who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
Kissinger an Elder Statesman or War Criminal?
2. US/NATO Embrace Psy-ops
3. Conservatives Have
Kidnapped Our Language
4. Neo-Nazi Arsonists: Officials Concerned by Growing
5. Return to Crisis: Things
Keep Getting Worse
This is a Nederlog of Thursday
September 3, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links. Item 1
is about Kissinger, who was a major criminal, but who very probably
will never face prosecution; item 2 is about how
the whole meaning of "war" has been changed by the Pentagon (with
quotations by me to explain what this means); item 3
is (in fact) about how the meanings people believe in
these days differ from the meanings in dictionaries: The meanings of
"Liberal", "Welfare", "Entitlement", "Equity", "Human capital", and "Market based" as used by the main media now all
differ considerably from the dictionary meanings -
and differ all in a neo- conservative direction; item
4 is about an article in Spiegel On Line about the neo-nazis and
far right groups that operate in Germany; and item 5
article on economics and
the crisis, that concludes a crisis is "likely" (I agree,
but a likelyhood is not a certainty, and a major crisis will be pretty
1. Is Kissinger an Elder Statesman or War Criminal?
The first article today is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
In case you don't
know who is Henry
Kissinger (<- Wikipedia , and I'd say
rather odd from my own point of view, but it is true he left
office forty years ago, is 92, and history tends to be ill
starts as follows:
Here is a brief survey
of what Kissinger did:
Four decades after Henry
Kissinger left office, his
influence on the national security state can still be widely felt as
the United States engages in declared and undeclared wars across the
globe. Kissinger served as national security adviser and secretary of
state in the Nixon and Ford administrations and helped revive a
militarized version of American exceptionalism.
Next, Amy Goodman talks
with Greg Grandin, author
of the new book, Kissinger’s
Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman,
who also is a professor of
Latin American history at New York
During his time in
office, Henry Kissinger oversaw a
massive expansion of the war in Vietnam and the secret bombings of Laos
and Cambodia. In Latin America, declassified documents show how
Kissinger secretly intervened across the continent, from Bolivia to
Uruguay to Chile to Argentina. In Chile, Kissinger urged President
Nixon to take a, quote, "harder line" against the Chile’s
democratically elected president, Salvador Allende. On September 11th,
1973, another September 11th, Allende was overthrown by the U.S.-backed
general, Augusto Pinochet. In Jakarta, Indonesia, Kissinger and
President Gerald Ford met with the Indonesian dictator, General
Suharto, to give the go-ahead to invade East Timor, which Indonesia did
on December 7, 1975. The Indonesians killed a third of the Timorese
population. Kissinger also drew up plans to attack Cuba in the mid-’70s
after Fidel Castro sent Cuban forces into Angola to fight forces linked
to apartheid South Africa. While human rights activists have long
called for Kissinger to be tried for war crimes, he remains a
celebrated figure in Washington and beyond.
Here is - skipping rather a lot - an exchange that starts with Amy
Goodman giving a quote from Henry Kissinger from 1963
Yes, and the reason is
in the quote Amy Goodman read: There simply are no men who create
own reality (outside mental institutions) - this either is plain
madness or else results from an extremely cramped definition of
"reality" as "what can
"There are two
kinds of realists: those who manipulate facts and those who create
them. The West requires nothing so much as men able to create their own
Yeah. Now just think—fast-forward to the 2000s, and the Bush
administration roundly came under criticism when one of its staffers,
that is now believed to be Karl Rove, said that "We’re an empire now.
When we act, we create reality." And that was taken as an example of
neocon hubris and neocon arrogance, a certain kind of irrational
idealism that believes that reality is created through military power.
And oftentimes Kissinger is set up as the opposite of that, as a sober
realist. But the fact is that he’s not.
Indeed, the former, plain madness, results from the latter definition
of "reality", which only military folks (and their
followers) believe in. Then again,
in the national security state created by Cheney and Bush, and
continued by Obama, the military viewpoint is widely spread - and see item 2 and item 3 for backgrounds.
Here are some of the reasons why Henry Kissinger is a criminal:
Well, in Latin America, he supported Operation Condor. He was
instrumental in organizing the coup in—not just in Chile, in Bolivia.
He was involved in Uruguay and Argentina. He either—you know, he
brought a moral legitimacy or he was actually involved in the
destabilization campaigns that led to coups. And then, once the region
fell to right-wing, anti-communist governments, he was instrumental in
supporting Operation Condor, which was a kind of transnational
consortium of death squads that carried out a international terrorist
Here is some more about Operation Condor
(<- Wikipedia). And here is
the last bit I
I agree with Grandin, but I
think that the chance that Kissinger will be tried as a war criminal
can be safely set as equal to 0. But this is an interesting and
recommended article, not only because of the light it sheds on recent
history, but because Kissinger created much of the current
Do you think
Henry Kissinger should be tried as a war criminal? We have 20 seconds.
But I also think that we should also—beyond that, there’s ways in which
the language of prosecution and war crimes kind of—kind of eclipse a
deeper historical understanding. And if we want to get out of—if we
want to understand the mess we’re in now, we have to—beyond just the
kind of language of moral outrage and understand Kissinger’s role in
rehabilitating the national security state.
2. US/NATO Embrace Psy-ops and Info-War
next article is
by Don North on Consortium News:
This has a summary, which I
quote because it is quite interesting:
government and NATO have entered the Brave
New World of “strategic communications,” merging psy-ops, propaganda
and P.R. in order to manage the perceptions of Americans and the
world’s public, reports veteran war correspondent Don North.
This is quite interesting
because it is a major change: From now on - because of the
technological successes of the NSA? - the perceptions (the
thoughts, ideas, feeliings and values) of all Americans
and also the perceptions (etc.) of everybody else are
part of the war aims of the
Pentagon and of the American government.
That is: What you think and feel - whoever you are -
you are now targeted as subject of explicit propaganda
in order to make you think and feel as the Pentagon and the
government wants you to (and if you keep thinking other
than you are desired to think by the Pentagon and the American
government, you run the risk of being persecuted as "a terrorist", or
being blown up by a drone, especially if you reside in the Middle East).
I exaggerate? Well, consider this from August 31, to start with: Pentagon’s New
“Law of War”
Manual “Reduces Us to the Level of
Next, consider this:
As reflected in a recent
NATO conference in Latvia and in
the Pentagon’s new “Law of War” manual, the U.S. government has come to
view the control and manipulation of information as a “soft power”
weapon, merging psychological operations, propaganda and public affairs
under the catch phrase “strategic communications.”
This attitude has led to
treating psy-ops – manipulative
techniques for influencing a target population’s state of mind and
surreptitiously shaping people’s perceptions – as just a normal part of
U.S. and NATO’s information policy.
Which is to say that
"giving the news" = "engaging in manipulation", quite in the
sense as defined by the GCHQ.
Indeed, here are some of
the psy-ops of
the GCHQ that I gathered last year (and all of the text is by
Note the phrase "in the
context of using them in lieu of 'traditional law enforcement' against
people suspected (but not charged or convicted)":
Traditional law enforcement requires objective
evidence; the Pentagon
requires only "protest activity for political ends"; and traditional
law enforcement was limited to the country whose laws were
Pentagon wants everyone everywhere to share its point
of view (or be prosecuted or droned as terrorists).
Here is more on the techniques absolutely everyone now is
exposed to, according to the Pentagon's new "Law of War":
That is, more specifically:
And here is a summary of
the effects of secret manipulations:
Of course, the Pentagon and
the GCHQ and the NSA are like God: They love
you; they know
everything about you - and they may sent you to hell (in secret and
anonymously) if you as much as think or feel anything
they don't desire.
I think that is the
new "Law of War" as stated by the Pentagon (stated with
help of materials gathered by Edward Snowden):
Unless and until you think
and feel as the Pentagon wants you to, you are - whoever you
are, wherever you are - the potential subject of secret
attempts to deny, disrupt, degrade and deceive you.
Back to Don North:
And by the way: "Al Qaeda
terrorists" include those who
been kept now for thirteen years in Guantánamo, and not because
they really were, but merely
And, as part of this
Brave New World of “strategic
communications,” the U.S. military and NATO have now gone on the
offensive against news organizations that present journalism which is
deemed to undermine the perceptions that the U.S. government seeks to
convey to the world.
That attitude led to the
Pentagon’s new “Law of War” manual which
suggests journalists in wartime may be considered “spies” or
“unprivileged belligerents,” creating the possibility that reporters
could be subject to indefinite incarceration, military tribunals and
extrajudicial execution – the same treatment applied to Al Qaeda
terrorists who are also called “unprivileged belligerents.”
because they were accused to be.
And there is this:
“The attitude toward the
media expressed in the 2015
Pentagon manual is a violation of the international laws of war to
which the USA is a signatory, going back to the 1907 Hague Convention,
and including the Geneva Conventions,” said Badsey, a professor of
conflict studies at Wolverhampton University in the United Kingdom and
a long-time contact of mine who is often critical of U.S. military
I agree. And there is
In brief: This is a very
frightening article that you are recommended to read all of, for this
seems to be the future envisaged by president Obama, the Pentagon, the
NSA and the GCHQ.
Independent’s Robert Fisk remarked
at the time, “once you kill people because you don’t like what they
say, you change the rules of war.” Now, the Pentagon is doing exactly
that, literally rewriting its “Law of War” manual to allow for the
no-holds-barred treatment of “enemy” journalists as “unprivileged
3. Conservatives Have Kidnapped Our Language
next article is
by David Morris on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
You may disbelieve this, but
this seems a well researched article, with quite a
“Sticks and stones can
break my bones but words can never
harm me.” A fine sentiment, but any child subjected to cyber
bullying knows that words do indeed matter.
Sometimes a word that once was
negative becomes positive, like “terrific” which originally meant
terrifying. Sometimes a word that was once positive becomes
negative, as when “awful” changes from awe inspiring to very bad.
In politics too words
matter, and in politics too language
evolves. In the last 50 years we have witnessed a politically
motivated sea change in the meaning of old words and the introduction
of new words, all intended to undermine our sense of compassion.
few examples. Here is the first (extracted: there is more in the
The prime example is how
we’ve changed the meaning of the
word “liberal”. For almost 700 years the word meant
generous, selfless, noble, tolerant. When the word began to
describe a political philosophy it mostly retained its original
meaning. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, aside
from being “broadminded” a liberal is someone “favoring political
reform tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the
And then the 1960s
happened. The Great Society, and
civil rights legislation, spawned a change in the definition of
liberal. We began to hear the phrase “bleeding heart liberal” to
describe someone excessively softhearted.
Within 20 years the word “liberal” had been demonized. Long time
Chicago based columnist Mike Royko wondered why the term had become so
negative if the major criticism of it was that a liberal was too
compassionate. He thought the reason was racism. “So I
learned that in Chicago, as in many parts of the South and other big
cities, the word liberal has one basic, simple definition. It’s
just another word for ‘nigger lover’,” Royko concluded.
In his Acceptance Speech
of the New York Liberal Party Nomination in September 1960 John F.
Kennedy proudly declared himself a liberal and defended the word
against criticism, “…if by a “Liberal” they mean someone who …
cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing,
their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil
liberties-- then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘Liberal.'” For many,
JFK’s definition suggested a government aggressively overruling local
sentiments to force states and communities to allow blacks to vote
unimpeded and integrate them into neighborhood schools and jobs and the
general society. The South especially but not solely rejected both the
policies and the word.
I say. And I think
that the argument that this change of the meaning of "liberal" did
indeed take place seems considerable, and is also given, in this case
and the other cases in the article, in terms of specific graphics,
Ngrams (<- Wikipedia, and I had to look this up as well), but
unfortunately on none of the graphics is the scale
given in terms of actual numbers.
There also is another
criticism: These new meanings are not dictionary-meanings,
which is what intellectuals like I am tend to rely on, when we want a good
defi- nition of a term: Look in a good dictionary
(or two, or three).
Then again, the new
"meanings" (for I want to keep them apart from dictionary-
meanings) are probably as said (so when I write I am a liberal, the
educated American, especially if a Southerner, may well take
this to mean I am a "bleeding heart nigger lover") even though little
of these new "meanings" are
part of any good dictionary.
In fact, the article
lists next to "Liberal" the following terms whose "meanings"
have changed in use: "Welfare", "Entitlement", "Equity", "Human capital", and "Market based".
Here is one bit on "Welfare" (from a lot more):
The word welfare, like
the word liberal, had become lethal. A 2006 poll by the National
Opinion Research Center reveals how much words matter. More than
65 percent of those surveyed thought government spends “too little” on
“assistance to the poor.” But when the phrase “assistance to the poor”
was replaced with “welfare” only 20 percent thought the government
spent “too little” while 46 percent said it spent “too much.”
And this is one bit on "Entitlement" (from a lot more):
Then there's "Equity"
(from a lot more)
conflated entitlements with welfare.
In the 2012 election this became explicit. The
Washington Post reported, “Milt Romney framed the 2012
presidential election…as a choice between an ‘entitlement society’
dependent on government welfare and an ‘opportunity-society’ that
enables businesses to flourish.” Romney added, “Even if we could
afford the ever-expanding payments of an entitlement society, it is a
fundamental corruption of the American spirit.”
For Romney almost half
the country is now dependent on
handouts. "(T)here are 47 percent of the people…who are dependent
upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the
government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they
are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That
that's an entitlement.”
Actually, it still
"fairness", but since fewer know this than know the meanings of "equality" and "justice", "equity" replaces
them, and now (at
Six hundred years ago
equity meant fairness. Equity
courts in England were intended to infuse a sense of conscience into
But in the last
generation the other secondary definition
of equity as property has become so dominant as to virtually eliminate
its original meaning. Indeed, its use has now spread to sectors that
have not used the term before. Non-profit organizations are
increasingly substituting the word equity for equality or justice.
least according to the neo-conservatives) we are supposed to strife
for "racial equality" but for "racial equity" (which indeed is no
Here is the last part of the article:
Language evolves as societies values change.
Today our language tells us that we are human capital, that
policies must be market-based, that welfare is an expletive, that no
one is entitled to anything and that liberal means profligate and
intolerant. No wonder it is so hard to have a conversation that
speaks to the social, empathetic and altruistic side of human nature.
I agree, and this is a
recommended article. (I will keep using words with their
proper meanings, also if a majority of not properly
educated folks do not understand me: Too bad, but I am not going to lie
to suit your prejudices.)
4. Neo-Nazi Arsonists: Officials Concerned by Growing Far-Right
next article is
by Spiegel Staff (7 journalists) on Spiegel On Line:
The day before last I
reviewed another article on Spiegel On
Line, that was written by no
less than 12 people, and that seemed not to say much. This one is
written by 7 people, and seems a bit better. It starts with this
introduction (bold in the original):
has seen a sharply increased number of
attacks on asylum hostels in Germany, many of them perpetrated by
right-wing extremists. Officials are concerned that neo-Nazi networks
may be spreading across the country.
The officials may well be
right.The article starts as follows:
There is considerably more,
from which I select only this quote:
It was April 16 when
around 100 right-wing extremists
marched through the small town of Nauen in the eastern German state of
Brandenburg. Their message: "Nein zum Heim!" or "No to the Hostel!"
They carried posters and German flags along with them. "Nauen Will Stay
White!" read one. "Take Action!" read another.
One day later, employees of
Mikado, a local youth center, found that
the tires of the center's minibus had been slashed. There was a note
under the windshield wiper reading: "Dear asylum friends, Tröglitz is
here too." The reference was to an arson attack on a refugee shelter
not two weeks before in the town of Tröglitz in the eastern state of
Skip ahead to Monday night a week ago when a planned asylum hostel --
to be established inside a high school gymnasium -- was gutted by
flames in Nauen, just outside Berlin. The fire occurred just a short
time before the first refugees were scheduled to move in.
Incidentally, the German
"Third Way" probably has nothing to do with Clinton & Blair's
"Third Way", that
is, other than having chosen an intentionally misleading name.
But those pouring fuel on
the flames of hate, these days,
are not only affiliated with the NPD, nor can they only be found in
eastern Germany. In North Rhine-Westphalia alone, the Interior Ministry
counted around 50 right-wing attacks on refugee hostels in just the
first six months of this year. There, racists and malcontents have
other nationalist parties to choose from, including Pro-NRW and "The
Right." In Baden-Württemberg, the suspected arson attack on the asylum
hostel in Weissach im Tal was the second such incident in the state
within just a few weeks.
Prior to that, unknown
perpetrators sprayed swastikas on a
mosque. Not far from the burned-out hostel, police found a sticker from
the "Identitarian Movement of Germany," a group known for its blatant
hatred of foreigners.
More than any other group,
though, it is the "Third Way," a collection
of ultra-right wingers, that has been the focus of recent attention, in
both the east and the west.
But this was a decent article.
Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
The last article of
by Mike Whitney on Counterpunch
This is another
reaction to what The Guardian called
It starts as follows (after a quotation of John Kenneth Galbraith):
The virus that spread to stock markets around
world and nearly destroyed the global financial system in 2008 has
reemerged with a vengeance sending global equities deep into the red
and wiping out more than $5 trillion in market capitalization in less
than two weeks. On Tuesday, before the opening bell, major market index
futures in the US plunged more than 400 points signaling another
violent day of selling ahead. Worries that a slowdown in
China will impact global growth pushed Asian and European markets deep
into negative territory while US futures indicate that the Dow Jones is
headed for its ninth triple-digit day in ten sessions.
There is this on stock
massively overpriced due to the setting of interest rates
below the rate of inflation which creates a subsidy for speculators.
The policy has had the precise effect that the Fed intended, it has
generated a humongous asset bubble in stocks and bonds transferring
trillions of dollars to Wall Street banks and financial institutions.
According to Yale economist Robert Shiller, the only time stocks have
been this “high or higher were in 1929, 2000, and 2007—all moments
before market crashes.”
I say. I agree that
stocks are overpriced, indeed for the reason given, and I
agree the situation is worrisome, but while Shiller probably is right,
not mean markets will crash (nor indeed that they won't).
There is this on buybacks (which cost nothing for those who can borrow
money at virtually no interest):
A thriving economy
with low unemployment, rising incomes and wages, and
positive inflation is the death knell for zero rate shenanigans, like
stock buybacks, where a company repurchases its own shares to push
prices higher to boost executive compensation and reward shareholders.
Buybacks are type of stock manipulation that used to be banned but are
presently, all the rage.
and cheap cash have changed the incentives structure
so that easiest way to enrich stakeholders is by piling on more debt,
raking off hefty profits, and leaving the wreckage for someone else to
clean up. This is nihilistic rationale that drives buybacks. Keep in
mind, the Fed’s low rates were sold to the public as a way to stimulate
investment in the real economy.
Here is the conclusion of the
article (before another quotation of John Kenneth
While it’s always
possible that the markets could stabilize or stocks
could rebound sharply, it’s more likely that we have reached a tipping
point where the excesses are about to be wrung from the system through
an excruciating downturn followed by an inevitable currency crisis. We
expect the six year-long fake recovery to end much like it did in 1929,
where one demoralizing selloff followed the other, and where the
crashing of stock prices fueled the publics distrust of the central
bank, the government and all of the nations main institutions.
I agree that this is "more likely", but a likelihood is not a certainty, and if
the collapse does happen, it will very probably be far from
everyone who is not a billionair (in dollars or
should also say that the Wikipedia article on Kissinger does contain
the term "crime" only two times, both in just one quotation,
and it presents Henry Kissinger mostly as he liked to be seen.