1. With Donald Trump Looming, Should Dems Take a Huge
Electability Gamble by
Nominating Hillary Clinton?
2. Will Obama's
Guantánamo Plan Close the Prison or Just
Relocate It to a New ZIP Code?
of Revolt: The Solution (2/2)
4. Linking Clinton Policies to Poverty, Sanders Lays Out
Plan to Help Nation's Poor
5. What’s Really at Stake in the Apple Encryption Debate
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, February 25,
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about an article of Glenn Greenwald on the Democratic Party's
options (facing Trump); item 2 is about Obama's
Guantánamo plans (which are fraudulent, in my opinion); item
3 is about Jill Stein and was rather disappointing; item
is about Sanders plan to help the many U.S. poor (Bill Clinton took
welfare away from them, making it even harder to survive); and item 5 is about Apple vs FBI: I agree with Apple, but I am also quite skeptical about tech giants. 
1. With Donald Trump Looming, Should Dems Take a Huge
Electability Gamble by Nominating Hillary Clinton?
first item is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Many Democrats will tell you
that there has rarely, if ever, been a more menacing or evil
presidential candidate than Donald Trump. “Trump is the most dangerous
major candidate for president in memory,” pronounced
Vox‘s Ezra Klein two weeks ago. With a consensus
now emerging that the real estate mogul is the likely GOP nominee, it
would stand to reason that the most important factor for many Democrats
in choosing their own nominee is electability: meaning, who
has the best chance of defeating the GOP Satan in the general
election? In light of that, can Democrats really afford to take such a
risky gamble by nominating Hillary Clinton?
Thiis is the central argument of Glenn
Greenwald, which is considerably expanded in the the rest of
the article with quite a few graphics plus comments.
every poll, her rival, Bernie Sanders, does better, often much
better, in head-to-head match-ups against every possible GOP candidate.
I think the argument is correct, although I also agree with
Robert Reich - see here
- that Ted Cruz is an even more dangerous Republican presidential
candidate. But I will leave all this to my readers' interests.
There are two remaining points I want to quote. The first is this:
Then there’s the data about how
each candidate is perceived. Put simply, Hillary Clinton is an
extremely unpopular political figure. By contrast, even after enduring
months of attacks from the Clinton camp and its large number of media
surrogates, Sanders remains a popular figure.
I think that is very probably true.
And here is the ending of Glenn Greenwald's article, and here one also has
to consider what I left out of this review: Bernie Sanders is more
likely to win the presidency against Trump or Cruz - on current
polling, is also true - than Hillary Clinton:
But given the lurking possibility
of a Trump presidency, is now really the time to gamble on such a risky
General Election candidate as Hillary Clinton?
This is a good question, but my answer is
that Hillary Clinton is so much entwined with the Democratic Party's
leadership that they will if she wins the
presidential candidacy (also if she has an appreciable chance of loosing, indeed).
2. Will Obama's Guantánamo Plan Close the Prison or Just
Relocate It to a New ZIP Code?
is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!:
This starts as follows, and is considerably
longer than may seem from my review, for a reason that follows after
the next quote:
President Obama has submitted a
plan to Congress to close Guantánamo Bay military prison. Despite
Obama’s pledge to close the facility as one of his first acts after
taking office in 2008, there are still 91 prisoners there, 35 of whom
have been cleared for release. Republicans in Congress have repeatedly
obstructed his attempts to close the prison. Obama wants to transfer
all detainees to their home countries or to U.S. military or civilian
Yes, this seems a fair summary. The reason I
will only quote one more bit is that I found the other person taking
part in the conversation talking as if he
is a personal propagandist for Obama, who also loves talking down to
persons, and I found him pretty distasteful for these reasons.
So I have just one quote by the other partner in the conversation, and
that is correct:
Yes - and indefinite detention without
trial is just a way of maintaining concentration camp style of
imprisonments inside the USA without calling them such, but
this is what Obama wants to achieve: indefinite detention without
BAHER AZMY: Well, we appreciate the vigor with
which he—with which he delivered his condemnation about Guantánamo, but
ultimately think the plan is both too late and too little. It is too
late, because some of the most obvious features of the
plan—transferring cleared detainees—could have been accomplished long
ago. There are—the 35 detainees, including a number of our clients,
have been cleared for release, some of whom—since 2009, yet they have
And it’s too little, because in addition
to the sort of political reality that Ken identified, the plan embraces
a broken military commission system as a way to try—charge and try the
9/11 conspirators, as they are called, and simply transfers Guantánamo
to U.S. soil. And the president’s condemnation of Guantánamo as being
illegitimate doesn’t have to do with its physical space, it has to do
with its legal and political space and its embrace of indefinite
detention, which he would simply import into the United States and make
it a more normalized feature of our legal landscape to be abused by
any trial on U.S. soil.
3. Days of Revolt: The Solution (2/2)
third item is by Chris Hedges on The Real News:
In fact this is a video by Chris
Hedges and teleSUR, and this is part 2 of an interview Chris Hedges had
with Jill Stein, who is the Green Party's presidential candidate, and
also Chris Hedges' favorite.
In fact, Chris Hedges explained a few days ago on Truthdig why he
supports Jill Stein as president. See his Why I Support Dr. Jill Stein
for President - and
this is a link to a Nederlog of February 20, where I also give my own
This is a continuation of this last item + my comments, and is mostly
here because I was curious about Jill Stein.
It starts as follows:
HEDGES: So we laid out a
little bit in the first segment about this corporate leviathan and its
effects, and how it has distorted our political system, what it's done
to the political landscape. In the second segment I want to look at
response. We touched on a little bit at the end about movements, the
importance of movements. You were speaking about the Green Party being
a political expression of movements. Of course, we're all starting with
tremendous handicaps. We're locked out of, you know, the major systems
of communication. We're never going to be able to access the kinds of
funds, you know, massive amounts of money. I think, what, the Democrats
will spend $1 billion this year. The Republicans will spend $1
billion.Where do we start? What, where--where do we begin?
This is all quite correct
in my view, and indeed I would say that the American elections are quite
in considerable part because there are only two parties that
make a chance of winning the elections; these two parties are both
quite corrupt; and anyway the amounts that are being spend are ridiculously
high and are impossible to raise by almost anyone.
Anyway - here are Hedges and Stein on why they dislike the Democratic
HEDGES: And yet
you've seen the rise of Bernie Sanders, I think his rhetoric on
economic inequality you would support and embrace. I mean, I find
Bernie, you know, his appeal is that he's acknowledging our reality,
which most of the other candidates are not doing , including President
Obama. But he's doing it within the toxic space of the Democratic
party. And I wonder if that's in many ways ultimately counterproductive
to actually building a resistance movement.
I have three remarks on this.
STEIN: You know, I don't
know what the absolute standard is, here. You know, I know it's not
what I would do. I just find the Democratic party is toxic.
First, there are only two parties that produce candidates that may win
the presidency. I agree that is unfair, and I agree that is
undemocratic, but these are simply the facts, and if Bernie
Sanders wants to be elected he had little or no choice but running as a
Second, Bernie Sanders is not a real Democrat: He is a
democratic socialist, who also is a credible leftist, and he was most
of his life an Independent, rather than a Democrat or a
Republican. And see the first point.
Third, I should also say that I have seen very little of Jill
Stein (and have read some more) but I don't like her
presentation: She shakes her head far too much, and inserts extremely
many "you know"s in her texts.
In case you think I am unfair: No, I am not. I am simply
reporting on what I saw and I don't dislike Jill Stein. All I am saying
is that her presentation is weak, especially for a presidential
Here is one more quote that shows this:
STEIN: Number one, we stand up.
You know, and we're very clear about what we're standing up for. You
know, I think you can't go into this, into this fight, worried about
the price you're going to pay. Because if you don't go into the fight
you know the price that you're going to pay. You know, we're facing
extinction right now, as a, as a biosphere. We are undergoing
extinction that we will not survive. And some of the predictions--you
know, this is, like, aside from the climate, or in addition to the
I am sorry, but I am an intellectual of the
same age as Jill Stein, and I find that this brief passage contains
five "you know"s in a very unclear argument, that also contains
complete tautologies like "We are undergoing
extinction that we will not survive".
So all in all - and I read the whole interview - I don't think this
made me like
Jill Stein more.
Clinton Policies to Poverty, Sanders Lays Out Plan to Help Nation's Poor
The fourth item is by
Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I think Bernie Sanders is quite
correct, and indeed I also think that destroying welfare was one of the
criminal acts of Bill Clinton, who indeed did go after the poorest of
the poor, and destroyed the very little they had. And he is also right
that Hillary supported him in this.
In a speech linking policies supported
by Hillary Clinton to economic hardships of U.S. children, families,
and workers, Bernie Sanders on Wednesday laid
out his anti-poverty agenda in Columbia, South Carolina.
Noting that the U.S. "today has the
highest poverty rate of nearly any major country on earth because
almost all of the new wealth and income is going to the people on top,"
Sanders lambasted the 1996 welfare reform bill signed into law by
then-President Bill Clinton.
"What welfare reform did in my view was
to go after some of the weakest and most vulnerable people in this
country," Sanders said, before highlighting Hillary Clinton's support
(pdf) for the legislation as First Lady.
"During that period, I spoke out against
so-called 'welfare reform' because I thought it was scapegoating people
who were helpless, people who were very, very vulnerable," he
continued. "Secretary Clinton at that time had a very different
position on welfare reform. She strongly supported it and worked hard
to round up votes for its passage."
Here is some more on Sanders' plan:
To address this scourge, Sanders
called for the federal minimum wage to be lifted from $7.25 an hour to
$15 an hour; proposed a youth jobs program to create 1 million jobs for
young Americans; and urged support for a $1 trillion, five-year push to
put 13 million Americans to work in good-paying jobs rebuilding roads,
bridges and railways.
I agree - and incidentally, Krugman's support
for Hillary is just that, and has nothing to do with economics,
although Krugman pretends differently.
"What we are
going to do in this country if I have anything to say about it is to
say if somebody works 40 hours a week, that person is not going to live
in poverty," said
the U.S. senator from Vermont. "Today the minimum wage of $7.25 is
nothing less than a starvation wage."
5. What’s Really at Stake in the Apple
The fifth item is by Julia Angwin on ProPublica:
This starts as follows:
The FBI’s much-discussed request to
Apple can seem innocuous: Help us extract six weeks of encrypted data
from the locked iPhone of Syed Farook, an employee of San Bernardino’s
health department who spearheaded an attack that killed 14 people. Most
people believe Apple should comply.
But the FBI is demanding a lot more than
the data on a single phone. It has obtained a court order requiring
Apple to build custom surveillance software for the FBI – which
computer security expert Dan Guido cleverly dubs
Once that software exists, it is
inevitable that other
law enforcement agencies will approach Apple seeking to get it to
use the FBiOS to unlock iPhones in other investigations. Already, Apple
says it has received U.S. court orders, under the same legal authority,
seeking to get it to unlock
12 other devices.
In effect, the FBI is asking for Apple
to write software that will provide something the government has sought
without success for more than a decade: A “backdoor” that cracks the
increasingly sophisticated encryption on consumers’ phones.
First of all, I reject what "most people"
think about computers out of hand if they can't program, and most
people can't. The reason I do so is not that I look down on people, but that I want assurance that they know what they are
talking about when giving opinions, and if you are giving opinions
about computers, you should have fair ideas of how they work and how they are programmed.
Second, the demands of the FBI are criminal
in my eyes: They completely turn
the Fourth Amendment  on its head, for now they require that Apple
builts software that allows the FBI to spy on everything and anyone in
all they do.
Here is what it comes down to according to
My own answers are:
What’s at stake in this clash of titans,
therefore, is a much larger issue: How far should tech companies go to
help the government conduct surveillance of their users.
court has asked Apple to build special software that would disable
the security on the device, and to install that software to the target
iPhone as an update. Once the phone is updated with the new software,
the FBI will be able to break into it.
First, they should not help the government to conduct surveillance on
their users at all. That is not their function; that is
not their task; and the American government is breaking
the law since 15 years at least, trying to surveil everybody
without any court order or probable cause, which I am certain they do because
they want to control everyone (and since the 1960ies also:
see The Pentagon’s
secret pre-crime program to know your thoughts,
predict your future of three days ago).
Second, the demand that Apple builts software to allow the American
government to break in illegally on any computer or cellphone they want
to break into is again deeply criminal.
I hope Apple will keep protesting and refusing, but I must admit I am
skeptical of tech giants and their public assurances.
 For Dutchmen: Today is the day the February Strike of 1941 is being commemorated, and it is with considerable pleasure that I report that Harry Verheij died in 2014, aged 97.
Harry Verheij was one of the sick Stalinist swine of the Dutch CP, who
opposed me since 1970. What a sick degenerate immoral hypocritical
asshole was he! What an utter liar! What a sick careerist!
(Also, since I still have a P&C of 1953 in which he commemorated
the death of "the heroic genius Stalin", I may come to quote a few bits
from that work. Maybe I will, if I can abstain long enough from throwing up, but not today.)
Incidentally, I missed the death of this monstrous deceiver
because I gave up on the Dutch press in 2010, after having read
NRC-Handelsblad since 1970: I thought then as I think now that it is
almost only propaganda and lies they spread, for which reason I gave up on them.
I found out today, by milling Verheij's name through DuckDuckGo. And yes, I do regularly look at a few Dutch papers, but only superficially and on line, and it is generally unpleasant, that is, unless you like to know the latest amusements for the Dutch masses: On that the Dutch papers are quite good.
 Here it is once more:
right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place
to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment to the US Constitution