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Nederlog

Jul 29, 2016

Crisis: Anti-semitism, Clinton & TPP, Supreme Court, Trump & DNC, Greenwald
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Introduction

1.
Trump Supporters Flooded Me With Anti-Semitic Death
     Threats, But I Won't Be Silenced

2. Will Hillary Clinton Flip-Flop Again on TPP After Election
     Day? We Ask Her Adviser Joseph Stiglitz

3. The Next President Will Likely Appoint 4 Supreme
     Court Justices

4. Parade of Speakers at DNC Paint Trump as Unfit for
    Presidency in Every Way

5. Greenwald Explains What Out-of-Touch Media Doesn't
     Get About Trump, Russia, and US Electorate

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Friday, July 29, 2016.

This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about quite crude anti-semitism that the sister of Sarah Silverman was exposed to, after criticizing Trump; item 2 is about Stiglitz about Trump and the TPP; item 3 is about the - important - fact that the next president probably will nominate four Supreme Court judges; item 4 is about quite a few speakers at the DNC who did strongly criticize Trump (and I selected Bloomberg from 5 more); and item 5 is about Glenn Greenwald, with whom I generally tend to agree, but who is too kind to the many stupid and ignorant Americans who may vote Trump: their stupidity and ignorance does play an important role - and maybe I can say so because I have always been poorer than the poorest Dutch, but I am quite capable of understanding Trump and his dangers.

1. 
Trump Supporters Flooded Me With Anti-Semitic Death Threats, But I Won't Be Silenced

The first item today is by Laura Silverman (<-Wikipedia) on The Huffington Post:
This starts as follows - and Laura Silverman is the sister of Sarah Silverman (<-Wikipedia):

I wasn’t ignorant. I knew the atrocities of the past, knew Jews were still targets of many, but I never experienced it. I grew up in a wealthy suburb of Atlanta. There were three to five Jewish kids in all of my public school classes, so not only did I never experience anti-Semitism, but I also never experienced the unsettling feeling of being “the other.”

I grew up surrounded by a thriving and supportive community of Jews who mixed in without any discord with the religious majorities of our city. Literally, the most disconcerting thing to happen to me up until yesterday was when a girl in my dorm at the University of Georgia asked completely innocently if I “spoke Jewish.” She wasn’t being hateful — she just didn’t know. She was embarrassed and apologetic when I said the language was called Hebrew.

I say. Actually, while I agree with Silverman that the girl at the University of Georgia was quite ignorant, it is also true that there is Yiddish, which originated in the 9th Century from what was then Middle High German, while "[in] the late 19th and into the 20th century the language was more commonly called "Jewish", especially in non-Jewish contexts" (as the Wikipedia says). (For more see the Wikipedia.)

And Silverman was quite lucky in that she did "never experience anti- Semitism" - that is, until a few weeks ago, when she criticized Trump in some Tweets, which were met with extremely racistic replies from Trump supporters.

I don't like tweets; I don't like Twitter; and I don't like social media, and I will not reproduce tweets on my site, but they were very racist, and if you want to check them out, use the above dotted link.

Here is Laura Silverman's reply (in part):

My first instinct was terror: block, report, put account on private. But after a few minutes, I remembered the words of the man who passed away last night, Holocaust Survivor & Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel: “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

I understand why many have to put their accounts on private. It’s triggering. Terrifying. Decades ago, our families were slaughtered by the millions for their religion, and now that rhetoric is coming back.
There is considerably more in the article, which ends as follows:

A lot of people say Trump isn’t really racist. A lot of people say he’s just doing it to get votes. A lot of people don’t understand that’s just as dangerous — he’s created a toxic atmosphere where death threats from white supremacists are the new norm.

So I ask again — I plead again — take a step back and look at what you’re voting for before you accidentally vote against yourself.

As to the "lot of people" who "say Trump isn’t really racist": I don't believe them, for (i) very many people have been saying, for a very long time also, that he is a racist, while (ii) those who affirm he "isn’t really racist" pretend a knowledge of his motives and character they really do not have.

And there is this, by Ariana Huffington, that is printed below most or all articles in the Huffington Post that are about Trump, and that I like because it seems
quite true to me, and because it's gutsy:

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.

In case you believe that "Trump isn’t really racist", you should check out the above "racist" link. Racism is deeply despicable, and I repeat the closing words of Laura Silverman, because quite a few still don't seem to get it:

So I ask again — I plead again — take a step back and look at what you’re voting for before you accidentally vote against yourself.

Incidentally, here is a statement by someone else (not in the article, but relevant), about real politics:

"Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable."
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

And I agree that it is necessary to vote for the unpalatable Clinton in order to avoid the horribly disastrous Trump.

2. Will Hillary Clinton Flip-Flop Again on TPP After Election Day? We Ask Her Adviser Joseph Stiglitz

The second item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows:
As President Obama addressed the Democratic National Convention last night, delegates held up signs denouncing the sweeping trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Obama has been pushing through the TPP, which encompasses 12 Pacific Rim nations, including the United States, and 40 percent of the world’s economy. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have come out opposing the deal amid a wave of public protest by those who say it benefits corporations at the expense of health and environmental regulations. This week, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe told Politico that he believes Hillary Clinton would support the TPP if she were elected president. The trade agreement will be one of the main economic issues the incoming president will have to address. Others include unprecedented levels of inequality, mounting student debt and financial sector reforms. We speak with Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Columbia University professor and chief economist for the Roosevelt Institute.
That was the introduction. Here is Amy Goodman asking a good question:

AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. So, you know, I was there on the convention floor yesterday, each day, hundreds of anti-TPP signs. You advise Hillary Clinton. What is her position on the TPP?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: She’s against it. And she’s against bringing it up to a vote in the lame-duck session, which was allegedly part of the Obama strategy, you know, that they’re not going to present it to Congress until they—the idea was not to do it until the lame-duck. Everybody has come out against the lame-duck. And so, I think it’s dead for Obama’s administration.

AMY GOODMAN: And what will that mean for the next president?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: I think it makes it very clear that if there is ever to be a TPP, it has to be totally renegotiated.
I am much against the TTP, the TTIP and the TISA, and this is good news.

More precisely, it is good news that Obama's strategy to push through the
TTP seems to have failed, but I feel less sure that Hillary Clinton is really
against the TTP, and I don't know whether to believe Stiglitz on that point,
not so much because I doubt Stiglitz's convictions, but because I am quite
certain that (i) Hillary Clinton will say almost anything that will help her gain
the presidency, and "forget" most of these things as soon as she has gained her end, while (ii) she has been for the TTP for a long time.

AMY GOODMAN: You advise Hillary Clinton. What is the best way to hold her accountable? Since you don’t agree on a number of issues, what does she respond to?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, I think, partly, she’s a policy wonk. And so, she does respond to arguments. And, you know, over the last couple years, I’ve been trying to make strong arguments about why TPP is bad, not only in terms of the trade issues, the GDP, but access to health, regulation. I’ve been trying to say it’s not an issue of just dealing with the shadow banking system. It’s not an issue of just dealing with the "too big to fail" banks, the too big to regulate, the too big—we’ve got to do both.
I agree with all of that, but Stiglitz doesn't quite answer Goodman's questions (and indeed I don't know anything about the personal relations between Clinton and Stiglitz).

Here is the last bit I'll quote from this article, about Trump's chances of winning:

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: He could win. And it’s not just the polls. Remember, Bush did not get a majority of votes; Gore got many more votes than Bush. But the way our electoral system works is that you can become the president even with a minority of votes. So, when we say could Trump be the president, he doesn’t even have to win the majority of votes. He could win in the Electoral College. So, yes, I am very worried. And one of the things that I’ve been writing recently is, he’s already done an enormous amount of damage to the United States.
Stiglitz is quite right, and there are more ways in which Trump could win, e.g. by falsifying the votes in key states, which is also quite possible, as I have pointed out several times in Nederlog.

3. The Next President Will Likely Appoint 4 Supreme Court Justices: Which President Do You Want Picking Them? 

The third item is by David Morris on AlterNet:

This has a subtitle that is worth quoting, simply because it is quite true (bold in the orginal):

This election is all about the Supreme Court that will shape our lives for the next 30 years.

And the article starts as follows (and is very well worth reading in full):

Many progressives disagree with Hillary Clinton on a number of issues, in some cases intensely. But there is one overarching reason we should be vigorously supporting her election: The future of the Supreme Court is at stake.

We know the numbers. The death of Scalia split the Supreme Court between four conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents (Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy) and four liberal justices appointed by Democratic presidents (Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor). The Republican Senate, in an unprecedented stance, has refused to call a vote on President Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia.

During the next four years, the new president will likely nominate not only Scalia’s replacement but also an additional 3 new justices. Since 1971, the average age of retirement for a Supreme Court justice has been just under 79 years. Ginsburg is 83, Kennedy is 80, and Breyer will be 78 in mid-August.
Yes, indeed. Also, Supreme Court judges do tend to remain Supreme Court judges for some 25 years, which shows that the subtitle is correct.

Here is some about the role of the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court can enable or disable our work. In the last decade the justices have made it much harder to challenge wealth and power, to nurture the weak and assist the poor, to extend social justice to minorities, to reduce violence, stop discrimination, and defend the right to vote.
Which is to say that in the last decade generally the conservative judges have outvoted the others.

There is this on Citizens United (which was a ridiculous decision by the Supreme Court):
There is much talk about the need to reverse Citizens United, but that can’t be done through Congress. Only a constitutional amendment or a Supreme Court reversal can. The chances of the former are infinitesimal. If Hillary Clinton wins the chances of the latter are quite good.
Next, there is a lot more that I leave to your interests, but all of it demonstrates quite convincingly how important the Supreme Court is.

The article ends as follows:

In this election, removing the Supreme Court as a key obstacle in the way of achieving a fair and just future should be the goal that spurs our activism and our ballot choice.

Yes, I agree - and even if you hate Hillary Clinton like the plague, when it is the case that voters now have to do real politics - and:

"Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable."
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

-  they should vote for Clinton, because voting for Trump is likely to upset the next 25 to 30 years, if indeed a Trumpian presidency does not imply the destruction of the USA - as it well may, for he is mad and irresponsible.

And as to that last point, there is the following item, that shows I am far from alone in thinking these things:

4. Parade of Speakers at DNC, From Billionaire Bloomberg to Ex-CIA Director, Paint Trump as Unfit for Presidency in Every Way

The fourth item today is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:
A parade of speakers at the Democratic Convention painted a devastating picture of Donald Trump as the most unqualified, inexperienced and unpredictable nominee in anyone’s memory, urging Americans—including independents—to vote for Hillary Clinton or face dire consequences.
   
The most unexpected and strongest critiques came from Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and self-made billionaire, who took the stage and explained why “it is imperative we elect Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States,” and the former CIA director and secretary of defense Leon Panetta, who said Trump was not stable enough to be anywhere near the helm of military power.
To start with, Michael Bloomberg is far richer than Donald Trump (who claims to be a billionaire, but refuses to hand over his taxes to the public), for Bloomberg owns $46 billion dollars, and is the eighth richest person in the world (and the sixth in the USA). Also, he made his fortune from nothing: he did not have a father who started him on a million dollars.

Here is some of Bloomberg's criticism:

Bloomberg dismantled Trump’s record as a successful businessman.

“Throughout his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders, and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. Trump says he wants to run the nation like he's run his business. God help us,” he said. “I am a New Yorker and I know a con when I see one… The richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy."

Bloomberg's critique of Trump was unprecedented thus far in the campaign—the specter of another billionaire who himself flirted with an independent run for the White House in 2016 discrediting the candidate of the major party that has long been associated with business.

He did mean what he said, at least. And Bloomberg also said this:
“I say to my fellow independents, your votes matter now,” Bloomberg concluded. “I am asking you to join with me, not out of party loyalty… let’s elect a sane, competent person with experience.”
Quite so. As I see the difference between Trump and Clinton in somewhat similar terms: I think both are bad (with which Bloomberg may not agree),
though indeed Trump is far worse, but I quite agree that one major difference between Clinton and Trump is that Hillary Clinton is both sane and competent, and Donald Trump is neither sane nor competent.

There is considerably more in the article, for it also discusses Leon Panetta's and Barack Obama's contributions, but I don't like them and won't review them (though both are strongly against Trump), but you can read them in the article, which is recommended.

5. Greenwald Explains What Out-of-Touch Media Doesn't Get About Trump, Russia, and US Electorate

The fifth and last item today is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:
Donald Trump poses "extreme dangers" to the United States and the world, journalist and co-founding editor of The Intercept Glenn Greenwald says in a new interview published at Slate.
I did read the interview at Slate, which is well worth reading, but I will not quote from it because I can't copy it (as with the Guardian), at least not without trouble that I am not willing to indulge in.

Here is one quote on Common Dreams from that interview, and the speaker is Glenn Greenwald:

One of the things that is bothering me and bothered me about the Brexit debate, and is bothering me a huge amount about the Trump debate, is that there is zero elite reckoning with their own responsibility in creating the situation that led to both Brexit and Trump and then the broader collapse of elite authority. The reason why Brexit resonated and Trump resonated isn’t that people are too stupid to understand the arguments. The reason they resonated is that people have been so fucked by the prevailing order in such deep and fundamental and enduring ways that they can't imagine that anything is worse than preservation of the status quo. You have this huge portion of the populace in both the U.K. and the U.S. that is so angry and so helpless that they view exploding things without any idea of what the resulting debris is going to be to be preferable to having things continue, and the people they view as having done this to them to continue in power. That is a really serious and dangerous and not completely invalid perception that a lot of people who spend their days scorning Trump and his supporters or Brexit played a great deal in creating.
Hm. I don't quite agree, and I can point out precisely where I disagree:
The reason why Brexit resonated and Trump resonated isn’t that people are too stupid to understand the arguments. The reason they resonated is that people have been so fucked by the prevailing order in such deep and fundamental and enduring ways that they can't imagine that anything is worse than preservation of the status quo.
I'm sorry, but I have never in my 66 years earned as much as the legal minimum income in Holland, for either I worked only part time in order to study, or I got a study loan which was less than the dole which is less than the legal minimum income, or I got dole (from which I had to repay debts), and when at long last I got a minimum pension I still received no more than 96% of the minimum pension because I had lived for two years in Norway.

But I am quite capable of understanding Trump and Brexit; I also got one of the best psychology M.A.'s ever awarded and a very good philosophy B.A. after which my right to take the M.A. was denied to me (as the only person in Holland this happened to since the Nazis were beaten), all without following  almost any lectures, since I was simply too ill for that, and for these reasons I say that I am quite convinced that most low income low education persons I have heard or read both have been "
fucked by the prevailing order" and often are too stupid and ignorant to see that very much they agree  to in fact are plain propaganda, plain lies or plain deceptions that they could have seen through if they were more intelligent and more knowledgeable.

And since I also had a very poor very proletarian education in which I did meet a whole lot of very poor proletarians, I think I am quite justified in saying what I think.

Finally, you can think what you please, but I think that stupidity and ignorance are very real and very dangerous; I will keep saying that till the end of my life; and at present most of my worries about Trump are less about Trump than about the talents of the American population who may be so stupid and ignorant that they cannot see through the
propaganda and the lies that deceive them.

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