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Nederlog

Jun 19, 2016

Crisis: Trump, Neoliberalism, Republicans, Drug War, NSA and 9/11
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Introduction

1. 
Trump’s Relentless Assault on the Truth
2. Neoliberalism Will Soon Force Americans to Leave the
     United States

3. Republican Civil War Officially Declared: GOP Delegates
     Openly Plot to Overthrow Trump at Convention

4. The Drug War Started 45 Years Ago Today—Here's
     How to End It For Good

5. Top NSA Officials’ Reaction To 9/11: “9/11 Is a Gift To
     The NSA."

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, June 19, 2016.

This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about Trump's relentless lying: I agree in part but the journalist who wrote it seems to have difficulties with writing the truth; item 2 is about neoliberalism, but was a bit misleading; item 3 is about the possibility that Trump will be overthrown at the Republic Convention: we shall see; item 4 is about the drugs war that was started 45 years ago (in fact not to repress drugs but to repress the leftish youth and the blacks); and item 5 is about how 9/11 was seen by the NSA: As a gift that permitted mass surveillance.

Also, I said yesterday I probably would publish "On fascism" today: Not today, for I need to do some more corrections. Probably tomorrow or the day after (after I have read it all, once again).

1Trump’s Relentless Assault on the Truth

The first item today is by Eugene Robinson on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Donald Trump must be the biggest liar in the history of American politics, and that’s saying something.

Trump lies the way other people breathe. We’re used to politicians who stretch the truth, who waffle or dissemble, who emphasize some facts while omitting others. But I can’t think of any other political figure who so brazenly tells lie after lie, spraying audiences with such a fusillade of untruths that it is almost impossible to keep track. Perhaps he hopes the media and the nation will become numb to his constant lying. We must not.

Trump lies when citing specifics. He claimed that a “tremendous flow of Syrian refugees” has been entering the country; the total between 2012 and 2015 was around 2,000, barely a trickle. He claimed that “we have no idea” who those refugees are; they undergo up to two years of careful vetting before being admitted.

Trump lies when speaking in generalities. He claimed that President Obama “has damaged our security by restraining our intelligence gathering and failing to support law enforcement.” Obama actually expanded domestic intelligence operations and only dialed them back because of bipartisan pressure following the Edward Snowden revelations.

There is considerably more in the same vein in the article. And I do agree with the above, although I want to add that the two main reasons that Trump could
utter the astounding amount of lies he made are that (i) the Republicans are now, since 15 years at least, campaigning on a mostly fact-free basis, that also (ii) has been embraced by the U.S.'s main media.

The two reasons also are a bit different in motivation, but they do supplement each other: The Republicans are campaigning on a mostly fact-free basis because this makes their propaganda a whole lot easier [1], while the main media embrace a fact-free basis because this makes them free of having to tell the truth, which they also do by reporting falsehoods and truths as if they are on the same level: "The Republicans deny global warming; the Democrats affirm global warming: We now have reported  both sides and so we are objective" [2].

Next, there is this, which I find a bit odd:

I write not to defend Obama and Clinton, who can speak for themselves—and have done so. My aim is to defend the truth.

Political discourse can be civil or rowdy, gracious or mean. But to have any meaning, it has to be grounded in fact. Trump presents a novel challenge for both the media and the voting public. There is no playbook for evaluating a candidate who so constantly says things that objectively are not true.

I say?! What about a "playbook" that says that you should contradict persons whom you suspect are lying for their own profits or their own power?!

And I think that is also pretty obvious: Politics and the news must be based on facts; therefore the media should check factual claims and report truly
on their findings; and if either of these are missing all you get is made up of lies, deceptions and propaganda, that gets reported as if these are real facts that also may be reasonable beliefs.

There is also this, that I again find odd for the same reasons:

It goes against all journalistic instinct to write in a news story, as The Washington Post did Monday, that Trump’s national security address was “a speech laden with falsehoods and exaggeration.” But I don’t think we’re doing our job if we simply report assertions of fact without evaluating whether they are factual.

Trump’s lies also present a challenge for voters. The normal assumption is that politicians will bend the truth to fit their ideology—not that they will invent fake “truth” out of whole cloth. Trump is not just an unorthodox candidate. He is an inveterate liar—maybe pathological, maybe purposeful. He doesn’t distort facts, he makes them up.

I totally fail to comprehend why "[i]t goes against all journalistic instinct to write in a news story, as The Washington Post did Monday, that Trump’s national security address was “a speech laden with falsehoods and exaggeration.”

What if that is the simple truth? Why would journalists not report truly on what they think is the truth?! [3]

And while I agree that Trump is "
an inveterate liar", who is pathological and who makes up "facts" all the time, I again suggest that Trump could get as far as he did because the main media mostly stopped reporting the real truths and the real facts around 15 years ago, and replaced this by middle-of-the- road quasi-objective propaganda.

2.
Neoliberalism Will Soon Force Americans to Leave the United States

The second item is by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:
Neoliberal economic policy will eventually pressure U.S. citizens to emigrate just as it caused millions to leave Russia, the Baltic States and now Greece in search of a better life, economist Michael Hudson tells The Real News Network’s Sharmini Peries.
Perhaps, is my reply.

Two difficulties I see for emigrations by Americans is that those most inclined to emigrate will be the poor and the non-rich and many of them do not have much education and do not speak any other language than English, which makes only English-speaking countries easily available to them, that generally
will not want them because of their lack of education.

Here is some more:

SHARMINI PERIES, TRNN: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

After decades of sustained attacks on social programs and consistently high unemployment rates, it is no surprise that mortality rates in the country have increased. A research team from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York has estimated that 875,000 deaths in the United States in the year 2000 could be attributed to clusters of social factors bound up with poverty and income inequality. According to U.S. government statistics, some 2.45 million Americans died in the year 2000, thus the researchers? estimate means that social deprivation was responsible for some 36 percent of the total deaths that year. A staggering total.

I agree that is a staggering number, but it also is a number that is 16 years old, and that dates from before Bush Jr.'s awful government, from before 9/11, and from before the crisis of 2008, that still continues for everybody who is not rich.

Finally, here is Michael Hudson:

MICHAEL HUDSON: (..) Now, the question is, in America, now that you’re having as a result of this polarization shorter lifespans, worse health, worse diets, where are the Americans going to emigrate? Nobody can figure that one out yet. There’s no, seems nowhere for them to go, because they don’t speak a foreign language. The Russians, the Greeks, most Europeans all somehow have to learn English in school. They’re able to get by in other countries. They’re not sure where on earth can the Americans come from? Nobody can really figure this out.

And the amazing thing, what’s going to make this worse, is the trade, the Trans-Pacific trade agreement, and the counterpart with the Atlantic states. In today’s news there’s news that President Obama plans to make a big push for the Trans-Pacific trade agreement, essentially the giveaway to corporations preventing governments from environmental protection, preventing them from imposing health standards, preventing them from having cigarette warnings or warning about bad food. Obama says he wants to push this in after the election.
Well... the Americans are native speakers of English (for the most part). I agree this will limit their choices, but not worse than the Russians or the Greeks. What will probably limit the chances for a successful emigration is
that most of those who want to emigrate do not have much education.

I agree with Hudson on the TPP, which is an extremely bad plan that will only serve the rich, at the costs of the poor, but I don't see how the TPP (specifically) would make many more people want to emigrate.

3. Republican Civil War Officially Declared: GOP Delegates Openly Plot to Overthrow Trump at Convention

The third item is by Brad Reed on AlterNet and originally on Raw Story:
This starts as follows:

With Donald Trump’s poll numbers sinking into a death spiral, dozens of Republican delegates are now openly plotting a coup to overthrow him at this year’s Republican National Convention.

The Washington Post has scored an interview only with GOP delegates who are leading the effort to allow delegates to vote their consciences at this year’s RNC so they can choose someone other than Trump. The rule change would allow delegates to unbind themselves based on “personal or religious conscience.”

I agree Trump's poll numbers are quite bad, and it also might have been mentioned that quite a few of the multi-national corporations either have
ceased contributing to the Republicans or radically diminished their contributions, all because they think (as I do, and as by now many intelligent persons do) Trump is unfit to become president of the USA.

And I think that is quite good news - but it isn't yet November 2016. Here is a bit more:

Kendal Unruh, a Republican delegate from Colorado, says that their plan is to stop Trump from becoming the nominee first and then hoping the delegates can then pick a consensus non-Trump candidate afterward.

“This literally is an ‘Anybody but Trump’ movement,” he told the Post. “Nobody has any idea who is going to step in and be the nominee, but we’re not worried about that. We’re just doing that job to make sure that he’s not the face of our party.”
That is a sound idea, but it also is very late, and in fact there are at present
some 30 Republicans who seem to agree with Unruh, which is not much.

But we shall see what the Republican Convention brings.


4. The Drug War Started 45 Years Ago Today—Here's How to End It For Good

The fourth item is by Derek Rosenfeld on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:

Former President Richard Nixon officially declared a “war on drugs” 45 years ago today. His primary motivation was to go after anti-war protesters and black people. It doesn’t get clearer than this frank explanation from one of Nixon’s top policy advisers, John Ehrlichman:

“We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

First, this article is from yesterday, and it was on June 18, 1971 that "Nixon officially declared a “war on drugs”". And second, I have earlier reported on the John Ehrlichman quote, that originally was made in 1994, in March of this year (which is well worth reading).

The brief summary I gave in March was this: "The War On Drugs" was based on very conscious lies by Nixon, and indeed that was and is quite true. He was not warring against drugs: That only was the pretext to attack the leftish
youths and the blacks. Unfortunately, it succeeded.

Here is some more:

Every year, more money is requested to fight the drug war and now the U.S. spends more than $51 billion annually on the war on drugs. There are more than 1.5 million arrests for drugs each year, the large majority of which are for possession only. But no matter how much money we spend and how many people get arrested, drugs have been around for thousands of years and they always will be.

So what should we do instead?

Here I should first say that Derek Rosenfeld is the manager of social media and media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance, and next that I agree with his proposals (in my case: since the end of 1969 (!), and especially because of my experiences in Amsterdam since 1967, and the Wootton Report).

Here they are, and these are the headings of the sections that explain them,
while I did not include the texts explaining them: If you want to read them, click the last dotted link:

Legalize Marijuana
Decriminalize All Drugs and Offer Treatment on Request
End Mass Criminalization/Incarceration
Prevent Drug Overdose Deaths
Reform Youth Drug Education
Learn From the Rest of the World

This is a recommended article - except for the Dutch schema for marijuana, which is illegal (!!) and is operated intentionally in such a way that no one can find out how much is sold (in a specific coffeeshop) nor can anyone say anything objectively fact-based about the qualities of what is sold, both of which seem to have been mostly ways to increase the incomes of quite a few politicians, district attorneys and judges - for marijuana is illegal in Holland since 1965, but sold as if it were legal for the above reason, or so it seems to me [4].

It is a bad way of dealing with marijuana, for it will enrich the few criminals and the politicians and bureaucrats who serve them - 10 billions euros worth of marijuana are sold in Holland alone, each year - and won't do much for anyone else other than making it easy to get the drugs (while it also hugely increases the chances of being murdered because of drugs, though indeed not for those who can keep themselves far from sellers of drugs).

And this is a recommended article.

5. Top NSA Officials’ Reaction To 9/11: “9/11 Is a Gift To The NSA."

The fifth and last item is by Washington's Blog on his site:

This is as follows:

What was the NSA’s reaction to 9/11 … the greatest intelligence failure in history?

After all, overwhelming evidence shows that 9/11 was foreseeable. Indeed, Al Qaeda crashing planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was itself foreseeable. Even the chair of the 9/11 Commission said that the attack was preventable.

And a top NSA whistleblower says that the NSA had all of the information it needed prior to 9/11 to stop the attacks. The only reason NSA didn’t share that information with other agencies is because of corruption … in an effort to consolidate power. And see this.

As a high-level NSA whistleblower notes in a brilliant new documentary coming out in September, the reactions to 9/11 by the number 2 and number 3 official at the NSA were:

“9/11 is a gift to the NSA. We’re going to get all of the money we need … and then some”

and

“We’ll milk this cow for 15 years”

How can this be true?

Because mass surveillance has nothing to do with preventing terrorism.

I agree with all of that, except with the last statement: Clearly mass surveillance has been introduced under the pretext of the war on terrorism.

It indeed either doesn't seem to make any difference on terrorism or else  indeed may help it because very much more has been gathered than data from presumed terrorists, but surely mass surveillance has been introduced under the guise of battling with terrorism.

But maybe this is what was meant. If so, it should be rephrased, e.g. thus:
Mass surveillance doesn't help prevent terrorism, although it has been introduced by using terrorism as pretext.

---------------------

Notes

[1] This is so in any case (for propaganda is lying or exaggerating) but is specifically the case for global warming: The Republicans deny it exists, even if 99,9% of all climate scientists insist it does.

[2] There are many ways of being dishonest about the truth.

One is to simply straightly lie, as for instance Trump does. This is also done by the main media, but probably a lot less than Trump.

Another is not to allow speakers or information about themes one does not want one's readers/viewers to know of. This is done a lot by the main media.

Yet another one is to report on two sides by pretending the evidence is more or less symmetrical: "Some say global warming exists; some say it doesn't; we are journalists and have given you the facts" (without saying 99% of climate scientists say it exists). This is also a favorite technique in the main media.

Finally, many of the lies of the main media do not contradict palpable facts, but color their presentations and explanations of the causes, backgrounds and testimonies.

In general, the main media lie and propagandize a lot these days, but most of
the lying and propagandizing they do consists in giving dishonest, incomplete,
or partial accounts rather than straight lies.

[3] I do not see any good reason why not, but I do want to make one remark because I am a philosopher who knows a lot about logic:

Journalists who insist that there is no truth, or that there are no factual standards to decide who (very probably) speaks the truth and who lies, are liars, for almost none of them has any real knowledge of logic or theories of truth, while almost everyone of their readers believes in a realist theory of truth, that is much like mine (except that I do know a lot more about logic).

In other words: Journalists who defend their lies by insisting that philosophers or logicians have "proved" that there is no truth, are very probably lying postmodernists, and pretend to have knowledge they really lack.

And yes, I have read journalists who did so, but indeed in the 1990ies, when postmodernism was at its height and was also supported by many academics.

[4] I have had to live for four full years above illegal drugsdealers that were given the bottom floor of the house where I lived by the mayor of Amsterdam, Ed van Thijn (as shown by his personally signed letter they showed me, that gave them his "personal permission" to deal in soft drugs from the house where I lived), and who proceeded for four full years:

(i) to threaten me with murder when I protested the noise they made: "We will murder you if you do anything that displeases us" (literally); (ii) who tried to gas me and almost succeeded (I have been on the floor, unconscious for several hours); (iii) who completely destroyed my health by not allowing me to sleep properly for four years; but who (iv) were personally protected by the mayor (who for four years never replied my letters, also not those that were given to his personal doorman: he never even acknow- ledged receiving them), personally protected by the Amsterdam City
Police; personally protected by Amsterdam's district attorney (Teeven, who seems to have scored tens of millions in a case with major drugsdealers), and
personally protected by all the bureaucrats of Amsterdam and by any of the judges I tried to approach and by each and any of the National and the Amsterdam "Ombudsmen" I tried to reach (several in both cases).

Then again, if you want to vastly enrich your local politicians, your local bureaucrats, your local police, your local judges, your local district attorneys  and your illegal drugsdealers (ALL of whom but the last I have tried to reach for more than ten years: nobody was there, ever) then the Amsterdam model of massive illegal sellings of illegal drugs (so that it seems legal) is the most perfect.

And as I said, since the 1996 Parliamentary Report by Van Traa (<- Dutch link) it is clear what is the motive: Every year in Holland at least 10 billon euros in soft drugs are being sold (and 4 times as much if all drugs are included), and if those "permitting" it (completely illegally) got 1 of every 1000 cents turned over by the illegal trade in merely soft drugs, they have by now, and since 1990, 260 million euros to divide among themselves.

But no one in Holland seems to care about this enormous corruption, that exists since 1986 i.e. for 30 years now. I care, because my health was intentionally destroyed to facilitate the illegal dealings in drugs by the murderous bastards that were all the time protected by Amsterdam's mayor, Amsterdam's aldermen, Amsterdam's City Police, and all of Amsterdam's bureaucrats, indeed even when they were arrested in the summer of 1991 with 2 kilos of heroine and 1 kilo of cocaine.


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