Sep 10, 2016

Crisis: Trump, Obama, Facebook, Krugman On Trump, American Police State
Sections                                                                                     crisis index

Donald Trump Lacks Sense or Sensibility
2. Robert Scheer: U.S. Pledge of $90 Million to Laos for
     Cluster Munitions Legacy Is ‘Chump Change’

3. Paul Krugman Reveals the Disturbing Consequences of
     the Media's Inability to Call Out Trump's Lies

4. Facebook Under Fire for Censoring One of the Most
     Iconic War Photos

5. The Tyranny of 9/11: The Building Blocks of the
     American Police State from A-Z

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, September 10, 2016.

This is a crisis log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is "a leftist's" comments on Trump, which - to me - are disappointing; item 2 is about Robert Scheer's deserved takedown of Obama's propaganda in Laos; item 3 is about Facebook's censoring historical fact (but hey: this is Facebook, that steals everything from anyone); item 4 is about Krugman on Trump (weak); and item 5 is about an article of John Whitehead that I mostly agree with, but I also think it is a bit too strong (and the situation in the USA can be far more serious than it is, though I agree it is pretty bad).

Also, I like to draw your attention to a previous Nederlog, called Rewriting my site, that is indeed about that, or more precisely: About a resized graphical background that is necessary since I have now a normal sized squarish monitor. [0] This will take quite a lot of work, which I will continue after having finished the present crisis item. (It will probably be done before the end of September. I do not yet know when, but I will say so in Nederlog if it is finished.) And here is the link to Rewriting my site, that shows how much I have corrected up till today or yesterday.

In fact, I finished the philosophy section yesterday (Sep 9). There still are some things to be done, that I keep till later, but the site does look a lot better now than it did before (on my monitors).

In case you wonder why I did not do much with it since 2012: My eyes were quite painful. They are not healed yet, but they are a lot better now, and that is the main explanation.

1. Donald Trump Lacks Sense or Sensibility

The first item today is by Eugene Robinson on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:

The most revealing moment in the presidential candidates’ first joint forum Wednesday night came when Donald Trump told the world how much he admires Vladimir Putin.

Never mind that the Russian strongman invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea. Never mind that he supports the butcher Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Never mind that so many of his political opponents end up murdered or imprisoned. Never mind that U.S. officials suspect his government of trying to disrupt our election with cyberattacks. In Trump’s star-struck eyes, all of this makes him “a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”

Putin, you see, once paid Trump a compliment. “If he says great things about me,” Trump told moderator Matt Lauer, “I’m going to say great things about him.”

There you have it, folks, the distilled essence of Trump’s disgraceful campaign. It’s not about immigration or foreign policy or making America “great again,” whatever that means. It’s entirely about Trump and his raging egomania.

I suppose this is the typical "leftist" stand about Donald Trump. And while it is less unsympathetic to me than the rightist stand, there are in the above quotation at least three things I disagree with: (1) I think paragraph two is on a stupid level; (2) I think the compliments-invite-compliments is stupid; and (3) Trump's campaign is disgraceful, but it is not about his egomania (though I agree it is important): it is about the presidency and about power.

Also, I just don't like the tone. Here is some more:

On top of insisting that Putin is a great guy, Trump denigrated the U.S. military’s high command. “I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble,” he said. “They have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing for our country.”

Lauer recalled that Trump has long claimed to have a secret plan for defeating the Islamic State, but now says he would ask “the generals” to submit a plan within 30 days for victory over the terrorist group. Reminded that he has boasted that he knows more about the Islamic State than our military leaders do, yet now says he wants them to come up with a plan, Trump replied: “Well, they’ll probably be different generals, to be honest with you.”

Trump "denigrated the U.S. military’s high command", while everybody on "the left" knows these generals are the best and most peace loving persons that ever were Americans (?!?!). I'm sorry...

And incidentally: It is again the tone of voice I dislike, as if you can talk about politics on the level of a 10 or 12 year old.

Here is the ending of the article:
Face the truth: Trump has to be the most dangerously ignorant major-party presidential candidate in history.
So that's what's wrong with Trump? He is very ignorant? I agree he is, but I don't think that is his main problem: He is a liar, a cheat, and he is - in my psychologist's eyes - a quite crazy person, who never should have been allowed to compete for getting to be the president.

Ah well. If this is the best "the left" can come up with against Trump - He likes Putin! He disgraces Our Great U.S. Military! He is ignorant! - I will not be amazed if Trump wins.

2. Robert Scheer: U.S. Pledge of $90 Million to Laos for Cluster Munitions Legacy Is ‘Chump Change’

second item is by Dharna Noor on The Real News Network, who interviews Robert Scheer (the editor of Truthdig):

This starts as follows - and incidentally, the introduction correctly says that Laos was bombed with more bombs than were Germany and Japan combined, during WW II - and that it seems 1 in 3 of these bombs did not explode.

Here is part of the introduction by TRNN:

DHARNA NOOR, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Dharna Noor joining you in Baltimore.

On Wednesday President Barack Obama became the first sitting president of the US to visit Laos. Obama visited a prosthetic center that works with victims of bombs that initially failed to detonate when dropped on the country during the Vietnam war. He also toured an exhibition of prosthetic limbs and met with those involved with clearing unexploded ordinance in the Laos countryside.

The US announced earlier this week that it would provide an additional 90 million dollars over the next 3 years to help Laos clear the remaining ordinance.

I note the incredible royalty of Obama's gift: "Oh well, it seems we threw more bombs on you than we did on Germany and Japan combined in WW II, about fifty years ago. We're not sorry, but here: $90 million dollars for you!!"

Here is Scheer, incidentally also speaking about Obama's refusal to admit to America's enormous mistakes, merely with Laos alone:

SCHEER: (...) Obama’s on a charm offensive. I think CNN called him the goodwill ambassador now. He’s going everywhere in the world. Which is fine. I’m all for recognizing the humanity of the Laotian people, the Cambodian people, the Vietnamese. That’s all great stuff. But if you don’t take ownership for your own atrocities, you first of all have no authority to condemn atrocities anywhere in the world and you don’t learn the lessons of history.

We are capable of enormous barbarism. You just have to look to dropping the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in daylight to maximize the casualties among kids, children going to school. That was done by the University of California Berkley, figured out the plans and everything. Look at the documentary Fog of War about Robert McNamara. Look at the carpet bombing of Japan during WWII.

We aren’t this great city on the hill. We’re capable of being horrible barbaric killers and the lesson of Laos is we visited terrorism on a primitive peasantry that had no idea what was being inflicted on them or why.
Yes. And this is Scheer on what Obama really did (and I agree with Scheer):

SCHEER: You know when any Jewish person who cares or anybody who cared about the Holocaust against Jews, gypsies, and others in Germany would be deeply offended if many years after the fact the president of the richest and most powerful country in the world and if Germany had won would then offer a pittance, chump change. Yes, it’s better than nothing. But it’s propaganda. It’s a feel good thing. It’s a way of disowning your responsibility.

We say adult behavior. We tell children, adult behavior begins with taking ownership for your actions. We have never taken ownership for our horrible actions in the name of foreign policy. We never do. We think that whatever, we’re virtuous. Obama said in his statement, we can argue about our motives. No. That’s what we have to analyze.

Yes indeed. This is a recommended article.

3. Paul Krugman Reveals the Disturbing Consequences of the Media's Inability to Call Out Trump's Lies

The third
item is by Janet Allon on AlterNet:

From near the beginning, this is Krugman:

Long ago, you-know-who suggested that propagandists should apply the “big lie” technique: make their falsehoods so huge, so egregious, that they would be widely accepted because nobody would believe they were lying on that grand a scale. And the technique has worked well for despots and would-be despots ever since.

But Donald Trump has come up with something new, which we can call the “big liar” technique. Taken one at a time, his lies are medium-size—not trivial, but mostly not rising to the level of blood libel. But the lies are constant, coming in a steady torrent, and are never acknowledged, simply repeated. He evidently believes that this strategy will keep the news media flummoxed, unable to believe, or at least say openly, that the candidate of a major party lies that much.

I say. First of all, I think many of Trump's lies are not "medium-size". And second, Trump can do so mostly because the mainstream media refuse to say that his lies are lies - and this is not Trump's doing, but the media's doing - which, doing that (relaying lie upon lie upon lie as if there is nothing to criticize in lies), seem to do their best to make Trump the next president of the USA.

And there is this on Trump's massive lying:

With Trump, you have this whole other order of lying; he's in a complete class of his own. Trump lies about things that are provable and known. Crime stats, who founded ISIS, his own business record, his suport of the Iraq war. 

Part of the answer for the media's reluctance to call his lying out might be that Trump, like it or not, is a major party nominee, so respect must be paid. Pointing out that the GOP has nominated a sociopath might be a tad uncomfortable, though true.

No. If the main media argue that respect should be paid to a massive liar, cheater and conman because he is a presidential candidate, they completely reversed their roles and their priorities: It is their duty to attack presidential candidates who lie; it is false cowardice or worse to defend not calling his many lies lies.

If Trump wins the presidency, he wins because he has been massively supported by the main media, that did not even discuss his many lies as lies.

4.  Facebook Under Fire for Censoring One of the Most Iconic War Photos

The fourth item is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

Facebook is under fire for censoring an iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of the horrors of the Vietnam war, with the social media site's chief, Mark Zuckerberg, being accused of "abusing his power," trying "to change history," and even waging an attack on democracy itself.

The row involving the 1972 photo by Nick Ut depicting children, including a naked nine-year-old girl, fleeing a napalm attack reportedly broke out last month when Norwegian author Tom Egeland posted it along with six others he said "changed the history of warfare," according to the Guardian.

Facebook removed the photo, saying it was in violation of the site's nudity policy, and later banned Egeland.

Facebook seems to exist for the - I think - 4 billions or so who are too stupid to learn html, and who take pride in being censored, flummoxed, abused, and in being stolen anything from that they do on Facebook, all of which is sold to dataminers (and - who knows? - the NSA).

I am sorry, and this is the most sympathetic statement you will get from me on Facebook, that is now rewriting history on totally false pretenses.

Indeed Facebook went so far as to bowdlerize the Prime Minister of Norway, and to do so repeatedly:

Among them was Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who posted the photo to her page on Friday. writing that it "shaped world history."

"Facebook is making a mistake when it censors these types of photos. It contributes to limiting the freedom of expression," she wrote. Facebook deleted that post, but Solberg later posted the photo again, this time with a black box over most of the girl, and also posted several other well-known historical photos with black boxes. In her newer post, she writes, "What Facebook does by removing images of this kind, good as the intentions may be, is to edit our common history."

What Stoltenberg should have done is leave Facebook and start her own html or - if that is far too difficult for her: it may be - a Wordpress site. But no.

Finally, here is the person Suckerbug pretends to protect while censoring historical fact:

As for Kim Phuc, the now 53-year-old who was depicted in the photo, a spokesperson says she "is saddened by those who would focus on the nudity in the historic picture rather than the powerful message it conveys."

Quite so, but Suckerbug wants to censor history. If you are on Facebook you are his self-appointed slave without any rights.

5. The Tyranny of 9/11: The Building Blocks of the American Police State from A-Z

The fifth and last item today is by John Whitehead on Counterpunch:

This starts as follows:

“No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices.”

― Edward R. Murrow

We’ve walked a strange and harrowing road since September 11, 2001, littered with the debris of our once-vaunted liberties.

We have gone from a nation that took great pride in being a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade the citizenry to march in lockstep with a police state. In doing so, we have proven Osama Bin Laden right. He warned that “freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life.”

I agree more with John Whitehead than that I disagree, but I think this is a bit too strong.

First, while I admire Murrow (<- Wikipedia) he should not have said "unless we are all his". He should have said: "unless many are his". Second, I never believed in the USA as "a model of representative democracy" (nor did the U.S.'s founders!!) and to present it as such is ideology rather than fact. (In fact, if there are such models, they are - or were - countries in Western Europe.) Third, I don't think Osama Bin Laden has been proved right in maintaining that the USA and the West live in "
an unbearable hell and a choking life".

Then there is this, which is better but also a bit too strong:

What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

The citizenry’s unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security has resulted in a society where the nation is being locked down into a militarized, mechanized, hypersensitive, legalistic, self-righteous, goose-stepping antithesis of every principle upon which this nation was founded.

This is not freedom. This is a jail cell.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, roving VIPR raids and the like—all of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—our constitutional freedoms have been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.

I mostly agree, and indeed like and stress "[t]he citizenry’s unquestioning acquiescence", for that is one of the main bases for the losses of many rights. Then again, while I agree that "[t]his is not freedom", I don't think this is - as yet, for by far the most American citizens - "a jail cell".

Again, the majority of America's "citizenry" still seems to support their government, and most of them are not locked up.

Here is another bit that I'll quote from this article, and again it is a bit of an overstatement (or so I think):

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s war on the American people, a war that has grown more pronounced since 9/11.

Since the towers fell on 9/11, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, and denied due process.

For I think that the first paragraph is more or less correct, but the second paragraph attributes to "the American people" what should have been attributed to a relatively small number of protesters - for it simply is not
true that many of
"the American people" protested, simply because the majority still seems to agree with much of what their government does, or at least does not protest the losses of many of their rights. (And quite a few seem not to know!)

There is a lot more, including an alphabet from A to Z that attempts to spell out what government tyranny means.  Here are two bits quoted from it:

E is for ELECTRONIC CONCENTRATION CAMP. In the electronic concentration camp, as I have dubbed the surveillance state, all aspects of a person’s life are policed by government agents and all citizens are suspects, their activities monitored and regulated, their movements tracked, their communications spied upon, and their lives, liberties and pursuit of happiness dependent on the government’s say-so.
I is for the INTERNET OF THINGS, in which internet-connected “things” will monitor your home, your health and your habits in order to keep your pantry stocked, your utilities regulated and your life under control and relatively worry-free. The key word here, however, is control. This “connected” industry propels us closer to a future where police agencies apprehend virtually anyone if the government “thinks” they may commit a crime, driverless cars populate the highways, and a person’s biometrics are constantly scanned and used to track their movements, target them for advertising, and keep them under perpetual surveillance.

I think both points are mostly correct, though I add that - unfortunately, indeed - most of America's "citizenry" either agrees to this enormous diminution of their rights, or doesn't protest. (Indeed, many don't seem
to understand much about computers or cellphones.)

This is a recommended article, although I believe it is a little too strong, which incidentally also means that I think the situation in the USA may get a whole lot worse, and certainly will if Trump becomes president.

P.S. Sep 12, 2016: I corrected the initial list of five reviews: For some reason, items 3 and 4 were interchanged.
[0] Incidentally: I do want to keep my sites to look reasonable on the monitors (and computers and OSs) that I use, and I am trying to do so for
the new monitor I have, but I gave up (by 2012) trying to please everyone:

I do take care it works well on Firefox, on Ubuntu, on a normal sized squarish monitor, but I will not check anymore how my site is displayed on other monitors, other OSs and other screens: Too much work for my health. (I guess it works on most systems, since it is html that ought to work the same everywhere, but I lack the health to check and repair.)

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