crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about a recent Wikileaks publication that shows the enormous
extent of secret spying these days, including spying on the cellphones
and computers of many prominent politicians of many countries; item 2 is about a short video in which Amy Goodman
explains why Bernie Sanders' results are quite strong; item
is about a fine article by someone who worked on Wall
Street and who thinks the Clintons are both basically bought by Wall Street
andloved to be bought by them; item 4 is about an
article of Robert Reich who thinks the strong results of Trump and
Sanders are evidence for the end of the American establishment; and item 5 is another fine article, this time about the late Antonin
NSA Spied on Israel’s Attempts to Repair
Relations With U.S.
first item is by Nicky Hager on The Intercept:
NEWLY PUBLISHED CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS
show the National Security Agency spied on a 2010 conversation between
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu as the two discussed ways to improve Israel’s
relationship with the United States.
(1) everybody is now being spied on in secret by the NSA (and
the GCHQ and other secret services) including all politicians,
which (2) gives all the advantages, all the knowledge, and all the
insights to the secret spies
of the NSA (etc. etc.) and those who command them (for they know
everything about anyone, which no one else does) while (3) this is in
fact a totally new and very dangerous situation in
is no longer - really - made by elected politicians, even though they
still pretend (and possibly believe) to do so, but is in fact mostly
made by the secret spieswho know everything
about them (and who can Deny / Disrupt / Degrade and Deceive anyone
they don't like, all in the deepest secret, without anyone
who is not a spy knowing anything).
Of course there is very much more spying than merely on the
Italian and Israeli heads of state:
The newly published reports
additional details on U.S. efforts to spy on countries taking part in
the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, which failed to reach an
agreement. In 2014, documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward
Snowden revealed that
the NSA collected information about various countries’ positions.
What they did with that information was not
revealed, I think. And there
also was this:
Another top-secret report
intercepted climate change discussions between German and Japanese
officials. The German official, Bernd Pfaffenbach, was reported saying
that the “crucial issue” in an upcoming G-8 meeting was whether the
United States was prepared to “accept going beyond” its previous
position on climate change.
In brief: I think it is a safe
assumption that by now all important politicians are secretly
checked and followed, both on their cellphones and on their computers,
and that many political outcomes of the last 15 years may
have been influenced by manipulations from the secret service, that is,
by the recently acquired abilities of all secret services to Deny / Disrupt / Degrade and Deceive anyone and anything,
and all in the deepest secret, unknown to almost
Also, this is just the very beginning
of the secret ruling of everyone by secret
manipulations of the secret services, and this will continue
to grow ever more stronger until these secret manipulations and massive
thefts of private information have been totally killed - on which there is no
chance at all in the present circumstances.
2.VIDEO: Amy Goodman on the
Media’s Skewed Election Coverage: Why Policy Matters More Than Polls
In this video, “Democracy Now!” host Amy
Goodman discusses the U.S. media obsession with polls and why we should
focus on candidates’ records instead.
Appearing Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable
Sources,” Goodman said, “… it is astounding that Bernie Sanders is
where he is today. Look at that Tyndall Center report that found in
2015, in the months leading up to December, you had 234 total network
minutes, like almost four hours, CBS, NBC, ABC, covering Trump. That’s
four hours and how much got coverage? Sanders got 10 minutes. On ‘ABC
World News Tonight’ in that year, Sanders got 20 seconds. Trump got
like 81 minutes.”
And here is the video, which takes less
than 5 minutes:
Also, it should be said
that in these circumstances - with Bernie Sanders getting 10 minutes against Trump's getting 235 minutes,
or Bernie Sanders getting 20 seconds on ABC against Trump's
getting 81 minutes - one can rather confidently draw two
The US main TV media these days no longer
give any realistic view of the news, but try to influence
and manipulate their viewers as much as they can,
and work so as to give approved candidates nearly all
their attention and time, while denying almost everything to
non-approved candidates; and therefore
it is something of a minor miracle that
Bernie Sanders decisively beat
Clinton in one instance, and almost got as many votes as she did in the
two other instances.
I Worked on Wall Street - Here's Why I'm Skeptical Hillary Clinton Will
Rein It In
third item is by Chris Arnade on AlterNet and originally on The
as follows (minus links to The Guardian ):
I owe almost my entire Wall Street
career to the Clintons. I am not alone; most bankers owe their careers,
and their wealth, to them. Over the last 25 years they – with the
Clintons it is never just Bill or Hillary – implemented policies that
placed Wall Street at the center of the Democratic economic agenda,
turning it from a party against Wall Street to a party of Wall Street.
That is why when I recently went to see
Hillary Clinton campaign
for president and speak about reforming Wall Street I was skeptical.
What I heard hasn’t changed that skepticism. The policies she offers
are mid-course corrections. In the Clintons’ world, Wall Street stays
at the center, economically and politically. Given Wall Street’s power
and influence, that is a dangerous place to leave them.
I say - and I note that Chris Arnade
worked on Wallstreet and owes "almost my entire
career to the Clintons", while he also asserts
that "most bankers owe their careers,
and their wealth, to them".
Besides, Arnade also makes clear that the Clintons had to work hard,
initially, to gain the trust of the big bankers:
When Bill Clinton ran for office, he
offered up him and Hillary (“Two for the price of one”) as New
Democrats, embracing an image of being tough on crime, but not on
business. Despite the campaign rhetoric, nobody on the trading floor I
joined had voted for the Clintons or trusted them.
But here is how the Clintons made
themselves well loved by the big bankers:
Despite Wall Street’s reticence, key
appointments were swinging their way. Robert Rubin, who had been CEO of
Goldman Sachs, was appointed to a senior White House job as director of
the National Economic Council. The Treasury Department was also being
filled with banking friendly economists who saw the markets as a
solution, not as a problem.
The administration’s economic policy
took shape as trickle down, Democratic style. They championed free
trade, pushing Nafta. They reformed welfare, buying into the
conservative view that poverty was about dependency, not about
situation. They threw the old left a few bones, repealing prior tax
cuts on the rich, but used the increased revenues mostly on Wall
Street’s favorite issue: cutting the debt.
Precisely: They pretended to be "leftists"
but in fact were rightists, and indeed also tried to destroy all real
leftists by their Third
Way crap, and they mostly succeeded in doing so, also
helped by the turning of many (former) leftists to the sick lie of political
correctness: "We approve of anything and anyone, provided
they do speak and write without offense about anyone".
Here is the main consequence as far as Chris Arnade is concerned - and
he is correct, I think:
Wall Street now had both political
parties working for them, and really nobody holding them accountable.
Now, no trade was too aggressive, no risk too crazy, and
no loss too painful. It unleashed a boom that produced plenty of
smaller crisis (Russia, Dotcom), before culminating in the housing and
financial crisis of 2008.
The response to that crisis was Mexico 1995
writ large: bailout the banks and save Wall Street. This time executed
by an Obama administration filled with veterans of the Clinton
administration, including Hillary Clinton and Larry Summers.
There is more in the article, which is
Step back from the campaign fray for
just a moment and consider the
enormity of what’s already occurred.
A 74-year-old Jew from Vermont who
describes himself as a
democratic socialist, who wasn’t even a Democrat until recently, has
a whisker of beating Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucus, routed her in
Hampshire primary, and garnered over 47 percent of the caucus-goers in
of all places.
And a 69-year-old billionaire who has
never held elective office
or had anything to do with the Republican Party has taken a commanding
the Republican primaries.
Something very big has happened, and
it’s not due to Bernie
Sanders’ magnetism or Donald Trump’s likeability.
It’s a rebellion against the
Perhaps - and for some more on this
rebellion see item 2.
Incidentally, the reasons I wrote "Perhaps" comprise the facts that (i)
the main establishments that are being wrecked are the leaders of the
two parties, and on the moment especially the Republicans, while (ii)
most of the evidence for "a rebellion" are
the many votes for Sanders - which, while it may be unexpected, does
not seem to me to be much of "a rebellion".
These gains have translated into
political power to rig the
system with bank bailouts, corporate subsidies, special tax loopholes,
deals, and increasing market power – all of which have further pushed
pulled up profits.
Those at the very top of the top have
rigged the system even more
thoroughly. Since 1995, the average income tax rate for the 400
Americans has plummeted
from 30 percent to 17 percent.
There is more in the article, which is
5. The Speaker for the Dead: Antonin Scalia and the Truth
The fifth item is by Wiliam Rivers Pitt on Truth-out:
For a long time now, I've been waiting
with diligent patience to write three articles: One on the passing of
former President George W. Bush, one on the passing of former Vice
President Dick Cheney and one on the passing of now-former Supreme
Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The novelist Orson Scott Card developed,
in his writings, an idea for someone known as the Speaker for the Dead.
A Speaker does not spit-polish and shine the departed at the graveside,
doesn't eulogize inflated greatness or create a polite fiction to
please and soothe. The Speaker tells the unvarnished truth about the
one going into the ground: the good, the bad and the ugly.
Today, I stand as Justice Scalia's
Speaker for the Dead.
This is an excellent article, and
is strongly recommended. Here is Pitt's assessment of Scalia's public
Whatever Justice Scalia may have been to
his family and friends, he was to the nation a wrecking ball. One may
try to deny that he was a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, an unabashed
authoritarian and in the end a simple, shabby ward-heeling Republican
lackey. The black-letter truths about the man, buried in his decisions
for the majority and the minority, as well as his oft-quoted public
comments, tell the true tale. It is abundantly clear that Mr. Scalia
approached his duties with a broad sense of entitlement, exclusion and
venom. The man had a lot of hate in his heart, and it poured out onto
the pages of his decisions in vigorous abundance.
Yes - and as I concluded myself earlier:
Scalia wrote many of his legal opinions not as a lawyer but as a
very conservative political Republican.
Here are some ot things Scalia achieved as a SCOTUS judge:
Justice Scalia, by way of his argument
in Bush v. Gore to stop the vote counting in Florida, was
instrumental in giving us George W. Bush, which gave us Dick Cheney,
Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, September 11, the ongoing Afghanistan
War, WMD lies, the Iraq war with millions dead and maimed and
displaced, the horror of ISIS, torture as accepted policy, surveillance
as a fact of life, the assassination of constitutional law, absolute
corporate rule, the disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the demolition of
the US economy.
Why? Because of his interpretation of the
"questionable legality" of counting all the votes cast.
Yes, though I admit he was not alone, but
part of the ordinary 5 against 4 conservative majority of SCOTUS.
This is from the ending:
Justice Scalia, who was Reagan's
breath, hurt people. We will be 10 generations getting out from under
his legacy. His impact beggars quantification, but cannot be denied.
The man took a hammer and chisel to the best aspects of our civil
society and did sore damage for decades.
I can officially check one off my list. As
for George and Dick, well ... I contemplate Bob Dylan: "I'll watch
while you're lowered down to your death bed, and I'll stand o'er your
grave 'til I'm sure that you're dead."
I think this mostly fair article on a
mostly unfair strongly political and very rightist judge. There is
considerably more in the original, which is recommended.
Incidentally, the quoted words of Bob Dylan are from "Masters of War",
that is worth reading in full if you never did so.
 I am sorry, but
I don't trust them anymore for quite a few reasons, one of which is
that the greatest part of their articles on line now consists
readers. Any institution that tries that is quite
dishonest, in my opinion.
 Here are some reasons for my political pessimism:
I know a whole lot about politics,
and have been watching it for over 50 years now, in which I
have seen or read very many political liars, whose main real
motive was always personal greed, personal power, and personal
status, and in which I have seen very few fundamentally decent
and fundamentally honest politicians. They exist (still), but
they are a small minority in my - well- informed - opinion.
I am a pessimist about the vast majority of politicians I have
seen and heard or read: They were incompetent or they were lying for
their personal advance- ments. And besides, I also did see very
few politician I could rationally consider to be smart, well-informed
Finally, I agree that the great majority of the politicians I have
seen, heard or read very well illustrate the Protestant
description that 'men incline much to evil,
and little to good' (and especially when the evil pays, while the good