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Nederlog

Saturday, August 26, 2017 

Crisis: Secret ¨Government¨, Impeach, Majority, The CIA (Etc.), It´s Still Crisis



Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 26, 2017 

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, August 26, 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 [1] 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 (usually) 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 26, 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:

This article is by Alfred McCoy on AlterNet and originally on TomDispatch. It starts as follows:

In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Washington pursued its elusive enemies across the landscapes of Asia and Africa, thanks in part to a massive expansion of its intelligence infrastructure, particularly of the emerging technologies for digital surveillance, agile drones, and biometric identification. In 2010, almost a decade into this secret war with its voracious appetite for information, the Washington Post reported that the national security state had swelled into a “fourth branch” of the federal government -- with 854,000 vetted officials, 263 security organizations, and over 3,000 intelligence units, issuing 50,000 special reports every year.

Yes indeed. And note that ¨security organizations¨ tend to be secret, that is, they are not governed democractically or by a democracy. Here is more:

Though stunning, these statistics only skimmed the visible surface of what had become history’s largest and most lethal clandestine apparatus. According to classified documents that Edward Snowden leaked in 2013, the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies alone had 107,035 employees and a combined “black budget” of $52.6 billion, the equivalent of 10% percent of the vast defense budget.

By sweeping the skies and probing the worldwide web’s undersea cables, the National Security Agency (NSA) could surgically penetrate the confidential communications of just about any leader on the planet, while simultaneously sweeping up billions of ordinary messages.
In fact, the so-called ¨security organizations¨ suffer from the following principial difficulties for democracies and democratic governments:

(1) All
so-called ¨security organizations¨ are in fact secret organizations that are
     paid from the taxes but that do work that cannot be properly controlled by
parliaments or by democracies
;
(2) The secret organizations that work for the government tend to work against the
       democratic wishes
of the governed, and are in fact part of the state´s terrorists (who terrorize their possibly terrorist opponents);
(3)
The secret organizations that work for the government cannot be properly
     controlled by parliaments or laws, work outside their control, and in fact now collect everybody´s emails, websites, bankaccounts, searches etc. etc.

And I am still in the beginning of the article, in which there also is this:

While Americans practiced a collective form of duck and cover as the Department of Homeland Security’s colored alerts pulsed nervously from yellow to red, few paused to ask the hard question: Was all this security really directed solely at enemies beyond our borders? After half a century of domestic security abuses -- from the “red scare” of the 1920s through the FBI’s illegal harassment of antiwar protesters in the 1960s and 1970s -- could we really be confident that there wasn’t a hidden cost to all these secret measures right here at home? Maybe, just maybe, all this security wasn’t really so benign when it came to us.

In fact, very much of this security (i) was directed to getting all information about everyone who uses the internet by means of the internet, which - I must suppose, because these things are secret - almost completely succeeded the last sixteen years, while (ii) getting all this information about anyone and everyone that uses the internet is part and parcel of setting up a new kind of government, namely government of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich.

And there is a whole lot more in the article, that is recommended.


2. Meet the State Dept. Science Envoy Who Spelled Out "Impeach" in His Resignation Letter to Trump

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:

The science envoy for the U.S. State Department Dan Kammen has resigned in protest of President Trump’s refusal to quickly condemn the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. In his resignation letter, Kammen, referring to Trump, wrote, "Your presence in the White House harms the United States domestically and abroad and threatens life on this planet." The first letter of each paragraph of his resignation letter spells out the word: "Impeach." We speak with Dan Kammen, professor of energy at University of California, Berkeley.

I say. And what do I think about this? I have no idea about who Kammen is, but I do think that in a real democracy an ordinary man like Dan Kammen should be able to express his ideas that his president deserves to be impeached directly, and indeed also without personal risks.

And since Kammen doesn´t do this, I think he speaks quite indirectly because he does believe there are some risks involved, in which he may very well be quite correct.

Here is another quite similar case:

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you join a number of people and organizations that are quitting. The entire President’s committee on the Arts and Humanities has resigned. They resigned last week, becoming the first entire presidential committee to resign in protest. In their resignation letter, the artists spoke out against Trump’s failure to quickly condemn the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, writing, "the administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill." They also called on Trump to step down. The first letter of each paragraph of their letter spells out the word "resist."

You can take this as a tribute to their courage or as a sign of the dangers they run. And I tend to believe it is more a sign of the dangers these people think they run.


3. Increasingly Large Majority of America Is on the Same Negative Page About Trump, Except for His Hardcore Republican Base

This article is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet. This starts as follows:

Voters who are standing by Donald Trump, led by three-quarters of Republicans, are a defiant but shrinking minority of a national electorate that increasingly sees Trump as a failing political and moral leader, and an untrustworthy and unstable individual.

That’s the takeaway from a national poll of 1,514 people by Quinnipiac University taken after Trump’s embrace of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. The findings are a stunning indictment of a president who cannot readily be removed from office despite deep national misgivings.

“To sum up, the overwhelming majority of Americans thinks he is a lying, divisive hothead who is making race relations much worse,” Jennifer Rubin, a conservative Washington Post columnist, wrote about the survey’s findings. “Trump barely has majority support (52 percent) among his most loyal segment of the electorate (whites with no college education). He has managed to turn off just about everyone else. He knows how to feed his base red meat but not how to earn the respect and confidence of everyone else. Several thousand people in an auditorium in Phoenix [where he held a rally Tuesday], it turns out, bear little resemblance to the country as a whole.”

In fact, here are the real numbers:

  • Sixty percent of voters disapprove of Trump’s response to Charlottesville.
  • Fifty-nine percent say his decisions and behavior have encouraged white supremacists. (Sixty-four percent say white supremacists pose a threat to the country.)
  • Sixty-five percent say the level of hatred and prejudice have increased under Trump.
  • Sixty-three percent disapprove of the way Trump is handling race relations.
  • Sixty percent say he doesn’t care about minorities (including 52 percent of whites).
  • Sixty-one percent say he is not honest.
  • Sixty-one percent say he does not have good leadership skills.
  • Fifty-seven percent say he does not care about average Americans.
  • Sixty-eight percent say he is not level headed.
  • Sixty-three percent say he does not share their values.
  • Sixty-nine percent say he should stop tweeting from his personal account.
I think this is somewhat fairly summarized by saying that around 2 out of 3 persons asked (1,514 people in all) disagreed with Trump´s person or Trump´s decisions.

Then again, I am also a bit skeptical because I am anyway a bit skeptical about opinion polls and because I do not know how representative this sample is for the American population.

But the ending of this article is reasonable:
Where does Quinnipiac’s national snapshot and analyses like Rubin’s leave the country? Speaking broadly, in volatile, uncharted waters. More concretely, the U.S. is led by a president and a party that does not have the support of a majority of Americans. And there’s no quick way to remedy this situation, as Trump’s supporters circle their proverbial wagons while the rest of America looks on with disgust and disappointment.
Yes, that seems a fair inference. And this is a recommended article.

4. DEAR TRUMP VOTER

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. This is about Trump´s pretensions: 

He did not drain the swamp. After telling voters how he would take control away from special interests, he has surrounded himself with the very Wall Street players he decried. Now, those who gamed politicians for tax loopholes and laws that reward the rich don’t even have to sneak around with backroom deals.

Precisely. And this is about these Wall Street bankers:

They want to make it easier for banks to once again gamble with your money and repeat our financial crisis. They want to cut health care for millions of you. They want to lower taxes on corporations and the rich. They want to get rid of rules that stop corporations from harming your health or safety.

And this is about Trump´s government:

Make America Great Again? The Trump administration wants to expand on policies that have kept American wages stagnant for almost four decades. Huge corporations and billionaires get the breaks, and hard working Americans once again get left waiting for the crumbs. That’s not the change you were promised.

I agree. And while I have reported this before, I repeat it because I think it is true and important (as indeed does Robert Reich).


5. 'Time to Redistribute Wealth': 1% Thriving While 78% Living Paycheck to Paycheck

This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows and it is here to insist that the 90% of the non-rich are still in crisis, as they have been since 2008.

Here is some of the evidence:

Top CEOs may be thriving, but most American workers are drowning in debt, saving little, and living paycheck to paycheck.

That's according to a new report by CareerBuilder, which found that:

  • 78 percent of American workers are living paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year;
  • 71 percent of workers are in debt, up from 68 percent last year;
  • 56 percent believe their debt is unmanageable;
  • 54 percent of minimum-wage workers say they have to work more than one job to make ends meet.

The report's findings—based on a survey of more than 3,400 full-time workers across various industries and income levels—suggest that the stock market boom President Donald Trump has so frequently flaunted has done little to help the workers he claims to support.

As Michelle Styczynski pointed out in an analysis for the People Policy Project, "the stock market tells us about the prospects of capital owners, but it certainly doesn't tell us much about the average worker."

Precisely! And this is a recommended article.

------------------------------
Note

[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that xs4all.nl is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).

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