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Nederlog

 Dec 10, 2016

Crisis: Goldman won *2, Fake News *2, Warrantless Secret Surveillance
Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1.
Trump Makes America Goldman’s Again!
2. A Clinton Fan Manufactured Fake News That MSNBC
     Personalities Spread to Discredit WikiLeaks Docs

3. 'Fox, Meet Henhouse': Trump Offers Goldman Sachs
     President Top Economic Post

4. Trying to Keep the Internet Safe From Warrantless NSA
     Surveillance

5. The Mainstream Media is Asking for a Government
     Bailout Via Censorship
Introduction:

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

A.
This is a crisis log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about an article on The Intercept that makes it (at least) rather plausible that Goldman Sachs, who are the big winners in the present election, in fact also manipulated and won the presidential elections of 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 (and indeed it has been gaining both billions and extreme powers since 1992); item 2 is about an article by Glenn Greenwald on "fake news" (which is both utter crap and very dangerous, for it now is aimed at anyone in the USA who provides real news); item 3 is about the Goldman Sachs cabinet that is put together by Trump; item 4 is about a very fine article by Ashley Gorski on the illegal and warrantless NSA surveillance that now continues for 15 years; and item 5 is about the mainstream media's desire to shut up the non-mainstream media by state censorship, just as in Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia).

Also, I have
deleted the introduction that said I was looking for some further deliberations on the meanings of Trump's election as president of the USA: I have done so for a month, and may report on this tomorrow, namely by listing the best articles I found last month.

-- Constant part, for the moment --
B. In case you visit my Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days and was so on most days in November 2016. But on 2.xii and 3.xii it was correct. Since then it mostly wasn't.

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 was so-so till 18.xi and was correct since then (most or all days).

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. Trump Makes America Goldman’s Again!

The first item today is by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

It’s now time for us, as a nation, to come together and congratulate the winner of the 2016 presidential election: Goldman Sachs.

Many Donald Trump voters likely believed his victory would be a loss for Goldman. At the Republican convention, a man who seemed to take Trump’s twitter attacks on Goldman seriously screamed “Goldman Sachs!” at Ted Cruz’s banker wife as she fled the convention floor. Trump’s own final campaign video declared that he would do battle against the “global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations” — as personified on screen by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

But that was then. As Anthony Scaramucci, a hedge fund manager and top adviser to Trump, as well as a former Goldman Sachs banker himself, put it Thursday: “I think the cabal against the bankers is over.”

Yes indeed! And in fact, as Jon Schwarz proceeds to explain, Goldman Sachs would also have won under Hillary Clinton, and besides: Goldman Sachs also won the elections of 2008 and 2012:

The headlines on Friday were that the director of Trump’s National Economic Council will be Gary Cohn, the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs. Meanwhile, Trump’s pick for treasury secretary is Steven Mnuchin, a one-time Goldman Sachs partner whose father was also a Goldman partner. Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, also once worked for Goldman.

Of course, a Hillary Clinton win would have been a victory for Goldman Sachs too. She was paid $675,000 by Goldman for three speeches, had previously received large campaign donations from Blankfein, and her son-in-law runs a hedge fund whose investors include Blankfein.

Goldman also won the election in 2008 and 2012. Barack Obama received more money from Goldman Sachs employees than any other corporation.
If you think Goldman Sachs started winning in 2008, you are mistaken: Goldman Sachs also won in 2000 and 2004, and indeed in 1996 and 1992:

Before that, Goldman won the election in 2000 and 2004. George W. Bush plucked Hank Paulson directly from Goldman — where Paulson was chairman and CEO — to be his treasury secretary. Paulson then oversaw the huge Wall Street bailout that kept Goldman from collapsing (so it could later make Blankfein a billionaire) with help from former Goldman banker Neel Kashkari. And they were just two of the voluminous number of Goldmanites staffing the Bush administration.

Goldman’s 1992 and 1996 victories manifested themselves when the president before Bush, Bill Clinton, made Rubin his treasury secretary. Rubin played an central role in the repeal of Glass-Steagall, a Depression-era banking law that separated commercial and investment banking.

I think this is all correct (and I am following the crisis since 2008 and over the last eight years wrote over 1400 files about it by now).

What is the reason for these ever continued winnings of Goldman Sachs?

I think it is very simple and consists of two facts: (1) Goldman Sachs has enormous amounts of money, and (2) the vast majority of modern politicians loves being bought and being made millionaires: They are completely corrupt.

This is a recommended article.

2. A Clinton Fan Manufactured Fake News That MSNBC Personalities Spread to Discredit WikiLeaks Docs

The second item is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

The phrase “Fake News” has exploded in usage since the election, but the term is similar to other malleable political labels such as “terrorism” and “hate speech”; because the phrase lacks any clear definition, it is essentially useless except as an instrument of propaganda and censorship. The most important fact to realize about this new term: those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.

One of the most egregious examples was the recent Washington Post article hyping a new anonymous group and its disgusting blacklist of supposedly pro-Russia news outlets – a shameful article mindlessly spread by countless journalists who love to decry Fake News, despite the Post article itself being centrally based on Fake News.
Yes indeed. Here is some more:
Now we have an even more compelling example. Back in October, when WikiLeaks was releasing emails from the John Podesta archive, Clinton campaign officials and their media spokespeople adopted a strategy of outright lying to the public, claiming – with no basis whatsoever – that the emails were doctored or fabricated and thus should be ignored.
And some more:
That the emails in the Wikileaks archive were doctored or faked – and thus should be disregarded – was classic Fake News, spread not by Macedonian teenagers or Kremlin operatives but by established news outlets such as MSNBC, the Atlantic and Newsweek. And, by design, this Fake News spread like wildfire all over the internet, hungrily clicked and shared by tens of thousands of people eager to believe it was true. As a result of this deliberate disinformation campaign, anyone reporting on the contents of the emails was instantly met with claims that the documents in the archive had been proven fake.
Yes, but I add two remarks that are caused by "this Fake News spread like wildfire all over the internet, hungrily clicked and shared by tens of thousands of people eager to believe it was true":

One. None of these "tens of thousands" had any rational reason to believe the "fake news" [3] they clicked on and spread, but indeed they did believe and spread it.

Two. The average intelligence of those communicating on the internet must be considerably lower than the average intelligence of those who had access to the printed press twenty and more years ago.

I think especially the second point is quite important and quite true, but I have no numerical estimates for the fall in intelligence. [4]

Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:

Every day, literally, you can turn on MSNBC and hear various people so righteously lamenting the spread of “Fake News.” Yet MSNBC itself not only spreads Fake News but refuses to correct it when it is exposed. How do they have any credibility to denounce Fake News? They do not.

That journalists and “experts” outright lied to the public this way in order to help their favorite candidate is obviously dangerous. This was most powerfully pointed out – ironically – by Marty Baron, Executive Editor of the Washington Post, who told The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg: “If you have a society where people can’t agree on basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?”

Exactly: if you have prominent journalists telling the public to trust an anonymous group with a false McCarthyite blacklist, or telling it to ignore informative documents on the grounds that they are fake when there is zero reason to believe that they are fake, that is a direct threat to democracy.
Yes indeed - and as I have said before, I think democracy in the USA is mostly dead, for a real democracy presupposes honest and diverse media, while most mainstream media are dishonest and committed to the - well paying - bullshit and propaganda they so eagerly spread, and real democracy also presupposes a majority of voters that seek reliable and probably true information, while it seems - at least - as if only a minority is thus inclined.

And this is a recommended article.

3. 'Fox, Meet Henhouse': Trump Offers Goldman Sachs President Top Economic Post

The third item is b
y Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows and is about the offer to Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn to become the National Economic Council (NEC) director under President- elect Donald Trump:

"Fox, meet henhouse," was how progressive Sen. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and others reacted to the news Friday that Goldman Sachs president and chief operating officer Gary Cohn had been offered the position of National Economic Council (NEC) director by President-elect Donald Trump.

Should Cohn accept, he and Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, another Goldman alum, would hold "the top two economic policy jobs in the Trump administration," as Vox's Matthew Yglesias observed. White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is also a former Goldman exec.

And this is about Trump's litany of lies to become president-elect:

As observers on both sides of the aisle are pointing out, Trump is elevating those at the top of the very Wall Street firm he railed against during his campaign. Cohn's appointment is yet another indication that the agenda of President Trump is a far cry from the populist rhetoric that propelled him to power.

Yes indeed, although I add that only very stupid or very ignorant people believed Trump's exceedingly many lies. And I am truly sorry to have to add this, but I add it because this is by far the best single explanation for what is happening in the USA. (There are more, but this is a prominent one.)

This is a recommended article.

4. Trying to Keep the Internet Safe From Warrantless NSA Surveillance

The fourth item is by Ashley Gorski on Commom Dreams:

Ashley Gorski works for the ACLU's National Security Project. This article is a very clear explanation of the warantless NSA surveillance that now has been continued for 15 years, I think mostly because it gives the American government total powers over every person on its territory (and also with very much more power than the KGB had in the Soviet-Union or the Gestapo had in Hitler's Germany).

The article starts as follows (and is also well illustrated):

Next month, President-elect Trump will be handed the keys to the NSA’s vast spying apparatus. As a candidate, he supported
mass surveillance of Americans’ phone calls, called for expanded spying on American Muslims, and even invited Russia to hack the emails of his political opponent. With these threats to privacy and liberty on the horizon, our courts will likely be more important than ever as a bulwark against unlawful spying.

One of the courtroom battles that will shape President-elect Trump’s spying powers is already underway.

On Thursday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral argument in Wikimedia v. NSA, our case challenging “Upstream” surveillance. First revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in June 2013, Upstream surveillance involves the NSA’s bulk searching of Americans’ international internet communications with the assistance of companies like AT&T and Verizon. If you email friends abroad, chat with family members overseas, or browse websites hosted outside of the United States, the NSA has almost certainly searched through the contents of your communications — and it has done so without a warrant.

This means that virtually everybody who is nominally intelligent in the USA is being surveilled in secret as a matter of course (and what this may mean in practice may be revealed when Trump is president - if there are then any non-lying non-mainstream American media left: see item 2 and item 5).

The secret surveillance works as follows:

Upstream surveillance takes place in the internet “backbone” — the network of high-capacity cables, switches, and routers that carries Americans’ domestic and international internet communications. The NSA has installed surveillance equipment at dozens of points along the internet backbone, allowing the government to copy and then search the contents of vast quantities of internet traffic as it flows past.

All of which is in complete contradiction with the Fourth Amendment [5].

Here is one of the reasons "Upstream surveillance" is utterly sick and totally illegal:

One of the most glaring problems with Upstream surveillance is that it is not targeted at all — at least not in any ordinary sense of the word. Instead, the government is systematically examining online communications in bulk, scanning their full contents to see which ones merely mention its targets.

Because of how it operates, Upstream surveillance represents a new surveillance paradigm, one in which computers constantly scan our communications for information of interest to the government. To use a non-digital analogy: It’s as if the NSA sent agents to the U.S. Postal Service’s major processing centers to conduct continuous searches of everyone’s international mail. The agents would open, copy, and read each letter, and would keep a copy of any letter that mentioned specific items of interest — despite the fact that the government had no reason to suspect the letter’s sender or recipient beforehand.

Precisely. And the NSA uses this illegal secret sickness to get as much information about everybody as it can.

Here is the position of the ACLU:

The ACLU brought this lawsuit on behalf of a coalition of legal, media, educational, and human rights organizations, including the Wikimedia Foundation (which runs Wikipedia), Amnesty International USA, The Nation magazine, PEN American Center, Human Rights Watch, the Rutherford Institute, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Global Fund for Women, and the Washington Office on Latin America.

Each of these nine plaintiffs has been deeply affected by U.S. government spying. The confidentiality of plaintiffs’ international communications is essential to their work, and Upstream surveillance undermines their ability to ensure that these communications — with colleagues, journalists, witnesses, foreign government officials, victims of human rights abuses, and the tens of millions of people who read and edit Wikipedia — are indeed private. This spying violates our clients’ constitutional rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and freedom of association.

I completely agree - and I fear most of the plaintiffs will be soon forbidden as spreaders of "Fake News", that is: of information that contradicts the lies and propaganda of the mainstream media.

And here is the last bit that I'll quote from this fine article:

Last year, a federal district court in Maryland dismissed our suit, wrongly concluding that our clients lack standing to challenge Upstream surveillance because they had not “plausibly” alleged that their communications are intercepted. Without standing, our plaintiffs can’t have their day in court to challenge this spying on the merits.

However, as we explained in our appeal briefs, it’s more than plausible that our clients’ communications are intercepted: the government’s own disclosures about Upstream surveillance, along with media reports, show that the NSA is vacuuming up and reviewing almost all text-based communications that enter and leave the country.

Yes, and the federal district court in Maryland abused the powers it has: Clearly
secret surveillance of everyone contradicts the Fourth Amendment, and clearly part of the reason the surveillance is secret is that it is anti-Constitu-
tional.

And besides, Ashley Gorski is right about the
government’s own disclosures about Upstream surveillance.

This is a fine article that is strongly recommended.

5. The Mainstream Media is Asking for a Government Bailout Via Censorship

The fifth and last item today is by Mike Krieger on Washington's Blog and originally on LibertyBlitzKrieg blog:

This is from near the beginning:

To set the stage, we need to examine the types of people who are most jumping on the “fake news” meme. What you’ll find is that it’s a who’s who of the most contemptible and corrupt people in America. As Glenn Greenwald so accurately noted in his piece published earlier today:

Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.

But the problem here goes way beyond mere hypocrisy. Complaints about Fake News are typically accompanied by calls for “solutions” that involve censorship and suppression, either by the government or tech giants such as Facebook. But until there is a clear definition of “Fake News,” and until it’s recognized that Fake News is being aggressively spread by the very people most loudly complaining about it, the dangers posed by these solutions will be at least as great as the problem itself.

While the Wall Street bailout consisted of showering financial criminals with infinite sums of money until they were once again masters of the universe, the media is asking for a bailout via censorship. Yes, that’s right. Hillary Clinton and other status quo fake news peddlers are actively asking for Congressional action in order to silence their competition.  This isn’t just about protecting the status quo narrative for the sake of maintaining a transparently false manufactured reality. It’s equally about preserving the status, wealth, reputation and careers of individuals whose failures should have landed them on the street, unemployed for their almost incomprehensible and well documented incompetence. Just in case you think the above is an exaggeration, is there an individual in America more distrusted and more widely viewed as a compulsive liar than Hillary Clinton?

In fact I think there is or at least should be: Donald Trump. I do not know how the millions of Americans look upon him now (many pretend to know what the millions believe but these are liars as well) but he surely is at least as compulsive a liar as Hillary Clinton (but I admit Trump is insane, while Clinton is not).

Also, while I agree more with Mike Krieger than not, I wish he would not speak of "infinite sums of money" and "masters of the universe": it's baloney.

Then again, the following is correct (and all boldings in the quotations are in the original):

At this point, I want to direct your attention to what is perhaps the most astute commentary on the fabricated “fake news” push to date. The following was the concluding paragraph to Jonathan Turley’s, Washington Post Issues Correction To “Fake News” Story:

The current controversy is different. Many people in Washington are irate over Wikileaks — not because the email were untrue but because they proved what many had long suspected . . . that Washington is a highly corrupt place full of truly despicable people. For people who make their living on controlling media and information, it was akin to the barbarians breaching the walls of Rome. So the answer is to call for government regulation to combat what will be declared “fake” news or propaganda. It is only the latest effort to convince people to surrender their rights and actually embrace censorship. 

This perfectly describes what is going on at the most macro level, and reminded me exactly of what Wall Street did in the aftermath of its destruction of the U.S. economy during the financial crisis. Faced with a potential loss of their fortunes, jobs and reputations, Wall Street invented a meme that the industry needed to be bailed out without consequences in order to “save Main Street.” This was one of the most brazen, yet successful examples of propaganda I have witnessed in my entire life.

Wall Street got exactly what it wanted and then some.
Yes indeed - as it also was used to: See item 1. And there is this on Hillary Clinton's strong support for neofascism and the complete destruction of any democracy in the USA:
Hillary Clinton and other status quo fake news peddlers are actively asking for Congressional action in order to silence their competition.  This isn’t just about protecting the status quo narrative for the sake of maintaining a transparently false manufactured reality. It’s equally about preserving the status, wealth, reputation and careers of individuals whose failures should have landed them on the street, unemployed for their almost incomprehensible and well documented incompetence. Just like we continue to suffer from incompetent criminal elites on Wall Street, the media now wants to build a similar government-sponsored wall around itself. Such an outcome would be an unmitigated disaster for this nation.
I agree.

--------------------------
Notes
[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).

[2]
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.

Also, I am rather certain that most (not: all) of those who style themselved as "neoliberals" in fact are neofascists as defined (even though they probably do not like the term).

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.)

[3] "Fake news" is complete and intentional bullshit and propaganda: The sick and degenerate American mainstream media have been lying and propagandizing for Trump for over a year - and hardly has their lying and mad neofascist been crowned "president-elect" or these sick and degenerate liars accuse those who do not lie on principle and for money of being spreaders of "fake news" who ought to be censored and forbidden by the state.

Since Hillary Clinton is one of those who initiated this stinking lie, I think it is fair to say she is a neofascist as well: She is trying to forbid the only source of real news in the USA that is not systematically poisoned by falsehoods, irrelevancies, bullshit and propaganda - and indeed she may well succeed, with Trump's help.

[4] I really have no evidence on which to base an estimate. I did have evidence for the fall in intelligence in the Dutch universities:

Up to the end of the 1960ies, average Dutch university students must have had IQs of around 125, because that was required to pass the - rather good - schools that existed from 1865 till 1965 that prepared for university entrance, and so I was not amazed to discover around 1985 that the IQs had fallen to 115 then, if only because the rather good schools that examined in 14 to 16 subjects had meanwhile for nearly twenty years been replaced by preparatory schools that only examined 6 subjects (and 2 only orally), and only required knowledge of one (1) foreign language (as compared with 3 or 5 before).

I read the evidence, and I know the above is true about Holland (where - of course!- it was denied by liars without any evidence).

But I do not know of any relevant evidence on the USA, although I am quite willing to assume that the fall in average intelligence of those who are publising now by internet, compared to the average intelligence of those who had access to the printed press up to 1995, is more radical than the ones I saw in Holland.

[5] Here is the Fourth Amendment (<- Wikipedia) once again (minus links to two notes):
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I think the Fourth Amendment has now been transformed into something like this:
The people of the USA have no right to be secure in their persons, their houses, their papers, or their effects, against any searches and any seizures their government likes to do, in secret, on any or all of these, which also will need no Warrants whatsoever, nor do they need any probable cause, nor need these be supported by any Oath or any affirmation, for the US government must know, in secret also, absolutely everything that its inhabitants say, do, want, believe or value.
For this is how it works in the USA, and how it has worked since 2001.

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