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Nederlog

Sunday, Feb 19, 2017

Crisis: On Muslims, On Republicans *2, On Trump and the Deep State, Carlin, Snowden

Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Why Do So Many Americans Fear Muslims?
2. Cowardly Republicans Are Running Away from Voters and
     Cancelling Town Meetings This Weekend

3.
This Isn’t Just Trump. This Is Who the Republicans Are.
4. How the Trump regime was manufactured by a war inside the
     Deep State

5. George Carlin: How language is used to mask truth and Israeli
     terrorism

6. EDWARD SNOWDEN: Everything about Donald Trump
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Sunday
, February 19, 2017.

Summary: This file is a crisis log with 6 files and 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about an article in The Intercept about "Muslims" which I liked; item 2 is about a more general
feature of the present Republicans: They have the power and therefore avoid meeting the people; item 3 is about Trump and the Republicans (who serve the few rich, and not the many non-rich); item 4 is about a long and good article about the Trump cabinet and the Deep State that I liked (but it is simply too long to properly extract); item 5 is about a very good and quite funny video with George Carlin about free speech (which I
am a proponent of); and item 6 is another video that is a record of a long interview
with Edward Snowden from late 2016, which I liked (and did not see earlier).

Incidentally, this Nederlog was written while I am quite tired because I didn't sleep enough because I have pain. Ah well - see ME.
As for today (February 19, 2017): I have changed my site on February 1, 2017 to make it easier that it might be read, because it nowF happened for most of last year that both of my sites are not uploaded properly:

On xs4all.nl it may be days, weeks or months behind to show the proper last date and the proper last files (in the last 4 years always on the date it was that day), and it was this morning again incorrect again (but yesterday it was not); on one.com it may be shown as December 31, 2015 (and often was!!!) and was also again incorrect this morning; and indeed I am sick of being systematically made unreadable and therefore changed the site to allow most readers to find it more easily.

For more explanations, see
here - and no: with two different sites in two different countries with two different providers, where this has been happening for a year (and not for over 20 and over 12 years before) now I'm absolutely certain that this happens and that it's not due to me.

Incidentally, if you reached February 1, 2017 on one of my sites you are in the new set-up and from there you can find the latest Nederlog, and all others from there.
1. Why Do So Many Americans Fear Muslims?

The first item today is by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept - with a considerably longer title, but the title starts as follows:

The article starts as follows:

There’s been lots of attention-grabbing opposition to Trump’s “Muslim ban” executive order, from demonstrations to court orders. But polls make it clear public opinion is much more mixed. Standard phone polls show small majorities opposed, while web and automated polls find small majorities continue to support it.

What surprises me about the poll results isn’t that lots of Americans like the ban — but that so many Americans don’t. Regular people have lives to lead and can’t investigate complicated issues in detail. Instead they usually take their cues from leaders they trust. And given what politicians across the U.S. political spectrum say about terrorism, Trump’s executive order makes perfect sense. There are literally no national-level American politicians telling a story that would help ordinary people understand why Trump’s goals are both horrendously counterproductive and morally vile.

Yes indeed, and this is a bit hopeful, also because "regular people" will mostly inform themselves by way of the mainstream media, that are both partial and incomplete, and also often misleading, or from Facebook, that seems awful to me. (I dislike Facebook so much that I never visit it, but I do know that Facebook now "serves" - and misleads, and advertises - around 1.4 billion members.)

Here is some wisdom of Trump:

In an interview last March with Anderson Cooper, Donald Trump tried to puzzle out what’s behind the terrorism directed at the U.S. “I think Islam hates us,” Trump learnedly opined. “There’s a tremendous hatred there, we’ve got to get to the bottom of it.”

“In Islam itself?” asked Cooper. Trump responded, “You’re going to have to figure that out. You’ll get another Pulitzer.”

During Trump’s speech at the CIA right after his inauguration, he expressed the same bewilderment. “Radical Islamic terrorism,” pondered Trump. “This is something nobody can even understand.”

I agree Trump sounds very stupid - "Islam hates us"?! Islam? us? - but then again he also is consistent, as Jon Schwartz quite correctly explains:

Say what you want about the tenets of this worldview, but at least it’s an internally consistent ethos: We’re surrounded by lunatics who want to murder us for reasons that are totally inscrutable to rational people like us but … obviously have something to do with them being Muslims.

Meanwhile, in private, the non-crazy members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment aren’t confused at all. They understand quite well that Islamist terrorism is almost wholly blowback from the foreign policy they’ve designed.

Yes indeed. Then there is this on Obama (besides considerably more that I leave to your interests):

Most importantly, Obama pretended that the U.S. has never done anything truly wrong to others, and can enjoy the benefits of power without any costs. This is the most pernicious and common form of political correctness, but is never called that because the most powerful people in America love it.

But Obama also engaged in something more akin to what’s generally called political correctness, by contending that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. But it does — just not in the way that Frank Gaffney and Pamela Geller would tell you.

Religion and nationalism have always been similar phenomena, and Islam sometimes functions as a form of nationalism. And like all nationalisms, it has a crazy, vicious right wing that’s empowered by outside attacks on members of the nation. The right loves to jeer at Obama for calling Islam “a religion of peace,” and they should — not because Islam specifically isn’t a religion of peace but because there is really no such thing, just as there is no “nationalism of peace.”
Yes, I think that is correct - and as I have been saying quite a few times in Nederlog, indeed since the end of 2009: Obama excelled in saying one thing to his public, while often doing the other thing, that was very frequently incompatible with what he said,
but then these were policies, laws or regulations that are very much less commented in the press than his speeches.

There is a whole lot more in the article that I skip and leave to your interests. It ends as follows:

So it’s quite possible ISIS and the Trump administration can successfully collaborate on getting what they both want: a totally unnecessary, civilizational war. To stop them we have to end our truckling equivocation about terrorism, and start telling the truth while there’s still time.

Yes. And the truth seems to me to be fairly simple: Some Islamists are terrorists, rather like some Catholics and some Protestants were terrorists in the 16th Centuryespecially, and in each case these were -relatively small - minorities of these faiths.

2. Cowardly Republicans Are Running Away from Voters and Cancelling Town Meetings This Weekend

The second item is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:

This starts as follows and is here because I suspect this is a far more general symptom that characterizes many Republican politicians (beyond this weekend):

Almost all congressional Republicans are scared of facing voters in town hall meetings over the long President’s Day weekend. Only 19 representatives and senators—a tiny number—will hold town meetings during the first recess of the current session of Congress, according to the Town Hall Project. But the group’s listing of these democratic mainstays barely tells the story.

According to an eye-opening Washington Post account, Republican officeholders have been cancelling planned town halls because they don’t want to face critics upset that they may soon lose their health insurance or see an increase in costs as the GOP plans to undermine Obamacare. Even worse, they don’t want organized progressive groups to show up with posters and video camera and determination to challenge them in public and post the confrontations on YouTube.

And what these Republicans also do not not want is that the media report on their betrayals of their voters, and they assume - quite correctly, I think - that if they do
not show up, the media just will write nothing, which is much in their interests, since for the moment they have the majority in the House and in the Senate, and they also have a Republican government, so they can mostly do what they want anyway.

There is also this:

This cowardly response is nothing new from immoderate Republicans; it’s in line with their partisan ethic that “anything goes” to win, except playing fair. They cannot win in many states without gerrymandering federal and state districts, which allowed them to seize power after the 2010 Census. They cannot win widely in high turnout elections, hence their efforts to limit participation by creating barriers like new voter ID laws or restricting voting options favored by critics, like early voting on weekends.

I mostly agree with this, but as I eplained: The Republicans are not just acting "cowardly",  they are furthering their own Republican interests by not showing up to face unhappy voters.

This article ends as follows:

What’s the word for elected officeholders not standing by their beliefs in public and facing voters in their districts? Cowardice, plain and simple, and that’s just the start.

Perhaps, and I don't like most Republicans either but as I explained, I think it is probably less cowardice than Republican self-interest: They have the power in the USA and they can mostly do what they want without any voters. I agree it is irresponsible and undemocratic, but it is currently in their interest not to publicly face any opposition from the people.
 
3. This Isn’t Just Trump. This Is Who the Republicans Are.

The third 
item is by Dave Johnson on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
So far President Donald Trump has signed very few bills. One lets coal companies dump waste into streams. Another lets oil companies bribe foreign dictators in secret. Now he is moving to block a Labor Department “fiduciary rule” that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients when advising on retirement accounts.

Here’s the thing: this isn’t just Trump doing this. The Republican- controlled House and Senate passed those two bills, and the Republicans have been fighting that fiduciary rule tooth and nail.

It’s not just Trump, Republicans as a party are using Trump to engage in a general assault on protections from corruption, pollution, corporate fraud and financial scams.

This is who they are.

I simply do not know whether Trump "signed very few bills", but I agree with the rest: The Republicans are the party of the rich; Trump's cabinet is filled with billionaires and
generals; and they further the interests of the rich.

There is also this, that I mostly quote because of the graphic description of Trump:

Are Republicans dismayed that they have put a loathsome, deranged, misogynistic, racist, psychopathic, uninformed, self-promoting, corrupt, insulting, genital-grabbing, conspiracy-theory-peddling, Jew-baiting, narcissistic-behaving, country-destroying, Putin-loving, generally disgusting, fascist, loofa-faced sh*t-gibbon into power in our White House?

No, they are not. They like it that he’s squatting in the Oval Office.

Grover Norquist, one of the key leaders and strategists of the conservative movement, worded it clearly and succinctly, “We just need a President to sign this stuff.” “Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become President of the United States.”

That is strong language about Trump. I also do not quite agree with it, but I do think he has it coming, and since I am a proponent of free speech - and see George Carlin in item 5: strongly recommended - I am not against it, although I don't agree with all.

As to Grover Norquist's opinion: The Republicans needed a Republican president to sign typically Republican bills, but I do think Trump is considerably more important than merely being able and willing to sign Republican bills, and indeed I hope some saner
Republicans will realize that he is mad, very temperamental, and very dangerous simply because he can now blow up the whole world with nuclear arms.

4. How the Trump regime was manufactured by a war inside the Deep State

The fourth
item is by Nafeez Ahmed (<-Wikipedia) on Medium Corporation:

This is from near the beginning:

The Trump regime is not operating outside the Deep State, but mobilizing elements within it to dominate and strengthen it for a new mission.

The Trump regime is not acting to overturn the establishment, but to consolidate it against a perceived crisis of a wider transnational Deep System.

The Trump regime is not a conservative insurgency against the liberal establishment, but an act of ideologically constructing the current crisis as a conservative-liberal battleground, led by a particularly radicalized white nationalist faction of a global elite.

The act is a direct product of a global systemic crisis, but is a short-sighted and ill-conceived reaction, pre-occupied with surface symptoms of that crisis. Unfortunately, those hoping to resist the Trump reaction also fail to understand the system dynamics of the crisis.

Yes, I think this may well be correct. Here are three brief elucidatory remarks:

First, here is a reference to Wikipedia's lemma "Deep state in the United States", which is also quite insufficient in my opinion, but does more or less state the present opinion of the mainstream media. It is not long and gives several meanings for "deep state".
There is considerably more on the Deep State in the Nederlog index for 2016.

Second, I do believe in the Deep State, that I think is rather like Eisenhower 'military industrial complex (<-Wikipedia) except that (1) I add the secret services, which have become extremely much more powerful since the NSA has been collecting all they can find on any American and any other individual and (2) I observe that "the industries" also have become very much more powerful, and are much larger and a whole lot richer  than in Eisenhower's time, and besides tend to be (if large and somehow involved in the Deep State) multi-national corporations.

Third, I also believe in a transnational Deep System, that is mainly based on the many collaborating secret services (like the NSA in the USA, the GCHQ in Great Britain, and many more in other Western countries) plus the multi-national corporations, and especially the banks, and quite a few more.

And of course, because much of this is secret, and relatively little is published about it, and very little in the mainstream media, I do only know a bit about it - but it also would be very naive to assume that neither exists in any sense, and all we need to consider are the elected politicians and their plans and schemes. (In fact, my guess is
that many politicians, in many Western countries, are simply bought, but I cannot prove that, though this supposed fact does explain rather a lot about quite a few of the proposals of many politicians.)

Next, the above quotation continues as follows:

All this can only be understood when we look at the big picture. That means the following: we must look a little more closely at the individuals inside Trump’s administration, the wider social and institutional networks they represent, and what emerges from their being interlocked in government; we must contextualize this against two factors, the escalation of global systemic crisis, and the Trump regime’s ideological framing(s) of that crisis (both for themselves, and for publicF consumption); we must connect this with the impact on the transnational Deep System, and how that links up with the US Deep State; and we must then explore what this all means in terms of the scope of actions likely to be deployed by the Trump regime to pursue its discernable goals.

This investigation will help to establish a ground state for anyone on which to build a meaningful strategy of response that accounts for the full systemic complexity of our Trumpian moment.

And this is indeed what Nafeez Ahmed (<-Wikipedia) does in this article, which is over 323 Kb and quite good in my opinion, but also quite impossible to extract properly.

So what I will do is this: I extract four more quotes, to show you why I like it,
and to stimulate you to read all of it. It is well-written and nicely illustrated, but the following quotes are not representative.

Here is the first:

Trump’s administration has not just been bought by Wall Street. It’s been bought by the oil, gas and coal industries.
(...)
The fossil fuel freaks want to burn all the oil, gas and coal they can, at any cost — and they are willing to dismantle whatever environmental protections stand in their way.

Yes, I think that is correct, as can also be inferred from Trump's cabinet. Here also is an additional remark: It would seem that the big computer and internet companies (Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and quite a few more) are much less involved in Trump's cabinet.

Then there is this on Henry Kissinger (<- Wikipedia), who is meanwhile 93 but still seems to be politically involved:

Trump’s administration has been further augmented by a man with especially extensive ties to the US Deep State: Henry Kissinger.

Since December 2016, Kissinger, the notorious former Secretary of State convincingly accused of complicity in war crimes by the late Christopher Hitchens — who has played direct advisory roles in both the preceding Bush and Obama administrations — has become Trump’s unofficial foreign policy guru. Kissinger was a secret national security consultant to President Bush, and under Obama was directly involved in the US National Security Council’s chain-of-command.

I say. I have no proof of this, but I grant it sounds plausible.

Here is a bit about the connections between Trump's cabinet and the Deep State:

Perhaps the most powerful takeaway from this examination of who the Trump administration actually is, is that the Trump regime is not external to the Deep State. On the contrary, the people who hold senior posts in his administration, both formal and otherwise, are key nodes that represent whole layers of social and institutional networks within and across the wider US Deep State.

Incidentally, as to "this examination": Nafeez Ahmed contains a considerable amount of interesting information about many persons involved in the present government, all of which I recommend, and that I completely skip.

As to the last quotation: In part, this is simply due to the fact that many of the blllionaires (and millionaires) in Trump's cabinet are (or were) heads of major corporations (like Tillerson, from Exxon Mobile), while many of the generals in his cabinet are connected to the Pentagon.

Finally, here is a bit about the number of mostly civilians who were killed by globalization, that again was mostly though not solely furthered by the American
military:

In his book, Unpeople (2004), British historian Mark Curtis offers a detailed breakdown of the death toll at approximately 10 million — a conservative under-estimate, he qualifies. American economist Dr JW Smith, in his Economic Democracy (2005), argues that globalization was:

“… responsible for violently killing 12 to 15 million people since WW II and causing the death of hundreds of millions more as their economies were destroyed or those countries were denied the right to restructure to care for their people… that is the record of the Western imperial centers of capital from 1945 to 1990.”

As I said, none of the quotations I gave provide a fair view of the more than 320 Kbs of Nafeez Ahmed's text, which I strongly recommend that you read and ponder by yourself.

5. George Carlin: How language is used to mask truth and Israeli terrorism

The fifth
item is not a text but is a video:

As I have said quite a few times in Nederlog, I really like George Carlin, whom I discovered only after he was dead, and about whom I wrote this in 2012:

George Carlin, although he never got any university degree, was a real philosopher who discussed real philosophical problems in ways that are accessible, amusing and instructive to real people who are not blessed by academic tenure for knowing how to perform some academic tricks passably well and without giving offense to the authorities or the public at large, and who call themselves "philosophers" because they teach it, and maybe also write about it in journals that are only read by their own kind.

Then again, in order to reach the public Carlin had to adopt the stance of a comedian - as few will pay to hear a talk about philosophy - a subject which he excelled in thanks to a combination of courage, individualism, intelligence and verbal wit.

He seems to me to be one of the very few Americans of his and my generation who dared to speak the truth about many accepted idiocies and injustices in an intelligent and intelligible way, and who also managed to get away with it, and indeed to make money by it, because he was genuinely witty, which is another talent academic philosophers rarely have, even if they believe they do (see Magee's interviews, if you were inclined to think otherwise: compare the verbal agility of these supposedly major 20th Century philosophers with the verbal agility, ready wit and logical clarity that Carlin displayed, also in direct discussion, as can be seen on YouTube).
As to "Magee's interviews": Here is one decent link to them (on Youtube): PHILOSOPHY: MEN of IDEAS- Bryan Magee: I think this - implicitly, of course -
supports my point (and I saw most of them, though not all, but then I do have
a B.A. in philosophy).

6. EDWARD SNOWDEN: Everything about Donald Trump

The sixth and last
item today is a video of a long (52 min) interview of Edward Snowden by Katie Couric (<-Wikipedia). It is from late 2016:

This is a good interview and it clarifies Edward Snowden's position. I liked it. It is here (only) now simply because I didn't see it before. (It doesn't say "everything about Donald Trump", of course: that is just click bait. But the interview is OK.)


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