is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about an interesting article by Glenn
Greenwald about the quite modern form of propaganda that I first became
aware of between 1995 and 2000, and that since has grown quite
systematic: the right steals the terms and ends of the left, pretends
to be for them, but furthers them with rightist plans (presented as
"Freedom!") that support the rich at the costs of the poor; item 2 is about a claim by the IMF that I see, at
least now, as propaganda intended to increase the prices of oil and
gas; item 3 is about a good article + video by
Robert Reich; item 4 is about a good reply by
Sen. Warren to Obama's lies; and item 5 is about a
poll that supports the notion
that the majority of Americans dislike NSA spying and want their
This file got uploaded a bit earlier than is normal for me.
Lights: Exploiting Social Issues for Militarism and Imperialism
item today is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows (and I
removed a picture of Cameron's Tweet and replaced it by text):
Over the weekend,
the British surveillance agency GCHQ — the most
extremist and invasive in the West — bathed its
Oscar-nominated feature film, Prime Minister David
Cameron’s office celebrated
GCHQ’s inspirational lights:
with rainbow-colored lights
“as a symbol of the intelligence agency’s commitment to diversity” and
to express solidarity with “International Day Against Homophobia,
Transphobia and Biphobia.” GCHQ’s public affairs office proudly
distributed the above photograph to media outlets. Referring to Alan
Turing, the closeted-and-oppressed gay World War II British
code-breaker just memorialized by
UK Prime Minister
Modern-day Turings at GCHQ celebrate #IDAHOT day by lightening their
building in rainbow colours
This is so very moving. Gay
Brits are now just as free as everyone else to spy on people,
covertly disseminate state propaganda, and destroy online privacy.
Whatever your views on all this nasty surveillance business might
be, how can you not feel good about GCHQ when it drapes itself in
the colors of LGBT equality?
In fact, this opens a
quite important and much more general theme, that I first met in Dutch
politics in the 1990ies, when I noticed that conservative
politicians, rather suddenly also, as if they were briefed by a
thinktank that works for the GOP, talked as if they had taken
over most of the leftist terms and propaganda.
I am not sure it was the first time I noticed it, but it came to the
fore in debates
about housing where the conservative ministeries and secretaries of
state suddenly spoke  as if "liberating the
housing market" would do everything the left had said about not
liberating the housing market, in part also in leftist terms
(which was all a complete lie, but confused the left
Since then this has taken off in major ways: the terminology
and even the ends ("helping the poor", "supporting the
deprived", "enabling the ill", "supporting the gay", "helping women",
"saving the black") are mostly "leftist", but the actual plans
they hide are very rightist ("by teaching them to stand on
their own legs" = "robbing them from the very little money and legal
protection they had").
Here is Glenn Greenwald's take:
This is all a
stark illustration of what has become a deeply cynical but highly
effective tactic. Support for institutions of militarism and policies
of imperialism is now manufactured by parading them under
the emotionally manipulative banners of progressive social
Yes, indeed - but it
goes back a long time (some twenty years, at least, in my experience)
and it also is a general and systematic recipe:
conservative ends, policies and propaganda are recast as -
apparently - semi-leftist ends, policies and propaganda, mostly by stealing
the terminology from the left, and using it blatantly, while restyling
them again in small letters ("this is to help the development, the
rights, the legal status, and the incomes of the poor" -
by making them free from state support ).
And Greenwald also very correctly says:
Neocons have long
adeptly exploited this tactic and are among its pioneers. Before the
invasion of Afghanistan, Americans were inundated with stories
about the Taliban’s oppression of women: as though feminism was
part of the cause of that war.
Yes, indeed (and there
is considerably more in the article). Here is part of the propaganda
As a general
matter, this tactic for Washington is far from new. The U.S. media has
long hyped human rights and civil liberties abuses when perpetrated by
governments disliked at the moment by the U.S. government, while
ignoring far worse ones committed by subservient regimes.
This ends as follows:
dressing up American wars in the pretty packaging of progressive social
causes, or literally decorating pernicious spy agencies with the colors
of the LGBT cause, should leave no doubt about what this tactic is.
Militarism and aggression don’t become any more palatable because the
institutions that perpetrate them let women and gays participate in
those abuses (...)
As I have indicated: I
quite agree with Glenn Greenwald, except that this style of lying -
taking over both the ends and the terms of the left, verbally, but in
fact using these ends and terms to extend extremely right end plans -
me considerably worse and also more systematically practised than Glenn
Greenwald may see, though I am not certain of that last point.
In any case, this is a very important neoliberal tactic, which
makes it appear quite different from what it really is (rightist
plans wrapped up in leftist sounding slogans and ends), while
also fundamentally confusing "the left" (or what's left of that, for
most of the elected "leftist" politicians are no real
leftists anymore, but are simply careerists).
2.Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF
item today is an article by Damian Carrington on The Guardian:
The IMF calls the
revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust”
estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated
for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s
The vast sum is largely
due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the
burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local
populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe
affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate
There is a
whole lot more under the last dotted link (and "tn"="trillion"="a
thousand billion" while "billion"="a thousand million), but - just
having written about how the rightist propaganda has been wrapped up in
leftist terms since decades now - I must admit this mostly strikes me
to increase the current prices of oil and gas.
3.Ten Ideas to Save the Economy #4: Bust
Up Wall Street
item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
When Americans think of
how the economic rules are
stacked against them, they naturally think of Wall Street.
When the Wall Street bubble burst in 2008
excessive risk-taking, millions of working Americans lost their jobs,
insurance, savings, and homes.
But The Street is back to many of its old
its lobbyists are busily rolling
back the Dodd-Frank
Act, intended to prevent another crash.
The biggest Wall Street banks are also much
1990, the five biggest banks had 10 percent of all of the nation’s
assets. Now, they have 44 percent – more than they had at the time of
the 2008 crash.
They have a virtual lock on taking
companies public, play key roles pricing commodities, are involved in
U.S. mergers and acquisitions and many overseas, and responsible for
the trading in derivatives and other complex financial
And as they’ve gained
dominance over the financial sector, they’ve
become more politically potent. They’re major sources of campaign funds
both Republicans and Democrats.
Wall Street banks supply personnel for key
economic posts in Republican and Democratic administrations, and
employment to economic officials when they leave Washington.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Robert Reich proposes three measures to oppose this:
resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act Second,
put a small sales tax on every financial
Third, bust up the
big banks. Any bank that’s too big to fail is too big, period.
although I do not see how this is going to be realized by the
present Congress. In any case, here is Robert Reich explaining it all:
This is all well
explained and quite brief.
4. Warren Hits Back Hard on 'Broken Promises' of
Corporate Trade Pacts
The next item
is an article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
Senator Elizabeth Warren
(D-Mass.) took decisive aim at President Barack Obama's pending global
trade pacts on Monday with the release of a new report, which argues
that—despite pledges to the contrary—so-called "free trade" agreements
have a record of undermining workers rights.
"Supporters of past trade
agreements have said again and again that these deals would include
strong protections for workers, but assurances without strong
enforcement are just empty promises," Senator Warren said
in a press statement. "The facts show that, despite all the promises,
these trade deals were just another tool to tilt the playing field in
further of multinational corporations and against working families."
Indeed the report (that I
downloaded) is "Prepared by the Staff of Sen.
Here is some more from the article:
Citing analyses from the
Government Accountability Office, the State Department, and the
Department of Labor, that report charges that under Obama's watch,
trade pacts have ushered in a host of abuses, from child labor to
intimidation and violence against union organizers.
In a much-publicized
feud with the president, Warren has largely led the campaign against
the 12-nation TPP, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
(TTIP), and the Fast Track Trade Authority, which would restrict
Congressional input on a global trade deal to an up or down vote. Obama
has largely dismissed many of Warren's criticisms of the deal as
"dishonest," "bunk" and "misinformation."
In an interview with NPR
last week, Warren explained
her primary objections to the TPP, highlighting the roll that the
investor-state dispute mechanism (ISDS) plays in worsening labor
"We know that
corporations under this deal are going to get to sue countries for
regulations they don't like and that the decisions are not going to be
made by courts, they're going to be made by private lawyers," Warren
Also, if things really
were as the president says they are, he would have
published the TTP and the TTIP proposalsl. Since he doesn't, he lies,
and behaves as an anti-democrat.
Democrats and Independents
ALL Hate NSA Spying
item today is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:
A poll released today
shows that Americans across the political spectrum hate the Patriot Act
and NSA spying.
The bipartisan polling
team – made up of Global Strategy Group and G Public Strategies – found
(edited for readability):
By nearly a 2:1 margin
(60% modify, 34% preserve), Americans believe the Patriot Act should
not be reauthorized in its current form. With broad, bipartisan support
across all ages, ideologies and political parties, voters are rejecting
the argument that the Patriot Act should be preserved with no changes
because of potential terrorist threats. Millennials (65% modify) and
Independent men (75% modify), in particular, are driving the push for
modification to limit government surveillance.
By more than 4:1 (82%
concerned, 18% not concerned), voters find it concerning that the
United States government is collecting and storing the personal
information of Americans, including 31% who are extremely concerned and
25% who are very concerned.
Over three quarters of
voters found four different examples of government spying personally
concerning to them. The government accessing personal communications,
information or records without a judge’s permission (83%) and using
that information for things other than stopping terrorist attacks (83%)
were the two most concerning examples to voters.
made in favor of adding more protections for Americans around privacy,
also proved to be convincing to voters. 84% of voters said it was a
convincing argument that local police and the FBI should have a warrant
to search phone and email records, further confirming that Americans
believe that individual privacy rights should be more strongly
protected. Additionally, 81% of voters were convinced more protections
were needed on account of companies providing loopholes in their
services to make surveillance easier for the government.
 Unfortunately, I don't know the precise dates
anymore. I do know that (i) it was a quite sudden change, and
(ii) it was shared and practiced by at least two ministers and two
secretaries of state, all deeply conservative, but suddenly taking over
the leftist terminology and ends, though these again were dressed up in
a sauce of "freedom!" and "free markets!" and all the "liberations!"
It was quite striking, quite confusing for "the left",
and it certainly was not something the Dutch
conservatives and neoliberals had taught up themselves: It must
have been handed to them. (Very probably: By a GOP think tank.)
 Which will allow the rich to rob them
because the poor have no more laws or funds to defend them against the