Thursday, Jan 26, 2017
Crisis: CIA Tortures, More Oil, Trump Imperialist, Corporate Media, TPP, On Russia
Sections                                                                     crisis index

Draft Executive Order on Secret CIA Prisons Signals a Return
     to the Darkness of the Post-9/11 Period

2. A Complete Disregard for Democracy: Greenpeace Condemns
     Trump's Move on Pipelines & Silencing of EPA

Donald Trump, Imperialist: He Longs to Build Up Our Military
     and Then Use It

The Corporate Media Isn't Coming Close to Holding Trump

Dance on the Grave of the TPP
On Contact: Real purpose of intel report on Russian hacking
     with Abby Martin & Ben Norton


This is a Nederlog of Thursday, January 26, 2017. (I now started including the day of the week.)

Summary: This is a crisis log with 6 items and 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about Trump's signature under much more tortures in or by the USA; item 2 is about Trump's complete disregard of all laws that contradict his desires, and he wants more oil and more pipelines; item 3 is about what Trump really is: An aggressive imperialist who is building up the military to use it (and if this becomes nuclear we are all dead); item 4 is about a quite good but very depressing article by Thom Hartmann on the corporate media, the USA, and the horrible Lewis F. Powell Jr.; item 5 is about a little dance on
the TPP's grave, which I like (but there still are the equally bad or worse TTIP and TISA); and item 6 is about a good video with Chris Hedges, Abby Martin and Ben Norton about Russia and the - utterly false but widely credited - report by the secret
services that blames Russia without giving ANY evidence.
As for today (January 26, 2017): I have meanwhile attached a message to the openings of both of my sites which points out that for somehing like a year now both of my sites more or less systematically, but unpredictably, show the wrong date and the wrong files, indeed going so far back as 2015, and as if I did not write anything since then.

Today the Danish site was wrong again, but now the Dutch site was right...

Somebody really wants you not to read my sites.

More about this later, probably tomorrow or in the weekend.
1. Draft Executive Order on Secret CIA Prisons Signals a Return to the Darkness of the Post-9/11 Period

The first item today is by Alex Emmons on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

A draft presidential order being circulated in the Trump administration could signal a return to the executive-branch lawlessness that followed September 11, 2001.

A draft of the executive order obtained by the New York Times and Washington Post calls for senior officials to consider re-opening the CIA’s network of secret prisons, where terror suspects were disappeared and deprived of their rights.

And by rescinding President Obama’s 2009 executive order that banned torture and closed the CIA’s prisons — where many of the worst abuses of CIA’s post-9/11 torture program took place – it paves the way for illegal torture to take place in secret.

Yes indeed. Torture is forbidden (by the United Nations and international laws), but it is embraced by Trump:

In clips from an interview with ABC News released on Wednesday, Trump said he believed torture tactics like waterboarding were appropriate and effective, but that he would heed the advice of his cabinet appointees.

“Would I feel strongly about waterboarding? As far as I’m concerned, we have to fight fire with fire,” Trump said. “With that being said, I’m going with Gen. [James] Mattis, I’m going with my Secretary Pompeo,” he said, referring to his CIA director, Mike Pompeo. “I want to do everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally. But do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it works. ”

Trump is right: Everybody can be completely destroyed by torture. This is why civilized societies forbade it. But Trump is neither civilized nor heading a civilized society.

Here are - I am sorry - "Trump's opponents":

Both of the Senate sponsors of that 2015 law — California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain — expressed concerns Wednesday that the draft order signaled an intent to violate that law.

“The president can sign whatever executive orders he likes,” McCain said in a statement. “But the law is the law. We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America.”

Feinstein took a similar stand: “Reconstituting this appalling program would compromise our values, our morals and our standing as a world leader — this cannot happen.”

Human rights activists responded with shock and alarm.

I do not know enough about U.S. law to say much about McCain's statement, but I do know that these considerations did not work under Bush Jr. and so I assume they will not work under Trump.

2. A Complete Disregard for Democracy: Greenpeace Condemns Trump's Move on Pipelines & Silencing of EPA

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

This starts with the following introduction:

In addition to issuing presidential memos to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, President Trump and his team have taken several other actions that have alarmed environmentalists. All references to climate change have been removed from the White House website. Reuters is reporting the Environmental Protection Agency has also been ordered to remove its climate change page, which contains links to scientific global warming research as well as detailed data on emissions. The EPA has also been prohibited from issuing press releases, publishing blog updates or even posting information on social media. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has abruptly canceled a major conference on climate change and public health. We speak to Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA.

In fact, I think the crisis series reported all or nearly all of the above. Here is Annie Leonard:

ANNIE LEONARD: (..) You know, I’m actually very worried. I’ve been an environment activist for about a quarter of a century, and there have been many uphill battles. But in the past, we were operating within a framework where there was some respect for democracy, some respect for science, a stronger grasp on reality than President Trump is indicating. His actions yesterday, both on the pipelines as well as trying to muzzle the Environmental Protection Agency, demonstrate a complete disregard for indigenous treaty rights, a complete disregard for environmental laws—that executive orders and memoranda don’t change; those pipelines still have to go through NEPA, through the Clean Water Act—a complete disregard for democracy. Millions and millions of people have voiced opposition to these pipelines. But perhaps most troubling is a complete disconnect from reality.

Yes indeed, and I have been worried about the environment since 1972 - which means, I realize, that I have been thinking for 45 years now "not enough, not enough, not enough". And I fear that 4 years of Trump will undo most of the relatively little good that was done for the environment since 1972.

Leonard is also correct (in my view) in saying Trump is both an utter anti-democrat and completely disconnected from reality, and indeed is disconnected in two different ways:

He is a Republican, and the Republicans are capable of denying ANY obvious fact everybody recognizes if only it threatens to diminish their profits. And second, Trump is not sane - as quite a few psychiatrists and psychologists have meanwhile said: Here is a link to a letter to Obama by three professors of psychiatry.

And here is more Leonard:

ANNIE LEONARD: You know, I’m not sure there’s anything that President Trump could do to actually push these pipelines through, because in addition to actual laws and environmental impact statements, there’s all of us. There are people. The word that I’m hearing more than any other these days is "resistance." Actually, the second one would be "unity." All across the country, indigenous groups, climate groups, farmers’ groups, labor groups—all these different people are coming together and saying, "We will resist. We are not going to go away quietly. We’re actually not going to go away. We’re going to fight with everything we have, because what’s at stake really is everything that we love. It’s our democracy. It’s water. It’s our multicultural communities. We’re not giving up. We’re not going away. We’re going to resist."

I say. I wish I was as confident as Leonard sounds.

But Trump is quite willing to arrest people simply for peaceful protesting, and locking them up for ten years plus a $25,000 fine, and he seems to have the present law on his side for doing that (!!) [1], while he also is changing the laws to be abled to do legally very much more evil.

So I am not by far as confident as Leonard sounds. Here is the first of two articles
that are about "Trump in general" (so to speak):

3. Donald Trump, Imperialist: He Longs to Build Up Our Military and Then Use It

The third item is by Heather Digby Parton on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:

Donald Trump’s inaugural address produced yet another torrent of commentary about his “populist, isolationist” ideology and what it means for the future of the republic and the world. Unfortunately, he is all about neither of those things.

It’s true that he deployed the voice of a demagogue to rant about elites and powerful politicians and repeatedly evoked “the people.” But considering that his hires include six Goldman Sachs alums, three billionaires and several more vastly wealthy multimillionaires for his Cabinet, his alleged populism seems a bit strained. After all, to the extent the hellscape he described in that speech exists, it was created by the very people he is now empowering.

As I have been saying for quite a while now, Trump is a neofascist (in my sense: read the definition!!) and if you wanted any confirmation, look at his cabinet.

Here is more about Trump's military plans:

As far as security is concerned, Trump’s threats to withdraw from NATO and other alliances aren’t really about wanting to pull America to remain within its borders. He never says that. In fact, he wants a huge military and wants to show it off so everyone in the world will be in awe of American power. He just wants NATO and other alliances to pay protection money to the U.S. for whatever price he sets.

I think that is a reasonable judgement.

As to the economy, here is Trump's illegal plan to enrich Exxon as much as he can:

As for “taking the oil,” which is a suggestion Trump has repeated for months (including as recently as Saturday when he told the CIA officials they “might get another chance at it”) even conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer was taken aback, correctly noting that “seizing the oil is a war crime.”

If you have listened to Trump talk about China over the past 18 months, it is clear that he is not simply talking about a potential trade war but is prepared to confront the world’s largest nation militarily.
Of course, I agree with Krauthammer, for that is the law, but for Trump the law only counts when it is plainly for Trump, and otherwise can be circumvented, denied etc.

And I think Digby is right on Trump and China: I think Trump is quite prepared to meet China militarily. (Does he know how many inhabitants China has? I am just asking, and he may have learned this from TV.)

Here is the ending of the article
(minus the very last statement):
No, Trump is not an isolationist. He’s not a “realist.” Neither is he a liberal interventionist or a neoconservative idealist. He’s an old-fashioned imperialist. He wants to Make America great again by making it the world’s dominant superpower, capable of bullying other countries into submission and behaving however we like.

Yes, although I also think that every American president since Reagan was an imperialist in this sense. The difference with Trump is that Trump is not sane.

Here is more on Trump, and this is a rather good article:

4. The Corporate Media Isn't Coming Close to Holding Trump Accountable

The fourth item is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:

One of Donald Trump’s first official acts as president was to sign an executive order that will make it more expensive for first-time and low-income homebuyers to buy and keep their homes. His second act was to, among other possible effects, tell the IRS to quit trying to collect the Obamacare tax from people with incomes over a million dollars a year (and begin taking the Affordable Care Act apart in other ways).

But the big media story?

“Trump claims the media lied about the size of his inaugural crowds.”

Increasingly, it appears that the media are simply compliant patsies to whoever is in power, with a higher commitment to sensationalism than to issues that impact everyday Americans. 

In fact, the mainstream media have been "compliant patsies to whoever is in power" for at least 15 years now, and probably more, though I agree it has been growing worse and worse.

And in case you care: It is the same in Holland with the mainstream media, and it seems the same elsewhere in Europe (I can't check everything), and this general development strongly suggests to me that democracy is dying everywhere, for there cannot be any real democracy without a population that is decently and factually informed (apart from political coloring).

Besides, while I agree that Trump first decisions made the middle classes poorer and the extremely rich a lot richer, I do not know - yet - whether a part of the mainstream media might turn against Trump because they are called "scum" and "liars" by their - I think myself as a psychologist: not sane - president (while they themselves are still hesitating or refusing to say that the president lied - while it is obvious he lies, and lies, and lies most of the time and since more than a year).

Here is a description of what the mainstream media failed to do, consistently so and consciously so:

Throughout the primaries and the general election we finished last November, the media were committed to “issues-free” coverage (except when Bernie came on and took them to task). No discussion of climate change. No discussion of GOP efforts to destroy the social safety net. No discussion of Republican candidates (or, for that matter, Democratic candidates) who were in the pockets of particular billionaires or industries. No discussion of net neutrality (the companies that own our big media are unanimously opposed to net neutrality, so their millionaire News Stars never, ever discuss the topic). No discussion of corporate consolidation or control over Congress. No discussion of the role of billionaires in the election.

Instead, we got a reality show, filled with drama and name-calling, and devoid of information necessary to know who’d govern on behalf of whom.

Yes, I think that is quite correct, although I should add that I am not an American, and that I do not have a TV since 1970, which means that I am saved a lot of the stupidities, nonsense, bullshit, lies and propaganda that is spread by that instrument.

Here is some on the economical background of "the two large American political parties" (between quotes, because it seems mostly as if they are variants of the same underlying extremely rich base):

There’s a simple reality here: The Republican Party is the wholly owned front for billionaires and transnational corporations. The Democratic Party, since the creation of Al From and Bill Clinton’s DLC, have aspired to become the same only for the “white collar top 10%” (as Thomas Frank so brilliantly documents in his new book Listen Liberal!) – although there are still Democratic politicians who are relatively or entirely independent of corporate/billionaire control.  

But the press won’t ever tell you this.
Yes indeed, and here is more on Al From (<-Wikipedia) who seems to be the Democrats' Lewis F. Powell Jr..

And here is more on the radical decline of democracy in the USA (where I think it is by now about dead):

The Republican Party is largely a racket controlled by big industry and a few hundred very, very wealthy people. This same cancer has similarly infected the Democratic Party, although it’s at least salvageable.  

The reason the corporate media isn’t pointing out what, in previous eras was called “political corruption,” is because the media is part of the same corrupt system. Between Reagan and Clinton (Fairness Doctrine and Telecommunications Act of 1996), the media has gone from literally over 10,000 owners all across the nation to a mere dozen or so. And, public companies all, their interest is not in having an informed public, but in making the most money they can.

Yes indeed. This is followed by a quite good and rather extensive discussion of the ideas and some of the writings of the truly horrendous Lewis F. Powell Jr. which I strongly recommend you read, but skip here because I have written rather a lot about him in earlier Nederlogs, and because I lack the space and the time.

Here is one of the very many awful things Powell succeeded in getting done:

Prior to 1976, giving money to politicians or political action committees or their equivalents was considered a “behavior,” which could be regulated.  From the George Washington administration until 1976, money in politics was repeatedly tightened and loosened (invariably by or after “bribery” scandals).

But in 1976, in a Supreme Court case titled Buckley v. Valeo, Lewis Powell succeeded in laying the foundation for changing virtually all the rules governing money in politics.

For more, see the original. Here is the outcome (and "[w]ithin a decade" means: by 1986):

Within a decade, an explosion of now-familiar right-wing/pro-corporate, pro-billionaire think tanks and groups had formed, and they’ve largely shaped the contours of our American political dialogue. Using Buckley as its basis, the Court then extended the logic – blowing open the doors to corporate and billionaire money – in 2010’s Citizens’ United case.

Given that Trump will almost certainly appoint to the Supreme Court justices who will extend and expand “corporate personhood rights” and “billionaire rights” to own politicians and political parties, perhaps for the next generation or more (and given that these “rights” have never, ever been put into law by any legislature), it’s unlikely the deep, systemic corruption of our government by petrobillionaires and their friends will be uprooted. Thus, it’s similarly unlikely that Congress or the president will do anything to push our “news” organizations back to covering the news, instead of providing us with bread-and-circus infotainment.

My conclusions are that democracy is dead in the USA (as in fact was said in 2003 by the late Sheldon Wolin [2]); that the state of law [3] is dead in the USA; that the mainstream media are dead as realistic media; and that the non-mainstream media may get rapidly killed by Trump, but that we will get evermore bread- and-circus infotainment  - as has also been brought to Holland since 2010 by the NRC-Handelsblad, which I have read from 1970-2010, and then gave up in deep disgust: Either the NRC-Handelsblad was a real and good paper between 1970 and 2010, or the new NRC-Handelsblad is a real and good paper, but absolutely not both, for they differ as the day and the night in my 40 years of daily experiences with it, that indeed was murdered by its new editor since 2010 [4].

5. Dance on the Grave of the TPP

The fifth item is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership was effectively dead before Donald Trump's inauguration but, somehow, it always seemed poised to emerge from the grave and walk among the living once more.

But now it appears to be buried for good, and it was Trump who dealt the final, though largely symbolic, blow. And it is Trump who will seek credit for doing away with the agreement, even though he clearly doesn't deserve it.

So what? Did anyone expect Trump to do otherwise, to humbly divert the spotlight?

Here are the crucial points: The Trans-Pacific Partnership was terrible when it was first proposed, it was terrible when it was pushed aggressively by the Obama administration, and it would have been particularly terrible if it was "modified" by Trump's band of predatory plutocrats and rammed through the Republican-dominated Congress.

So I'm happy the TPP is dead, no matter who killed it — and I'm happy to dance on its grave.

Yes, I completely agree with Johnson. And incidentally, there still are - to the best of my knowledge - the TTIP and the TISA, which are as bad or worse than the TPP, and which also badly need killing. (So I may be a little less happy, indeed.)

Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article, on the neofascistic way in which the TPP was pursued:

But the TPP was particularly monstrous, even if its monstrosities were just expansions of the terrible elements already present in previous accords.

First, it was discussed and negotiated in strictly enforced secrecy. Members of Congress were allowed to examine the agreement, but any notes they took had to be surrendered before they exited the basement of the Capitol.

But the secrecy is understandable, given who played the most important role in shaping the agreement: Namely, representatives of private industry. According to an analysis by the Washington Post, 85 percent of the Obama administration's "network of official trade advisers" represented private industry — "corporate-heavy," is how the Post described the "network," understating the case. It is no coincidence, then, that representatives of major corporations like General Electric and Nike were among the very few with access to the details of the TPP; labor and environmental groups were largely kept in the dark.

As I said: A secret treaty that in secret tries to destroy democracy and give all powers to the multi-national corporations, also in secret, can only be defined appropriately as either a fascistic or a neofascistic law (check the definitions!).

Incidentally, I would have removed "is understandable" and replaced it by "has reasons", but this is a recommended article.

6. On Contact: Real purpose of intel report on Russian hacking with Abby Martin & Ben Norton

The sixth and last item
today is not an article but a video with Chris Hedges, Abby Martin and Ben Horton about Russia. It takes 26 m 56 s and is very well worth watching (although I fear you will not get happier, but the politics rarely does these days, unless you are extremely rich and love to become even richer):

This is from the "On Contact" series with Chris Hedges on RT, which in fact seems one of the last media that gives something like the real news on video. (But there still is also The Real News in Baltimore, that is also very well worth seeing.)

The video starts from the complete rejection of "the report about Russian hacking" that was produced by the American secret services, simply because it lacks ANY evidence whatsoever, as indeed was very clearly outlined by many prominent people who worked for the NSA or the CIA. See here.

The rest is very worrying but probably also very true: There may be a nuclear war very soon, either with Russia or with China, indeed probably not because anyone wants it (apart from Trump, perhaps, simply because Trump is not sane (and I am a psychologist)), but because the real situation is extremely threatening and closer to a nuclear war than ever before.

In case that happens we are all dead. Happy viewing! (It is worth it, that is: if you want to understand the real facts.)

[1] As I have pointed out before, in Holland - which does not have an excellent or very good legal system - some people who commit murder are sentenced by Dutch judges for 8 tot 12 years in prison.

To see that under the existing laws people can be put in jail for 10 years simply for peaceful protesting means that legally the law in the USA already is neofascistic.

And it will be made very much worse by Donald Trump, is my sincere conviction.

The last link - the same as this - links you to November 8, 2014, where you find links to all of the 8-fold interview that Chris Hedges made with Sheldown Wolin in 2014. They are warmly recommended.

In fact the "state of law" is the English translation of the German (and Dutch) term "Rechtsstaat" that is quite important in German and Dutch laws.

Again, I saw a similar thing in The Guardian, more recently, that seems to have chosen for the incomes of its journalists rather than for writing the truth. And similar things seem to happen everywhere: There is less and less of the real news, and very much more of "
bread-and-circus infotainment" aka amusements.

It is impossible for me to check all or most of Europe's main papers, but something like this seems to be happening everywhere, and indeed this is also very much in the interests of the richest, who want stupid and obedient servants very much rather than
proud and independent individuals.

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