Sunday, July 16, 2017

Crisis: US Healthcare, "Russiagate", New McCarthyism, Rednecks, Reich - Orson Welles

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from July 16, 2017 

    B. On my computer

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, July 16, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.

As I explained, the crisis files will have a different format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit of a taste of the item linked.

So the new format is as follows:

      Link to an item with its orginal title, followed by
      One selection from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.

2. Crisis Files

These are six crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from July 16, 2017

The items 1 - 6 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. New GOP Healthcare Bill Still a Huge Tax Cut for the Rich, Gutting Women's Care & Slashing Medicaid

This is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
A revised Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would gut Medicaid, give massive tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and defund Planned Parenthood, making it harder for women to access breast cancer screenings and basic reproductive services. The revised bill is largely similar to the previous Senate bill, including plans to slash more than $700 billion from Medicaid by 2026. The Congressional Budget Office is expected to complete its assessment of this latest bill by early next week. Republican Senate leaders are pushing for a vote by the end of next week. We speak with Jessica Mason Pieklo, a legal analyst and vice president of law and the courts at Rewire.
I think this is fairly interesting, but then I am ill since 1.1.1979 with M.E. (that at long last is proven to be a real disease). In any case, I am very glad that I do not live in England or the USA.

2. Why Russiagate Trumps Ecocide at CNN

This is by Paul Street on Truthdig. The following bit is quoted from an interview that Street quotes. Bonifield is a CNN co-producer, and the PV-journalist is (I quote Street) "an undercover guerilla journalist with the conservative media watchdog group Project Veritas (PV)":

PV journalist: So you think the Russia thing is a little crazy, right?

Bonifield: Even if Russia was trying to swing the election, we try to swing their elections, our CIA is doing shit all the time, we’re out there trying to manipulate governments. You win because you know the game and you play it right. She [Hillary] didn’t play it right.

PV: Then why is CNN like constantly, Russia this, Russia that?

Bonifield: Because it’s ratings. Our ratings are incredible right now. … There are a lot of, like, liberal CNN viewers who want to see Trump get really scrutinized. If we would have behaved that way with President Obama, and scrutinized everything he was doing with as much scrutiny as we applied to Donald Trump, I think our viewers would have been turned off. They would have felt like we were attacking him. … I’m not saying all of our viewers are super-liberals, but there’s just a lot of them.

PV: So Trump’s good for business, you’re saying.

Bonifield: Trump is good for business right now.

PV: But, honestly you think the whole Russia shit is just bullshit.”

Bonifield: Could be bullshit. I mean, it’s mostly bullshit right now. Like, we don’t have any big giant proof. But then they say, “Well, there’s still an investigation going on,” and you’re like, “Yeah.” I don’t know, if [they] were finding something, we’d know about it. … The way these leaks happen, they’d leak it. They’d leak. If it was something really good, it would leak. … I think the president is right to say like, “Look, you are witch-hunting me. Like, you have no smoking gun. You have no real proof.”

I am quoting nothing by Paul Street, but this is a recommended article.

3. The New McCarthyism Is Destroying the Democratic Party

This is by Glen Ford on Truthdig and originally on Black Agenda Report. This starts as follows:
For more than a year now, the collective U.S. ruling class, with Democratic Party and corporate media operatives in the vanguard, has frozen the national political discourse in a McCarthyite time warp. A random visit to a July 26, 2016, issue of the New York Times reveals the same obsession as that which consumes the newspaper today: “Following the Links from Russian Hackers to the U.S. Election,” “Spy Agency Consensus Grows That Russia Hacked D.N.C.” A year later, the allegations persist, piled ever higher with innuendo and outright nonsense. However, proof of the predicate act—that Russia, not Wikileaks, penetrated the DNC—remains totally absent.
This is a recommended article.

4. Redneck Revolt: The Armed Leftwing Group That Wants to Stamp out Fascism

This is by Cecilia Saixue-Watt on AlterNet and originally on The Guardian. This is from near the beginning:

Redneck Revolt is a nationwide organization of armed political activists from rural, working-class backgrounds who strive to reclaim the term “redneck” and promote active anti-racism. It is not an exclusively white group, though it does take a special interest in the particular travails of the white poor. The organization’s principles are distinctly left-wing: against white supremacy, against capitalism and the nation-state, in support of the marginalized.Pennsylvania is an open-carry state, where gun owners can legally carry firearms in public without concealment. Redneck Revolt members often see the practice of openly carrying a gun as a political statement: the presence of a visible weapon serves to intimidate opponents and affirm gun rights.

I say. I don't think this is wise, in part because I don't think it will work:

The NSA knows everything about anybody in the USA, at least in the sense that it had at least 16 years in which to compile dossiers on everybody, and the American police is meanwhile semi-military and much stronger than a group like Redneck Revolt.

And these are just practical objections. I skip my principles and turn to one more quote:

Developed in Europe over the past few decades, antifascists represent the left’s own united front: a conflux of anarchists, communists, social democrats and others, dedicated to stamping out fascism by any means necessary, including violence –which they see as a justified response to the inherent violence of fascism. They often employ “black bloc” tactics, where individuals wear masks and all-black clothing to avoid police identification.

I am living in Europe since 67 years, and I am the antifascist son of very courageous antifascist parents and grandparents (my grandfather was murdered for resisting the Nazis; my father survived over three years and nine months of German Nazi- concentration camps (and eventually got knighted); my mother was also in  the - communist - resistance, but was never caught), and I am reading 35 items from
the mainstream and from other media every day now since more than 4 years now,
and I never heard of any European antifascists since 1980 or so.

This doesn't mean they don't exist, but it does mean they are numerically few, and besides, I have no idea whatsoever about their ideas and values. (And anybody can say "I am an antifascist". This doesn't mean a thing until one knows their ideas and their values.)

In brief, I think this is not wise.

5. The Trump Standard

This is by Robert Reich on his site. This is from near the beginning:

Much ink has been spilled over the last six months documenting Trump’s tin ear when it comes to all matters ethical: His refusal to put his business into a blind trust, as every one of his predecessors in recent memory has done. His refusal to reveal his tax returns, like his predecessors. The never-ending stream of lies that he continues to spew even after they’re proven to be lies (three to five million fraudulent votes, Obama spied on me, fake news, and so on).  

None of this is “very standard” for a president. It’s the opposite of standard.

It ends as follows (after pointing out that Trump has no standards whatsoever):

A president’s major responsibilities are to protect the United States and the Constitution, and to see that the laws are faithfully executed.

But Trump’s major goal now is to remain in power and to accumulate even more money. Whatever it takes.

I agree and this is a recommended article. 
6. Orson Welles Sketchbook - Episode 3: The Police

The above is a link to a BBC video from 1955 (!) with Orson Welles who is in my opinion, together with Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest film directors I know of. (There are a few more and Sergei Eisenstein is one of them, but as I said only a few.)

This is below the video (which is very interesting):
Published on Feb 1, 2013

This is the third episode of "Orson Welles' Sketchbook" in which he discusses the invasion of privacy by police and the authorities at home and abroad. Originally Aired: May 22, 1955.

I dislike comments and I very rarely quote or discuss them, but this is a comment from 2013 or 2014:
J Virus3 years ago
This is astonishing, and I wish there were someone I could vote for today that thought and spoke like this man.
There isn't anyone alive who is like Welles, and I am very sorry to say that his excellent ideas are now out of date as well:

Everyone has his own dossier in many secret services, and the secret services and the police have all the powers. They also do not serve the people; they serve the - numerically very few - authorities, who serve the
- numerically very few -rich, who corrupted nearly all politicians.

We are living in the early days of neofascism (in my sense: see the link) and the one personal thing I am very thankful for is that I was born in 1950, and will probably be dead when it is at full force.

But this is of no help to anyone who is considerably younger than I am.

And I strongly recommend that you watch the video.

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