Friday, August 4, 2017

Crisis: Brazil's Corruption, US Police, GOP's Mayhem, Schulz On Trump, Chomsky

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 4, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Friday, August 4, 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 five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from August 4, 2017

The items 1 - 5 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. Brazil’s Corrupt Congress Protects its Bribe-Drenched President, Finalizing Elites’ Two-Year Plot

This is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

Just over a year ago, in Brasília, one of the most nauseating and humiliating political spectacles I’ve ever seen took place over nine hours. In Brazil’s lower House – a body where a majority of members are implicated in corruption investigations – one dirty, shady cretin after the next stood up in front of television cameras and flamboyantly declared that their conscience, their religion, their God, their children, their devotion to Jerusalem, the memory of their mother, their pastor, the purity of their soul demanded that they punish corruption by removing the elected President, Dilma Rousseff, from office.

Just imagine the most extreme, primitive cartoon version of a gleefully hypocritical moralizer – a preacher who leaves his weekly whorehouse orgy to go directly to Sunday church to rail against hell-bound sinners – and you’ll have a perfect vision of the majority faction that sanctimoniously paraded itself that day. The slime that oozes from their pores is palpable. These are the people who nullified a national election in, and are thus now ruling over, the planet’s fifth most populous country.

And it ends as follows:

In one sense, there is pure karmic justice here: Brazil has the political class, and the broken and corrupt leaders, that perfectly reflect the character of the elite oligarchical class that has ruled the nation with an iron fist for decades.

But in a much more profound sense, what they have done is a horrific tragedy that is gut-wrenching to watch: hundreds of millions of human beings, born in a deeply stratified society, who have been without hope for generations, finally got a glimpse of hope during the last decade, only to watch it be stomped and extinguished by the same ruling class of thieves and liars that has been the sole authors of the country’s enduring plight of inequality and misery for the many.

This is a quite good article that is recommended reading (and that contains a lot more).

2. Trump’s Call for Police Brutality Is No Joke

This is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

On Friday, President Donald Trump addressed a crowd of police officers in Long Island, New York, and sent a shocking message to the nation. Trump’s words are worth repeating in full, as they are an explicit endorsement of police brutality:

“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon—you just see them thrown in, rough—I said, please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody—don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, OK?”
I have said many times now that I consider - as a psychologist - Donald Trump to be an insane person (he has megalomania, that psychiatrists these days call "narcissism") who also is a neofascist (in my sense, which is quite well considered), and this quote supports both of my positions.

And I also - on July 16, last - mentioned
Orson Welles, who in 1955 (!!) described "the police". Here it is again, for it is quite instructive and quite clear:
Orson Welles Sketchbook - Episode 3: The Police
I should add (and I quote myself) that 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.

3. Will a Mega-Billionaire Rescue America from GOP’s Insurance Mayhem?

This is by Ralph Nader on Common Dreams and on his site. It starts as follows:

Before recommending a practical way to reverse the devastating impact of Congressional Republicans’ attempts to strip tens of millions of Americans of health insurance coverage, and the  non-stop anxiety and dread that comes with such cruel and vicious legislation, note the impact of having gerrymandered (the politicians pick the voters) Washington rulers.

The arrogant Republicans in Congress have good health insurance, life insurance, pensions, salaries and expense accounts paid by you the taxpayers. This perversely has led them to drop any empathy their residual consciences might have possessed before they came to Capitol Hill – many as millionaires.

At the same time, in a country that spends well over $3 trillion a year on ‘healthcare’, the GOP’s various bills leave millions of families fearing loss of insurance, reduced coverage, larger deductibles, unaffordable co-pays and inscrutable insurance and billing fine-print trap doors. This is producing serious fear, anxiety, depression and in many cases absolute terror for sick children and ailing parents.

Yes indeed, for basically they are scheduled to die by the GOP and by Trump. Here is what it comes down to, in terms of American deaths, each year:

Well it’s a stupid, but lucrative, ideological game for the Republicans, whose various factions juggle their corporate paymasters and reactionary dogmas, as they try to give the rich and powerful another $800 billion in tax breaks at the expense of millions of their neighbors’ lives and livelihoods.

Without health insurance, about 35,000 Americans die each year; many more stay sick or injured because they cannot afford insurance to get diagnosed and treated in time. About 30 million people fall into that helpless, hurtful category.

Those tens of millions more Americans who are underinsured can barely figure out where they are covered and how much they have to pay or go without.

For the most vulnerable of these Americans, the choice is morbidly clear: pay or die.

Precisely. And here is the last bit from this article:

A majority of Americans, including a significant number of conservatives, favor single payer, full Medicare for all. So do a majority of physicians and nurses, currently in thralldom to corporatist dictates.

How to get there from here? Listen to Warren Buffett, the multi-billionaire and sage from Omaha; he favors full Medicare for all as being more efficient and humane (A single payer system has far less administrative costs and billing fraud). Then he tells us the pathway to turning this whole madness and mayhem around. To paraphrase what he once said, there are only 535 members of Congress (100 senators and 435 representatives), and we’re over three hundred million people. Why can’t we control these legislators?

Imagine if a very rich, enlightened person pledged one billion dollars to fund the organizing of a few thousand serious volunteers in every Congressional District, each having four full-time advocates. Working with these volunteers, each dedicating 300 to 400 hours a year in Congressional watchdog associations,  this watchdog initiative would immediately represent a majority of Americans. Within 36 months, with a consequential election in 2018, our country would have comprehensive, universal, affordable, simpler single payer (full Medicare for all), saving lives, livelihoods and endless family anguish and fear.

Of course, the "very rich, enlightened person" Ralph Nader has in mind is Warren Buffett. I wish this were true, but in fact I consider this rather implausible.

Then again, this is a fine article that is recommended.

4. Germany's Martin Schulz Says Trump 'Far Worse' Than Expected

This article is by Florian Gathmann, Barbara Hans and Philip Wittrock on Spiegel International. It starts as follows:

The following passages have been excerpted from the interview with Martin Schulz DER SPIEGEL published online on Thursday. The former president of the European Parliament is running against Angela Merkel as the center-left Social Democratic Party's chancellor candidate.

DER SPIEGEL: Before the U.S. election, you told us that as president of the United States, Donald Trump would be "not only a problem for the EU, but also for the entire world." You were right.

Schulz: It has actually been far worse.

DER SPIEGEL: What do you mean by that?

Schulz: It was clear to me that the White House's solemn atmosphere would not civilize Trump. But the merciless nepotism with which he conducts politics, in which he places himself and his family above the law, I wouldn't have considered that possible. And on top of that there is this reduction of complex political decisions to 140 characters. When it comes to a U.S. president, I consider the reduction of politics to a tweet to be truly dangerous. Trump is a risk to his country and the entire world.

Unfortunately, this is nearly all Spiegel International publishes. Does it believe most of its readers are so stupid and ignorant that they can't thole articles that are longer than   five Tweets? I really don't know, but I am seeing that tendency on many places.

It also seems that many modern high school graduates can't properly read, write or spell anymore...

Ah well.

I have warned for forty years against this, and also against the neofascistic stunning lie (now since forty years very intentionally spread by the "University" of Amsterdam) that
Everybody knows that truth does not exist
which is a fascistic lie that will enable any mass murder you like, and - see here and here, for example (and I also learned that I am a fascist and a terrorist (already in 1988), all according to the Stalinist fascists from the ASVA - but I clearly totall failed: 95% of academic Dutchmen (tested in university elections!!) much rather lie for their own incomes, than speak the truth for science.

And now we live in pre-neofascistic times. Schulz is nominally right, but he will not stop Trump nor neofascism.

5.  Noam Chomsky on How the United States Developed Such a Scandalous Health System

This is by C.J. Polychroniou on Truth-out. Originally, it was publsihed in January 2017, but is now repeated by Truth-out. It starts as follows:

C.J. Polychroniou: Article 25 of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) states that the right to health care is indeed a human right. Yet, it is estimated that close to 30 million Americans remain uninsured even with the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in place. What are some of the key cultural, economic and political factors that make the US an outlier in the provision of free health care?

Noam Chomsky: First, it is important to remember that the US does not accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- though in fact the UDHR was largely the initiative of Eleanor Roosevelt, who chaired the commission that drafted its articles, with quite broad international participation.

The UDHR has three components, which are of equal status: civil-political, socioeconomic and cultural rights. The US formally accepts the first of the three, though it has often violated its provisions. The US pretty much disregards the third. And to the point here, the US has officially and strongly condemned the second component, socioeconomic rights, including Article 25.

There is considerably more in the article, that is recommended. And I tried finding it in January, but could not find it. There is a fine interview with Chomsky here Explaining the 'Collapse' That Gave Us Donald Trump that is also recommended.


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