1. War ‘Has Become a Permanent Condition’ for
‘Our Revolution’: Promise and Gaps
3. The High Cost of American Hubris
4. 'Good News,' Says Sanders, as McConnell Signals No
Lame-Duck Vote on TPP
5. Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Others
Condemn 'Coup' in Brazil
6. NSA Whistleblowers: NSA Hack Was Likely An Inside
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, August 27, 2016.
is a crisis log with 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1
is about the war economy that the US practises since the early 2000s,
and is quite good; item 2 is about Sanders' "Our
Revolution", and is in my opinion considerably too negative; item 3 is an excellent article about the very
costs the American war economy has for the American people; item 4 is about the - rather amazing - fact that there
probably will be no vote on the TPP under Obama (who is
pro); item 5
is about a condemnation of the coup in Brazil, with which I agree
(though I am pessimistic about Brazil's chances since rich criminals
made the coup); and item 6 is interesting
information about the latest NSA hack (see here):
it probably is by an
insider (according to William Binney and others).
1. War ‘Has Become a Permanent Condition’ for the United
The first item today is by Jane Stillwater on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Did you know that Oliver Stone was a Vietnam vet? That
explains a lot. No wonder he has come out so strongly against all the various American “war”
fiascos since then. If you had suffered through all the shite that
he did while fighting in Vietnam, you would most likely be anti-war as
Stone recently spoke at the annual Veterans
For Peace convention here in Berkeley—and he had a lot to say too.
“America’s crackpot realists create the terror for which they then
provide the antidote.” Apparently it’s the American thing to do.
“In Vietnam, every time we took fire, we went berserk.
We’d blow up everything. The mentality of absolute destruction. But
when I came back from Vietnam, I thought that intelligence would
finally start to reign. Didn’t happen. Reagan’s warning to the world
was that Americans could be truly barbaric. That was the lesson of
Hiroshima too—to let the Soviet Union know that America was capable of
I sort of knew, but I hadn't realized that he also gained
of medals for heroism: See Oliver Stone
(<-Wikipedia). I agree this - somehow - explains a lot about his
films. And I also agree with Stone's diagnosis (and Truman (<-
Wikipedia) - who dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki -
a war criminal, although I agree it happened over 70 years ago).
There is also this:
I agree, and this is a recommended article.
And then Stone added, “At home, the war is now happening
here too. Our policemen are doing the same thing here now that
Americans did in Vietnam—escalating. Like Americans did in Afghanistan.
Going berserk. Blowing things up. It’s sick. We have to learn how
to calm down.”
Then Andrew Bracevich also spoke about how the military-industrial complex
is screwing us over. “War has become a permanent condition—yet we don’t
even talk about it. Neither Clinton or Trump have mentioned
Afghanistan, America’s longest war. War has become the new
normal. But here’s the rub: Our appearance of abundance is rapidly
eroding. Endless war has become a diversion that Americans can
And then Ann
Jones brought all this information down to the personal
level—regarding how endless war is screwing our individual vets. “When
our soldiers came back from the wars, that was where the trouble
started. VA hospitals were not prepared for this new rush. They
had become geriatric wards. So they changed gears.
“But another bunch of war profiteers also sprang into
action, providing all our vets with magic pain-killers. ‘Provide all
patients with pain medications,’ came down the orders. And vets soon
discovered that heroin was cheaper and started on that too. And the
death rate among vets increased dramatically. The vets were sitting
ducks to support this drug scam.” And Big Pharma started raking in the
profits at the cost of our vets’ lives.
2. Sanders’s ‘Our
Revolution’: Promise and Gaps
The second item is by Norman Solomon on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
While Bernie Sanders was doing a
brilliant job of ripping into the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the
livestreamed launch of the Our Revolution organization on Wednesday
night, CNN was airing a phone interview with Hillary Clinton and MSNBC
was interviewing Donald Trump’s campaign manager.
That sums up the contrast between the
enduring value of the Bernie campaign and the corporate media’s
fixation on the political establishment. Fortunately, Our Revolution
won’t depend on mainline media. That said, the group’s debut
foreshadowed not only great potential but also real pitfalls.
Actually, I don't think it is a
that the mainline media are so corrupted (or onesided: you
they cannot be relied upon for
most things. And as I have argued before - and many have done so, for
a long time also - there is no real democracy without a widespread
I agree there is no real democracy in the
USA (and see here) but I certainly don't
say that is "fortunate".
As to the pitfalls Solomon sees, I also
disagree more than that I agree:
As a 501c4 organization, Our Revolution
won’t be running campaigns. Instead, it’ll raise funds and provide
support for campaigns while being legally prohibited from
“coordinating” with them. And — most imminently with the urgent need to
stop the TPP in Congress during the lame-duck session — Our Revolution
could make a big difference in pressuring lawmakers on key issues.
Overall, the livestreaming debut of Our
Revolution continued a terrific legacy from the Bernie campaign of
educating and agitating with vital progressive positions on such
crucial matters as economic justice, institutional racism, climate
change, Wall Street, corporate trade deals and health care.
If Bernie and Our Revolution continue to evade the present-day
realities of “the madness of militarism,” their political agenda will
be significantly more limited than what our revolution requires for a
truly progressive future.
I think that is too negative a
agree Bernie Sanders is weaker on the military and on foreign policies
in general than I like, but I like him, and he is one of the few
American politicians who is a genuine progressive; "Our
the only realistic hope I see for gathering considerable funds
for progressive causes; and I also think it would be better not
to start criticizing
"Our Revolution" for being "significantly more
limited than what our revolution requires" until
it has started reasonably.
3. The High Cost of American Hubris
The third item is by Natylie Baldwin on Consortiumnews, and I
should say immediately this is an excellent article that I strongly
recommend (even though none of its links work):
This contains the
As science writer John Horgan concluded
in his book The End of War in which he
undertook a scientific analysis of war via the study of history,
anthropology, psychology and sociology, the old adage about justice
being a prerequisite for peace is wrong. It is peace that is
necessary for justice to take root. The violent, chaotic and wasteful
conditions of modern war are not conducive to the pursuit of justice or
Most Americans do not share the
Neoliberal, Neoconservative, or Responsibility to Protect club’s
messianic vision of an America that needs to recreate the world to fit
some bastardized idea of imperial “democracy” that requires a Year Zero
program to destroy the social, cultural and political
foundations of target countries (see Iraq, Libya, and
The restoration of our democratic
republic and the revitalization of our economy and society are
intimately connected to pulling out of the militarist/imperialist
projects that are killing our country, along with the casualties it is
responsible for around the world. It was estimated last
year by physicians’ groups that deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan and
Pakistan from the U.S. “war on terror” (USWOT) are 1.3 million at the
Yes, indeed, I agree with everything,
although I think that it is rather unlikely
that the American democratic republic can be restored without
major economic collapse. (I hope I am mistaken, but this is
what I think. My main reason to think so is that the right has won
most things over the last 35 years and made enormous legal
changes - deregulations - that all
help the rich.)
Here is some more on the number of
that have been killed as a consequence of American operations and
interventions since 1945:
Other historians and political
scientists, going further back in the American Empire’s reign, have
estimated 20 million to 30 million people have perished as
a result of Washington’s covert operations and overt military
interventions that have occurred almost continuously since 1945.
Take a moment to let that really sink
in. Each of those 20 million to 30 million was a living, breathing
person who – like you and me – had hopes, dreams, fears and other
people who loved them. With this track record, is it any wonder
that the world views the U.S. as the biggest threat to
world peace by a wide margin?
That indeed is an enormous amount
of persons, though it is also true that World War II (six
1939 till 1945), that indeed was total war, took between 50 million and
85 million persons killed.
Then there is this, although I disagree
with the first paragraph:
We use our military to relentlessly kill
and destroy because our political leaders no longer have the will or
imagination to build something constructive. Militarism is the
refuge of the morally and intellectually bankrupt.
With a Pentagon budget that comprises 54
percent of the discretionary budget – not counting the black budget
expenditures of intelligence agencies estimated at an additional $52
billion annually — this is 4 percent more than 1990 levels – the time
at which the late expert on the military industrial complex, Seymour
Melman, made the following observation:
“The American ruling class, by 1990, has
become a state/corporate managerial entity. Together they control the
military-industrial complex. … The war economy, in the service of
extending the decision power and wealth of America’s state and
corporate managers, has been consuming the US civilian infrastructure.
Roads, bridges, the water supply, waste disposal systems, housing,
medical care facilities, schools are in disrepair from coast to coast.”
I disagree with the first paragraph
because the fundamental reasons for militarism are not
unimaginative political leaders, but political
leaders who profit in more power or more income from war, or who
have bosses who profit a lot.
But the rest is quite correct and quite
(<- Wikipedia) military-industrial
complex (<-Wikipedia) has triumphed; and the USA does at present
and since the early 2000s have a war economy
(<- Wikipedia), which also destroys "[r]oads,
bridges, the water supply, waste disposal systems, housing, medical
care facilities" and "schools".
Here is more on America's war
certainly is, with over half of all the discretionary spending
that the government can do):
Yes, indeed. And there is a lot more in the
article, which I strongly recommend - and incidentally it is
true that none
of the underlined links in this article work, also not on
Consortiumnews. This is a pity, but the text is fine, and contains a
lot more than I have quoted.
According to geopolitical analyst, Conn
Hallinan, “We spend more on our ‘official’ military budget than we
do on Medicare, Medicaid, Health and Human Services, Education, and
Housing and Urban Development combined.”
In fact, if that $6 trillion spent on
wars in the Middle East was to be invested in projects that improved
Americans’ lives, we could achieve the following and still have some
- Completely upgrade our ailing
infrastructure ($3.6 trillion)
- Invest the upfront costs to implement
the Stanford University plan for 100 percent renewable
energy in the U.S. by 2050, creating almost 6 million jobs over 40
years in the process ($350 billion*);
- Expand Medicare to cover all
Americans ($394 billion);
Double the salary of all high school
teachers ($80 billion)
Instead, we have the budgetary sinkhole
that has become the security state; simultaneously, our politicians
have implemented major tax cuts for the wealthy. The result over
the past 15 years is that we have witnessed the largest transfer of
money upward to the wealthiest segment of our society.
News,' Says Sanders, as McConnell Signals No Lame-Duck Vote on TPP
The fourth item is by
Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I say! And I agree with Bernie Sanders that
this is good news, even though
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said
Thursday that the U.S. Senate will
not vote on the 12-nation, corporate-friendly Trans Pacific Partnership
(TPP) this year,
buoying progressive hopes that the trade deal will never come to
to the news, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—whose opposition to the
TPP was a hallmark of his presidential campaign—said: "This is good
news for American workers, for the environment, and for the ability to
protect public health."
a Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast in Louisville that the
agreement, "which has some serious flaws, will not be
acted upon this year."
Grassroots groups have led a concerted
campaign to prevent a vote during the so-called "lame-duck" session
of Congress, after the November election and before President Barack
Obama leaves office in January. The White House recently vowed to wage
push" in favor of such a vote.
"We never thought we would agree with Mitch
McConnell on something, but we do agree on not bringing the TPP to a
vote in the lame-duck session," said Adam Green, Progressive Change
Campaign Committee co-founder, on Friday.
it only means that the TPP is shifted forward to the next
5. Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Others Condemn
'Coup' in Brazil
The fifth item today is
by Nika Knight on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I quite agree, though I should add
that I am not optimistic about Brazil's chances (for the simple
reason that in most fights between the people and
Naomi Klein, Oliver
Stone, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Arundhati Roy, and 17 other human
rights activists, intellectuals, and public figures on Wednesday sent a
letter to the Brazilian government condemning the impeachment of the
country's President Dilma Rousseff, and demanding that Brazil's senate
"respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million
people took part in."
In the letter,
which was published by the U.K.-based group No Coup in Brazil, the
luminaries argue that "Brazil is a major regional power and has the
largest economy in Latin America. If this sustained attack on its
democratic institutions is successful, the negative shock waves will
reverberate throughout the region."
the rich, the rich win because they have more money and normally
command the military - and I am very sorry this is so).
6. NSA Whistleblowers: NSA Hack Was Likely An Inside Job
The sixth and last item today is by WashingtonsBlog on his site:
This starts as follows:
The mainstream press is accusing Russia
of being behind the release of information on NSA hacking tools.
Washington’s Blog asked the
highest-level NSA whistleblower in history, William Binney – the NSA
executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for
digital information, who served as the senior technical director within
the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA
veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s
best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet
command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so
predicted Soviet invasions before they happened (“in the 1970s, he
decrypted the Soviet Union’s command system, which provided the US and
its allies with real-time surveillance of all Soviet troop movements
and Russian atomic weapons”) – what he thinks of such claims.
Binney told us:
The probability is that an insider
provided the data.
I say this because the NSA net is a
closed net that is continuously encrypted. Which would mean, that
if someone wanted to hack into the NSA network they would not only have
to know weaknesses in the network/firewalls/tables and passwords but
also be able to penetrate the encryption.
So, my bet is that it is an
insider. In my opinion, if the Russians had these files, they
would use them not leak them or any part of them to the world.
There is considerably more in the article,
both by Binney
(<- Wikipedia) and by James Bamford, who are both extensively
quoted, and I agree that there may be another
Snowden in the NSA.