This is a very
brief article (with a photograph) on Democracy Now!, without a writer,
that I repeat because there is (it seems to me, although I hope
mistaken) some Fukushima-potential:
Power & Light said Thursday it was shutting down a pair of nuclear
power plants ahead of the storm. The twin-reactor Turkey Point plant,
which is 20 feet above sea level, lies just south of Miami on the
coast, directly in the path of Irma’s expected landfall. Further north
on Florida’s Atlantic coast is the twin-reactor St. Lucie nuclear
plant. In order to avoid meltdowns, both plants must maintain constant
power to ensure the cooling of nuclear fuel rods in their reactors, as
well as highly radioactive spent fuel rods kept in storage pools on
Too, Can Be Damaged in a Hurricane
is by Andrew Rivkin on Truthdig and originally on ProPublica. It starts
The disinformation and
falsehoods that can accompany breaking news online — involving terror
attacks or national elections — have become a familiar plague in recent
years. Big weather stories, it now seems clear, are not immune.
On Twitter, Facebook and
a handful of other venues, hundreds of thousands of people in recent
days have clicked or shared items with headlines warning that Hurricane
Irma was poised
to become a Category 6 storm (on the five-level
Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity) that “could wipe
entire cities off the map.”
The fact-checking website
quick work of debunking that claim. Still, the National Weather
Service felt moved to post warnings
about fake forecasts.
News Today posted a Facebook Live video of a
bus being toppled by Irma and a ship
in enormous seas said to be carrying “hurricane chasers”
heading into Irma. Neither was true. With help
from social media, ProPublica tracked the original
video of the endangered ship back to January 2013; it was shot
in a terrible storm 60 miles or so off the coast of Portugal.
Over the last two weeks,
there have also been a host of simplistic proclamations online about
the role of human-driven climate change in Hurricane Irma and Hurricane
Harvey, both overstating and discounting it. As Irma approaches
Florida, the issues with sifting fake and real news become more
Yes, although I am
mostly interested in the very beginning of the quote (and much less in
hurricanes, here and now):
¨The disinformation and falsehoods that can
breaking news online (...) have
become a familiar plague in recent years.¨
And all I want to say
here and now about this ¨familiar
plague¨ are these two
More on this topic later.
- This is completely
new: There never were 2 billion people (as there
Facebook alone) or more, many without the least intellectual interests
and without any special moral gifts, who now can write on line
(more or less:
much is extremely ill-written) and say what they please, not hindered
by any good factual information, and not hindered by truth, for they
often disbelieve in truth
- I fear this will
make huge differences in the coming time, and indeed may well
give the overall win to the secret services and the rich
these will install forms of neofascism,
in my sense, if successful).
About Hillary's Campaign Book Is a Huge Waste of the Progressive
This article is by
Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Hillary Clinton’s book
tour for What Happened officially starts next week, but
already it has prompted mounting coverage fanning the Democratic
Party’s unhealed Hillary-Bernie split from 2016.
There is a larger
takeaway, however, that should rattle Democrats as they look ahead.
Their party remains leaderless—or at the very least, its leaders are
not doing much to heal the cause of those splits, so they could easily
be provoked today.
Instead, Democrats and
progressives are mostly getting woe-is-us coverage. Take one
Politico.com report this week, which noted every
Democrat they reached groaned, ducked or evaded commenting about its
chosen excerpt, in which Hillary blamed Bernie for her loss.
In fact, I don´t
the Democratic Party is leaderless, but I do think that its present
leaders (Clinton, Pelosi, Perez) are incompetent and dishonest,
also do not think these leaders ever will be different.
Here is some more:
In fact, I think the
Democratic Party was gravely corrupted by and since Bill
The Democrats have not
faced their party's behaviors that split their base in 2016. These cut
as deeply as the philosophical divide pitting its we-hate-corporations
left against its we-work-with-corporations centrists.
If Democrats are going to
get past the Hillary-Bernie divide, it's not just a matter of looking
ahead, as Sanders counseled. The party has to create a path where its
factions can fairly compete for top posts and nominations, win and lose
alternatively, and go on to fight another day. That hasn’t happened.
Instead, as seen in most Clinton book coverage, old wounds are
What’s missing is leadership
that prioritizes making the party more democratic (...)
Clinton introduced courting the rich, changing politics from (somewhat)
real politics to presenting precisely the views that his campaign staff
believed to make people vote form him, then and there (see again The
Century of the Self, part IV), rather than for rational political
plans; destroyed welfare; and gave nearly all powers over the banks to
the banks. (And then he was rewarded by the rich, and especially the
bankers, with over 100 million dollars.)
And I think it still is gravely corrupted, and will remain
corrupted as long as the Clintons and Pelosi are in power, and probably
also after that.
And there is this:
Every faction is
afllicted and aggrieved, but what can be done to bridge these divides?
There may be no such thing as a united Democratic Party anymore, just
as there seems to be no such thing as a united Republican Party. But in
our system of government, we still need majorities and super-majorities
to pass laws and veto legislation. That means the Democrats and the
progressives will not be able to win and govern unless they can find
new ways to work together.
What's needed is
the kind of leadership that's not in evidence.
I agree, and also have
given up any hope the Democrats will change towards the roles
it has to
play to oppose the rich, simply because it has been thoroughly
corrupted by the rich.
Violence of the ’60s Is Nothing Like What We Are about to Face
This article is by Todd Gitlin
(<-Wikipedia) on AlterNet and originally on Moyers & Company. It
starts as follows:
The late ‘60s and early
‘70s were crazy, but we’re looking wilder.
“This country is going so
far to the right you’re not going to recognize it.” Those memorable
words were uttered by Richard Nixon’s Attorney General, John
Mitchell, who proved to be off by almost 50 years. But he and other
Nixon cronies, however premature in their timetables, were establishing
precedents for today’s worst case scenarios. We have to ask: Which
elements of the state-sponsored violence of the ’60s and early ’70s are
ready for revival and renewal? What new wrinkles in constitutional
crisis might be in the works? Just how far to the right — or the left —
will we go?
Todd Gitlin was
there, in the ¨late ‘60s
and early ‘70s¨, which I
knew because I have been delving somewhat into the Sixties this year, and
especially into the San
Francisco Diggers (see here and here). 
And I was also
in the late ‘60s and
early ‘70s, though not in the USA but in Europe, and also seven
younger than Gitlin (which made some differences). And Europe also was different
fom the USA, though perhaps - the near revolution in
of 1968, which I attended; the student
revolts in Germany with the RAF (Ulrike Meinhof
(<-Wikipedia) etc. - not less leftist, nor less revolutionary.
Then again, for me
years from 1965 till 1980 were not ¨crazy¨. I thought them
fairly hopeful, though I was mistaken, if not for making a revolution,
then at least for getting a fairer spread of riches, and a
more - real - Leftist climate, but I was also mistaken about
these possibilities as well: The riches were not spread more
equally, and much of the real Left of the late ´60ies changed into quasi-Marxism and then
correctness and a betrayal of the real Left (indeed also
successful politicians like the ¨leftish¨ frauds Clinton and
Blair (each of whom is now owning over a 100 million dollars for their
services to the rich)).
And I do not
can transport the sense of John Mitchell´s words from 50 years ago till
today - but this does not mean Gitlin may not be correct in his
I skip a goodly amount of
text and arrive at this:
How do we stack up today?
Two of the three protective institutions of this battered democracy are
standing up to obstruct the depredations of the Trump regime: the
courts and the press — the part that Trump calls “the enemy of the
people.” Whether Congress will hold its own remains to be seen.
In fact, about these
facts I may be
more pessimistic than Gitlin, for I think the courts
are so-so, at
best, while the mainstream press is corrupt. And while I tend to like
the alternative media, in fact these are neither large nor powerful.
Then there is this:
For all the auspicious
signs, it’s by no means clear that today’s resistance will successfully
withstand the tyrannical forces that are preparing to round up hundreds
of thousands, or millions, of immigrants (...)
Perhaps not, but here I may
be a bit more optimistic than Gitlin (in the somewhat longer
term, and provided Trump does not start a nuclear war), and my reasons
are mostly that I yesterday read the whole Joseph Goebbels
Wikipedia, that also gives a decent survey of what the Nazis did bring
about in the first half year of their getting power in 1933
(with 37% of the vote!): Very much more than Trump did (who I
think is a neofascist).
The article ends as follows:
As we learned in
Charlottesville, the police haven’t yet figured out how to dampen the
lethal potential. Then and now, the slug-first-ask- questions-later
thugs muddy the prospects for nonviolent change. They panic the bulk of
the population. They promote the version of “law and order” that comes
from the mailed fist.
Add that it’s by no means
clear that the commander-in-chief of the White House has the slightest
respect for constitutional processes. The sum of his grandiosity and
recklessness, and the grandiosity and recklessness of his violent
opponents, is the reason why, today, all bets are off.
Hm. I think - and I am
psychologist, that is somewhat relevant - that Trump is not sane, which
also explains his grandiosity, his recklessness, his vanity, his ease
of lying, his lack of responsibility, and more. And Trump evidently
does not have ¨the
slightest respect for constitutional processes¨ and indeed never had.
Then again, while I think
Trump´s opponents may be violent, reckless and grandiose, I also think
that their position is quite different from Trump´s position,
while also there are far more non-violent than violent
opponents of Trump.
But indeed I also don´t
know what will happen and this is a recommended article.
Dangerous Decline of US Hegemony
This article is by Daniel
Lazare on Consortiumnews. It starts with the following summary:
The bigger picture behind
Official Washington’s hysteria over Russia, Syria and North Korea is
the image of a decaying but dangerous American hegemon resisting the
start of new multipolar order, explains Daniel Lazare.
I don´t know, for it seems
to me that the USA did become the world´s undoubted number one
1991, when the Soviet Union (and its attendant ¨socialist¨ states)
collapsed. Also, the military spendings of the USA are (and have been
since then) about ten times as large as the next big spender on arms.
Then there is this:
I happen to agree on this with
Bannon, although I grant Trump can ¨still do something rash¨,
but I don´t think there are only the two options that Lazare sees: It
may also simmer down.
The showdown with the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a seminal event that can only
end in one of two ways: a nuclear exchange or a reconfiguration of the
While complacency is
always unwarranted, the first seems increasingly unlikely. As no
less a global strategist than Steven Bannon observed about
the possibility of a pre-emptive U.S. strike: “There’s no military
solution. Forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the
equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in
the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what
you’re talking about. There’s no military solution here. They
This doesn’t mean that
Donald Trump, Bannon’s ex-boss, couldn’t still do something rash.
And then there is this:
But this is one of
the good things about having a Deep State, the existence of which has
been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt since the intelligence community
declared war on Trump last November. While it prevents Trump from
reaching a reasonable modus vivendi with Russia, it also
means that the President is continually surrounded by generals, spooks,
and other professionals who know the difference between real estate and
No, I don´t
think that a
Deep State is a good thing at all, for it is completely
to any - genuinely - democratic government. And the only reason
why I am a bit pleased with its existence is that I do not think most
or the majority
of the - unknown - members of the Deep State are not sane, while I
think Trump is.
I also do not agree with much of the rest of this paragraph,
I will give up on this article, except for quoting one more bit, and
that is the end:
Unipolarity will slink
off to the sidelines while multilateralism takes center stage. Given
that U.S. share of global GDP has fallen by
better than 20 percent since 1989, a retreat is inevitable.
And this bit is here
because I did not know that U.S. share of global GDP has fallen by more
than 1/5th. But this still does not counter my first remarks to
first quotation in this article.
So the brief of this is
that I do not believe that there is a dangerous decline of ¨US
hegemony¨ now, even if Lazare may be right in the long run.