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Nederlog

 February 22, 2016

Crisis: Hedges, Reich, Chomsky, Crash, U.S. Deep State, Pentagon's Spying
Sections                                                                     crisis index    
Introduction   

1.
Why I Support Dr. Jill Stein for President
2. VIDEO: 4 Reasons Ted Cruz Is Even More Dangerous
     Than Donald Trump

3.
Chomsky: 9/11 Was a Terrorist Atrocity and so Was
     America's Reaction to It

4. New Stock Market Crash Inevitable
5. How the Powers That Be Maintain the "Deep State": An
     Interview With Mike Lofgren

6. The Pentagon’s secret pre-crime program to know your
     thoughts, predict your future
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Monday, February 22, 2016.


This is a crisis blog. There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about Chris Hedges' support for presidential candidate Jill Stein; item 2 is about Robert Reich's idea that Ted Cruz is "even more dangerous" than Donald Trump; item 3 is about Noam Chomsky's idea (which I share, indeed since 2005) that 9/11 was terrorism as was the American reaction to it (there are 2 kinds of terrorism: private and state terrorism, and the lattter is far more dangerous); item 4 is about the inevitability of the next stock market crash; item 5 is about the U.S. deep state and is quite interesting; and item 6 is about the Pentagon's plans for surveilling everyone, willy-nilly, in secret, that date in fact back to the 1960ies, and are still on track (for now almost everybody is spied upon, in secret, by the secret services and/or their secret algorithms).

1. Why I Support Dr. Jill Stein for President

This first item is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

The political crisis in America is severe. The old ideas that buttressed the ruling class and promised democracy, growth and prosperity—neoliberalism, austerity, globalization, endless war, a dependence on fossil fuel and unregulated capitalism—have been exposed as fictions used by the corporate elite to impoverish and enslave the country and enrich and empower themselves. Sixty-two billionaires have as much wealth as half the world’s population, 3.5 billion people. This fact alone is revolutionary tinder.

We are entering a dangerous moment when few people, no matter what their political orientation, trust the power elite or the ruling neoliberal ideology. The rise of right-wing populism, with dark undertones of fascism, looks set in the next presidential election—as it does in parts of Europe—to pit itself against the dying gasps of the corporate establishment.

This is the introduction of an article in which Chris Hedges explains why he supports Jill Stein (<- Wikipedia). We'll get later to dr. Jill Stein, who is a real medical doctor.

As to this introduction: Yes and no. I will concentrate on my noes:

While I agree with Chris Hedges that "neoliberalism, austerity, globalization, endless war, a dependence on fossil fuel and unregulated capitalism" have been shown to be "fictions" when presented as forces that would benefit democracy, equality and justice, (i) I simply do not know how many - that is: what proportion of the American adults - have been convinced these are quasi- democratic, anti-egalitarian and quite unjust fictions, and (ii) my guess is that this is not the majority (and probably considerably less).

Something similar holds for Hedges' thesis that currently "few people" (..) "trust the power elite or the ruling neoliberal ideology": Again I simply do not know what proportion of the American adults does not "trust the power elite" (etc.) while my guess is that it is not a majority (while mere distrust without sensible ideas about what to do also is not helpful).

But possibly I am more pessimistic or less well informed than Chris Hedges is (but in any case, I do read considerable portions of the press, and I simply do not know what I say that I do not know - which suggests that there simply is no good clear evidence).

Then there is this in the article:

If we fail to revolt we will see the numerous mechanisms for control enshrined in our system of inverted totalitarianism — wholesale surveillance, militarized police empowered to use lethal force against unarmed citizens, the loss of nearly all civil liberties, the impoverishment of the majority of the citizenry in the name of austerity, the use of the military as a domestic police force, indefinite detention without trial, government- ordered assassination of American citizens — spread like a wildfire across the landscape.

Again, yes and no: Yes, the things Hedges mentions are all happening right now, and most of them have been happening and have been growing stronger and stronger since 9/11, and all of these are quasi-democratic, anti-egalitarian and quite unjust developments, that are also very consciously furthered.

Then again no, simply because (i) I do not see strong social forces that are willing to revolt, and (ii) one failed revolt is probably enough to stop the idea that revolting will help to restore democracy, equality and justice - which I think may happen if the social forces are strong enough and well-led - for quite a while.

The following is not very consistent:

The imperative of revolt dramatically reduces the importance of elections. Elections, managed by the elites, mean nothing if radical movements are not powerful enough to disrupt and dismantle corporate power. To deserve our support, a political candidate or party must hold fast to the goals of a fiercely anti-capitalist, anti-militarist movement.

One may believe - with Chris Hedges - that revolt is "imperative", and that this much reduces the importance of elections, but this does not mean that elections
"mean nothing" without a strong radical movement: It means that the elections then will fail to bring a radical change. This is not what Chris Hedges wants, and indeed it is not what I want, but it seems currently (to me, at least) the most probable outcome  (i.e. either Clinton or Trump will probably win the presidential elections).

Next, we come to this (and there are more reasons, for which I refer you to the last dotted link):

This is why I support Dr. Jill Stein, who is running to be the Green Party candidate for president after having won her party’s nomination in 2012. I support Stein because she understands that this is primarily about building a global movement, not about participating in an election. She, unlike Bernie Sanders, knows that this movement will never be realized within the Democratic Party or by paying deference to the power elites, the Israel lobby or the arms industry and the military establishment.

This is a defensible position, but it takes considerable faith, for it seems to come to this: "I support a candidate who certainly will not win the elections,
because the candidate may succeed in '
building a global movement'".

First of all, I think that the chances that the candidate will
succeed in 'building a global movement' are not large. And second, why partake in the presidential elections at all if one knows that the candidate one supports doesn't have a chance of winning? Besides, third: Much as one may dislike Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, what about stopping a Republican candidate? I dislike Hillary
Clinton, but she is considerably less bad than Trump or Cruz. Should one vote
for Jill Stein if the real choice is between a lesser evil and a very large evil?

Then again, Jill Stein has decent ideas:

“It is extremely corrupt,” Stein said of the American political system. “It serves the interests of oligarchy. It puts people, planet and peace—it subjugates those critical things—to profit. We have a political system that is funded and therefore accountable to predatory banks and fossil fuel giants and war profiteers. Those are the interests it serves. Those are the policies it creates. It’s sort of like an amoeba that oozes its way into all aspects of the system.

But she will not win the presidency and a vote for her may lessen the chances that the lesser evil of two evil candidates for the presidency - if it comes to Clinton vs Trump or Cruz - will win the presidency.

Therefore, I think I agree with Noam Chomsky here: It is very important to prevent that the next president will be a Republican, and therefore I think I cannot agree with Chris Hedges.

2. VIDEO: 4 Reasons Ted Cruz Is Even More Dangerous Than Donald Trump

The second item is by Robert Reich on Truthdig and originally on his site:
This is about the following four propositions:
1. Cruz is more fanatical.
2. Cruz is a true believer.
3. Cruz is more disciplined and strategic.
4. Cruz is a loner who’s willing to destroy government
     institutions to get his way
.

And this is the video, that takes less than 2 minutes:


And it is here because I like Robert Reich and I think he is right about Cruz.

3. Chomsky: 9/11 Was a Terrorist Atrocity and so Was America's Reaction to It

The third item is by Alexandra Rosenmann on AlterNet:

This  has the following quotation from Chomsky:

"September 11 was a terrorist atrocity. So was the reaction to it," Chomsky explained in one of his iconic interviews on the U.S. and the West's response to those historic events.
 
Terrorism is the calculated threat or use of violence to achieve political gain through fear.
 
Noam hypothesized, "Suppose you announce to people, 'We're going to continue to bomb you until you turn over to us people who we suspect of crimes. We're not going to provide any evidence and we're going to refuse negotiations.' I'm quoting George Bush," he explains. "That's terrorism in the literal sense, extreme terrorism."

Yes, I agree - and indeed have argued so since 2005 (in Dutch), when I also argued that there are two kinds of terrorism: That by private individuals or organizations, and that by state organs, and especially the police, the secret services and the military, and that the latter kind, that deserves to be called state terrorism is by far the most dangerous of the two kinds, simply because it has murdered or locked up - in Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao's China - very many more persons than private terrorists ever did.

There is more in the article, and there may be a link to a video with Chomsky,
although this link seems to be missing on my system.

4. New Stock Market Crash Inevitable

The fourth item is by Wim Grommen on Washington's Blog:

This starts as follows:

Every production phase or society or other human invention goes through a so-called transformation process. Transitions are social transformation processes that cover at least one generation. In this article I will use one such transition to demonstrate the position of our present civilization and and that a new stock market crash is inevitable.

In fact, Wim Grommen is Dutch and I have seen his argument before, in 2012.
This is a very similar argument to one I treated before, except that the present version is a bit longer.

I do not think the arguments are conclusive, but they are interesting (and the graphics certainly are frightening), while there are some quite interesting bits such as this about that Holy of Holies, the Dow Jones index:

The formula that was used on January 1, 1990 to calculate the Dow Jones:

Dow30_jan_1_1990 = (S1+S2+...+S30)/0.586

The formula that was used on December 31, 1999 (..) to calculate the Dow Jones:

Dow30_dec_31_1999 = (S1+S2+...+S30)/0.20145268

On December 31, 1999 on an increase of the 30 stocks again nearly three times as many index points, the same value increase on January 1, 1990. Stock market indices are mirages.

That is, it is arbitrary and manipulated. There is a lot more under the last dotted link.

5. How the Powers That Be Maintain the "Deep State": An Interview With Mike Lofgren

The fifth item is by Leslie Thatcher on Truthout:

This starts as follows:

In The Deep State, author Mike Lofgren, whose 2011 commentary, "Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult," remains the most-read article at Truthout.org, connects the dots between apparently disparate aspects of our current dystopia. "The deep state," argues Lofgren is "the red thread" linking the "ideological syndrome" of McMansions; DC's culture of careerist strivers; the financialization, deindustrialization and ultimate mutation of the US economy into "a casino with a tilted wheel"; the burgeoning of government secrecy even as individual privacy has been demolished; the consistency and persistence of unpopular policies regardless of which party wins elections; militarized foreign policy, "defense" and "security" establishments that thrive on failure and enjoy essentially unlimited funding whatever nostrums about the national debt and the necessity for austerity are being peddled for every other function of government; the prevalence of incompetence and ineptitude in government response to crises; unequal justice, including impunity for the wealthy and corporations, a corrupt Supreme Court and a strikingly punitive criminal legal system for ordinary people; legislative gridlock; perpetual war; political extremism and other ruinous epiphenomena.

This is a quite interesting interview, and the above first link - "Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult" - also is quite interesting (and was unknown to me, and is indeed from September 2011).

Here is - to start with - Mike Lofgren's definition of the "deep state" (<- Wikipedia):

You describe the "deep state" as the iceberg beneath the visible tip of the official US government "that is theoretically controllable via elections." How does it function and what are its main components?

It's a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry effectively able to govern the US without reference to the consent of the governed. Its nodes are the national security agencies of government, Treasury, the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court (whose dealings are so mysterious not even most members of Congress know what the court is doing).

And this is what alerted Mike Lofgren to the existence of a deep state in the U.S.A.:

How did you personally become aware of the deep state and what is the explanatory power of its existence for understanding current affairs?
I became aware that there were forces at work in the period between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq that were bigger than the government and were operating on their own compass heading. We have a supposedly free press, but when you saw people like Phil Donahue and Ashley Banfield fired or demoted for being critical of invasion, you have to wonder.
Here is an indication of how the U.S. deep state came about (I just quote the question: For more, click the last dotted link):
You trace the transformation of Washington, DC, and the explosion of the deep state to the 1970s, the Powell Memo and the explosion of tax-exempt foundations and its origins to the secret development of the A-bomb.
As I said, there is more in the original, and I think the above is a quite plausible explanation, although I would not say that it was "the secret development of the A-bomb" that is responsible (this happened in WW II) but much rather that it was due to the election and the personality of president Truman (<- Wiki- pedia), that starts from his - very wrong, and quite unnecessary - decision to throw atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Finally, here is Lofgren's diagnosis of what motivates the men who run the U.S. deep state:

I think it's hard to improve on Upton Sinclair's dictum, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." I think they're all about the logic that if it pays for their kids' cornflakes and their scholarship fund, they will do it without their conscience bothering them too much.

So you don't see them as malevolent?

Oh no, it's much more banal than that.

Like Hannah Arendt on Eichmann?

Exactly, the banality of evil.

Yes and no.

First, "banal" means "ordinary, everyday, hackneyed", and in Arendt's explanation of Eichmann's character (in which she was mistaken, I think, but that does not much weaken her point) this referred to his - supposedly - not being special, not being extra-ordinary, in his anti-semitism and Nazism: Very many Germans of the second half of the 1930ies were anti-semites and Nazis.

Second, I don't think this holds of those who are in the deep state: Their opinions and values are not ordinary ones, though I agree that getting rich
is an important part, and I also agree that it seems as if the majority of
political and military leaders tend to be more stupid, more ignorant, less culturally interested, and by and large less civilized than academics (which
indeed they also rarely are).

Also, I guess malevolence - in the form: who is not much like us simply doesn't count and can be completely disregarded - plays a more important role than Lofgren believes, as it did also in the case of Eichmann (who was not banal himself, and who was a dedicated anti-semite).

In any case, this is a quite interesting article that is strongly recommended.

6. The Pentagon’s secret pre-crime program to know your thoughts, predict your future

The sixth item is by Nafeez Ahmed on Insurge-Intelligence:

This starts as follows:

The US Department of Defense (DoD) wants contractors to mine your social media posts to develop new ways for the US government to infer what you’re really thinking and feeling — and to predict what you’ll do next.

Pentagon documents released over the last few months identify ongoing classified research in this area that the federal government plans to expand, by investing millions more dollars.

The unclassified documents, which call on external scientists, institutions and companies to submit proposals for research projects, not only catalogue how far US military capabilities have come, but also reveal the Pentagon’s goals: building the US intelligence community’s capacity to forecast population behavior at home and abroad, especially groups involved in political activism.

This is the beginning of a rather long article, that is interesting and recommended.

And while the above correctly starts with your and anybody else's "social media posts" and indeed anything and everything that the secret operatives of the secret services can get from anyone's personal computer and/or cellphone, I want to take you back for a moment to 1969 - 47 years ago - when the following was written:

Mr Brezezinski does not expect that the Luddite lovers of freedom and anarchy will seriously obstruct the new order. For one thing, 'it will soon be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date, complete files, containing even personal information
about the health and personal behaviour of the citizen, in addition to the more customary data.' Moreover it will be possible to anticipate and plan to meet any uprisings in the future. The police will even be able to forecast crises before the rioters themselves are conscious of wanting them.
I quoted this from a file I wrote in 2012, "Propaganda and Control: Brezezinski" where I quoted the above and more, that I got from Stephen Spender's book from 1969 about the students' revolt of 1968.

This means that Mr. Brezezinski (<- Wikipedia) - who is still alive, and active, and a supporter of Obama - already 47 years ago (or more) had the same ideas, ideals and plans as have been implemented by the NSA, the Pentagon and the DoD since 9/11 (or before).

Also, "the internet" (<- Wikipedia) was in fact developed by the US govern- ment, the English government and the French government, or more precisely, by their military ("defense") branches, again starting in the 1960ies and 1970ies.

It seems that while very much has turned out different than it was expected to be, also in computing and the internet, it also is the case that the internet-as-
desired-by-the-US-military
lies steadily on course since 47 years - and by now almost anybody almost anywhere is being checked, and filed, and studied by the U.S. secret services (and may be Denied / Disrupted / Degraded or Deceived by the secret services, all - in spite of Snowden - in the deepest secret).

Here is some more about how extremely far the Pentagon (and the NSA, the GCHQ etc. etc.) is willing to take the total breach of any privacy of almost anyone:

The document calls for new work “to understand latent communication among small groups.” Social meaning comes not just from “the manifest content of communication (i.e., literal information), but also from latent content — how language is structured and used, as well as how communicators address each other, e.g., through non-verbal means — gestures, head nods, body position, and the dynamics in communication patterns.”

The Pentagon wants to understand not just what we say, but what is “latent” in what we say: “Subtle interactions such as deception and reading between the lines, or tacit understanding between communicators, relative societal position or relationship between communicators, is less about what is said and more about what is latent.”

Again, this also means that the Pentagon (and the NSA, the GCHQ etc. etc.)
expects to be able to know absolutely everything that almost anyone does with a computer or a cellphone, including "head nods" etc.

I find that extremely frightening, but it still seems as if most of the not well educated masses hardly knows what is possible with computers, and anyway doesn't much care if they are watched in everything they do, including "
reading between the lines" and recognizing the meanings of their "head nods" etc.

The ordinary men and women don't care, because they reckon that "if you have nothing to fear, nothing will happen to you" - in which they probably are right:

It is not the ordinary non-protesting conformist none-too-bright average hardly educated majority that runs great risks. It is the intelligent minorities that risk full secret control, total secret deception, or secret arrest.

There is a whole lot more under the last dotted link, and it ends as follows:

These cases suggest that massive data-mining is designed to help US military agencies influence the “cognitive behaviour” of “underdeveloped populations,” so that the governments that rule them may continue conforming to “US interests.”

In other words, the US military wants to mine the world’s social media footprint to suppress the risk of popular social movements undermining the status quo, at home and abroad.

Yes, indeed. And this is a recommended article.

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