Friday, May 19, 2017

Crisis: Robert Mueller III, Special Counsel, Impeachment (?), Deep State, Trump & Facebook

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Better Call Bob! Mueller Is the Lawyer You Bring In to Handle
     Politically Toxic Situations

2. Could Narrow Scope of New Special Counsel Miss Wider
     Corruption in Trump White House?

As Impeachment Talk Hits the Mainstream, Over a Dozen
     Nervous House Republicans Have Flipped on Trump

When the Trump Coup-makers Cometh
How He Used Facebook to Win

This is a Nederlog of Friday, May 19, 2017.

Summary: This is a crisis log with five items and five dotted links: This contains reviews of four quite interesting articles about Robert Mueller III, and a very interesting article on how Trump used Facebook to win the American elections:

item 1 is about an article by Trevor Aaronson on Mueller III, that includes references to the Church Committee (that I like); item 2 is about an interview Amy Goodman did; item 3 is about a change of mind about Trump in some elected Republicans; item 4 is about an article by Robert Parry who explains that the deep state's Trump coup-makers seem to have arrived; and item 5 is about a very interesting article that reports on Swiss research that explains how Trump won the elections: By using (secret) datapoints on each and every American to find out what they believe and how they may be best influenced. This is in fact what I foresaw in 2005 (in Dutch).

And this is the usual about the updating problem that I am now plagued with for more than 1 1/2 years, though now only at one of my two sites:
May 19: As to the updating problem: The Danish site was again on time today. The Dutch site was (of course) not on time today, probably because it is not Sunday, for that is the only time my site has a half-decent chance of being properly updated : It's still stuck on Sunday last (May 14).

They did it well from 1996 till 2015, updating within minutes at most and without any problem, as indeed is the work of ISPs. Now this takes a full week, on average.

I think they totally stopped doing this to limit the readings of my site. I think (but I don't know anything whatsoever about "xs4all") they now update once a week, which means that they are - for me - over 10,000 times worse than they were between 1996 and 2015.

These horrors happen now for the 16th month in succession. And they happen on purpose, because it is extremely simple to do this properly, and it was done properly from 1996 till late in 2015. (If you want these horrors, then sign in with "xs4all.nl"; if not, avoid them like the plague.)

And what changed is that you have to refresh (and refresh and refresh and refresh) to get the latest, which is again NOT as it was before, from 1996 till 2015, and which for me this only serves to make it extremely difficult for naive users to get the latest from my site - that for them may seem to have stuck somewhere in 2016 or 2015.

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. Better Call Bob! Mueller Is the Lawyer You Bring In to Handle Politically Toxic Situations

The first article today is by Trevor Aaronson on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, he called on Washington’s consummate clean-up man.

A decorated Marine in the Vietnam War, Mueller has established an unmatched reputation in government and in the private sector as the guy you bring in when the situation is too politically toxic for anyone else.
I think this is fairly important news. To start with, here is the Wikipedia on Robert S. Mueller III and here is some about his background:

A former U.S. attorney in San Francisco, Mueller was appointed as FBI director a week before September 11, 2001. When Al Qaeda hijackers flew planes into buildings in New York and Washington, D.C., and crashed another in a field in Pennsylvania, Mueller headed the investigation of the largest crime scene in FBI history. At the same time, President George W. Bush gave his new FBI director a mandate: never another attack.

Mueller’s job was to transform the FBI overnight from an organization set up to investigate crimes after they occurred to one that could collect intelligence and prevent the next attack.
I conclude from this that it is likely that one of the deep state's persons got the nomination to investigate Trump and Russia.

Here is some more on Comey and Mueller III:
In 2004, Mueller and Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who would later succeed him as head of the FBI, threatened to quit over the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. Yet Mueller wasn’t a consistent critic of broadening surveillance powers. He oversaw an expansion of the FBI’s human intelligence apparatus to more than 15,000 informants — 10 times more than the FBI had during the Church Committee investigations of COINTELPRO — and approved mass surveillance programs of Muslims in the United States.
Incidentally, the Church Committee (<-Wikipedia) was named after Senator Frank Church (<-Wikipedia), and although it was active in 1975 is quite important, among other things because of these words from Frank Church, which I have quoted before (and may quote again):
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. (...) Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left: such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. (...)

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
Precisely! And in fact it is my opinion (and would have been very likely Frank Church's opinion, but he died in 1984) that this has happened, and still is happening on an incredibly massive scale about which ordinary people know extremely little at least
since the "Patriot Act" was passed, in 2001.

And Robert Mueller III was one of the main men who implemented it:
As FBI director for 12 years, Mueller changed the FBI from within. Counterterrorism and counterintelligence went from career dead ends to the sections the most ambitious agents applied to work in, and the budgets ballooned. In 2013, Mueller’s last year as director, counterterrorism and counterintelligence received more than $3.3 billion, the largest single expenditure in the FBI budget.
This is a recommended article.

2. Could Narrow Scope of New Special Counsel Miss Wider Corruption in Trump White House?

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

This starts with the following introduction (and is also about Robert Mueller III):

It has been another extraordinary 24 hours in the nation’s capital. In the biggest news of the day, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as a special counsel to oversee a probe into Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. The move came one day after reports emerged that President Trump had personally asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the agency’s investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was fired for lying both publicly and privately about his contacts with Russian officials. In another new development, The New York Times reports Trump picked Michael Flynn as his national security adviser even though Flynn had warned Trump’s transition team that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. We speak to Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. She runs the website EmptyWheel.net.

There will be more below, but first here is Trump's own reaction:

AMY GOODMAN:  (...) Earlier this morning, President Trump responded on Twitter, writing, "With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed! This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" unquote.

Indeed, there is a reaction to this at the end of this article, but I like to point out, once again indeed, but I am a psychologist and I think it is important, that the above reaction - Trump is the greatest in everything that matters, according to Trump - now also extends to criticisms of Trump ("This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"), which again strongly supports the thesis of myself and many psychologists and psychiatrist that in fact Trump is a megalomaniac aka narcissist. The last link is to evidence for this by professors of clinical psychology and psychiatry, from last year.

Here is Marcia Wheeler on Robert Mueller:

MARCY WHEELER: Right. So, yesterday, he made Robert Mueller, as you said, the former FBI director, special counsel. And the scope of the investigation is rather interesting, because he described it as the investigation that Jim Comey confirmed in earlier House Intelligence Committee testimony, so the investigation into whether Trump and his campaign associates have ties to Russia.

The appointment of Mueller is good on a lot of points. Oftentimes they appoint an assistant U.S. attorney for an existing U.S. attorney, and that really wasn’t possible in this case, because Trump has fired them all and not replaced them. So, but by bringing in Mueller, he’s somebody who—a small list of people who would immediately have credibility both within the FBI and within the Justice Department, because he used to be part of them. And I’m sure, within FBI, the agents are taking a lot of reassurance, having just lost Comey, that Mueller is coming in. They know him. They’ve worked for him. So that’s great.

And he is—you know, he can claim to be bipartisan. He can—he has stood up to Dick Cheney in the Stellar Wind confrontation in 2004. So, on all of those levels, he is a pretty good choice.
As I said under item 1, I also think is likely that one of the deep state's persons got the nomination to investigate Trump and Russia. But then again, this was anyway probable, with any appointee made by the U.S. government. The reference to Stellar Wind (<-Wikipedia) is also quite interesting, but I'll leave it to your interests to check that out.

Here is what Mueller III is supposed to investigate (roughly):

AMY GOODMAN: So, Marcy Wheeler, talk more about this scope that you are so concerned about, who Mueller will be able to investigate and who he will not be able to investigate.

MARCY WHEELER: Well, I’m not so sure that it’s a who. But, as I said, the investigation is for Trump and his campaign associates, whether or not they coordinated with the Russian government. We like to think of the hack of the DNC, but anything else, tampering with the election, or obstruction into that or anything that arises out of that.

And this may well lead to Trump's impeachment, although to make that somewhat likely either a number of Republicans have to shift position on these accusations, and for that see the next item, or else the Democrats have to win the majority in Congress, which they may do in 2018, but not earlier.

Finally, here is some about Trump, who now has concluded that he now is the victim of "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!":

AMY GOODMAN: (...) But in that speech, he said—and Reese Witherspoon didn’t say this in her commencement address as Legally Blonde—no other politician in history has ever been treated worse or more unfairly by the media. Your response?

MARCY WHEELER: Right. Ronald Reagan, JFK, Abraham Lincoln—those politicians were shot. I think the notion that Trump would compare himself to politicians who, in Abraham Lincoln’s case, in JFK’s case, gave up their life as—in service as president is pretty offensive and is—and, you know, on top of that, Trump doesn’t admit that there is a legitimate reason for the press to pursue these questions, and he’s trying instead to, you know, turn himself into the victim. You know, his supporters and what—you know, for him to survive, he needs to ensure he retains the support of his voters long enough such that Republicans can’t turn on him. And that kind of language is precisely what worked for them in the election, and so I expect to see him continue it. I expect to see him pretend that he’s the victim here, because the people who put him in office really like that language.

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

3. As Impeachment Talk Hits the Mainstream, Over a Dozen Nervous House Republicans Have Flipped on Trump

The third article is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet:
This starts as follows (and is again about the appointment of Mueller III):
The surprise appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as an independent counsel to investigate the Trump campaign's ties to Russia came as Washington was already undergoing a sea-change in thinking about President Trump’s future. Impeachment is in the air and on the airwaves—cable TVradionewspapers, and all over social media. A recent national poll puts public support for impeachment seven percent over Americans who aren't there yet.
I say. Then again, although "impeachment is in the air and on the airwaves", I don't think it is very likely as yet: The officials of all kinds will first want to see what Mueller finds, and there is also the fact that the Republicans have the majority in both the Senate and in Congress.

Then again, the present article is about this last fact:
Before Mueller’s appointment, at least a dozen House Republicans had spurned Ryan’s talking points in favor of positions the Republican leadership opposes. While these GOP representatives did not issue bold calls for action, they did display an unwillingness to go along with White House officials and Republican leaders who are losing credibility in the face of President Trump's false statements and self-incriminating actions. The representatives either called for a special prosecutor, or said they were open to the idea of one, or supported the idea of forming a joint House-Senate investigating committee.

Now that a special prosecutor has been named, these Republicans have gained political traction for the first time. They are not rebelling against Trump, not yet. But they have declared independence. For a president hemorrhaging political support, that is not good news.
There is considerably more (all twelve are briefly discussed) but I'll leave this to your interests.

4. When the Trump Coup-makers Cometh

The fourth article today is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
So what did you think a U.S.-styled “soft coup” would look like? What we’re seeing regarding the intended removal of President Trump is not that much different from what has happened in dozens of other countries, whether Iran in 1953 or Ukraine in 2014 or Brazil in 2016. This one just has a few extra American touches.

Like other coups, there are often vague and unproven accusations leveled against the target and his or her entourage. Even though hard evidence is usually lacking, “process crimes,” such as making misstatements to prosecutors or obstructing justice, are developed as a substitute under the popular saying: “the cover-up is worse than the crime.” Whatever the case, a complicit media then trumpets alleged wrongdoing into grave and impeachable offenses.

And, if you had any doubts about what is looming, you should read Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr.’s op-ed, entitled in print editions “A quick end would be better,” which states:

“There is really only one issue in American politics at this moment: Will we accelerate our way to the end of the Trump story, or will our government remain mired in scandal, misdirection and paralysis for many more months — or even years? …

“Nothing could be worse than slow-walking the Trump inquiries. The evidence is already overwhelming that he is temperamentally and intellectually incapable of doing the job he holds. He is indifferent to acquiring the knowledge the presidency demands and apparently of the belief that he can improvise hour to hour. He will violate norms whenever it suits him and cross ethical lines whenever he feels like it.”

Yes indeed, and I entirely agree with the last two quoted paragraphs. Then there is this:

Yet, what’s really at stake in any coup is power and the direction that a country will take. In the case of Donald Trump, there appear to be several factors at play: he is regarded by many establishment figures as too incompetent and uncouth to serve as America’s President; he also defies the neoconservative orthodoxy over U.S. foreign policy; and perhaps most significantly, he doesn’t believe in the New Cold War, which will assure the Military-Industrial Complex years of expensive new weapons systems by making Russia the new/old “enemy.”

There is, of course, some truth to all these concerns. Trump is an egotistical buffoon who doesn’t seem to know what he doesn’t know. Often his brain doesn’t connect to his tongue – or his Twitter fingers. He is more a Kardashian “reality star,” saying stuff to get attention and to attract eyeballs, than a sober leader who holds his cards close and chooses his words carefully.

Then there is this:

Puffing up his own importance, Trump even has bragged about his impunity. During the 2016 campaign, he was revealed as the kind of jerk who boasts about grabbing women by the “pussy” and getting away with it because of his star status and personal power.

So, yes, Trump is both incompetent and uncouth. But he is hardly the first president to bring unseemly personal baggage or an inadequate skill set into the Oval Office. Bill Clinton was known as an insatiable hound dog preying on vulnerable women, and George W. Bush was shockingly unqualified for the demands of the presidency.

While Barack Obama had the intellectual skills and behaved commendably in his personal conduct, he had little experience in managing a complex organization – and it showed in some of his disastrous personnel decisions (...)
I agree with the first two paragraphs. I think I may be less kind to Obama than Robert Parry may be, but I am not sure.

Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
When the Establishment coup-makers come for Trump – as they now almost certainly will – he can at least say that he tried to do something to return the U.S. government to the American people.

That might not save his presidency but it would at least elevate his purpose and possibly create some positive legacy to attach to the Trump name. As the situation stands now, Trump appears headed for a humiliating exit that won’t just strip him of the presidency but would strip away any luster for the Trump brand.

In other words, his impulsive foray into politics might not just make him one of the most reviled U.S. presidents in history but take down the Trump businesses, too.

I agree that "the Establishment coup-makers" are now going for Trump, and do not know about the rest, but will see.

5. How He Used Facebook to Win

The fifth and last article today is by Sue Halpern on The New York Review of Books:
Thos starts as follows and indeed is not about Mueller but about the - to me - extremely despicable Facebook (<- article by me of over 6 years ago):
Not long after Donald Trump’s surprising presidential victory, an article published in the Swiss weekly Das Magazin, and reprinted online in English by Vice, began churning through the Internet. While pundits were dissecting the collapse of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the journalists for Das Magazin, Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus, pointed to an entirely different explanation—the work of Cambridge Analytica, a data science firm created by a British company with deep ties to the British and American defense industries.

According to Grassegger and Krogerus, Cambridge Analytica had used psychological data culled from Facebook, paired with vast amounts of consumer information purchased from data-mining companies, to develop algorithms that were supposedly able to identify the psychological makeup of every voter in the American electorate. The company then developed political messages tailored to appeal to the emotions of each one.
I say! Well... this is the kind of thing I foresaw and predicted in 2005, and I like to point out that, to start with, that the "psychological data culled from Facebook, paired with vast amounts of consumer information purchased from data-mining companies" are almost certainly nearly all stolen, and then were used "to identify the psychological makeup of every voter in the American electorate". And the makeup of (bolding added) "every voter in the American electorate" then was used to mail them "political messages".

Now please read the above statement by Frank Church and reflect that the changes in spying (now on absolutely everyone, by very many secret companies) are far worse than Church ever feared, as are the changes in power, secrecy, and utterly undemocratic procedures that assure that - at least - the secret services know all about you, all in the deepest, albeit completely illegal, secret, that now lasts 16 years and still continues at full force.

Here is how part of the data were gathered: By utterly illegal deceit:

Even more troubling was the underhanded way in which Cambridge Analytica appeared to have obtained its information. Using an Amazon site called Mechanical Turk, the company paid one hundred thousand people in the United States a dollar or two to fill out an online survey. But in order to receive payment, those people were also required to download an app that gave Cambridge Analytica access to the profiles of their unwitting Facebook friends. These profiles included their Facebook “likes” and their own contact lists.

According to the investigative reporter Mattathias Schwartz, writing in The Intercept, a further 185,000 people were recruited from an unnamed data company, to gain access to another 30 million Facebook profiles. Again, none of these 30 million people knew their data were being harvested and analyzed for the benefit of an American political campaign.

This is how Facebook cheats, deceives, and abuses its members. I am very sorry, but I do not trust anyone who is on Facebook, indeed not because I do not trust them, but because they do not know they are plundered by Facebook secret algorithms in all kinds of ways (and "rewarded" with "personalized" advertisement lies and propaganda) - and please note that this also involves that (for example) not only your data are stolen, but so are all links to each and any of your contacts.

Here is more about the utterly sick and totally immoral Facebook:

Though there is little doubt that Cambridge Analytica exploited members of the social network, Facebook’s real influence came from the campaign’s strategic and perfectly legal use of Facebook’s suite of marketing tools. (It should be noted that internal Facebook documents leaked in early May show that Facebook itself has been mining users’ emotional states and sharing that information with advertisers.)

Here you may get an idea about why Trump got many votes:

In the course of the 2016 election, the Trump campaign ended up relying on three voter databases: the one supplied by Cambridge Analytica, with its 5,000 data points on 220 million Americans including, according to its website, personality profiles on all of them; the RNC’s enhanced Voter Vault, which claims to have more than 300 terabytes of data, including 7,700,545,385 microtargeting data points on nearly 200 million voters; and its own custom-designed one, called Project Alamo, culled in part from the millions of small donors to the campaign and e-mail addresses gathered at rallies, from sales of campaign merchandise, and even from text messages sent to the campaign. Eventually, Project Alamo also came to include data from the other two databases.

Note that this means that only one of these, "Voter Vault" had nearly 8 micro- targeted "datapoints" on each and every American voter, that were very probably completely unknown and unsuspected by nearly all voters.

Incidentally, was this technique of illegally winning the vote by illegally spying on each and every American voter unique to Trump? No way, for he borrowed it from Obama:

There is no doubt that Trump’s digital operation—overseen by Parscale with the involvement of Giles-Parscale, Cambridge Analytica, the Republican National Committee, and scores of contractors—drew heavily on Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection playbook. Recalling that campaign, Kreiss describes how the Democrats repurposed a marketing strategy called “uplift” or “brand lift” and used it to pursue voters they identified as receptive to Obama’s message. They did so by gathering millions of data points on the electorate from public sources, commercial information brokers, and their own surveys, then polling voters with great frequency and looking for patterns in the responses.

All this was used to create predictive models of who was likely to vote for Obama, who was not, and who was open to persuasion. It also indicated who would be disinclined to vote for Obama if contacted by the campaign.
Well... I think this shows you how votes are and presidents made in the present USA: By totally illegal manipulations of voters minds, that are fully known by totally illegal investigations in what they think, feel, want, desire, earn, say, write and do.

And this is a strongly recommend article.


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