Nov 13, 2016

Crisis: The Intercept, Surveillance, Greenwald, Rigging, TPP, Trump Dangerous
Sections                                                                     crisis index

Reckoning with a Trump Presidency and the Elite
     Democrats Who Helped Deliver It

2. Surveillance Self-Defense Against the Trump

"Genuinely Terrifying Prospect": Greenwald on Palin,
     Giuliani & Bolton Serving in Trump's Cabinet

4. Can We Count on the Election Results? Exit Poll
     Discrepancies and Voter Suppression Are Serious Issues

TPP's "Cardiac Arrest": A Lesson for the Challenges of
     the Trump Years Ahead

6. An Absurd and Dangerous President

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, November 13, 2016.

This is a crisis log with 6 items and 6 dotted links and it consists of some further deliberations on the meanings of Trump's election as president of the USA:

Item 1 is about an interview of three important people at The Intercept (Greenwald, Scahill and Reed); item 2 is about how one can defend one's computer and cellphone (and I say serious opponents of Trump must learn to do without, though I agree this will be quite difficult); item 3 is about Greenwald on the utter idiots (like Palin) who now may get a lot of power; item 4 is about the possibility that the elections were rigged for Trump (I agree that's possible, but I don't think there will be any evidence now); item 5 is on the very probable demise of the TPP (which is a good thing); and item 6 is about Spiegel International's take on President Trump.

-- Constant part, for the moment --

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: It was OK for two days now, but again didn't work out in Holland the last days: It keeps being horrible most days. And it still does (on 11 and 12 xi.2016).

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. [1]

C. In case you visit my Danish site: This worked correctly on 11 and 12 xi.2016, but not the day before.

And I think now this happens intentionally on both my sites, for this did not happen for 20 years on the one, nor for 12 years on the other. (12.xi.2016)

I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that also went well for 20 or for 12 years.

I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!) in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that for many months now.

1. Reckoning with a Trump Presidency and the Elite Democrats Who Helped Deliver It

The first item today is by Betsy Reed, Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald, on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
The United States has been plunged into a state of purgatory following the election of Donald Trump. In all political quarters, people are engaged in their own post-mortem analysis of how this happened and what it means, not only for the future of this country, but for the world. Trump ran on a pledge to engage in mass deportations, denying Muslims entry to the US, the stripping of abortion rights and threats to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS.
In this podcast, Intercept editor-in-chief Betsy Reed and co-founders Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill break down how we got here and what a Trump presidency means for civil liberties, surveillance, war, abortion rights, and other issues. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation.
OK, let's see. To start with, here is Glenn Greenwald on the Democratic Party and Brexit:
Glenn Greenwald: (..) I was particularly disturbed by the way that they were casting and maligning essentially all of the people who had committed the sin of voting what they regarded as the wrong way by simply dismissing them all as primitive or troglodyte or racist or misogynist. Even though of course many of them are, many of them are not and even for the ones that do have that as part of their motive, there are independently of that a lot of long, deep trends that have destroyed the welfare and economic security of tens of millions of people and put them into a mindset where they want to destroy this system of authority that they blame. I think that is what caused Brexit and I think to a large degree that’s what’s caused Trump.
As to Brexit: As I have argued before, this is only an analogy, and it seems pointless to try to understand the considerations of some 120 million American voters or to explain them as if they were rational. Besides, there is the fact that
in both elections (the British and the American ones) around 40% of the eligible voters did not vote.

As to the present elite of the Democratic Party: Possibly so. But my guess is that the present elite of Clintonites will very rapidly disappear. And what will come after that I don't know (and many things are possible).

There is this on the Clintons:
Jeremy Scahill: (..) No one wants to talk about the fact that the Clintons are perceived as corrupt royalty by a large segment of the U.S. population: a candidate who was hawkish who deservedly got the endorsement of many leading neocons. Instead it was, well “whoever voted for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, you’re a misogynist and you are responsible for this.”
This may be quite true if "No one" is expanded as "No one in the present leadership of the Democratic Party", but it is less true otherwise.

Here is Betsy Reed on feminism:
Betsy Reed: Well, I mean I guess I would say I have somewhat complicated feelings about that because I actually do believe that this election was an absolute tragedy for American feminism. It’s a complete and terrible defeat and I think that what Donald Trump displayed during the campaign and throughout his entire career is just nothing but contempt and hatred toward women.
Well... 53% of the women who voted, voted for the pussy grabber. If women's rights or feminism (which are not quite the same) lost, which I agree they did, it seems they lost because they were less popular than the pussy grabbing alternative. (I'm sorry, but these are the facts.)

Here is Greenwald on what made Bill Clinton and Barack Obama win their elections:

GG: I was thinking about this this morning in terms of what happened in this election and how the Democratic Party in the past has succeeded, and if you look at the last twenty five years of Democratic Party politics you find this really interesting trend which is: the Democratic politicians who succeeded, who won the national election, which is Bill Clinton and then Barack Obama, had one thing in common which is that they both ran as these hardcore devoted consummate outsiders. I’m not part of Washington; I’ve never been a part of Washington, in the case of Clinton I’ve only been a southern governor, in the case of Obama I’ve only been a senator for four years, and what I want to do is go in and radically and fundamentally change how this entire place that you all hate and that we all hate, how it functions. And they won.

Yes, that is correct - as it is also quite correct that both served big money, the bankers and their own post-presidential riches, and completely deceived most of the voters who voted for them.

This is Scahill on the democratic sentiments displayed by the current leadership of the Democratic Party:

JS: This notion, “well Trump is now our president and we have to give him a chance and we have to proceed with an open mind” — to me that’s an utterly ridiculous idea. The idea that you’re going to take someone who has openly espoused a desire to do mass deportation, to shut down the borders. to have a screening process for anyone who happens to be of a particular religion, i.e. Islam, that has openly said that he wants to overturn Roe versus Wade– what chance is there to give this person?

Yes, but Trump won. And in any case, both the Clintonites and the Obamites will quickly disappear from the Democratic leadership. Then again, what a renewed Democratic Party can do against Trump (who has won full powers everywhere)
remains to be seen.

This is Reed on Trump's many conflicting promises:

BR: But the reality is there is actually a lot of uncertainty about what Trump will do. I mean it is terrifying. The possibility that he will follow through on some of his promises — he’s made immigration… he said that that’s going to be one of his first priorities. That is genuinely, legitimately terrifying. But he also contradicts himself right and left and he did throughout his whole career. He’s gone back and forth on Snowden and he’s back and forth on everything in the diametrically opposed positions, the guy has assumed. So it is difficult to know, I think, to what extent we do need to fear him.  I certainly fear him because I fear the worst.

Yes, that seems correct to me: Trump cannot be predicted with almost no relevant knowledge at present, but it makes sense (from a progressive, liberal point of view) to expect the worst.

Here is Greenwald on Trump's unpredictability:

GG: Just to Betsy’s point on this issue, she’s one hundred percent right that Trump’s unpredictability on all of these issue is attributable to the fact that he really doesn’t have any stable positions; he’s a con artist, he says what he needs to say to get you sign on the dotted line to sell you the used car. That’s who Donald Trump is.

No, I don't think so. I agree Trump did say anything he expected to help him and was extremely dishonest, but he does have a series of beliefs and values
that long antedate his trying to become president, and these are neofascistic in my sense: See note [2].

There is this on Snowden if there had been a Republican in the White House in 2013:

GG: I always said that if Edward Snowden had leaked documents during a Republican administration, with a Republican president in the White House, there would be a gigantic fifty-foot statue erected outside of the headquarters of MSNBC at 30 Rock in his honor.

Perhaps, but this is an uncontrollable counterfactual.

Here is the last bit I'll quote from this article, and here Greenwald is quite correct again, on the extreme powers that were given by the Democrats to Trump:

GG: These are now the powers that were begun by George Bush, but then extended and consecrated by Barack Obama. So they were converted from radical G.O.P. dogma into non-debated bipartisan orthodoxy. This is now the template of awesome, scary, unconstrained powers that is being handed to Donald Trump on a silver platter and there’s nothing anyone can do about it because Republicans and Democrats have spent fifteen years legislating the power defending them in court and convincing people politically to turn their backs from those who are objecting to overtly support them.

And so to the extent of the Donald Trump presidency is incredibly scary — and it is — Democrats have had a very large role to play in why that is.

Yes, indeed: It is to a good extent the combined faults of Obama (who was a deceiver like Bill Clinton was) and the elite of the Democratic Party that both made Trump win the elections and gave him far greater power than any other man ever had.

And almost the only good thing I can see in this (see item 5 for another good thing) is that Obama and the Clintons and the present elite of the Democratic Party will soon be out and will not come back.

2. Surveillance Self-Defense Against the Trump Administration

The second item is by Micah Lee on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

On Tuesday, Americans handed the U.S. presidency to a racist, xenophobic, authoritarian, climate-science-denying, misogynistic, revenge-obsessed ego-maniac — and with it control over a vast and all-too-unaccountable intelligence apparatus; and in a speech less than three weeks ago, Trump promised to sue all of the women who have come forward with sexual assault accusations against him.

Trump has repeatedly shown utter disrespect for the rule of law. He doesn’t believe in freedom of religion. He advocates torture. He has said he’ll instruct his Justice Department to investigate Black Lives Matter activists, and it’s likely he’ll appoint Rudy Giuliani, of New York City’s racist and unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” fame, as his attorney general to do the investigating. The New York Times also reports that “Mr. Trump still privately muses about all the ways he will punish his enemies after Election Day.”

With Trump eager to misuse his power and get revenge on his perceived enemies, it’s reasonable to conclude there will be a parallel increase in abuse of power in law enforcement and the intelligence community. Activists who put their bodies on the line trying to protect basic rights — freedom of religion, freedom of speech, civil rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, privacy rights — will face the brunt of it.

Thanks to 16 years of relentless and illegal expansion of executive power under Presidents Bush and Obama, Trump is about to have more tools of surveillance at his disposal than any tyrant ever has. Those preparing for the long fight ahead must protect themselves, even if doing so can be technically complicated.

I say. Well... I agree and I disagree.

I agree one has to be very, very careful in using a computer if you are in any way opposed to president Trump. Here are the things Micah Lee mentions that could be improved by very many - and each of the points is the heading of considerably more text, that you can read by clicking the last of the above dotted links:

Encrypt Your Phone
Ditch Your Phone At Sensitive Moments
Switch from Facebook Groups To End-to-End Encrypted
Prioritize Security When Building Activist Sites
Secure Your Accounts and Computer
Use Qubes To Protect Your Computer

And I disagree in that I think only a small minority is capable of setting up a computer which they may be reasonably sure cannot be read - and then in each of these cases that will be a guess, because the NSA and the GCHQ have had 15 years of liberty to break in everywhere and steal everyone's inofrmation, and no one knows what they really know, although in these circumstances the fair inference is: Probably everything (and more about you than you recall yourself about your self).

I do NOT think present-day internet computers or cellphones are safe, and I fear very few can say with any rational certainty that they are not being - somehow - pirated.

So I would try to do without internet computers or cellphones. I do know this will be extremely difficult.

3. "Genuinely Terrifying Prospect": Greenwald on Palin, Giuliani & Bolton Serving in Trump's Cabinet

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

This starts with the following introduction:

As Trump heads to the White House, Trump’s transition team has assembled a shortlist of who could make up Trump’s Cabinet. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are among those in consideration for attorney general. Christie is also being considered for homeland security secretary, as is Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke. Secretary of the interior might go to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin or oil executive Forrest Lucas. Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are in the running for secretary of state. Donald Trump is also expected to quickly nominate a conservative Supreme Court justice to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia.

Yes, indeed. Here is Greenwald, but he does not have much at present (which is considerably more honest than all the "leftist" organizers who are organizing rallies against Trump now):

GLENN GREENWALD: I don’t think we’ve even begun to process or analyze the actual repercussions of that.

And then, when you go to this sort of second-order horror, it’s almost like a wicked nightmare, like the worst—like Sarah Palin as the secretary of interior, or Rudy Giuliani, who I’ve long regarded as probably the most authoritarian and borderline fascist mainstream figure in American political life, to be the attorney general in charge of the prosecutorial power and the FBI, or Chris Christie, a lifelong prosecutor, in charge of the mechanisms of homeland security, or John Bolton, one of the most sociopathic warmongers on the planet, in charge of anything—these are genuinely terrifying prospects. And so, no, I don’t have much intelligent to say about that, because I haven’t really started to even accept it yet.

And there is this on Guantánamo (which wasn't shut by Obama, although he promised to do so for eight years):

AMY GOODMAN: Expand Guantánamo.

GLENN GREENWALD: —a huge question mark. To expand Guantánamo and to essentially embrace all of the components of the war on terror. So, I think that it really remains to be seen. I think it probably will be the case that there will be moments when the D.C. elite will be demanding that we intervene militarily, where Hillary Clinton would have been tempted to do so and Donald Trump won’t. And maybe that’s, on balance, in a very isolated way, something that’s positive. But the idea of putting into someone like this’ hands the military of the United States and all of its might and the spying apparatuses, I think, is extremely alarming.

Yes, indeed. And Trump is much for torturing people worse than by nearly drowning them again and again and again.

4. Can We Count on the Election Results? Exit Poll Discrepancies and Voter Suppression Are Serious Issues

The fourth item is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:

This is here mostly because I have written before on the possibility that the American elections were being rigged by fraudulent countings of the votes:

That continues today, as election integrity activists point out that the national media’s election day exit polls found that Hillary Clinton was ahead in four key states — North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida — but lost the computerized vote count. That’s not the first time a “red shift” occurred between live exit poll results posted on CNN and the later vote count results.

That suggests the exit polls were either deeply flawed, or the vote count was compromised or stolen.
They curtailed early voting, moved precincts, inaccurately purged voter rolls, and made perplexing decisions—as in Ohio—not to activate voting machine audit software, which means the results cannot be verified.

I say, and Ohio is indeed "perplexing", while I agree that "the exit polls were either deeply flawed, or the vote count was compromised or stolen".

And here is something about voting in North Carolina:

What they didn’t hear about but what alarmed some computer scientists who track voting machinery, was the vendor that maintains North Carolina’s voter files was in all probability the “unnamed” Florida-based company hacked by the Russians. You can be sure nobody is quarantining those computer systems for immediate examination by computer security experts.

I say. Then again, voting has happened. There is this on voting in general:

Americans are told to take it on faith that the election results are accurate, from the highest-stakes presidential elections to lower-turnout state races that keep legislatures in one party’s grip. That’s infuriating, patronizing and unnecessary. The alternative is simple: voting needs to be transparent, verifiable and accountable from the start of the process to the end. Instead, it’s just like the dysfunctional campaign finance system.

I agree, but this doesn't exist in the USA. Here is Rosenfeld's ending:

But there are still unanswered questions about what really happened this week with the vote count and it does not appear that key actors there want to air what’s inevitably dirty laundry. It is astounding that the major television and print media organizations that force-fed Americans all their polling data for months, to say nothing of giving Trump hundreds of millions of dollars in free media, will not discuss why their exit polls projecting a Clinton victory were wrong.

No, I don't think so: I do not think at all that "[i]t is astounding that the major television and print media organizations (..) will not discuss why their exit polls projecting a Clinton victory were wrong": The major television and print media organizations = the mainstream media, and the mainstream media have been thoroughly corrupted the past 15 years and ceased doing decent journalism.

In brief, while it is possible that Trump's winning was based on fraud, I do not think there will be any evidence that will prove it.

5. TPP's "Cardiac Arrest": A Lesson for the Challenges of the Trump Years Ahead

The fifth item is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—the corporate-friendly
trade deal between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations that sparked progressive outcry over its threats to everything from
democracy to digital rights to climate goals —now appears to be "in full-blown cardiac arrest."

Not only is there the fact that President-elect Donald Trump campaigned against the deal that President Barack Obama vigorously pushed, multiple news sources reported Friday that the White House has now given up on its efforts to get approval during the "lame-duck" session of Congress.

The Wall Street Journal, for example, reported that the deal "effectively died Friday, as Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress told the White House they won't advance it in the election's aftermath, and Obama administration officials acknowledged it has no way forward now." Reuters reported that the administration said "Friday that the fate of the free trade pact was up to Trump and Republican lawmakers."

I say! I think myself that is very good news (for I regard the TPP, the TTIP, the TISA and the CETA all as plans to move in neofascism in a quasi-legal way: Check out the crisis indices for the last 3 1/2 years if you want to know more).

Then again, there are some who live with their heads in the clouds:

"Let's make one thing clear," said Evan Greer, campaign director for digital rights group Fight for the Future. "Donald Trump didn't kill the TPP. We did."

The deal, she continued, would have "globalized Internet censorship, undermined civil liberties, and devastated our economy and our planet."

Instead, "[a]n unprecedented grassroots movement of people and organizations from across the political spectrum came together to spark an uprising that stopped what would have been nothing less than an outright corporate takeover of our democratic process. Together we sounded the alarm, and made the TPP so politically toxic that no presidential candidate who wanted to be elected could support it."

"As we enter a new stage in history, let the movement that stopped the TPP serve as a reminder to the powerful: we are many, and you are few," she continued.

No, definitely not. I have been following the TPP, the TTIP, the TISA and the CETA closely, and it seems highly probable that if Hillary Clinton had won the elections, the TPP and the rest (and the CETA has been accepted by the Europeans: I hope this will be given up very soon) would have very probably succeeded.

Ms Greer, who no doubt worked hard against the TPP etc., may think as she pleases, but these are the facts according to me.

6. An Absurd and Dangerous President

The sixth and last item is by Klaus Brinkbäumer on Spiegel International:

This has the following in the beginning:

Although Trump will become the democratically elected 45th president of the United States on January 20, he remains a dangerous man. He is dangerously indifferent, unbalanced and inexperienced -- and he is dangerously racist. Trump believes in the superiority of the white race, and if he implements the worst of his campaign promises, he will not be the first elected leader to do so.

In other words, 60 million Americans acted stupidly. They cast their votes for xenophobia, racism and nationalism, the end of equal rights and social conscience, for the end of climate treaties and health insurance. Sixty million people followed a demagogue who will do little for them.
I agree that Trump is "dangerously indifferent, unbalanced and inexperienced -- and he is dangerously racist" but I do mostly because I (who had an excellent M.A. in psychology) believe Trump is insane.

And I admit this goes considerably further than diagnosing him as
"dangerously indifferent, unbalanced and inexperienced", although he is these things as well.
But then again, I did study psychology; I have met quite a few people who were not sane, and I think Trump is not sane. (See March 14, 2016 for some of my reasons.)

Next, as to "
60 million Americans acted stupidly": I can say so, but I am a highly gifted radical intellectual with a couple of hundreds of readers every day,
which means that my opinions tend to be the opinions of a quite small, albeit gifted, interested and concerned minority.

And while I do not disagree with Spiegel on this diagnosis, I doubt it was wise. Then again, I agree that speaking the truth generally is sensible.

Here is the ending of the article:
This election was about the impotent and about power. Trump, be it strategically or accidentally, understood that the army of the powerless was so enormous that it could become a movement and carry him into the White House. He knew well what he was risking -- the possibility that, in their rage, they would set fires, break all rules and, as a result, could destroy democracy. In America. And, following the election of this absurd president, potentially around the world.

Hm. I certainly do not know what Trump "understood", and I very much doubt Brinkbäumer knows any better than I do. But I agree Trump is very, very dangerous, and indeed not only for the USA but for absolutely everyone.

As I have said before: I think "the people" may consider themselves very lucky if they survive until 2021 without any nuclear war.

[1] Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

I am saying this not because I want to offend but because I want to explain, and my own explanatory definition of neofascism is this:
Neofascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that propounds an ethics which has profit as its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist, anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are stronger than a national government or stateb. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.

And this is fascism as I defined it:
Fascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with centralized authority and a dictator, that suppresses the opposition through propaganda, censorship and terror, that propounds an ethics founded on discipline, virility, and collectivism, that has a politics that is totalitarian, anti-liberal, anti-individualist, anti-equality, and anti-Marxist, that is also authoritarian, rightwing and nationalistic, and often racist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy, b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
See the following if you are interested: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions. (This lists 22 definitions of the term "fascism", and critically reflects on them.)

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