February 6, 2015
Crisis: Anti-semitism, American Fascism, Brutality, Journalism, Bees
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton

Prev- crisis -Next


1. Anti-Semitism on the Rise in the U.K.
2. How American Oligarchs Are Pushing America to the
     Brink of Fascism

The Fiery Cage and the Lynching Tree, Brutality’s Never
     Far Away

Two out of Three Investigative Journalists in US Believe
     They're Being Spied On

Faulting EPA, Green Leaders Warn Obama: Bees Running
     Out of Time

This is a Nederlog of Friday, February 6, 2015.

This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about an increase in anti-semitism in the UK (with some explanations of Dutch "morals" by me, that you may skip); item 2 is on how the American super rich oligarchs are turning the U.S. towards fascism
(I agree); item 3 is about brutality, and how common that is (I agree); item 4 is about the fact that now something like 65% of the American journalist believe they are being spied upon by the NSA; and item 5 is about the very grave danger that the U.S. may soon lack bees (and therefore also food).

(This file got uploaded a little later than normal.)

1. Anti-Semitism on the Rise in the U.K.

The first item today is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:

This reads as follows (with a link to the Newly Improved Actually Destroyed Guardian's website [1]):

Anti-Semitic incidents in the U.K. are at an all-time high, with reports of violence, property damage, abuse and threats against members of Britain’s Jewish population in 2014 more than double what they were the year before.

The Guardian reports:

The Community Security Trust, a Jewish security charity which runs an incident hotline, recorded 1,168 antisemitic incidents against Britain’s 291,000 Jews in 2014, against 535 in 2013 and 25% up on the previous record in 2009.

… The Association of Chief Police Officers revealed the figures were consistent with an increase in antisemitic crimes reported in recent weeks following last month’s terror attacks in Paris when four shoppers were killed by an Islamist attacker at a kosher supermarket.

CST said in 2014 there were 81 violent assaults, 81 incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property, and 884 cases of abusive behaviour, more than double the number in 2013, several hundred of which involved social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. CST’s logs include a letter sent to a Jewish organisation which read: “Gaza is the Auschwitz. The inmates are fighting back. The Jew wears the jackboot and armband now.”

I say. I am very much against this, as were my mother, my father and my grandfather, who all belonged to the very few Dutchmen who resisted the Nazis and resisted the discrimination of the Jews, that also got my father and his father arrested in June 1941, after which they were convicted by collaborating Dutch judges (nearly all Dutch judges collaborated, including all members but one - he was Jewish; the rest wasn't - of the Dutch Supreme Court; none was ever punished: Dutch "morals") as "political terrorists" to German concentration camps, where my grandfather was murdered, and which my father survivwed 3 years, 9 months and 15 days of.

Then again, the Dutch have very strange "morals":

There were nearly 150,000 Jews in Holland in 1940 but, thanks to Abraham Asscher (the greatgrandfather of Lodewijk Asscher, currently Dutch vice-president, and before that alderman in Amsterdam) and David Cohen (the grandfather of Rob Oudkerk, dismissed as alderman of Amsterdam after he admitted taking cocaine and using junkie-whores by - then - mayor Job Cohen, who never answered any question of mine as to his relation to David Cohen) they nearly all - except for some communists, of whom I have known several: they survived - registered explicily as Jews with the German authorities after being called to do so by Abraham Asscher and David Cohen. (And once registered as Jews, they could be very easily picked up by the SS.)

What drove these Jewish leaders - who led the Jewish Council - to work for the SS, for that is what they did? Here is prof.dr. Karel van het Reve:

"(..) the Jewish Council (an institution, as our teacher Jacques Presser wrote in an unpublished book Homo submersus (..) of Jews who earned above a certain income, with the aim of sending the Jews who earned less to Poland)"
--Foreword in: David Koker, "Diary written in Vught""
That is, Asscher and Cohen (those of WW II) were rich Jews who made a deal that they would not be punished by the SS, if they helped to round up all of the poor Jews, which they did: Around 116,000 Dutch Jews were murdered, with their help.

And here comes the strange bit about Dutch "morals":

After the end of the war, in 1945, Asscher and Cohen were still alive - and did not even have to face any court, while e.g. my father was discriminated from when he came back from the concentration camp as "a (dirty) traitor" because he was and remained a communist.

And in 1988 I was removed from the faculty of philosophy briefly before making my M.A. there as - I quote - a "fascist terrorist" (not a "political" one) because I said, as an invited speaker - and completely truly [2] - that my philosophy teachers were lazy incompetents. That I was seriously ill did not stop them: it strengthened them. The fact that I was invited as a speaker and only stated my own opinion, did not stop either the faculty of philosophy or the board of directors. (Also, I am the only student ever to have been removed from any Dutch university since 1945 for stating his honest opinion. And no, the University of Amsterdam does not answer my letters or mails either, just like mayors and aldermen of the City of Amsterdam: Effectively I am a sub-human: I may be gassed - see next paragraph - and may be foully discriminated, offended, called "a fascist terrorist", and kept out of sleep for nearly 4 years - but my protests are never answered by anyone who has any power in Holland, since 1988.)

A couple of months later, I was gassed - literally: I fell unconscious on the floor - in the house where I lived by the illegal drugsdealers that mayor Van Thijn had given his personal permission to deal illegal drugs from the bottom floor in the house where I lived (not from his own house, nor from the houses of aldermen or politicians of Amsterdam: these presumably are quite another class of persons than my sub-human kind, who is clearly fit for being gassed and threatened with murder by the mayor's personal illegal drugsdealers), after which Van Thijn allowed for 3 1/2 years that I could be gassed again, while I was regularly threatened with murder by the drugsdealers, and also could not sleep, while he never answered any letter I personally handed to his personal doorman. [3]

Maybe this was his way of thanking my mother, who had risked her life to help
Jewish children like Van Thijn, who hid in Noordbrabant in 1944-5 when my mother worked there in the resistance at the same time. (I do not know they ever met then. Van Thijn only went to thank the family who saved his life and thereby risked all their lives in .... 2003, after being called out to do so by another Jew. This was a mere 57 or 58 years later.)

But OK: I am against pestering or discriminating Jews. I come from a family that risked a lot to help Jews - but even so: I was gassed, threatened for 3 1/2 years with murder by drugsdealers, and none of my letters was ever answered by the rulers of Amsterdam, quite a few of whom descend in straight lines from the rich degenerates who survived because they collaborated with the SS and helped murder 116,000 Dutch Jews.

Again, I am also against pestering or discriminating Muslims.

(But yes... my family and myself have very odd morals, at least according to the vast majority of Dutchmen, who mostly are very conformistic, just like their parents and grandparents also were.)

2. How American Oligarchs Are Pushing America to the Brink of Fascism

The next item is an article by Thom Hartmann on Alternet:
This starts as follows (with a small correction by me [4])

As the American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: "A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."

Well, it may well be on our doorstep.  And the oligarchs are plotting their final takeover by using their economic dominance to capture governmental power - specifically, the governmental power which sets the rules for the very marketplace that provides the oligarchs with such massive wealth.  

Once the American corporate barons own the institutions that are meant to regulate them, it’s game-over for both rational capitalism (including competition) and for democracy.

Yes, I agree - and it is nice to see someone else is seeing and saying this now as well. For I was there first, in December of 2012 (also before knowing anything about Edward Snowden) which was later restyled (stylistically, not in content) a bit here: Crisis: Hypotheses about the causes of the crisis and indeed was based on a very similar definition of "fascism" as Thom Hartmann used.

According to Thom Hartmann, the main reason why the Koch Brothers will be trying to buy the 2016 elections with $ 900 million dollars (far more than all the Republican Party spent in 2012) is the Citizen United decision of the Supreme Court of 2010.

This starts as follows:

In 2010, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, presented the best opportunity for the Roberts Court to use its five vote majority to totally re-write the face of politics in America, rolling us back to the pre-1907 era of the Robber Barons. 

As Jeffrey Toobin wrote in The New Yorker ("No More Mr. Nice Guy"): "In every major case since he became the nation's seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff.

Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party."

I think Hartmann is basically right that the Citizen United decision opened up the floodgates on corporate spending and effective buying of elections, and he spends
quite a lot of text on it that I will skip, though I warmly recommend it to your attention, and especially in case you think "fascism" is too strong a term, or in case you think "such things will never happen in "The Home of the Brave" nor in "The Land of the Free"

Hartmann also quotes F.D. Roosevelt's Vice-President Henry A. Wallace who was asked in 1944 "What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?" and who answered - among other things - this:
"The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those... With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."
"They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection."
Which happens to be remarkably close to my analysis of 2012 (<- better readable version of 2014).

And this is from the last but one paragraph in the article:
Fascism is rising in America.  Oligarchs like the Koch Brothers are poised to capture more political power.  The point of their spear is "corporate personhood" and "corporate free speech rights."
Yes, I agree. You really should read all of this, by clicking the last dotted link, especially if you don't believe it. (The above defintion of "fascism", though, is rather clear.)

3. The Fiery Cage and the Lynching Tree, Brutality’s Never Far Away

The next item is an article by Bill Moyers (<- Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

They burned him alive in an iron cage, and as he screamed and writhed in the agony of hell they made a sport of his death.

After listening to one newscast after another rightly condemn the barbaric killing of that Jordanian air force pilot at the bloody hands of ISIS, I couldn’t sleep. My mind kept roaming the past trying to retrieve a vaguely remembered photograph that I had seen long ago in the archives of a college library in Texas.

Suddenly, around two in the morning, the image materialized in my head. I made my way down the hall to my computer and typed in: “Waco, Texas. Lynching.”

The first "him" is the late Lieutenant Muath al Kaseasbeh, who indeed was cruelly murdered. What Bill Moyers recalled was the cruel lynching of Jesse Washington (<- Wikipedia), which happened in 1916 (18 years before Bill Moyers birth, but he was told about it by his father).

This is from the Wikipedia:
Washington was tried for murder in Waco, in a courtroom filled with furious locals. He entered a guilty plea and was quickly sentenced to death. After his sentence was pronounced, he was dragged out of the court by observers and lynched in front of Waco's city hall. Over 10,000 spectators, including city officials and police, gathered to watch the attack. There was a celebratory atmosphere at the event, and many children attended during their lunch hour. Members of the mob castrated Washington, cut off his fingers, and hung him over a bonfire. He was repeatedly lowered and raised over the fire for about two hours. After the fire was extinguished, his charred torso was dragged through the town and parts of his body were sold as souvenirs. A professional photographer took pictures as the event unfolded, providing rare imagery of a lynching in progress. The pictures were printed and sold as postcards in Waco.
There is considerably more there: the above description does not detail all the horrific things that were done to Washington before he died.

Here is some more Bill Moyers:
Between 1882 and 1968 — 1968! — there were 4,743 recorded lynchings in the US. About a quarter of them were white people, many of whom had been killed for sympathizing with black folks. My father, who was born in 1904 near Paris, Texas, kept in a drawer that newspaper photograph from back when he was a boy of thousands of people gathered as if at a picnic to feast on the torture and hanging of a black man in the center of town.
And this is his final paragraph:
Yes, it was hard to get back to sleep the night we heard the news of the Jordanian pilot’s horrendous end. ISIS be damned! I thought. But with the next breath I could only think that our own barbarians did not have to wait at any gate. They were insiders. Home grown. Godly. Our neighbors, friends, and kin. People like us.
Yes indeed. And this is an excellent article, precisely because of the point Bill Moyers makes: Brutality is never far away, in no one, and nowhere, and also not in The Home of The Brave, The Land of the Free.

4. Two out of Three Investigative Journalists in US Believe They're Being Spied On

The next item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

In the wake of the NSA mass surveillance scandal, an overwhelming majority of investigative journalists believe that the U.S. government is spying on them, and large numbers say that this belief impacts the way they go about their reporting, a Pew Research Center poll released Thursday reveals.

The findings are based on a December online survey, conducted in association with Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, of 671 journalists who are members of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., which is a non-profit organization for journalists.

According to the poll, approximately two out of three investigative journalists believe the U.S. government "has probably collected data" from their phones, emails, or online communications.

For national security, foreign affairs, and federal government reporters, the number is even higher at 71 percent.

Eighty percent of respondents think that their status as a journalist makes them more likely to be snooped on.

I agree, and this is an excellent article  - and for me things are a lot easier than for most, for I am ill, am getting old, I lived the first 30 years of my life fairly freely, I have no children, and I am not an American - but most or all of these things are not true of many American journalists, and yes I entirely agree with them that their jobs are much more difficult and much more dangerous now, and will probably also grow more dangerous in the future, what with Obama - who seems to positively hate any journalist who does not write as he wishes - and the GOP.

This is the ending of the article:

"As the government stores more and more data, it will become next to impossible for journalists to keep sources confidential," wrote Geoffrey King of the Committee to Protect Journalists in an article published last year.

"Regardless of whether the NSA's programs are as carefully targeted as it claims, the agency’s infamous secrecy and expansive capabilities have cast a deep shadow on press freedom worldwide," he continued.

Yes - and as to the incredible powers and knowledge of the NSA, here is Bertrand Russell (<- Wikipedia) from 1959:
Since Adam and Eve ate the apple,
man has never refrained
from any folly of which he was capable.

Which is to say: The NSA will abuse its vast knowledge, though this may remain much more unclear than it would be if there were a free press. For in the USA, where there now are secret courts and very many classified documents, journalists may start “disappearing" soon, with very few people willing to risk even discussing these disappearances, because of secret court orders that forbid this.

It happened in Germany as well, from 1933 onwards.
(And see item 2.)

5. Faulting EPA, Green Leaders Warn Obama: Bees Running Out of Time

The next and last item for today is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows (and I wrote before about this, because in fact this is very scary):

They speak for the bees.

In a letter destined for President Obama on Thursday, eleven of the nation's top environmental and public health advocacy groups, representing millions of Americans, are demanding the administration take much stronger and swifter action to end the perilous situation of the nation's most prolific pollinators, most prominently the honey bee, caused by the widespread use of neonicotinoids, a dangerous class of pesticide.

The letter (pdf) calls on Obama to instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately suspend neonicotinoid use and take retroactive and proactive steps to curb their adverse impacts.

"Bees and other pollinators are essential to our nation’s food supply, farming system, economy, and environment," the letter states, "but they are in great peril and populations are dwindling worldwide. A growing body of scientif ic evidence points to the widespread and indiscriminate use of a class of neurotoxic pesticides called neonicotinoids (‘neonics’) as a key factor in bee die - offs ."

There is also this:

Specifically, the groups charge that although Obama appointed a special inter-agency panel, called the Pollinator Health Task Force, to study pollinator health last year, that effort is simply moving too slowly and time is running out. Mandated to assess the crisis of bee die-offse and offer recommendations after 180 days, the Task Force missed their deadline and have now indicated their report may not arrive until 2016.

"If current rates of bee die-offs continue,” the letter says, “it is unlikely that the beekeeping industry will survive EPA’s delayed timeline, putting our agricultural industry and our food supply at serious risk."

And this is the end of the article:

In addition to action on neonics, Thursday's letter also urges the Obama administration to close a legal loophole which allow further sale of other insecticides before they are adequately assessed for safety.

According to the groups—which include Friends of the Earth, NRDC, Greenpeace USA, Green for All, Earthjustice, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and five others—the science is in agreement and the stakes could not be higher:

Various stakeholders are taking steps to restrict the use of neonicotinoids , because the science is clear that pesticides are a leading driver of bee declines and are harming many other important and beneficial organisms, including birds, bats, butterflies, dragonflies, lacewings, ladybugs, earthworms, small mammals, amphibians, aquatic insects and soil microbes — putting food production and the environment in jeopardy.
Earlier this year, a global body of twenty - nine independent scientists - the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides - reviewed more than 800 peer-reviewed studies published in the last five years, including industry-sponsored studies, and called for immediate regulatory action to restrict neonicotinoids.

The letter comes three weeks after over 100 businesses, many of which are members of the American Sustainable Business Council and the Green America Business Network, sent a similar plea (pdf) to the president urging action on pesticide use and pollinator protections.

Representing companies from a variety of sectors and industries, the business leaders said they were "gravely concerned that if neonicotinoids continue to be allowed into our environment at current rates, this practice will have devastating impacts on our food, ecosystems, and economic wellbeing."

But it may be to late, for Monsanto (<- Wikipedia) holds most of the keys and the patents, and they are extremely powerful, while many of the posts for politicians guiding scientists are these days filled by scientifically ignorant Christians from the GOP, who believe more in prayer than in science.

Then again, it seem to be especially Royal Dutch Shell and the German Bayer AG company who developed and produce most of the neonicotinoids.

[1] I will write out my reasons one of these days, but this is what I think. Also, I don't trust such an enormous editorial change of The Guardian that is being defended by just one man whom I never heard of: Wolfgang Blau. But more later, not today.

[2] But: Nearly everyone in the University of Amsterdam at that time pretended to believe that "everyone knows that truth does not exist". (I was one of the very few who disagreed and worried about a university where nearly everyone
pretended to believe that "everyone knows that truth does not exist".)

[3] Here are two brief answers to two questions: Why did he do it? And how could he do it?

He could do it because he was the mayor, and also because all the Dutch judges have collaborated with the illegal drugsdealers for 30 years now, as did the Amsterdam police (commanded by the mayor). Also, almost no Dutchmen cared: They got their - illegal - drugs for little money and no risks, and that was all they wanted, and indeed they did not have illegal and murderous drugsdealers, who were given permission to deal by the mayor, from their houses either. I did.

Why did he do it? Here I must speculate for I do not know. According to the one Parliamentary Report published on drugs, the Van Traa Report, already in the early 1990ies at least 10 billion euros are turned over in Holland each year only in terms of marijuana and hashish. If you add speed, heroin, cocain and ecstasy  the amount of money gets a lot (some five times) higher. But since the middle 1980ies Dutch mayors have the "right", that was started by Van Thijn in Amsterdam, to give "personal permission" to dealers to deal illegal drugs from certain localities (usually known as "coffeeshops").

Well... I would say that if the mayor (and/or his lawyers and/or aldermen) get 5% of the turnover - which is easily covered by the clients who buy drugs - they get a mere 500 million euros, each year.

But this is speculation - though it is not speculation that I met - then - alderman Rob Oudkerk as an alias in 2003. Readers of Dutch may look here. (There is a lot more around there. Whether the grandson of a Dutch massmurderer might be corrupted by - a part of - 500 million euros each year is another speculative question I do not know the answer to. Personally, I am very poor, and have been very poor all my life, and also did not get any help during the 37 years of my disease, except for minimal dole, for a healthy person also, which I am not, for else I would have left narko-nazistic Holland already in 1980 at the latest.)

[4] Namely of the first sentence of the second paragraph, that in the original says: "Well, it it may well on our doorstep."
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