March 22, 2016

Crisis: Women & Trump, FBI, Iraq: More Troops, Chomsky, GOP Tax Plans
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Women Hate Donald Trump Even More Than Men Hate
     Hillary Clinton
2. FBI Says It May No Longer Need Apple’s Help to Unlock
     iPhone of Slain San Bernardino Killer

13 Years After America's Disastrous Iraq Invasion,
     Obama Quietly Deploys More Troops

4. Chomsky: 'Republicans Are a Danger to the Human

5. Trump’s and Cruz’s Tax Plans


This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, March 22, 2016.

This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 says Trump is much disliked by American women (which diminishes his chances of winning the presidency); item 2 is about a radical change in the FBI's arguments against and demands of Apple: The FBI may be able to unlock that phone; item 3 is about the fact that Obama once again sends more troops to Iraq, but declines to say how many more; item 4 is about Noam Chomsky on the leading Republicans: They are dangers to the human species, and I agree; and item 5 is about an article by Robert Reich that explains that the tax plans of Trump and of Cruz will benefit the few rich more than any other proposed tax cuts in history.
1. Women Hate Donald Trump Even More Than Men Hate Hillary Clinton

The first item is
by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the 2016 presidential candidates, gender will be part of the campaign in an unprecedented way. It goes beyond the fact that Clinton would be the first woman nominated by one of the two major parties as its presidential candidate: Polls consistently show that women really, really don’t like Trump, and men — to a lesser but still significant degree — really don’t like Clinton.

I say. I didn't know this. Neither difference between men and women amazes me, but the differences also seem quite large:

Americans overall don’t like Trump or Clinton. In polls taken over the past six weeks, Trump’s average net favorable/unfavorable rating has been minus 23 percent, and Clinton’s has been minus 12 percent.

However, beneath the surface, it’s the high level of distaste for both of them among the opposite gender that is driving those awful ratings.

Women dislike Trump with what’s likely a historically unique intensity for a national politician. Trump’s average net favorability among women over the past six weeks is minus 33 percent — far worse than the minus 2 percent net favorability among women for Marco Rubio or the minus 14 percent for Ted Cruz.
Here is the summary consequence the article draws:
In the end, it seems impossible that men’s views of Clinton, and especially women’s views of Trump, won’t have an impact if it comes to actual voting. And in recent polls of a head-to-head match between Trump and Clinton, women say they would vote for her at a rate 19 percentage points higher than that of men.

That seems a fair conclusion. (And I should also say that while I think this information is probably correct, and that the statistics are based on averaging a considerable number of polls in February 2016, I found it not presented very clearly. But this may just be me.)

2. FBI Says It May No Longer Need Apple’s Help to Unlock iPhone of Slain San Bernardino Killer

The second item is
by Eric Ortiz on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

The FBI has changed its tune. After weeks of arguing that it had no way to crack the iPhone 5C of slain San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook without Apple’s help, the government on Monday said it may have found a way to unlock the phone without Apple’s help, Wired reports.

I have reported on this before (e.g. see February 27, 2016) and this seems a considerable change. Then again, this also conforms to amicus briefs for Apple, so it is not quite unexpected.

And I think this conclusion is justified:

The government’s move may be a signal that the San Bernardino legal battle is over and that Apple has won. While some believe the latest FBI decision was prompted by the vocal public backing for Apple, including amicus briefs filed in its support, most people don’t expect the encryption war to end anytime soon.

All along, Apple has said the Justice Department’s goal was to set a precedent that forced companies to help in future law enforcement cases involving demands for data access.

“The FBI figured out another way in, which we knew they had or could get if they really wanted,” Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Nate Cardozo told Wired. “They made a strategic decision to call off this one as the test case.”

Yes, though it also seems true that the FBI has given up hopes - in this case - to force Apple to write software for the FBI (!!) that would allow the FBI access to this phone and any other iPhone.

Then again I also agree that I "
don’t expect the encryption war to end anytime soon".

3. 13 Years After America's Disastrous Iraq Invasion, Obama Quietly Deploys More Troops

The third item is b
y Sarah Lazare on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:

It has been thirteen years since former president George W. Bush sat in the Oval Office and announced the invasion and large-scale bombing of Iraq to “free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.”

That war and occupation would go on to take the lives of over one million Iraqi people, according to some estimates, and leave behind decimated infrastructure, environmental poison, a sectarian political system and the conditions that fueled the rise of the “Islamic State.”

That seems a fair if brief summary, and I only add that the fact that over one million Iraqi's - about 1 in 30 of all Iraqis - were killed in the war and the occupation is very rarely mentioned in any main media news that I saw.

Then there is this on Obama's administration:

Now, on the anniversary of a war that is broadly considered to be a disaster of epic proportions, and even acknowledged as a mistake by some of its initial supporters, the Obama administration is quietly deploying more troops to the country. These deployments come despite the president’s previous pledges that there would be no “boots on the ground” in military operations against the “Islamic State,” which have now been waged in Iraq and Syria for roughly a year-and-a-half.

All I can say in defense of Obama is that he often says one thing (for the electorate) and does another thing (for his rich backers).

As to "The Transparency" that Obama claims marks his government: He not only sends troop after declaring no more troops would be send, he also does not say how many troops he did send:

“The fact that the U.S. is sending undisclosed numbers of marines back to Iraq is a sad indication that the the Obama administration’s policy in the country does not depart from the policies of former administrations,” Raed Jarrar, government relations manager for the American Friends Service Committee, told AlterNet. “In addition to direct military intervention, the U.S. is also sending Iraq weapons and military aid. It is indirectly supporting human rights violations and war crimes committed by our partner in the country.”

I agree.

4. Chomsky: 'Republicans Are a Danger to the Human Species' 

The fourth item today is by Patricia Lombroso on AlterNet (and originally, it seems, on Il Manifesto):

This starts as follows:

With terrifying clarity, the author and philosopher Noam Chomsky spoke to Il Manifesto about chaos, barbarism and destruction of human life. After so many years of giving alarming interviews, Chomsky is more cynical than ever that we can avert global disaster.

“The human species is facing a situation that is unprecedented in the history of Homo sapiens,” he said. “We are at the crossroads of a situation that has never occurred before, and very soon we will have to decide whether we want the human species to survive into something that has the appearance of existence as we know it, or if we want to create a planetary devastation so extreme that one cannot even imagine what could emerge.”

I agree more than not with this diagnosis, but I don't agree with the "we": These choices are not mine, and they are also not the choices of most people.

These choices are the choices of a few leading politicians and the choices of a small number of very rich men, and these are not democratic choices in which "the people" decide what they want.

Here is Chomsky on why Republicans are a danger to the human species:

IM: Can they ignore (at their expense) the serious economic and social repercussions of this choice?

NC: Republican leaders know the daily consequences of the epochal migrations of populations from one hemisphere to another, such as has never occurred in history. They also know of the destruction of that part of the world we know as civilized and the risks that this entails, but each candidate vying for the race for the White House in today’s presidential campaign denies any evidence of the effects of global warming and has no intention of doing anything. Today’s Republican Party, I would add, is one of the most dangerous organizations in human history.

I agree: If you deny global warming, you are a scientific idiot, and since the dangers are very big, you are being very irresponsible. [1]

Here is the ending of the article:

IM: In this disastrous context, what risks do we run in 2016, the election year for the next president of the United States?

NC: The risks are very serious. If the comments of the Republican leaders vying for the presidency correspond to the reality of the future White House, we should expect a real disaster, and that is: We ignore global warming, we tear up the nuclear agreements with Iran, we increase our military power, we act with greater aggressiveness and determination in the rest of the world despite the risks of unleashing a world war. If a country with the power of the United States endorses these policy strategies, the chances of survival of the human species are minimized.

Again I agree. And by the way: I do not know to what extent the chances of survival of the human species are minimized, but I agree they are, simply when compared with the opposites of the Republican choices.

This is a recommended article.

5. Trump’s and Cruz’s Tax Plans

The fifth and last item today is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows (and I abbreviated the long title "Why Either Trump’s and Cruz’s Tax Plans Would Be the Largest Redistributions to the Rich in American History"):

The tax cuts for the rich proposed by the two leading Republican candidates for the presidency – Donald Trump and Ted Cruz – are larger, as a proportion of the government budget and the total economy, than any tax cuts ever before proposed in history.

Maybe you should read that again - but yes (bolding added):

"The tax cuts for the rich" proposed by Trump and Cruz "are larger, as a proportion of the government budget and the total economy, than any tax cuts ever before proposed in history".

This is probably also why Trump loves "poorly educated people": They are so easy to deceive.

Here is a survey of five points Robert Reich makes, but without his explanatory texts:

1. Trump’s proposed cut would reduce the top tax rate
     from 39.6 percent to 25 percent
2. The Cruz plan would abandon our century-old
     progressive income tax

3. Cruz also proposes a 10 percent flat tax.
4. The Republican plans also repeal estate and gift taxes
5. These plans would cut federal revenues by as much as
     $12 trillion over the decade

I merely note that each cut increases the profits of the rich, and that the late Supreme Court Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. very probably would have called both Trump and Cruz dishonest and uncivilized, simply because he wrote (in 1927, but it is still true, in principle) "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society".

Here is the ending of Reich's article:

Bottom line: If either of these men is elected president, we could see the largest redistribution in American history from the poor and middle-class of America to the rich. This is class warfare with a vengeance.
Alternatively, it is dishonest deception of the many poor by the few rich, that is presented as a service to the poor, but works to enrich the rich.

This is a recommended article.

[1] Maybe I should add that I am not an egalitarian: Intelligent people are - disregarding other criterions - better than unintelligent people, and people who got a good education in a real science are - again disregarding other criterions - better than those who missed such an education.

And indeed those protesting climate change on the basis of their lacking a scientific education or on the basis of their religion ("God will take care of us all, have no fear") seem as idiotic to me (on purpose also) as those who claim to not know any mathematics while being certain sure that 2+2 equals 22.

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