1. Pentagon Tapping In to
Social Science to Target
Noam Chomsky's 8-Point Rationale for Voting for the
Lesser Evil Presidential
3. America's Top Spies and Analysts Warn of Real
of a Trump Presidency
4. Computer Expert Hacks Into Common Voting Machine
in Minutes to Reveal Shocking
2016 Election Threat
ACLU Forces US Government to Release Secret Drone
The 21st Century Doesn't Need a New Deal -- It Needs
a New Economic Model
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, August 7, 2016.
is a crisis log. There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item
1 is about how the Pentagon now - effectively - researches all
Americans and everybody else as if they are terrorists; item 2 is about Chomsky's reasons to vote for "the
lesser evil presidential candidate" (and I quite agree); item 3 is about a warning by 5 American top spies (!!)
who are against a Trump presidency (and their arguments are good); item 4 is about how easy it is to crack the present
American voting machines; item 5 is about the
secret drone playbook (that is now "revealed", except that it doesn't
answer many questions); while item 6 is about the
"New Deal" (in an argument I think is a bit mistaken: we need a new
deal, but it needs not be Roosevelt's, and we do not
need A New Economic Model - I think).
Tapping In to Social Science to Target Activist Movements
first item today is by Emma Niles on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
I say. In fact this is what I expected
since the NSA etc. are free to treat every American as
a terrorist, and are free for that reason to collect every-
thing they can get from any American, and also from any
non-American, and to make huge dossiers of these.
A June 12 report published
by The Guardian exposes what many Americans have long feared:
United States military strategists are setting their sights on social
movements. The report, written by Nafeez Ahmed, explains how a program
under the Department of Defense, the Minerva Initiative, has
begun to utilize social science to develop better “operational tools.”
The multi-million dollar programme is
designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant
insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense
policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant
Among the projects awarded for the
period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US
Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an
empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and
contagions.” The project will determine “the critical mass (tipping
point)” of social [contagions] by studying their “digital traces” in
the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma
elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park
protests in Turkey.”
Twitter posts and conversations will
be examined “to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion
and when they become mobilised.”
Another project awarded this year to
the University of Washington “seeks to uncover the conditions under
which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic
change originate,” along with their “characteristics and consequences.”
The project, managed by the US Army Research Office, focuses on
“large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in
enduring activity,” and will cover 58 countries in total.
In fact, I'd say this seems to have created four groups of Americans.
The first two are these: 1. the staffs of the Pentagon and the NSA, and
2. the staffs of the government.
These folks now know everything about anyone , while no one who does not belong
to these groups knows
anything, not even about what is known about him or her by
these mostly anonymous forces, that, for these reasons, must be
assigned a superhuman status: They and only they know
what there is to be known .
Next, there are these two groups: 3. the rich, and 4. the non-rich.
Both are not to know what the superhumans from the first two
classes know (who also are the only ones to command military
and police forces),
but these two groups differ radically, in that the first is both served
by and serves the first two classes, while the second carries everyone
else, but has almost nothing to say, while being completely known 
to the first two groups.
I have been sketching, and perhaps to some extent indulged in trying to
foresee the future, but then again, with such enormous
differences in power
between the military and the
governmental men and women on the one side, and the rest of the
on the other side, I think I have been fair, for these
military and the government know  everything (in secret) while no one
else has even the right to know anything about what they know.
(For these are overseen by secret courts.)
And in any case, for reasons like the above, I am not at all amazed
that the military and governmental forces have decided to treat
American who does not belong to them as a terrorist:
One of the most startling aspects
of the initiative is its conflation of peaceful activism with
terrorism. “[S]upporters of political violence” are “different from
terrorists only in that they do not embark on ‘armed militancy’
themselves,” Ahmed explains. And although university researchers were
told that the initiative was a “basic research effort” with no real
application, Ahmed cites an email that clearly shows “that DoD is
looking to ‘feed results’ into ‘applications.’ ”
In fact, "supporters of political violence"
are not diferent from "terrorists" only in that "they do not embark on ‘armed militancy’ themselves" - for that would make Obama and the Pentagon terrorists
as well, as it would make all their supporters (who do support
violence by drones in many countries against what they are sure are
And I am certain that in fact who is "a terrorist" and who is
terrorist" is decided by the American military and government by a
simple criterion: Those who support the military and the government are
heroes; those tho oppose the military and the government are
terrorists; and no hero is a terrorist.
This is also quite logical (except that the premises are wildly
arbitrary), for which reason it can be safely inferred that the
Department of Defense will be "looking
results’ into ‘applications.’"
Noam Chomsky's 8-Point Rationale for Voting for the Lesser Evil
The second item is by John Halle and Noam Chomsky on AlterNet and
originally on Chomsky's Official Site:
This starts as
Among the elements of the weak
form of democracy enshrined in the constitution, presidential elections
continue to pose a dilemma for the left in that any form of
participation or non participation appears to impose a significant cost
on our capacity to develop a serious opposition to the corporate agenda
served by establishment politicians. The position outlined below is
that which many regard as the most effective response to this
quadrennial Hobson’s choice, namely the so-called “lesser evil” voting
strategy or LEV. Simply put, LEV involves, where you can, i.e. in safe
states, voting for the losing third party candidate you prefer, or not
voting at all. In competitive “swing” states, where you must, one votes
for the “lesser evil” Democrat.
Yes, indeed - although I must add that I doubt
somewhat whether "partici- pation or non
participation appears to impose a significant cost on our capacity to
develop a serious opposition to the corporate agenda". My reason is that most voters simply are not
activists, but apart from this I quite agree.
And I also agree with the following principle:
The basic moral principle at
stake is simple: not only must we take responsibility for our actions,
but the consequences of our actions for others are a far more important
consideration than feeling good about ourselves.
Indeed, and that is quite
fundamental. In fact, here is the full argument by Chomsky and
Halle, and I think it ought to be convincing to anybody
thinking and reasonable
As I said: I quite agree.
1) Voting should not be viewed as a form
of personal self-expression or moral judgement directed in retaliation
towards major party candidates who fail to reflect our values, or of a
corrupt system designed to limit choices to those acceptable to
2) The exclusive consequence of the act
of voting in 2016 will be (if in a contested “swing state”) to
marginally increase or decrease the chance of one of the major party
3) One of these candidates, Trump,
denies the existence of global warming, calls for increasing use of
fossil fuels, dismantling of environmental regulations and refuses
assistance to India and other developing nations as called for in the
Paris agreement, the combination of which could, in four years, take us
to a catastrophic tipping point. Trump has also pledged to deport 11
million Mexican immigrants, offered to provide for the defense of
supporters who have assaulted African American protestors at his
rallies, stated his “openness to using nuclear weapons”, supports a ban
on Muslims entering the U.S. and regards “the police in this country as
absolutely mistreated and misunderstood” while having “done an
unbelievable job of keeping law and order.” Trump has also pledged to
increase military spending while cutting taxes on the rich, hence
shredding what remains of the social welfare “safety net” despite
4) The suffering which these and other
similarly extremist policies and attitudes will impose on marginalized
and already oppressed populations has a high probability of being
significantly greater than that which will result from a Clinton
5) 4) should constitute sufficient basis
to voting for Clinton where a vote is potentially consequential-namely,
in a contested, “swing” state.
6) However, the left should also
recognize that, should Trump win based on its failure to support
Clinton, it will repeatedly face the accusation (based in fact), that
it lacks concern for those sure to be most victimized by a Trump
7) Often this charge will emanate from
establishment operatives who will use it as a bad faith justification
for defeating challenges to corporate hegemony either in the Democratic
Party or outside of it. They will ensure that it will be widely
circulated in mainstream media channels with the result that many of
those who would otherwise be sympathetic to a left challenge will find
it a convincing reason to maintain their ties with the political
establishment rather than breaking with it, as they must.
8) Conclusion: by dismissing a “lesser
evil” electoral logic and thereby increasing the potential for
Clinton’s defeat the left will undermine what should be at the core of
what it claims to be attempting to achieve.
3. America's Top Spies
and Analysts Warn of Real Threat of a Trump Presidency
The third item is by Adele M. Stan
This starts as follows:
I agree with the anonymous
intelligence official - and speaking for myself: I am a psychologist
who says Trump is not sane. Then again, what I think is
not important - but then the following five American top military men
also either agree with me, or come close to what I think:
Starting next week, Hillary Clinton and
Donald J. Trump, the two major-party candidates for the presidency of
the United States, will begin receiving national security briefings
from intelligence officials.
One senior intelligence official, speaking
to the Washington Post on August 3 on the condition of
anonymity, contended “he would decline to participate in any session
with Trump…citing not only concern with Trump’s expressions of
admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin but seeming uninterest
in acquiring a deeper or more nuanced understanding of world events.”
1. Michael J. Morell,
former acting director and deputy director of the Central Intelligence
I have not copied any of the texts
that accompany these names in the article, but their arguments are
quite good and this is a recommended article.
2. Michael Hayden,
former CIA and NSA director, former U.S. Air Force general.
3. John Allen, retired U.S. Marine
general, veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
4. John Hutson, retired U.S.
Navy rear admiral, the Navy’s former top lawyer.
5. John Noonan, former U.S. Air Force
captain and Minuteman III nuclear missile launch officer, former
foreign policy adviser to Trump’s Republican primary opponent Jeb Bush.
The article ends as follows, and includes a bit by John Noonan:
Noonan also asserts that Trump “doesn’t
have a clue about” the nuclear triad. In the December debate in which
Trump seemed to prove that point, he punted with the following
The biggest problem we have today is
nuclear—nuclear proliferation, and having some maniac, having some
madman, go out and get a nuclear weapon. In my opinion, that is the
biggest single problem that our country faces.
Yes. And I agree Trimp is such a
"maniac" and such a "madman" - and I am an M.A. in psychology with a
of knowledge about politics.
4. Computer Expert Hacks Into Common Voting Machine in Minutes
to Reveal Shocking 2016 Election Threat
The fourth item today is by Bethania Palma Markus on AlterNet and
originally on Raw Story:
This starts as follows - and I have warned
about this possibility several times before in the crisis
It took Princeton computer science
professor Andrew Appel and one of his graduate students just
minutes to hack into a voting machine still used in Louisiana, New
Jersey, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Politico reports.
Professor Andrew Appel purchased
for $82 a Sequoia AVC Advantage, one of the oldest machines
still in use. Within 7 seconds, he and his student, Alex
Halderman, had picked the lock open. Within minutes, the duo had
removed the device’s unsecured ROM chips with their own hardware that
makes it easy to alter the machine’s results.
Appel, his colleagues and students have
been hacking into voting machines at the Center for Information
Technology Policy since the late 1990s. With their work, the group has
come to the conclusion that at some point, the national election will
be the target of a coordinated cyber attack.
I have also said several times that such
attacks on computers would be "easy". The above story strongly
And here is Andrew Apple saying who he
thinks is most likely to do such a thing:
“Look, we could see 15 years ago
that this would be perfectly possible,” Appel told Politico. “It’s well
within the capabilities of a country as sophisticated as Russia.”
I agree, but I also
tend to think that anyone with sufficient money may rather
easily do so. And these real dangers have been about ever since
Al Gore lost the elections he factually won in 2000, due to a
combination of problems with
counting votes properly, and an intervention by the Supreme Court.
It is a real problem in part also because - like most computer
crimes - it will happen, if it happens, invisibly and unrecorded, and
will be done by anony- mous men, working for unknown institutions and
for unknown pay, who are serving unknown interests (until they become
revealed, somehow - which also may not happen).
ACLU Forces US Government to Release Secret Drone Playbook
The fifth item today is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as
The release of the Presidential
Policy Guidance (PPG), also known as "the Playbook," came in
response to a lawsuit filed
last year by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) seeking the
framework—which Obama said
at the time was created in the interest of greater transparency and
oversight over the expansive targeted killing program.
"For the same human progress that gives
us the technology to strike half a world away also demands the
discipline to constrain that power—or risk abusing it," the president
declared in May 2013 during a landmark foreign policy speech at
National Defense University.
Now, three years after that address, the
redacted PPG finally provides the rights group with "crucial
information about policies that have resulted in the deaths of
thousands of people, including hundreds of non-combatants, and about
the bureaucracy that the Obama administration has constructed to
oversee and implement those policies," said ACLU deputy legal director
Jameel Jaffer in a statement
I should say first that I do not
trust Obama, simply because I have now seen eight years of the
same policy: His public
statements to his voters are quite good - more or less - leftist
propaganda, but many of his political acts - and not only his military
decisions but also other ones, such as those about banking - are the
opposites of what he publicly claims.
And clearly, if one has seen this for
nearly eight years, it does not increase one's trust in the
honesty of the president. Indeed, here are some of the things still
The ACLU said that while the documents
provide a "window" into the government's process of targeting
individuals, questions still remain about "where the PPG applies,
whether the president has waived its requirements in particular
instances, and how the PPG’s relatively stringent standards can be
reconciled with the accounts of eye witnesses, journalists, and human
rights researches who have documented large numbers of bystander
This is again the opposition between
Barack Obama's public words to his voters, and quite a few of his
factual policies, e.g. as regards the military and as regards banking.
And there also are such rather wide
gaps between what the White House claims (and maybe I
should remind you of I.F. Stone's relevant quotation:
"All governments lie and
say should be believed") and what can be found in fact:
That is a huge difference: The
difference between the claims of the White House and what the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found are as 1 : 6,
that is about 6 times more civilians are killed in fact (it
seems) than is admitted by the White House.
Last month, the White House
reported that since 2009 U.S. drone strikes have killed between 64
and 116 civilians in areas outside of active hostilities, which was far
lower than the 380 to 801 recorded by the UK-based Bureau of
And so, while I think it is a good thing that the ACLU did - at
long last - get the reports it wanted, this doesn't mean that these
reports are true, indeed quite simply because "All
governments lie and
say should be believed". (Incidentally, one reason this quotation is correct
is because it does not have an "always" between "governments"
The 21st Century Doesn't Need a New Deal -- It Needs a New Economic
The sixth and last item today is
by C.J. Polychroniou on Truth-out:
This starts as follows - and perhaps I should
I rather like C.J. Polychroniou, and have reviewed several of his
articles, notably about Noam Chomsky (I found five in 2016 in the index):
In today's global economy, neoliberalism
reigns supreme, organized labor is in deep retreat and public debt has
shot through the roof. In the face of these crises, is a global 21st
century remaking of the 1930s-era New Deal what people on the left
should be fighting for?
Contemporary progressive parties, such
as Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain, have rallied around the idea
of a "new New Deal," while the European Citizen's Initiative for a "New
Deal 4 Europe" appears to have the backing of both Labor and Green
party leaders in several European countries. In the US, Bernie Sanders
has also been a strong advocate of this idea as the way out of our
However, a closer look at the history of
the 1930s-era New Deal reveals that a new New Deal would do little to
solve the underlying problems of capitalism and could even delay
efforts to combat climate change through its emphasis on boosting
growth via a new era of state capitalism.
Yes... but I very much doubt that
most of the members of "contemporary progressive
parties" have anything like an adequate
understanding of Roosevelt's "New Deal" (which is also over 80 years
old), while I also doubt that most of the leaders of these
In fact, I would guess that for the large
majorities of these parties, their support for a "New Deal" mostly
expresses that they want a new deal in current economics, much rather
than their supporting Roosevelt's "New Deal". (Though I agree that
is incoherent - but then that is what I expect propaganda to
Having said that, here is part of Polychroniou's criticism (et je
n'aime pas le phrase "critique" en Anglais) of the idea of a
Rooseveltian New Deal:
First and foremost, active state
intervention in a capitalist regime is inevitably structured toward the
end goal of saving capitalism itself. The recent bailouts of the
financial system both in the United States and in Europe constitute the most blatant form of
active state intervention for the purpose of saving capitalism from
collapse. Indeed, when the collapse of the capitalist system seems
imminent, suddenly "socialism" is a great idea. In this case, active
state intervention in the form of bank bailouts and quantitative easing
is socialism for the rich. The same goes for the outrageous taxpayer
subsidies to business, which has led to the creation of an enormous
corporate welfare state.
With this I more or less agree, for the
present capitalist system (i) indeed does try to keep saving
capitalism, and (ii) does not at all refrain from using socialist
methods to do so, if these socialist methods support the
who have most of the power and have most of the money anyway.
But I also partially disagree, in part because I think that
under a form of capitalism that is not only still led by the rich, but
that has become far more
radically pro-capitalist in the last 35 years of deregulation after deregulation,
each of which increased the powers and the incomes of the rich
and hurt the powers and the incomes of the non-rich, one cannot
expect anything but pro- capitalist rules and (de)regulations.
There is a lot more in the article, which
is recommended, but I will quote only two more bits. The first is this:
What the world needs today is not a
return to the traditional economics of rescuing capitalism but a new
global economic model based on new economic values, balanced growth,
and the introduction of cooperative economics. A reversal of today's
globalization trends may also be necessary for the realistic transition
into a new economic model, one that breaks free from a political
economy paradigm which, as I have argued previously, "revolves around
finance capital, is based on a savage form of free market
fundamentalism and thrives on a wave of globalizing processes and
global financial networks that have produced global economic
oligarchies with the capacity to influence the shaping of policymaking
The economic environment of contemporary
capitalism is shaped by three interrelated forces: financialization,
neoliberalism and globalization. It is the combined effects of these
three forces that have given rise to a new form of predatory capitalism
in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. As such, any project driven
by New Deal aspirations needs to implement political processes that
will undermine and bring to a halt all three of the above forces.
Again I partially agree and partially
disagree. I agree that any "new economic model" should
attack "financialization, neoliberalism and
globalization". But - it seems - I disagree
a new "economic model" is required, for each of the awesome
three of "financialization,
neoliberalism and globalization" have been
introduced in the last 35 years of deregulation
on deregulation, usually in the name of "neoliberalism", and were not
there before Thatcher and Reagan.
What those who are anti-financialization,
anti-neoliberalism and anti-globali- zation are for (and I am
among those who are against all three) is - rather simply, at least
usually - a return to the welfare state of the 1960ies till
That is, most who are anti-financialization, anti-neoliberalism and anti-
globalization are for capitalism-with-a-human-face and
are against capitalism-with-an-inhuman-face,
which was introduced by Reagan and Bill Clinton (of course for propaganda
reasons which had nothing to do with the real reasons).
And I think that is a reasonable ideal, and it should be a feasible
ideal, for all it requires (which I admit is a lot)
is to take the power the rich gained in the last 35 years from them,
and restore high taxes on the rich, while undoing the effects of
globalization and deregulation.
As I indicated, I think this will be far
from easy, especially because all deregulations were legal
changes, (the undoing of which also may require another major economic
collapse), but then again it does not require anything radical
and new in the way of leftist theory.
But the article is interesting and well
worth reading, and it ends also as follows:
Whether today's Left is up to the task,
however, is another story.
Actually I - who comes from a very - classically!
- leftist family insist that much of "today's
Left" is no longer Left in the way I
learned (before 1970) was (classically) Left. Instead, many of "today's Left"
seem to be politically
correct defenders of "equality of all" and of the rights of the LGBT(Q)
members to differ from the rest (while being
In any case, I agree that the present-day "Left" differs a
lot from what I regard as the Left, and while I also
disagree with the Left I grew up in, it was certainly more
realistic than the "Left" that arose under Bill Clinton (who also radically
redefined what the "Left" should be, according to him: See the "Third Way").
 Here there is
an ambiguity about "knowledge": There are quite a few who insist that
what has not been read by human eyes (which covers the vast
majority of what gets downloaded by the NSA etc. from the internet)
is not "human knowledge". I think that is a totally
arbitrary distinction: What is gathered is gathered on the basis of
search terms, and what is gathered may
be used for basing many decisions on, that do effect real
people in the real world.
Indeed, you may just as well have said that the databases of the
Gestapo or the KGB did not exist until some of its information
was used to arrest some individual(s), and did exist only for these
That is baloney for just the same reasons.