Saturday, October 7, 2017

Crisis: May´s Nightmare, Trump, On Privatization, On Corbyn, Tillerson

Sections                                                crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from October 7, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Saturday, October 7, 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 will continue with it.

On the moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading [2]:

A. Selections from October 7, 2017
1. Theresa May’s Nightmare Week Ends
     With Party Coup Attempt

2. Are Trump’s Efforts to Sabotage Iran
     Nuclear Deal a Precursor for U.S. War
     with Iran?

3. Why Privatization Is a Disaster for Any
     Democratic Society

4. The Rise of Britain’s ‘New Politics’
5. Memo to Tillerson about the Moron
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. Theresa May’s Nightmare Week Ends With Party Coup Attempt

This article is by Stephen Castle on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
With crucial German and French elections out of the way, this was the moment when talks on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union were supposed to get serious.

Yet, while things look steadier in Berlin and Paris, Britain is suffering repeated aftershocks from last year’s referendum decision to quit the 28-nation bloc, the latest of them threatening to engulf its prime minister, Theresa May, who is fresh off a calamitous, accident-strewn speech on Wednesday.

On Friday, Mrs. May, who presides over a warring cabinet, faced down a coup attempt from a group of her own lawmakers, following the debacle at her Conservative Party’s annual conference, where her speech was interrupted by a prankster and she was plagued by a persistent cough and a malfunctioning stage set.

“You can’t just carry on when things aren’t working,” Grant Shapps, a former chairman of the party, told the BBC, as he called for Mrs. May to stand aside. “The solution is not to bury heads in the sand,” added Mr. Shapps, who claimed to have support from around 30 fellow plotters, including five former cabinet ministers.

I say, which I do because I did not know about Mr. Shapps. There is also this in the article:

Mrs. May had intended to use her party conference speech to relaunch her leadership after she gambled by calling an early general election in June, and lost both her parliamentary majority and her personal authority.

At the election Mrs. May asked voters to endorse her “strong and stable leadership” and — that slogan having turned speedily into a bad joke — on Friday she offered “calm” leadership as she insisted she was staying in Downing Street.

There is considerably more in the article. I think the likelihood is that Mrs. May will soon disappear as British leader, but I don´t know.

2. Are Trump’s Efforts to Sabotage Iran Nuclear Deal a Precursor for U.S. War with Iran?

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
Amid news of the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, we turn now to look at whether President Donald Trump is trying to sabotage the Obama-brokered nuclear agreement with Iran and seek a war with Iran. According to The Washington Post, Trump is expected to announce next week the deal is not in the United States’ national interest, and will move to “decertify” the deal. If this happens, Congress will decide whether or not to reinstate harsh economic sanctions against Iran, potentially tanking the landmark deal. The move comes despite the fact the Trump administration begrudgingly certified that Iran has complied with its obligations under the agreement earlier this year, as has the International Atomic Energy Agency, which closely monitors Iran’s activities.
Yes indeed: That seems to be the situation, schematically. Here is some more:

If the Iran nuclear deal collapses, Iran can begin producing uranium and reprocessing plutonium immediately, rather than waiting for 13 years as required under the agreement. Both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Mattis have urged Trump to uphold the agreement. This is Mattis speaking to senators just Tuesday.

DEFENSE SECRETARY JAMES MATTIS: If we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interest, then, clearly, we should stay with it. I believe, at this point in time, absent indications to the contrary, it is something the president should consider staying with.

Mattis seems to have it right, although he phrases it in terms of ifs. Here is the last bit that I´ll quote from this article:
REZA SAYAH:  (..) What’s striking is this, that the entire international community, all other members of the P5+1, all other world powers, the IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, all of these governments, all of these states, all of these groups, are saying that this deal is working, that the deal is fulfilling its narrow objective of rolling back Iran's nuclear program. Essentially, it’s two countries that are against this deal: the U.S., led by a Republican president, and the Israeli government, led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And it looks like these two countries are going to go against international consensus and, at the very least, weaken this deal. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.
Yes indeed, and this is a recommended article with considerably more text than I quoted.

3. Why Privatization Is a Disaster for Any Democratic Society

This article is by Paul Buchheit on AlterNet. It starts as follows:

Most people looking to make big money are eager to disparage public systems as inefficient, wasteful, inferior. Many of those people are in a position to starve the public systems of funding, thereby making them less functional, and making the private options look more appealing. 

But privatization is not the solution; it is the problem. Properly supported public systems serve more people in a more efficient and less costly way.
Privatization cuts us in two: we've become a nation of profit-makers versus the struggling middle/lower classes. This is true for health care, education, housing, and the environment.
Yes indeed, though the stess is on ¨properly supported public systems¨ rather than just ¨public systems¨. And the reason is as follows:

The privatizers - whose propaganda abuses ¨Freedom!¨ and ¨Free Markets!¨ - speak in fact for the rich corporations and their owners, and only these; the non-privatizers speak - in
¨properly supported public systems¨ - for all, because the non-rich can only influence the rich by imposing laws on them: if this cannot be done, the greed of the rich will overpower all, and serve the rich and the rich only.

In the next sections Buchheit discusses the following four items:
Health Care: Profitability vs. Mortality
Education: Hedge Funds vs. the Children
Housing: Blackstone vs. the Rent-Burdened

Environment: Eating and Breathing Chemicals
     vs. Preparing the World for Our Children

I leave this to your interests (but I agree with Buchheit). Here is how two very big and very rich corporations are lying to everyone in order to maximize their own profits:

Scientific studies keep confirming that agricultural pesticides are poisonous to humans and to wildlife. Unbelievably, Monsanto sued the state of California for telling people about the threat to their health. Even more unbelievably, its reasoning was that it's 'unconstitutional' to use findings from the World Health Organization. 

Equally disturbing is the deadly deceit of Exxon, which has covered up its own climate research for 40 years, and was joined by other oil-connected companies in lobbying against the Kyoto Protocol. The lobbying paid off. Fossil fuel subsidies in 2015 were estimated to be greater than the world's total health spending.

Here is a final example how the rich exploit everyone who is not rich:

And here's one that should make everyone mad. As increasing privatization "starves the beast" of government, infrastructure is failing, and companies like Nestle pay nearly nothing to take over our water supply and sell it back to us. Globally, according to a Bloomberg report, failing infrastructure has led "to a near-total reliance on bottled water in parts of the world." Says Pakistani environmental lawyer Ahmad Rafay Alam: "Twenty years ago, you could go anywhere in Lahore and get a glass of clean tap water for free. Now, everyone drinks bottled water." 

More profits for the privatizers, more health concerns and expense and disdain for the public.

And this is a recommended article that has a lot more than I quoted.

4. The Rise of Britain’s ‘New Politics’

This article is by John Pilger (<-Wkipedia) on Consortiumnews. This comes with the following subtitle:

As more Britons turn toward Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the British establishment is upping the pressure on the “radical” Corbyn to conform to U.S.-U.K. militarism and interventionism, as John Pilger explains.

In fact I know more about John Pilger than about Jeremy Corbyn (<-Wikipedia). My reasons are that I think that Pilger is a good journalist with whose articles I tend to agree (considerably more than not), while Corbyn is leading a political party, and while I like Labour more than the Tories, I also have not much of a taste for political prose, and I usually avoid it.

The present article can be considered as a critical assessment by John Pilger of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. It starts as follows:

Delegates to the recent Labour Party conference in the English seaside town of Brighton seemed not to notice a video playing in the main entrance. The world’s third biggest arms manufacturer, BAe Systems, supplier to Saudi Arabia, was promoting its guns, bombs, missiles, naval ships and fighter aircraft.

It seemed a perfidious symbol of a party in which millions of Britons now invest their political hopes. Once the preserve of Tony Blair, it is now led by Jeremy Corbyn, whose career has been very different and is rare in British establishment politics.

Yes to everything said here, although I must take the BAe Systems military propaganda to Labour for granted. But I agree Corbyn´s career was quite different from Tony Blair, whose career may be described as that of a very dishonest Tory who was really out to get 150 million pounds for himself, in which he also seems to have succeeded.

There is this on Bernie Sanders:

Like Clinton, Sanders is a cold-warrior and “anti-communist” obsessive with a proprietorial view of the world beyond the United States. Sanders supported Bill Clinton’s and Tony Blair’s illegal assault on Yugoslavia in 1998 and the invasions of Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, as well as Barack Obama’s campaign of terrorism by drone (although he did vote against George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq). These days, Sanders backs the provocation of Russia and agrees that the whistleblower Edward Snowden should stand trial. Sanders has called the late Hugo Chavez – a social democrat who won multiple elections in Venezuela – “a dead communist dictator.”

I like Bernie Sanders more than the great majority of American politicians, but I agree his foreign stance (of an American) is rather disappointing. Then again, I do not know whether Pilger is right in everything he says.

Here is Pilgers view of ¨Labour politics¨ since 1945:

Since 1945, like the Tories, British Labour has been an imperial party, obsequious to Washington: a record exemplified by the crime in the Chagos islands. What has changed? Is Corbyn saying Labour will uncouple itself from the U.S. war machine, and the U.S. spying apparatus and U.S. economic blockades that scar humanity?

His shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, says a Corbyn government “will put human rights back at the heart of Britain’s foreign policy.” But human rights have never been at the heart of British foreign policy — only “interests,” as Lord Palmerston declared in the Nineteenth Century: the interests of those at the apex of British society.

I think Pilger is more right than not, although I agree (more or less) that leaders of large political parties probably need to lie more often than journalists.

Here is Pilger on Corbyn and Labour:

Labour does not promise to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia. It does not say Britain will withdraw its support for governments responsible for the export of Islamist jihadism. There is no commitment to dismantle the arms trade.

The manifesto describes a “special relationship [with the U.S.] based on shared values … When the current Trump administration chooses to ignore them … we will not be afraid to disagree.”

As Jeremy Corbyn knows, dealing with the U.S. is not about merely “disagreeing.” The U.S. is a rapacious, rogue power that ought not to be regarded as a natural ally of any state championing human rights, irrespective of whether Trump or anyone else is President.

I think I mostly agree with Pilger. There is considerably more in the article, that is recommended.

5. Memo to Tillerson about the Moron

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:

To: Rex Tillerson
From: Robert Reich
Subject: The Moron

I can understand why you feel Washington is a place of “petty nonsense,” as you said Wednesday when you called a news conference to rebut charges that you called Trump a moron last summer after a meeting of national security officials at the Pentagon.

I’m also reasonably sure you called him a moron, which doesn’t make Washington any less petty. You probably called him a moron because almost all of us out here in the rest of America routinely call him that.

But you’re right: There are far more important issues than the epithet you likely used to describe your boss.

On the other hand, your calling him a moron wouldn’t itself have mushroomed into a headline issue – even in petty Washington – if there weren’t deep concerns about the President’s state of mind to begin with.
The reason your moronic comment about Trump made the headlines is that Trump really is a moron, in the sense you probably meant it: He’s impulsive, mercurial, often cruel, and pathologically narcissistic. Some psychologists who have studied his behavior have concluded he’s a sociopath.

I mostly agree with Reich, but since I am a psychlogist I say (once again) that (i) in my opinion (and that of 53,000 other psychologists) Trump is not sane, and (ii) ¨sociopathy¨ is a clear example of the baloney of the psychiatrists´ DSMs:

To say that someone is a ¨sociopath¨ is to say he or she does not conform to the prevailing social norms: Martin Luther King was a sociopath; Andrei Sacharov was a sociopath; the communists, socialists and Jews of Hitler´s Germany in 1935 were
¨sociopaths¨ etc. etc. etc.

I am against the DSM, and this is one of my many reasons to be so:

This makes (American) psychiatry into an extremely willing assistant of tyranny, for under a tyranny almost everyone disagreeing with it will be in a minority, which means that the APA will insist on their being ¨sociopaths¨, which indeed they will be, given its insane definition in the DSMs.

Here is the ending of Reich´s article:

Let Trump fire you if he wants to. That would further reveal what a moron he is.

But if you really did want to serve the best interests of this nation, there’s another option you might want to consider.

Quietly meet with Mattis, Kelly, and Vice President Pence. Come up with a plan for getting most of the cabinet to join in a letter to Congress saying Trump is unable to discharge the duties of his office.

Under the 25th Amendment, that would mean Trump is fired.

No, this is not true: It does not need merely three men + a letter: it also requires two thirds of Congress, or at least that is what I infer from the Wikipedia´s Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 4.

At least, thus it seems to me.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that 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 (!!).

[2] Yes, you are right: I start Nederlogs again with a list of the titles of the articles I review in that Nederlog. In fact, I did start that way around 2011/2012, and instituted it (so to speak) in 2013. This was maintained until June of 2017, when I stopped doing it mostly because my health got worse then. Since my condition now has again somewhat improved I return - more or less - to the style I used in 2013. 
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