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Nederlog

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017

Crisis: O'Reilly Dismissed, British Elections In June, On Hillary Clinton, Super-Rich Democrats


Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Bill O’Reilly Is Forced Out at Fox News
2.
Theresa May Will Have Her Way: British Parliament Votes to
     Allow June 8 Election (Update)

3. Why Hillary Clinton Really Lost
4. What are the Super-Rich Democrats Waiting For?

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Thursday
, April 20, 2017.

Summary: This is an ordinary
crisis log with four items and four links: Item 1 is about Bill O'Reilly's dismissal from Fox News; item 2 is about Theresa May's decision to have new British elections in June; item 3 is about some of the reasons Hillary Clinton lost the presidential elections; and item 4 is about an article by Ralph Nader who inquires what the super-rich Democrats are waiting for.

Also - in case you missed it - this is one of the first Nederlogs since Trump won the elections that does not mention him, except in this sentence.
April 20: As to the updating problem: The Danish site was again on time today; but the Dutch site - of course! - is still stuck on April 15. These horrors happen now for the 16th month in succession. (If you want these horrors, then sign in with "xs4all.nl"; if not, avoid them.)

And I have to add that about where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others I have NO idea AT ALL: It may be December 31, 2015. (Xs4all wants  immediate payment if you are a week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying my site now for over a year. I completely distrust them, but I also do not know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
1. Bill O’Reilly Is Forced Out at Fox News

The first article today is
by Emily Steele and Michael S. Schmidt on The New York Times:

This starts as follows:

Bill O’Reilly’s reign as the top-rated host in cable news came to an abrupt and embarrassing end on Wednesday as Fox News forced him out after the disclosure of a series of sexual harassment allegations against him and an internal investigation that turned up even more.

Mr. O’Reilly and his employers came under intense pressure after an article by The New York Times on April 1 revealed how Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, had repeatedly stood by him even as he and the company reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.

Let me first explain why this news is here:

I dislike O'Reilly but he was the top asset of Fox News and as such important, and I also saw rather a few bits of O'Reilly, although this was mostly the case in 2009 (when I got fast internet) and 2010, and considerably less later. (For I then watched The Young Turks more, which I also do a lot less.)

There is a third reason: I have maintained for a long time that most Americans (not: all, for there are also some remarkably intelligent ones) are unintelligent and ignorant, and that this is an important reason for the popularity of the Republicans, and indeed O'Reilly was one of those who abused the stupidity and the ignorance.

And finally there is a fourth reason: I rather like it that this main speaker for the Republicans and American conservatives was dismissed on quite a few complaints about sexual harassment.

Here is what happened (more or less, for it wasn't only The New York Times who did this):

Since then, more than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, and women’s rights groups had called for him to be fired. Inside the company, women expressed outrage and questioned whether top executives were serious about maintaining a culture based on “trust and respect,” as they had promised last summer when another sexual harassment scandal led to the ouster of Roger E. Ailes as chairman of Fox News.

Indeed. Here are the people who made the decision to dismiss Bill O'Reilly (and earlier Roger Ailes), namely the owners of Fox News:

That left Mr. O’Reilly’s fate in the hands of the Murdoch family, which controls 21st Century Fox. In the end, according to two people familiar with the decision, Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, made their call after reviewing the results of an internal investigation that found that multiple women had reported inappropriate behavior by Mr. O’Reilly.

I guess the real reason to dismiss O'Reilly was the fact that "more than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show" rather than the fact "that multiple women had reported inappropriate behavior by Mr. O’Reilly", for the latter fact has happened before but - to the best of my knowledge - not the former fact.

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

The decision to force out Mr. O’Reilly, who was considered the network’s top asset, was a stunning reversal for a company that had long stood by him.

Besides, Fox News's "top asset" was dismissed because of sexual complaints by several women, while in July of 2016 Fox News's chairman was dismissed, also because of sexual complaints by several women.

And I take it this is a reflection of the morality that rules Fox News.

2. Theresa May Will Have Her Way: British Parliament Votes to Allow June 8 Election (Update)

The second article is by Natasha Hakimi on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

Theresa May will have her way, it seems, after the U.K. parliamentarians voted Wednesday to approve her call for a snap election on June 8. The final count was 522 in favor and 13 against, with several members of Parliament choosing to abstain. A two-thirds majority is required to call an election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act—a requirement the House of Commons surpassed by a significant number of votes.

Yes, indeed. (And the "it seems" meanwhile can be deleted.) Here is some on the background, quoted from Robert Mackey on The Intercept:

Her decision to subject Britons to a third national election campaign in just over two years — after the 2015 general election and the referendum on exiting the European Union ten months ago — was met with something less than enthusiasm by many voters.

In her address to the nation, May claimed that a fresh election was necessary to keep opposition parties from obstructing her Conservative government during negotiations over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

That argument rang hollow, however, given that the opposition Labour Party had just voted for the government’s bill to begin the process of leaving the E.U. and is not campaigning to overturn the results of last year’s referendum.

To most political observers, it was clear that May’s decision was driven by something else: a desire to capitalize on the unprecedented weakness of the Labour Party, which is divided over Brexit, and its own leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and has trailed the Conservatives by up to 21 points in recent polls.

As the writer Robert Harris and the broadcaster James O’Brien suggested, it might also be in May’s own self-interest, and that of her party, to ask the nation for a five-year term now, before the costs of Brexit become apparent.

I think that analysis - the weakness of the Labour Party plus getting elected before the costs of Brexit become apparent - is very probably quite correct.

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

Polls indicate Tories have a 21 percent lead over other parties, including Labour, led by progressive Jeremy Corbyn.
(..)
Corbyn says he welcomes the election, as it will give Britons an opportunity to choose a new path forward. Presumably he’s hoping that path is the one outlined by Labour in the past few months. The party has been working to clearly delineate its policy positions on everything from Brexit to the National Health Services. Due to discouraging polls, many on the left believe their best bet is a Labour coalition with Liberal Democrats, a party that will campaign on a soft or no Brexit platform in the upcoming election in hopes of taking seats from Tories by appealing to Conservative voters who wanted to remain in the EU.

I have to admit that either I do not quite understand the 21 percent lead of the Tories or else this is mainly due to the propaganda in many papers. I do hope Labour wins the elections, but the chances seem to be smallish.

3. Why Hillary Clinton Really Lost

The third article is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews:

This starts as follows:

An early insider account of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, entitled Shattered, reveals a paranoid presidential candidate who couldn’t articulate why she wanted to be President and who oversaw an overconfident and dysfunctional operation that failed to project a positive message or appeal to key voting groups.

Okay, I realize that people who have been watching Rachel Maddow and other MSNBC programs – as well as reading The New York Times and The Washington Post for the past four months – “know” that Clinton ran a brilliant campaign that was only derailed because of “Russian meddling.” But this insider account from reporters Jonathan Allen and Annie Parnes describes something else.

I cannot really say I am amazed but this is news for me.

As to the second paragraph: I hardly ever watch Rachel Maddow; I hardly ever read The Washington Post; I do daily watch The New York Times but do not quote much of it; and I never believed that Hillary's campaign was "brilliant" nor that she did not become president because of "Russian meddling".

I presume the first paragraph is a bit overstated, although I grant that I dislike Hillary's policies and lies. I have to admit that I did not watch many of her videos, but that those I saw displayed a considerably worse talker than Bill Clinton, also with considerably less presence. (But as I said, I did not watch many videos.)

Here is some more on the "insider account of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign":

As The Wall Street Journal review notes, the book “narrates the petty bickering, foolish reasoning and sheer arrogance of a campaign that was never the sure thing that its leader and top staffers assumed. … Mr. Allen and Ms. Parnes stress two essential failures of the campaign, the first structural, the second political. The campaign’s structure, the authors write, was an ‘unholy mess, fraught with tangled lines of authority, petty jealousies, and no sense of greater purpose.’”

The book portrays Hillary Clinton as distant from her campaign staff, accessible primarily through her close aide, Huma Abedin, and thus creating warring factions within her bloated operation.

I have to guess again, but it seems as if Hillary thought she had won already, based on her husband's fame and name, her being a Senator and later Secretary of State to Obama, and also the good statistics she had as a presidential candidate.

Here is some more:

There is also an interesting tidbit regarding Clinton’s attitude toward the privacy of her staff’s emails. “After losing to Mr. Obama in the protracted 2008 primary,” the Journal’s review says, Clinton “was convinced that she had lost because some staffers – she wasn’t sure who – had been disloyal. So she ‘instructed a trusted aide to access the campaign’s server and download the [email] messages sent and received by top staffers.’”

I say! So she did not even respect the privacy of the emails of her staffers, and demanded to read them. That is:

In other words, Clinton – in some Nixonian fit of paranoia – violated the privacy of her senior advisers in her own mole hunt, a revelation that reflects on her own self-described “mistake” to funnel her emails as Secretary of State through a private server rather than a government one. As the Journal’s review puts it: “she didn’t want anyone reading her emails the way she was reading those of her 2008 staffers.”

Yes, in the circumstances that seems fair. Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:

So, rather than conducting a serious autopsy on how Clinton and the national Democratic Party kicked away a winnable election against the buffoonish Donald Trump, national Democrats have created a Zombie explanation for their failures, blaming their stunning defeat on the Russians.

Yes, I agree entirely. And this is a recommended article.

4. What are the Super-Rich Democrats Waiting For?

The fourth and last article today is by Ralph Nader on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Democratic Party loyalists are always complaining about the big-money fat cats behind the Republican Party’s candidates and platform. Over the last few election cycles, the Democratic Party has lost most state legislatures, governorships, the US Senate, the US House of Representatives and the White House. Republican control of the Senate is also leading to control of the US Supreme Court. It is time for Democrats to up the ante big time!

Instead of complaining constantly about the Koch brothers’ zillions pouring into the political system, the Democrats need to start asking what their billionaire supporters are willing to do in the era of the authoritarian Trumpsters. Democrats have their fair share of affluent supporters, such as George Soros. Besides their routine campaign contributions, and expressing among themselves a sense of dread over the fate of our democracy, why aren’t the pro-Democratic super-rich harnessing their resources to address the impending crisis they foresee, a crisis all the more likely to be provoked by the power-concentrating Trump regime?

The first paragraph sketches the facts, which also may be personalized somewhat:

Under Pelosi and Clinton, "the Democratic Party has lost most state legislatures, governorships, the US Senate, the US House of Representatives and the White House".
They are not the only ones responsible, but I think it is a fair conclusion that they failed and should go, and the sooner the better.

And I have a - cynical - guess about "why aren’t the pro-Democratic super-rich harnessing their resources to address the impending crisis they foresee": At least now "the pro-Democratic super-rich" are benefitted too much by Trump's rewarding the super-rich to care much for the interests of the non-rich Democrats.

I admit this is only a cynical guess, but it does help account for the facts.

Then there is this:

Policy precedes action, says political writer Bill Curry. You have to have something to fight for before you begin organizing. As I’ve pointed out in my book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left/Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State, many major policy reforms have long enjoyed substantial left/right support, and organizing such consensus could spark an unstoppable political movement. Millions of Americans of all political stripes back such causes as full Medicare for all, living wages, cracking down on corporate crime, eliminating crony capitalism, action on climate change and other critical environmental degradations, protecting the commons, developing robust civic skills in primary and secondary education, rationalizing the tax systems, expanding access to justice, protecting consumers and reforming criminal justice (to name just a few).

Hm. I agree with Ralph Nader that "millions of Americans of all political stripes back such causes as", followed by the above lists, but - or so it seems to me - these preferences (say: for full Medicare for all) are elicited in specific polls, whereas the
national elections have other themes, and many American voters are not able - it seems - to identify their own specific interests in the amounts of propaganda that are distributed over them during the national elections (or so it seems to me, though there are more factors).

This article ends as follows, and I don't quite agree:

Why all this hasn’t scaled up to momentous proportions of resistance, recovery and reform is more than a failure of imagination or a sign of collective defeatism and despair. It reflects the historical asymmetry between the forces of greed and tyranny which, by definition, organize out of self-interest and the forces of justice and democracy which have to mobilize by choice for the public interest.

This difference in fervor can be overcome by an elevated sense of urgency, now and for posterity. Just reflect on the greatest advances in US history when people organized to beat back and overcome the forces of darkness.

It has never been easier to challenge abuses of power than now, using modern technology and communication, with a pittance of available discretionary wealth on behalf of the great and crucial common good.

I don't agree with the first paragraph, and indeed I don't because I had poor proletarian communist parents, who als worked as trade unionists: It simply isn't true that the rich organize things "out of self-interest" whereas the non-rich "have to mobilize by choice for the public interest": The non-rich Nader speaks of seem to be a whole lot better of economically than my parents were, in the 1950ies.

And if you want to put it in these terms, I'd say that there are the self-interest of the rich, which is only for the rich, but which also has a lot of money from the rich to make it appear otherwise, and the self-interest of the non-rich, which are for democracy, equality, and legal regulations, but lack the money to make their preferences known
through many advertisements.

Also, I disagree with the last paragraph, and for (at least) two reasons.

First, while it is true (in a sense) that "[i]t has never been easier to challenge abuses of power than now", the point is not that it is easier to challenge power but that, while this may be true, few of these attacks are read by the majority, who still read the mainstream media or get their ideas and values from Fox News.

And second, I should say that I - at least - feel much less certain about "using modern technology and communication", given the fact that everything one says into a cellphone or writes in an e-mail (or has on one's cellphone or laptop) will get documented in secret files by the secret services (even if these files may not - yet - have been read by human eyes).

Then again, I am not saying people should not protest: They should.

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