Prev-IndexNL-Next

Nederlog

Jul 8, 2016

Crisis: Chilcot Report *2, Lobbyists, Elites
Sections                                                                                             crisis index
Introduction

1.
Chilcot Report and 7/7 London Bombing Anniversary
     Converge to Highlight Terrorism’s Causes

2. The Democrats Ignore the 500-Pound Lobbyist in the
     Room

3.
The US Needs Its Own Chilcot report
4. Elites — Not the "Ignorant Masses" — Pose the
     Greatest Threat to Global Society
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Friday, July 8, 2016.

This is a crisis log. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item 1 is about Glenn Greenwald's commonsensical reaction to the Chilcot Report; item 2 is about lobbyists, who are mentioned precisely once in the 35 pages of the Democratic Party's platform draft (while they spent $3.22 billion just in 2015 to lobby the - Democratic - government); item 3 is about an article that desires a USA Chilcot Report (which I think very unlikely, though more than a million Iraqis were killed, and trillions of dollars were spent on the killings); and item 4 is about why "the elites" - the rich and their politicians and their bureaucrats - are the greatest of threats for anyone not belonging to them (that is: at least 90% of everyone).

1
.
Chilcot Report and 7/7 London Bombing Anniversary Converge to Highlight Terrorism’s Causes

The first item today is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

This is from near the beginning of the article (which is a defense of common sense):
The release on Tuesday of the massive Chilcot report — which the New York Times called a “devastating critique of Tony Blair” — not only offers more proof of this causal link, but also reveals that Blair was expressly warned before the invasion that his actions would provoke al Qaeda attacks on the U.K. As my colleague Jon Schwarz reported yesterdaythe report’s executive summary quotes Blair confirming he was “aware” of a warning by British intelligence that terrorism would “increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-U.S./anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”

None of this is the slightest bit surprising.
What is not "the slightest bit surprising" is the connection between state terrorism from the West and people's terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere. And it is terrorism in both cases, not in just one: "Their filthy
terrorism against Our Ex-cep-tio-nal Heroes."

Here is some that explains why
terrorism from one side (the West or Isis) gets responded to by terrorism from the other side (Isis or the West):

Nobody should need official reports or statements from attackers to confirm what common sense makes clear: If you go around the world for years proclaiming yourself “at war,” bombing and occupying and otherwise interfering in numerous countries for your own ends — as the U.S. and U.K. have been doing for decades, long before 9/11 — some of those who identify with your victims will decide — choose — to retaliate with violence of their own. Even Tony Blair’s own Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott acknowledged this self-evident truth in 2015: “When I hear people talking about how people are radicalized, young Muslims — I’ll tell you how they are radicalized. Every time they watch the television where their families are worried, their kids are being killed or murdered and rockets, you know, firing on all these people, that’s what radicalizes them.”

Recognizing this fact is not — as is often absurdly claimed
— a denial of agency. It is the opposite:
an affirmation of agency, a recognition of how human beings make choices.

Prescott was both clearly right and said the common sense thing: If you and yours (whoever "you and yours" are) kill people on a large scale, then you and yours (whoever "you and yours" are) run the risk that the survivors try to kill some of you and yours (whoever "you and yours" are), in retaliation.

But then this tends to be denied in the main media and the West's propaganda: Them Evil! Us Good! And not only that: the real facts are
often declared "unspeakable
" because the real facts are incompatible with propaganda:

No matter how much evidence mounts proving that Western aggression, violence, and domination fuels and provokes terror attacks, many influential factions still try to suppress this fact by decreeing it unspeakable. It’s obviously more comforting and pleasing to believe that one is purely the innocent victim of hideous violence rather than a participant in it, a perpetrator of it. But while that’s what motivates this refusal to acknowledge reality, it does not excuse it.

Yes, indeed. And I also note that political correctness - you shall not say what
does not fit with Our Ideology - happens on all sides.

This is a recommended article.
2. The Democrats Ignore the 500-Pound Lobbyist in the Room

The second item is by Michael Winship on Moyers & Company:

This starts as follows, with an interesting observation

In all of the 35 single-spaced pages of the Democratic Party’s platform draft, there is just one mention of lobbying.

One.

I say. One of the amazing things about this is that politicians speak much more with lobbyists than with ordinary people, and indeed lobbyists have much more power and much more money than ordinary people.

Here is some evidence, including the amounts of money spent on lobbying Congress: $3.22 billion just in 2015 (bolding in the original):

READ: Look at the Lobbyists Clinton and Wasserman Schultz Picked to Write the Democratic Party’s Platform

All fine and dandy, and sure, language may change as the committee meets in Orlando this weekend to approve a final draft that will be sent to the convention later this month. But so far, there’s zero about the billions of dollars spent to lobby Congress, the White House and the other federal regulatory agencies — $3.22 billion last year alone.

Nothing about how lobbyists bundle masses of cash for candidates and bankroll lavish lunches and soirees at the party conventions. Nothing about the thousands employed along K Street to woo politicians and government officials on behalf of their fat-cat clients. Nothing about the trickle down of the lobby industry from DC into our states, counties and municipalities. Just the other day, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that since 2002, lobbyists in Minnesota alone have spent nearly $800 million buying influence: “The amount spent per year has doubled, and the number of new lobbying clients seeking to make themselves heard has tripled.”

So lobbying fundamentally does hardly exist, for politicians, although they get a lot of money from them to do as the lobbyists tells them to do.

Here is the explanation:

But the Democrats’ failure to sound the alarm on lobbying isn’t surprising, really. No one in either of the two party establishments wants to upset the cart that delivers all them golden apples. Besides, as journalist Thomas Frank writes, Washington and the lobbyists that the city nurtures have bonded as “a community – a community of corruption, perhaps, but a community nevertheless: happy, prosperous and joyfully oblivious to the plight of the country once known as the land of the middle class.”

Lobbying remains one of the nation’s “persistently prosperous industries,” Thomas Frank notes, with a “curiously bipartisan nature… After all, for this part of Washington, the only real ideology around is based on money – how much and how quickly you get paid.”


Look on their works, ye Mighty, and despair! Or better yet, take a look at a recent article in Politico, the publication which is to Washington gossip and dealmaking what Variety is to Hollywood gossip and dealmaking.

Incidentally, both links in the above quotation are well worth reading. And the explanation is that the lobbyists + the politicians form "a community – a community of corruption, perhaps, but a community nevertheless: happy, prosperous and joyfully oblivious" to the plight of anyone not belonging to them - or thus it seems.

This is a recommended article.

3. The US Needs Its Own Chilcot report

The third item is by Trevor Timm on Common Dreams and originally on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

As the UK parliament released its long-awaited Chilcot report on the country’s role in the Iraq war on Wednesday, there have been renewed calls all over Britain to try former prime minister Tony Blair for war crimes. This brings up another question: what about George W Bush?

The former US president most responsible for the foreign policy catastrophe has led a peaceful existence since he left office. Not only has he avoided any post-administration inquiries into his conduct, he has inexplicably seen his approval ratings rise (despite the carnage left in his wake only getting worse). He is an in-demand fundraiser for Republicans not named Donald Trump, and he gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak at corporate events. The chances of him ever saying in public, “I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you can ever believe,” as Blair did on Wednesday, are virtually non-existent.

The question is reasonable, but I think it very unlikely that there will be an American investigation into the lies and war crimes of Bush and his government (in the foreseeable future).

Here is some more:

House Republicans’ investigations into Benghazi has lasted far longer than any sort of investigation into Iraq, despite there being little doubt that the Iraq war was the biggest foreign policy disaster of the last quarter century. Not only did it lead to the deaths of well over a million people, but the US has spent trillions of dollars fighting it, and its chaotic ripple effects throughout the Middle East continue to dominate US foreign policy. Most notably, the war spawned the terrorist group Isis, which the US will likely spend the next generation fighting.

Coincidentally, a scathing new biography of Bush was published Tuesday by renowned historian Jean Edward Smith, and it sounds like it’s closer to an indictment than anything an official governing body has come close to producing.
In other words: More than a million people got killed, trillions of dollars were spent to kill them, but this will not be seriously investigated because this would be inconvenient to the American politicians who initiated the more than a million killings and the spending of trillions of dollars.

I think that is what it comes down to: the careers, health and happiness of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are much more important in the USA (among politicians, to be sure) than the millions they helped kill and the trillions of tax money they spent on it.


4.
Elites — Not the "Ignorant Masses" — Pose the Greatest Threat to Global Society

The fourth item is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams:
This is from near the beginning:

Following a combination of backward-looking and introspection, the view that has come out on the other end has often been striking: Europe and the United States, many suggest, are in fact suffering from a surplus of democracy. The people, the masses, driven by irrational fears and overblown anxieties, are exercising their reactionary impulses and using their influence to take a sledgehammer to the system.

Historically, conclusions of this kind are nothing new. In response to populist upheaval and democratic movements from below, elites always attempt to muster a response to at once explain the discontent and quash the resulting backlash.

This year, however, has been unique in many ways, one of them being the boldness with which elites have asserted not just their right to rule, but their sense of moral obligation
Yes, indeed - and as I explained on July 6, even (?) the present German Spiegel printed an article - a false, lying, dishonest article, in my opinion - that stressed the need to end direct democracy, and hand things over to
the elected politicians
(who should be controlled by direct democracy, and who betrayed everyone else for money, money, money, for this is why the
same political liars privatized most things that were for many decades in the hands of the public).

Here is one of these journalistic assholes:

"It's time," declared James Traub in Foreign Policy, in perhaps the most brazen assertion of the assumed duty of the ruling class, "for the elites to rise up against the ignorant masses."
(..)
But while it is cloaked in the garb of objectivity, Traub's insistence that elites "rise up" is little more than the latest edition of, in the words of conservative commentator Ross Douthat, "A powerful caste's self-serving explanation for why it alone deserves to rule the world."
Yes indeed. What happened in fact is this:

It is elites — including Traub himself — who have for decades cloaked devastating wars in the soaring rhetoric of "humanitarian intervention." It is elites who have forced upon crumbling economies austerity that has served to prolong and worsen already dire circumstances. It is elites who have peddled the fantasy of neoliberalism, which has created a system that lavishly rewards the wealthiest while leaving everyone else to compete for the rest. It is elites, political and corporate, who have devastated the environment in the name of profit. It is elites who have crashed the global economy.

The masses, for their part, are always there to pick up the costs.

Also, it are the elites (the political elites, who nearly all belong to the financial elites) who privatized everything they could privatize:

In Holland healthcare has been privatized - and got 6 times more expensive; in Holland energy has been privatized - and got 2 or 3 times more expensive; in Holland the giro system has been privatized - and got a lot worse; in Holland water got privatized, and got 10 times as expensive; in Holland illegal drugs dealing has been privatized by the politicians, who give out personal assignments to their friends to illegally deal, I do not know for which remuneration. And that is just the beginning, for very much more has been privatized and made a lot more expensive for the many users, and a lot more profitable for the few owners (and their CEOs). [1]

The article ends as follows:

"Increasing numbers of average Americans can no longer stomach voting for parties that only pretend to represent their interests," notes Thomas Ferguson.

Who can blame them? And who can blame those who long to thwart the political and corporate leaders who continue to peddle politics and economics as usual?

Until elites come to recognize the fact that the system they have cultivated — the system that has allowed them to thrive at the expense of everyone else — has helped to foster the kind of resentment they are now desperately attempting to suppress, they will continue to be the target of those whose material circumstances have become unbearable, in large part due to the global economic order.

But in all likelihood, they will not recognize this fact. As Upton Sinclair used to say, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

Yes. Upton Sinclair said it well, and one thing quite a few persons still don't recognize is that politicians, in vast majority, are careerists who excel in the ability to lie (and normally in nothing else), and who belong nearly all - "left", "right" and "center" - to the elite that they were nominated to control. (They don't control it anymore: they serve it, for money. This is also why they privatized everything - see above - : for money, for themselves.)

To be a politician = (in nearly all cases) to be a member of the elite, for life also, and to be guaranteed of a top income. [2]

This is a recommended article.
---------------
Notes
[1] For Dutchies: Prime privatizers were the sick degenerates who form the top of the PvdA (Dutch "Labour", in quotes, because it is all propaganda and all lies). I do hope they get totally destroyed in the coming elections.

[2] Incidentally: I have always refused to vote for any politician since 1971 (which was the last time I was legally forced to) because I could see then what I can see now: Almost every politician is a lying careerist pretending to care for "the people" in order to earn a lot of money for themselves.

The difference between then and now is that then the corruption was personal, and now the corruption is systemic, institutionalized, systematic and organized (through e-mails etc.) Also, it delivers a lot more money than it did 45 years ago.

This is also an important reason why I think the present system has to collapse before it can be build up again: it will not happen from within the system, for within corruption rules supreme over nearly everyone. And it can not happen from outside the system as long as this works, for this has
the police, the military, the secret services and the conformist collaborators
on their side.

       home - index - summaries - mail