Senators
- of which there seem to this psychologist to be currently quite a few).
"Ms. Haspel chose to embrace a
program that, as she knew better than most, was brutally dismantling
other human beings both physically and psychologically," observes the
coalition of groups, which includes CodePink, the Arab American
Institute, and Peace Action.
Here is more:
Again I completely agree.
The letter goes on to note
that Trump "has openly advocated for torture on multiple occasions,"
signalling his willingness to resurrect the CIA program, which remains
shrouded in secrecy years after it was officially shut down.
Despite this secrecy, extensive
reporting and accounts
from former CIA officials
indicate that, as an
intelligence officer, Haspel played a key role in the torture program
and later destruction of evidence.
"To the best of my
understanding, she ran the interrogation program," one former CIA
The Daily Beast. "Her becoming director absolutely
terrifies me. Once I heard her name, I immediately thought, 'Oh, God.'"
And this is the last bit that I quote, namely from the letter mentioned
above (in the first bit I quoted):
comprehensive information about Ms. Haspel’s background and should
refuse to take a vote on her nomination without it. But until the CIA
declassifies such an exhaustive record, and unless that record proves
Ms. Haspel played no role in the torture program—which former CIA
General Counsel John Rizzo describes her as having “run”—we believe she
is unfit to serve as the public-facing director for one of the
government’s most powerful and secretive agencies. That she reportedly
advocated for, and contributed to, destroying videotape evidence that
captured the brutal reality of what “enhanced interrogation” really
meant only further tarnishes her candidacy.
this is a strongly recommended article.
Some answer these grave
concerns by claiming Ms. Haspel is a decorated intelligence
professional, experienced, and well-respected at the CIA. That may all
be true. But responsibility for torture is an extraordinary moral
offense that ordinary kinds of qualifications simply cannot overcome.
April 21, 2018: For some reason the links fell out. I (re-)inserted
have now been
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 (!!).