1. New Intelligence Bill
Gives FBI More Secret
Perfect End to Democratic Primary: Anonymous
Declare Winner Through Media
3. Normalizing Trump, Demonizing Hillary: The
Shameful Strategy for the 2016
Noam Chomsky: Our Universities Are Basically Just
Churning Out Obedient Employees
5. Should Sanders Run As a Third Party
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, June 8,
is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item
1 is another move in furthering the FBI's desire to get everything
it can on absolutely everyone (and approved by the Senate); item 2 is about an article by Glenn Greenwald on the
undemocratic sickness of declaring Clinton winner because she has hundreds
of totally unelected superdelegates; item 3
is about a somewhat strange article on Trump and Hillary, for it denies
almost all responsibility of the - very bad, much lying, quite
dishonest - main media in the USA; item 4
is about a long and good interview with Noam Chomsky (who is right
the universities are much worse than they were, thirtyfive and
more years ago); and item 5 is about the question
whether Sanders should run as a third party candidate (and my
provisional answer is: Yes, if he can, which I don't
know, and simply because he is the only reasonable and decent presi-
1. New Intelligence Bill Gives FBI More Secret
The first item is by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
A Senate bill published
late Monday night includes a new provision
that would give the FBI more power to issue secret demands, known
as national security letters, to technology, internet, communications,
and banking companies for their customers’ information.
The provision, tucked into the Senate
Intelligence Authorization Act, would explicitly authorize the FBI to
obtain “electronic communication transactional records” for individuals
or entities — though it doesn’t define what that means. The bill was
passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week.
I wonder whether it is time to restyle the
FBI as the American Fascist Bureau of Investigation. I have
three reasons for this:
- my father and grandfather were arrested
in June 1941 by the Nazis because they were in the communist
resistance, and both were convicted (by collaborating Dutch judges:
Most Dutchmen collaborated) as "political terrorists" to
concentration-camp imprisonment, which my
grandfather did not survive;
- the FBI is totally above the
above decency, and it simply is fascism for me to threaten somebody
with a secret national securitiy
letter that demands information the FBI should not get and
complete secrecy on those this is demanded from;
- I very much dislike and fear secret
police, and especially secret police with arrogated
allows them to persecute people in utter secrecy and forbid them to say
anything to anyone: That is only possible in terrorist states.
But OK: The FBI once again extended its secret
command over the doings of all Americans: It can now demand
most things Americans do with their computers as a matter of course,
and it can threaten those who refuse to give them what they ask
with secret letters they are not allowed to share with
anyone except one lawyer, in which there are many "legal" threats that
the threatened are not allowed to publicize.
Here is some background on eight
years of illegal threats by the FBI, that simply breaks
on the ground that they have lawyers who can imagine that the law
different from what it is...
In brief: I am quite pessimistic,
(but not only) if Trump is the next president.
In the past, the FBI has considered
“electronic communication transactional records” to be a broad category
of information — including everything from browsing history, email
header information, records of online purchases, IP addresses of
contacts, and more.
The Justice Department told the FBI in
2008 that it was not authorized to receive this information from
companies without a court order, although as The Intercept reported
last week, the FBI has continued to demand such data anyway —
insisting on a different legal interpretation.
Perfect End to Democratic Primary: Anonymous Superdelegates Declare
Winner Through Media
The second item is by Glenn Greenwald on The
This starts as follows:
Last night, the Associated Press
— on a day when nobody voted — surprised
everyone by abruptly
declaring the Democratic Party primary over and Hillary Clinton the
victor. The decree, issued the night before the California primary in
which polls show Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a very close race, was
based on the media organization’s survey of “superdelegates”: the
Democratic Party’s 720 insiders, corporate donors, and officials whose
votes for the presidential nominee count the same as the actually
elected delegates. AP claims that superdelegates who had not previously
announced their intentions privately told AP reporters that they intend
to vote for Clinton, bringing her over the threshold. AP is
concealing the identity of the decisive superdelegates who said
Again I wonder whether I should restyle AP as
AFP (Associated Fascist Press),
not only because the AP tells lies, deceives and manipulates,
of the main media do so now, which is completely
incompatible with any
democracy, and will soon lead to an authoritarian state.
The above is an example of what I mean:
I think all these points are factually
correct - and here is Glenn Greenwald:
- Most of the US's main media are against
Sanders, and give as little space and time to him as is
possible - which is anti-democratic;
- most of the US's main media don't
give the facts
anymore: they give
colored and partial propaganda
(which is pretended to be factual, but isn't);
- superdelegates are an explicit
anti-democratic means of the leaders of the Democratic Party to impose
their wishes on the party;
- I totally disbelieve the AP's
claims that "superdelegates" "privately told AP reporters they intend
to vote Clinton": Maybe they talked with one or two (of several
hundreds), but they do not give any evidence for their
- AP is intentionally trying to
destroy what remains of the Sanders' candidacy;
- therefore AP acted falsely.
This is the perfect symbolic
ending to the Democratic Party primary: The nomination is
consecrated by a media organization, on a day when nobody voted,
based on secret discussions with anonymous establishment insiders and
donors whose identities the media organization — incredibly — conceals.
The decisive edifice of superdelegates is itself anti-democratic and
inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making
choices that the party establishment dislikes.
Precisely. And this is not
reporting and these are not facts: This is propaganda and
"facts" are very
Then again, there is also this, which is the last bit I will quote from
this article (which is recommended):
But it’s also true that under the
long-standing rules of the party, more people who voted
preferred Clinton as their nominee over Sanders.
Independent of superdelegates, she just got more votes. There’s no
Well... there is one possibility for denying
this, and that is the fact that American votes can be easily
falsified: See e.g. here.
Note I did not say that they have been falsified: It is
a fact that they easily
can be; it also is a fact that there is no
evidence they have been; and it finally is a fact that if
they have been, there probably is also no evidence.
What I am saying is that the elections may have been
falsified (at some places), simply because this is easy (for
people with computer knowledge),
but that there has been far too little attention to either
prevent this or prove this.
So I suppose I agree with Greenwald on the apparent facts. There is
more on this issue, but it is in item  below.
3. Normalizing Trump, Demonizing
Hillary: The Media's Shameful Strategy for the 2016 Election
third item is by Heather
Digby Parton on AlterNet and originally on Salon:
This starts as follows:
One of the most vexing challenges of the
Trump phenomenon is how the press should deal with it. There’s never
been anything quite like it and journalism is having to try to navigate
this campaign as the rules are being rewritten on the fly. Back in the
beginning, The Huffington Post had tried to keep the whole thing
in perspective by relegating the campaign to their entertainment pages
but eventually had to move it back to the politics section when it
became clear that Republican voters were actually taking Trump
seriously. Today they cover him like a normal politician but append a
standard disclaimer at the end of their articles about him pointing out
that he’s an extremist with noxious views.
Let me start wih quoting the "standard disclaimer" of the Huffington Post "at the end of their articles about" Trump, simply because I like
it, because I think it is justified, and because it shows that
Parton's case is not what it is presented to be.
First the Huffington's final bit on
articles about Trump:
Editor’s note: Donald Trump
political violence and is a serial
who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of
an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
This also has been there a long time,
which also shows that Parton's initial statements
One of the most vexing challenges
Trump phenomenon is how the press should deal with it. There’s never
been anything quite like it and journalism is having to try to navigate
this campaign as the rules are being rewritten on the fly.
simply are false: "The Trump
phenomenon" has been dealt with by the main media in the terms they
have learned and appropriated since the early 2000s:
He is freely given long times for his propaganda;
his propaganda - which is
for something like 75% false - is almost never contradicted;
and he is dealt with and presented in the terms he
desires, mostly because this makes the corrupt media a lot of money.
All of this is not journalism as this was understood until
2000: It is plain propaganda,
plain lying and
plain fraud of all the viewers and readers who still believe that what
the main media tell them is mostly true.
been anything quite like" Trump not
because Trump is unique, unfathomable, great or special, but because
most of the main media have been lying and propagandizing since 15 years
rather than do their proper job of honest investigating
and honest reporting:
It is very much less Trump who is the
problem: The problem is especially the corruption of the main media.
It is true Parton also says this,
which is correct as regards the first two statements:
TV news organizations, meanwhile, have
been notorious for allowing
Trump to flout their rules. They happily let him call in rather than
appear on camera and give him hours of airtime in the hope that he’ll
say something news worthy which, to be honest, he often does. His lies
and reversals are so constant and so blatant that reporters seem to be
almost paralyzed as he slithers and slides out of their grasp. He
is sui generis and nobody knows quite what to do about it.
But the last two statements again deny all
responsibility, all mental clarity and all courage to all those
"reporters" who "seem to be
almost paralyzed": They are not
paralyzed; they simply ceased being real reporters, for
they ceased asking real questions.
Again: It is the corruption,
dishonesty and propaganda of the main media that explain Trump, very
much rather than Trump's unique capabilities (for he has none, other
than a great capacity for lying, which he could
not have used if the main media had been decent,
objective and factual).
There is a whole lot more in the article, much of which is made up from
long quotes, which I leave to your interests. She ends as follows:
But the result of this “distortion
toward the middle” as Jay
Rosen calls it, has the perverse effect of normalizing Trump and
pathologizing Clinton in a way that equalizes them to Trump’s
advantage. There is no equivalence between them. He is an unqualified,
unfit, unhinged authoritarian demagogue and she is a mainstream
Democratic party politician. Let’s hope the press listens to some
of these critics and does a serious gut check whenever they are tempted
to “balance” the coverage in this election by going easy on Trump and
hard on Clinton. It’s dangerous.
To which I say: Yes and no. Yes,
in the sense that Trump "is an unqualified,
unfit, unhinged authoritarian demagogue", but no
in the sense that it is pretty crazy to "hope
the press listens to some
of these critics" "whenever they are tempted
to “balance” the coverage in this election":
You shouldn't "hope" the press acts like a real press:
You should demand it. It's true that the main media probably
will pretend they don't hear or read you, but this is part and parcel
of their complete redefinition of journalism over the past 15
years, that simply consisted for the most part in fake
"balanced" coverage of totally non-balanced candidates and
But OK: This seems to be a measure of "critical journalism" in the USA:
Expressing a "hope" that the fake balancing the main media
indulge in will not
be too serious.
Noam Chomsky: Our Universities Are Basically Just Churning Out Obedient
item is by Dan Falcone and Saul Isaacson on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
Washington DC based History Teacher Dan
Falcone and New York City English Teacher Saul Isaacson sat down with
Professor Noam Chomsky to discuss current issues in education and
American domestic and foreign policy issues. They also discussed the
place of the humanities in education and how it relates to activism,
definitions of terrorism, and how education impacts the perceptions of
the political process in the US.
This is only quoted to identify the
interviewers and the interviewee. The interview is fairly long and will
not be excerpted here. Instead I give three quotes on
themes that interest me: On education, on truth and on terrorism.
Here is the first bit, on education:
Noam Chomsky: – I’ll
give you an answer. This morning’s MIT newspaper there’s a wonderful
article about the destruction of education in the United States but
they are very upbeat about it. Take a look at the new majors.
Dan Falcone: MIT
introduces four new majors, seven new minors. Business analytics,
finance, mathematical economics, minor in computer science design,
Noam Chomsky: The four
majors: Business First Management, Business Analytics, Finance,
mathematical economics, which is trading. That’s it.
Yes indeed - and please note why
MIT felt "very upbeat" about "the destruction of education in the
They pretend that all that modern
students are interested in is making profits and doing
business, and they expect considerable grants and supports for
designing studies that are mostly concerned with making
profits and doing business, much rather than doing real
Again, I have seen this coming from 1977/78 onwards, when I
also was first told by a professor who spoke for the whole
university and its Board of Directors in a public address that
opened the year 1978-1979:
"Everybody knows that truth does not
which turned out to be a fanatically
held belief by most students, simply because it made getting a
degree very much easier than it had been until
the mid seventies.
Since then, all education in Holland has fundamentally
changed: It demands about half of what was demanded for the same
kinds of diplomas and degrees
until 1975 or so, and it demands a very great amount of money
for this very poor "education" - but almost no one is
interested, because in real fact very few are
interested in real science, and especially at a "university"
where one now can get an M.A. in most "studies" with an IQ of 105 or
so. (See also here, for the unique
background of the Dutch universites from 1971-1995.)
I am one of the circa 1 in 20 students who cared for real
science, a really good education, and for demanding
universities, but indeed since I know it was but 1 in 20
students who wanted a real scientific education at what they
supposed was a real
scientific university, which happened in 1982, I have given up on all
academics, all universities, and virtually all students in Holland:
They got what they wanted,
namely contentless very easy degrees in mostly non-scientific
subjects, that will help to make them more money in business
(but will teach them hardly any real science).
The Dutch universities are dead
(apart from mathematics, physics and a few other subjects in which real
talent is still required), and should also stop being
called "university", just like all other schools I attended
were both radically changed (i.e.: made a whole lot easier) and
were also radically renamed.
The greatest part of the modern Dutch
"universities" is no longer a university: At best it is a college
(and its degrees are at most half worth of what they were worth until
But no, I have also grown so cynical (also
for being four times removed from the University of
Amsterdam because I honestly said what I thought: I did not
have the right to honestly say what I thought in the University
of Amsterdam, according to its staff and Board of Directors, who also
both denied me the right to take a - n excellent - M.A. in
philosophy in 1988, again because I had honestly told what I
thought about the execrable "education" they offered) that I do not
suppose I will ever be answered honestly by any Dutch
"academic" or any Dutch politician:
They all are rotters only interested in
their own careers and their own - large - incomes, and they nearly all collaborate
to keep their very easy jobs and very high salaries.
If any of them ever cared for science, they should
have answered me over the past 35 years. No one did,
even though the prose I
wrote and published
was widely praised for its style and intelligence.
Back to Noam Chomsky: I think he is right about the education
the USA, and indeed that seems to have been mostly destroyed by people
and politicians who were similarly motivated as in Holland (and
conversely): The many half-
smart business men who want business careers to make profits in
businesses, and who simply are unable to understand what real
science is or is about.
Next, about truth
- and the "She" was some kind of student:
As I have indicated above, truth was systematically
denied in the University of Amsterdam since 1978 and at least till
She said it was all about this kind of
old-fashioned [naïve] business of embracing truth and fact and that is
not what is really important. And you see that all over the Third
World. It’s a very destructive tendency. And it’s also intellectually
just pure garbage.
Dan Falcone: Right,
and a lot of times it’s well intentioned, left-leaning people –
Noam Chomsky: – People are
well intentioned but I think if you look at the roots of it – it’s very
cynical. It mostly comes from Paris and I think it mostly has to do
with the collapse of French civilization. (..)
To be sure, this did not imply everyone denied it (the
scientific staff, for example, mostly skirted around it) nor that everybody
believed it even if they affirmed that "everybody knows that truth does
But this did hold for nearly all of the radical
students who also participated in ruling the university, which they did
because the Dutch universities had been given to the students
from 1971 till 1995, and most of the leading
students were either (pseudo-)communists
(till 1983/4) and then postmodernists
(for whom absolutely everything was relative and
most or everything was text), from ca. 1985 till 1995.
Obviously, it was all "pure garbage" - but in Holland, at least, very
few in the universities were convinced or admitted it was all pure
garbage, simply because this was "the official university position" and
it might have been troublesome for them to protest. (Very few
Dutch are heroic or honest.)
Finally, on the start of "the war on terrorism"
there is this:
started it. It’s pretty interesting. I mean terror became a big issue
when the Reagan Administration came in. They immediately announced
[their plans] and kind of disparaged Carter’s alleged human rights
programs. The main issue is state-directed international terrorism.
Right at that time that big industry developed. That’s when you start
getting the academic departments on terrorism. You get UN conferences
trying to define terrorism. Journals, you know, big explosion of
interest in terrorism.
But the stuff that we write can’t enter the
canon for a very simple reason. We use the official definitions of
terrorism. The definitions in the U.S. code, in British law, in U.S.
Army manuals and so on. And if you use those definitions it follows
instantly that the United States is the leading terrorist state in the
As I have been saying a long time
(indeed since August 2004) there are two kinds of terrorism:
Terrorism by states, generally (though not only) by their secret
police, and terrorism by individuals or groups (that are
not funded or used by state terrorists).
Again, as I have also been saying since 2004, the states' terrorists
are far more dangerous than the individual terrorists: They
have far more money, far
more men, far more weapons etc. etc.
And Noam Chomsky is quite right that in the present USA the state is widely
presented as not terroristic, whereas in actual fact, when
judged in terms of objective definitions of "terrorism", the
present USA supports and executes a lot of terrorism - but
indeed by the secret police or the army, and "therefore"
(falsely but convincing to many) "not terroristic".
Anyway... there is a whole lot more in the interview, that is
5. Should Sanders Run As a Third Party Candidate?
item is by Washington's Blog on his site:
This is a short pieces
I'll reproduce and answer:
The Democratic Party and media has rigged
of Americans know the primary process is rigged.
of Americans want a third party.
of Americans now think of themselves as independents … only 29%
identify as Democrats, and 26%
Even the Founding
Fathers warned us about the threat from a two-party system.
Should Sanders run as a
I only answer the last
Clinton is the Democratic candidate, it is the only
chance for Sanders to become president. Since I also think Trump is a
lunatic and Clinton is a fraud who effectively works for the big banks
(but Clinton is not insane, and therefore a lot
less bad than Trump), I would welcome it if Sanders runs as an
independent: He is the only reasonable and decent possible
president of the three.
Then again, I do not
know how realistic this is, and it will in any case cause many problems
and take a lot of money.