1. TV Pundits Praise Hillary Clinton On Air, Fail to Disclose
Financial Ties to Her Campaign
2. Interview with former
CIA agent Barry Reiser
World’s Carbon Budget Is Only Half as Big as
4. How the U.S. Went Fascist: Mass Media Make Excuses
for Trump Voters (Video)
What the Mainstream Media Won't Tell You About Bernie
Sanders' Economic Plan
This is a Nederlog of Friday, February 26,
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 6 dotted links: Item
1 is about the honesty and the pay of American TV pundits; item 2 is about two interviews with a former CIA agent
turned writer that I found interesting; item 3
is about news from a climate scientist that climate scientists have
underestimated the world's carbon budget by 50%: my own response is
that I do not believe this without independent confirmation; item 4
is about the demise of the American Republic, in a good article to
which I append some references and quotations I gave in 2012; and item 5
is about how some Democratic economists tried to destroy Sanders'
economic plans by bullshit and nonsense (which I agree is the case but
which I leave mostly to my readers' interests).
1. TV Pundits Praise Hillary Clinton On Air, Fail to
Disclose Financial Ties to Her Campaign
Also I re-uploaded the 2012 artices I mentioned in item 4, because a
link was mistaken. Otherwise nothing was changed.
first item is by Lee Fang on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Tune into television coverage of
the presidential campaign and undoubtedly you will hear from
various pundits described as “former
campaign strategists” and “political contributors” explaining the
latest developments of the race. But in many cases, these pundits
— though introduced as neutral experts on campaigns or
party politics — in fact have financial ties to the candidates
they praise on the air.
I say, though not really.
More precisely, I am amazed in principle because I know of
rules like these:
teaches that reporters and TV news hosts must properly identify their
sources and analysts,” says Jeff Cohen, an associate professor of
journalism at Ithaca College. We reached out to NBC, CBS, CNN, and
ABC News, but did not hear back.
But then I am not
amazed at all in fact, simply because I know (that is: given
extensive evidence it is far more probable than not) that the main
been changed into propaganda funnels through which a lot of lies,
halftruths, and avoidable falsehoods are spread, and where also many
things are just not or hardly being mentioned, even
though these things are quite important - consider for example the time
being spend on Bernie Sanders and on Donald Trump on the main TV media.
The rest of the article gives some details on four of these worthies. I
will leave this to your interests, and I merely cook it down as
follows, also leaving out one because I could not find specific sums:
Cutter: "has been paid at least $120,049 from the Clinton
campaign since June of last year. "
That was my summary of a lot more. Here is my
appraisal (also knowing none answered The Intercept):
Sara Fagen pro Bush: "$586,610 in 2015, starting in July"
Hari Sevugan: $301,621 + $75,200
These two gentlewomen and this gentleman are not whores, not
even expensive ones. My reason is that they get a lot more for doing
effectively a lot less.
For more, see the article. And no, these three are just a small sample
of many more, all of whom are very well-paid, and most of whom are not
properly sourced as having financial ties to the candidates they
You cannot trust the main media any more: Most they deliver is
intentionally false propaganda,
that is not properly sourced. 
2. Interview with former CIA agent Barry Reiser
is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now, and in fact
consists of two interviews with the same man, Barry Eisler, a
former CIA agent who turned writer:
This is from the start of the the first
above, and I take them together because they are in fact one interview,
that's spread over two videos (which I didn't see: reading is a whole
lot faster) and two written pages:
says Apple is overstating the security risk to its devices, and argues
the litigation is limited. "It won’t be unique to this one phone. It
would be something that the government can use against any phone. And
even if you think that it’s OK for the government to be able to break
the encryption of anybody’s phone … what backdoor is accessible to the
U.S. government would also be accessible to whatever is the American
enemy du jour," says our guest Barry Eisler, who has written about
government surveillance in fictional form. He is also a former CIA agent. Eisler is the author of several books,
most recently, "The God’s Eye View."
Yes, indeed - and the FBI is capable of
spreading any amount of lies so as to be able to break anybody's
encryption, thereby also breaking - intentionally completely
destroying - the Fourth Amendment.
(I know you have to know about the disagreement between Apple and the
FBI. If you don't, try this.)
Here is Barry Eisler on the conflict (and Cook's metaphor is that the
FBI is trying to force Apple to design the software equivalent of
EISLER: Yeah, I like Tim
Cook’s metaphor. It’s nice to see someone hitting back linguistically
this way. You would expect the FBI to say
what it’s saying: It’s only about one phone. This is the kind of thing
the government always says. And I’m reminded of the time the CIA acknowledged that it had made two torture
tapes. Fifteen months later, it acknowledged that it was in fact 92. In
this case, the government said this is only going to be about one
phone, and it took them only a day to say, "Did we say one phone?
Actually, we’re talking about 12." If you talk to any encryption or
security expert anywhere, they’ll all tell you that what the FBI is asking for is impossible. You can’t create
a backdoor for one phone without making all phones vulnerable. So
that’s one important issue here.
Whereas really the FBI are not
talking about 1 or 12 phones, although they say they do, but
about all iPhones, owned by anyone, living anywhere.
Here is some more from the same, also from the first of the above two
It’s unprecedented for the
government to be telling a private company what products it can create
and what features it has to include in those products. As Tim Cook
pointed out, where does this stop? What if the government said, "We
want to have a feature on the iPhone that enables the FBI to turn on the iPhone camera, to turn on the
iPhone microphone, anytime we want? Would that also be OK?"
According to the FBI - is my guess -
this would be most admirable patriotism. Also, according to the best
information I have, they have these features from Microsoft on Windows,
which is one among many reasons I don't want Windows.
And in any case I think these features are both criminal and illegal
according to the Fourth Amendment.
The rest is quoted from the second of the above two dotted links. This
is the first bit, that is a bit accidental, but juicy:
I mentioned earlier Dick Cheney
had his doctor turn the wireless accessibility feature in his pacemaker
off. And there’s been a lot of—a lot of studies now about vulnerability
of not just medical devices, but of cars and even airplanes, because
everything is wired now.
That is, Dick Cheney prevents that he gets
killed by messing with his pacemaker. He knows about the
dangers, but most still do not realize that wiring
everything to the internet increases the chances that the
information will be shared with others by hundredthousands, millions or
billions of times.
Here is another bit, this time about how close fiction can be to fact -
and this is still Reiser talking:
And the guy, my CIA guy, Kanozaki, says, "There’s—of course nobody
calls this thing an assassination list. That would be gauche and would
be hard to explain in front of some outraged congressional committee
down the road. What we call it is a disposition list." And then, a
couple years ago, it turns out that the White House has Terror
Tuesdays, and what they call their assassination list is the
disposition matrix. I was like, "Damn! I’m even getting the—I’m almost
getting the nomenclature right." But yeah, that’s the government,
right? They’re never going to call it a kill list. In fact, we don’t
even do assassinations. We have "targeted killings." There are so many
words like that, that the government uses to obscure what’s really
going on. You know, if we wind up making another war in Libya, it’s not
going to be a war, it will just be an intervention. We never call these
things what they really are.
Yes, indeed. And in case you might think that
is legal - no, it is not:
I thought, "Wow! The rules have
really changed post-9/11. The government is now conducting
assassinations"—sorry, targeted killings—"of people, including American
citizens. No due process whatsoever, no judicial process. They must
have some sort of list. Who would they want to kill? How would my guy,
John Rain, get involved?" So, yeah, every time the government does a
new crazy thing, it’s just like another plot for another one of my
I think Eisler is quite right that the rules
changed after 9/11, and indeed have become quite illegal: " The government is now conducting assassinations — sorry,
targeted killings — of people, including American citizens. No due
process whatsoever, no judicial process."
And I think both articles are quite interesting and contain a lot more,
and therefore they are recommended.
3. The World’s Carbon Budget Is Only Half as Big as
third item is by Tim Radford on Truthdig and originally on Climate News
This starts as follows:
Climate scientists have bad news
for governments, energy companies, motorists, passengers and citizens
everywhere in the world: to contain global warming to the limits agreed by 195 nations in Paris last December,
they will have to cut fossil fuel combustion at an even faster rate
than anybody had predicted.
Joeri Rogelj, research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
in Austria, and European and Canadian colleagues propose in Nature Climate Change that all previous
estimates of the quantities of carbon dioxide that can be released into
the atmosphere before the thermometer rises to potentially catastrophic
levels are too generous.
Instead of a range of permissible
emissions estimates that ranged up to 2,390 billion tons from 2015
onwards, the very most humans could release would be 1,240 billion tons.
I am quite sorry, but I do have a
scientific training and a lot of knowledge; I know about the
environment, climate change etc. since 1971; and therefore this seems
to me to be sensational if true: I must assume that all
"climate scientists" (?) have been off by no less than 50% all
I am sorry, but I find that incredible
until it has been confirmed by quite a few other "climate scientists" : Either nearly all climate scientists were off by
50% or Joeri Rogelj is.
So I will await independent confirmation before I start believing this.
4. How the
U.S. Went Fascist: Mass Media Make Excuses for Trump Voters (Video)
The fourth item is by Juan
Cole on Truthdig and originally on Juan Cole's website:
This starts as follows:
The rise of Donald Trump to the
presumptive Republican standard bearer for president in 2016 is an
indictment of, and a profound danger to the American republic.
The Founding Fathers were afraid of the
excitability of the voters and their vulnerability to the appeal of
demagogues. That is the reason for a senate (which was originally
appointed), intended to check those notorious hotheads in Congress, who
are elected from districts every two years.
But it isn’t only the checks and
balances in government that are necessary to keep the republic.
It is the Fourth Estate, i.e. the press, it is the country’s leaders,
and the general public who stand between the republic and the rise of a
I agree - but then matters are quite
serious in the U.S.A., because "the press" now is mostly owned by some
6 major corporations, and the main media have
been transformed in purveyors of propaganda.
That is, while "the country’s leaders" (in government or in the Senate) still may know (and
probably do know, also if they don't tell) what the
country really is doing, "the general
public" does not know anymore, and
certainly not if what they rely on for their information are the main
Here is Juan Cole on Donald Trump:
Donald Trump should have been kicked out
of the Republican Party the moment he began talking about violating the
Constitution. The first time he hinted about assaulting the
journalists covering his rallies, he should have been shown the door.
When he openly advocated torture (‘worse than waterboarding’), he
should have been ushered away. When he began speaking of closing houses
of worship, he should have been expelled. He has solemnly pledged
to violate the 1st, 4th and 8th Amendments of the Constitution, at the
least. If someone’s platform is unconstitutional, it boggles the
mind that a major American party would put him or her up for
president. How can he take the oath of office with a straight
I agree, but it does happen (and will
happen if Trump becomes president).
There is also this, that seems also correct to me:
As Amy Goodman has pointed out,
corporate television has routinely pumped Trump into our living
rooms. They have virtually blacked out Bernie Sanders.
Trump seems to have connived to have 10 or 15 minutes at 7:20 every
evening on the magazine shows, such as Christ Matthews’ Hardball, who
obligingly cut away to Il Duce II’s rants and gave away his show to him
on a nightly basis.
There is more in the article that is good,
and it ends as follows:
This is how the dictators came to power
in the 1920s and 1930s. Good people remained silent or
acquiesced. People expressed hope that something good would come
of it. Mussolini would wring the laziness out of Italy and make
the trains fun on time.
When Benjamin Franklin was asked by a
lady after the Constitutional Convention what sort of government the US
had, he said, “A Republic, Madame, if you can keep it.”
You have to wonder if we can keep it.
Or alternatively: The American Republic was
effectively killed briefly after 9/11, with the passage of the Patriot Act.
This is what Gore Vidal
thought, and the last link is to an item I wrote in August 11 of 2012,
with quite a few links. (The next two Nederlogs there are also about
Vidal, and are also quite interesting. And see Notes 
and  below, that were both copied from August
What the Mainstream Media Won't Tell You About Bernie Sanders' Economic
item is by Dave Johnson on
AlterNet and originally on OurFuture:
This is about an "economical"
discussion amongst "economists" that turns out to have been a political
discussion amongst politically strongly interested persons.
I think this is a good exposition and summary, that starts (after a
quotation) as follows:
Democratic presidential candidate
Bernie Sanders says he wants the American people to join him and “fight
for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages,
protects the environment and provides health care for all.” His website
outlines a number of
proposals toward this end, including increasing taxation of
corporations and the wealthy and using the money to repair the
country’s infrastructure, extending public education four years to
cover college, extending Medicare to everyone, expanding Social
Security and addressing climate change.
This is fair enough. There also was "a
respected economist", Gerald Friedman (who happens to be not a
Sanders supporter but a Clinton supporter) who ran Sanders' proposals
through "a standard economic model" and concluded that
Sanders might well be right.
Here are Friedman's conclusions in Friedman's words
Like the New Deal of the 1930s, Senator
Sanders’ program is designed to do more than merely increase economic
activity: the expenditure, regulatory, and tax programs will increase
economic activity and employment and promote a more just prosperity,
“broadly-based” with a narrowing of economic inequality.
On balance, the Sanders program will
lead to a dramatic acceleration in economic growth and employment. It
will raise wages, especially for the lowest-paid Americans, and narrow
the gap between rich and poor. With these gains, economic conditions
will return to the prosperity of the late-1990s, or even the mid-1960s.
Next, Friedman's essay was mostly
neglected, until this happened (from the White House, by
Then, four ex-chairs of the White
House’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), all Democrats, wrote an
open letter using Friedman’s projections as a way to attack
the Sanders campaign. The letter called the projections “fantastical,”
“extreme” and “claims that cannot be supported by the economic
evidence.” They compared the projections to the “grandiose” predictions
Republicans make about the effects of tax cuts. They wrote that the
Sanders campaign (not Friedman) was making “promises” of high job and
income growth, writing, “Making such promises runs against our party’s
best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our
reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic.”
Note that this was all baloney (as
the rest of the present article shows), starting from confusing Sanders
and Friedman, for Sanders was accused of the predictions Friedman
Indeed there also was Paul Krugman (whom I did read, and did not
This was picked up widely and amplified
further. Paul Krugman, in Varieties
of Voodoo wrote that the former CEA chairs’ letter matters
because “fuzzy math from the left would make it impossible to
effectively criticize conservative voodoo.” Krugman said all of this
“is an indication of a campaign, and perhaps a candidate, not ready for
This struck me as crazy because he
wrote that "fuzzy math from the left would make
it impossible to effectively criticize conservative voodoo", which is just plain totally false bullshit:
Even if Friedman used fuzzy math, this would not at all make it
"impossible to effectively criticize
conservative voodoo": This is like saying that one
Protestant who was claimed to be mistaken thereby made
it impossible for all Protestants to criticize the Catholics. 
I am still in the beginning of the article, which is good and
I think it shows clearly that Friedman's analysis was reasonable (and
contains no mistakes that his critics suggest) and that Sanders
proposals well may work and indeed also are not extremist.
But I leave it to your interests (and in
case you are interested: Quite a few economists are quoted).
 By the way: It is the same in Holland.
 I am sorry, but I don't know
"climate science" is an academic subject (like physics,
bio-chemistry or mathematics) in which one can specialize.
I may be too skeptical - and I just don't know - but the reason
is in part that I live in Holland where many
former Labour politicians get offered professorates in what can only be
called their own private "sciences", that do not and would not exist
but for their persons.
 This is a list of points I made on
August 12, 2012 that summarize points of Vidal in criticism of the USA
between 1999 and 2001:
What I forgot to mention, also in the
list of points:
education ("U.S. of Amnesia": most US citizens have no historical
government (Bush Jr. is a moron, the effective real president was
executives or owners of the rich, large, powerful - corporations rule
elections was a coup d'état
(with help from the Supreme Court)
that there were many bad appointments
- "magna charta is
- habeas corpus is
- Bill of Rights
is being throttled
is illegal government: the US military has been used against US
citizens - legally forbidden since 1865 (also with drones)
is effectively a
dictatorship (Quote from Wikipedia: "In contemporary usage,
dictatorship refers to an autocratic form of absolute rule by
leadership unrestricted by law, constitutions,
or other social and political factors within the state.")
- there is just one party that comes in two
flavours that are both right wing: See e.g. The Party-System, and also see Chesterton
- there is no conspiracy, for there is no need:
the members of the ruling elite think alike (and come from the same
small group that were educated in the same universities and
(members of) elite despises the (members of) people (privately, not publicly, of
will be taken over by the government - 10, 20, 30 years" (1999)
start with, I should remark, in the interest of cognitive clarity, that
I am speaking of tendencies of
what are perhaps best referred to as social processes of social
institutions: In name, all of these things linger on: There still are
"daily papers", "news shows", "mayors", "aldermen", "GPs" and
"political parties", but none of them are much like they were 30 years
ago, and as independent institutions with at least some countervailing
power against the state, big business or the corporations, they are
dead and gone: What remains with the old names all function differently
from how they functioned before: They work for different ends, with
different agendas, and different reward schemes and ideologies.
media are dead:
No more independent media - TV and the papers all sing the praises of
government or corporations, and don't inform anymore: They
propagandize, amuse, and repress alternative views, by neither
mentioning them nor containing spokesmen for them.
dead: Cities and provinces, at least in Holland, have turned
corporate (as I noticed in 2008, in what became the first Nederlog on
the ongoing Crisis, on September 1,
2008, in Dutch), and also the days
produce their own inane PR, that is completely Orwellian in tone and
terminology, evidently also on purpose, in a sort of sadistic irony:
See Laudatio Neerlandica, of 2010,
for several examples).
middle class is dead:
No more heads of small but important institutions - headmasters, GPs,
lawyers, trade union leaders and such - with some independent power of
their own: Gone or else part and parcel of a corporate party-machine.
political parties are
dead, except in name: At best, these are now manpower offices
where possible candidates for corrupt office are tested and selected by
succesful corrupt holders of offices, and where no individual mind can
break through party machine. (For Holland and in Dutch, this has been
treated in Nederlog in "De illusie van
- A new
elite has arisen,
certainly in Holland: A class of folks that switch jobs between the
various tools of governments and corporations: They start out as
journalist; progress to PR-spokesmen of cities, villages or
corporations; then get nominated as personal assistants of
mayors or aldermen; then become, through these functions, professors,
mayors, aldermen, or parliamentarians, after which they become
parliamentarians, aldermen, mayors or members of boards of large
corporations, to end life as well-paid professorship in "a science"
that coincided with their own political hobbies, or again as
 It is
also true that I considerably downsized my estimates of Krugman's
honesty and rationality: This was a major blooper, and indeed
also one that had nothing to do with economics.