This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, January 13, 2016.
This is a
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about Tim Cook's position on encryption: still quite sensible;
item 2 is about Obama's State of the Union
speech, with a decent point from Truthdig and a video for those who
care for videos; item 3 is the text of Obama's last
SOTU speech; item 4 is about the enormous amounts
of misleading propaganda
about Isis, and makes a very good point I
first made in 2005 (!), and did not see anyone else make; and item 5 is - in fact - about Hillary's popularity among
informed and knowledgeable Democrats: Much
smaller than Bernie Sanders.
Also, I will have to revise the last crisis index because the html-code is simply too bad.
1. Apple’s Tim
Cook Lashes Out at White House Officials for
Being Wishy-Washy on Encryption
by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:
Apple CEO Tim Cook lashed out at the
high-level delegation of Obama administration officials who came
calling on tech leaders in San Jose last week, criticizing the White
House for a lack of leadership and asking the administration to issue a
strong public statement defending the use of unbreakable encryption.
The White House should come out and say
“no backdoors,” Cook said. That would mean overruling repeated requests
from FBI director James Comey and other administration officials that
tech companies build some sort of special access for law enforcement
into otherwise unbreakable encryption. Technologists agree that any
such measure could be exploited by others.
But Attorney General Loretta Lynch
responded to Cook by speaking of the “balance” necessary between
privacy and national security – a balance that continues to be debated
within the administration.
This is somewhat heartening, from my
perspective: Cook did the right thing (and no, I am not an
Apple Inc. fan).
There is also this, which I think I missed, joined with a fairly crazy
The Washington Postreported
in September that the White House had decided not to pursue legislation
against unbreakable encryption. But the intelligence community’s top
lawyer was quoted in an email saying that that the administration
should be “keeping our options open…in the event of a terrorist attack
or criminal event where strong encryption can be shown to have hindered
I think I missed the Washington Post's
article. And "the intelligence community’s top
lawyer" simply is a liar who wants an
authoritarian state where a few totally anonymous government employees
know or can know absolutely everything anyone does with a computer or
And there is this on Cook's position:
Despite the growing pressure tech
companies are feeling from governments worldwide to stop letting
terrorists take advantage of their services, Cook has continued to
defend the importance of encryption in protecting all digital
transactions—from text messages and e-mails to bank information and
Cook has been outspoken in his opposition
to the idea that we need to sacrifice privacy and digital security for
the sake of public safety. During an episode
of 60 Minutes on December 20, he said: “We’re America, we should
He is right. (And
again, I am not an Apple Inc. fan, and never was after 1980.)
Obama Offers a First Draft of His Legacy in Last State of the Union
The president struck a congenial yet
cocksure pose in
delivering his SOTU sendoff, during which he attempted to carry off the
impossible task of appearing as all presidents to all voting publics.
Over the course of an hour, he shape-shifted from champion of
capitalism to populist rattler of Wall Street’s gilded cage, party
loyalist to bipartisan apologist, domestic hearth-tender to hawkish
It follows that this provided a setup
self-contradiction, which occurred at various moments throughout his
performance, even if the incidents were set apart by a slew of words
and ideas. In one example, Obama drew upon right-leaning reasoning and
the language of impersonal “trends” and forces to explain the widening
gap between the upper and lower income brackets, declaring, “Anyone
claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.” But
later in the script, he used different terms to frame the Great
Recession and its aftermath, veering left while stating just as
definitively that “food stamps did not cause the financial
crisis—recklessness on Wall Street did.”
I like this because it confirms my own
judgements (since the second half of 2009) that Obama basically was a
clever fraud, who mostly continued Bush Jr.'s policies, though
- I agree - he also indeed mitigated some.
And in case you want to see and hear the
speech, here it is:
I didn't see or hear this, mostly because I am not prepared to watch
long speeches by professional political liars if I can also read them -
and the next item also allows you to read the speech:
Is the Full Text of Obama's State of the Union Address The
third item is
by Mother Jones Washington Bureau on Mother Jones:
So let’s talk about the future, and four
big questions that we as a country have to answer — regardless of who
the next President is, or who controls the next Congress.
First, how do we give everyone a fair
shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?
Second, how do we make technology work
for us, and not against us — especially when it comes to solving urgent
challenges like climate change?
Third, how do we keep America safe and
lead the world without becoming its policeman?
And finally, how can we make our
politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?
Let me start with the economy, and a
basic fact: the United States of America, right now, has the strongest,
most durable economy in the world.
You can read the rest,
but I have two observations on the above quotation:
First, all of his points are part of the Democrats' popular
agenda, and therefore do not satisfy his "regardless of who the next President is, or who controls the
Second, it simply is false to say that "the
United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable
economy in the world".
It is true that Obama's policies improved the USA's economy, but since
he did not do anything against the big banks, and the
big banks are now greater than they were in 2008, and just as
explosive and dangerous, I do not think that the USA has "the most durable
economy in the world".
4. America Has Grown Cowardly: ISIS is No Threat to Our
fourth item is by Tom Engelhardt on Alternet and originally on
This is an interesting article, that makes
a good point that is very well worth making, and that I first made in 2005 (!!) and
that I did not read since then by anyone else .
It starts as follows:
In the two presidentialdebates that ended the year, focusing in
whole or part on “national security,” the only global subject worthy of
discussion was — you guessed it — the Islamic State and secondarily
immigration and related issues. Media panelists didn’t ask a single
question in either debate about China or Russia (other than on the
IS-related issue of who might shoot down Russian planes over Syria)
or about the relative success of the French right-wing, anti-Islamist
National Front Party and its presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen
(even though her American analog, Donald Trump, was on stage in one debate and a
significant subject of the other)
The main reason to concentrate on Isis and
"national security" is this fact, that shows how easy it is to deceive
large parts of the American public:
The latest polls indicate that striking
numbers of Americans now view the threat of terrorism as the country’s
number one danger, see it as a (if not the) critical issue
facing us, believe that it and national security should be
the government’s top priorities, and are convinced that the terrorists
are at present “winning.”
One set of reasons a considerable part of the
American public is deceived are these (among other reasons):
This means around 130,000 Americans
are killed each year by these causes alone, which means that around
1,820,000 (one million eight hundred twenty thousand) Americans have
been killed by these causes in the last 14 years.
One can also concentrate on the gun
deaths, and then one gets these figures (and I am using images I also
used last year):
Which is to say that [the number killed by
terrorists : the number killed by gun violence] = 0.008 = 1 / 125 approximately,
in the United States.
Or alternatively there is this (and I know
both graphics are not recent, but the point remains the same):
Finally, here is the point I made
in 2005 (much more extensively, but in Dutch):
But the Islamic State should also be put
in some perspective. It’s not Nazi Germany. It’s not the Soviet
Union. It’s not an existential threat to the United States. It’s
a distinctly self-limited movement, probably only capable of expanding
its reach if even more of the region is laid to waste (...)
That is: Russia and China are enormous
states with largeprofessional armies and many
atomic weapons, and have been opponents of the USA for at
least 65 years now... but their dangers are not even discussed in the
These presidential debates, accordingly,
are mere propaganda, and are totally false and misleading. (And I think I
will translate my article of 2005:
It is interesting.)
5. Hillary “Feels the Bern”
fifth and last item today is by Michael Krieger on Washington's Blog
and originally on libertyblitzkrieg:
The recent member vote conducted by
progressive organization MoveOn.org
is downright devastating for Hillary Clinton. The numbers speak
for themselves, and demonstrate in no uncertain terms that Hillary
Clinton has absolutely zero grassroots support. There isn’t a person in
this country who is genuinely excited about Hillary, while Bernie
Sanders continues to pack rooms and, as we learned in December, broke
the fundraising record for most contributions at this stage in a
political campaign at 2.3 million.
The fact that Hillary is still seen as
the inevitable nominee simply proves how completely lifeless and
corrupt the Democratic establishment is. But don’t take my word for it.
To be sure, MoveOn.org is a progressive
organization, and its members are not at all a fair sample from
the U.S. population, and probably also know considerably more about
U.S. politics and politicians than "the average American" .
Here are the results for the members of
than 340,000 MoveOn members participated in our endorsement process.
Sanders won with 267,750 votes, or 78.6 percent. “Fellow Democrat
Hillary Clinton garnered 49,811 votes (14.6 percent). Martin O’Malley
earned 2,949 votes (0.9 percent). There were also 20,155 MoveOn
members, or 5.9 percent, who voted against MoveOn making an endorsement
vote total and percentage are MoveOn records — the best any
presidential candidate has performed in our 17-year history.
MoveOn is endorsing Bernie for president because MoveOn is our members.
MoveOn only endorses candidates for office after formal membership
votes, and in this case, the outcome of our internal democratic process
was overwhelming: the vast majority of voting MoveOn members want the
organization to support Bernie, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’ve
pledged to run a 100% positive campaign.
this show? It is a fairly large group, but it is not typical for the
But it does
seem to show - I think - that among Democrats who do care for politics
and are more or less reasonably informed there are not very many
Hillary Clinton supporters.
This does not
show she will not win the presidential candidacy, but if she
does it will because of her name recognition rather than her
proposed policies, or so it seems to me.
 This is precisely right
as I stated it: It is quite possible that others made similar
points, but I certainly did not read them - and I am following
the news quite well.
In any case, this means that much of what you read in the (main) media
is more like propagandan than it is like real information.
 I like statistics (provided
they are sensible, which they often are not), but it is true that "the
average American" also has one ball and one tit, which means that
he/she/it is not representative of anyone at all. But what is
true is that the member of MoveOn.org are not a representative
sample from the American population.