Defendants Found Not Guilty in Trump Protest Case That Tested Free
This article is by Emily Bell on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
One month and one
day after the start of the closely watched so-called J20 trial, the six
defendants have all been found not guilty.
The defendants originally faced
a felony charge of inciting a riot, multiple felony charges of
property damage and misdemeanor charges of engaging in a riot and
conspiracy to riot.
Though Judge Lynn Leibovitz
acquitted the defendants on the count
of inciting a riot December 13—a charge that carries
decades of jail time—the other counts went to a jury and were
not announced until Thursday.
This beginning is not
very clear, so I repeat some background information:
More than 200 people
were arrested on Trump's inauguration day when and because they
protested against Trump.
The basic point is that
they then were prosecuted - essentially mostly for doing nothing but protesting
- with threats of punishments up to fifty or sixty years of
imprisonment, which is in my eyes neofascism
pure and simple: In Holland, you risk such punishment only if
you cruelly killed three or more persons; in Norway you can't get a
punishment that lasts longer than 20 years for doing anything
And while I am not
saying the Dutch or the Norwegian legal systems are good, it
is much more humane to err on the side of humaneness
than on the side of neofascistic sadistic cruelty,
what these prosecutions are.
Back to the article:
The charges originated on
Trump’s inauguration day, or J20, when more than 200 people attending
protests were “kettled” and arrested. The J20 trial brought to
light the extreme
conduct of the Metropolitan Police Department on inauguration day.
The six defendants in the
first trial included journalist
Alexei Wood and two medics.
These unprecedented trials
were viewed as an encroachment on freedom of the press and free
Yes indeed: Clearly, if
you can be locked up for 50 years for
saying "No!" to Trump,
the laws that allow this gross inhumanity are neofascistic
(and check my definition if you disagree).
State Department Explicitly Doesn't Care About Human Rights Anymore
This article is by Heather
Digby Parsons on AlterNet. This is from near the beginning:
Progress on human rights
seems to come in fits and starts and is commonly denied to minority
populations as long as possible. Still, hypocrisy being the proverbial
tribute vice pays to virtue, there is value in having ideals even if
you don't entirely live up to them. At least they remain alive and part
of the dialogue. When a nation is the world's only superpower, it
especially behooves its leaders to make the effort to promote and
adhere to such ideals as much as possible, lest the rest of the world
gets the wrong idea and decides it is a menace they need to oppose.
This is just common sense.
Well... more or less.
For one thing, I do not
know of anyone that "entirely" lives up to his or her ideals,
whatever they are, and for another thing, I never looked upon any
American government during my years - from
Eisenhower onwards - as
being particularly humane or being much oriented by ideals,
these remarks granted, I mostly agree.
Here is more:
As early as 1974, in the
wake of Richard Nixon's downfall, Congress was holding hearings and
making demands that the U.S. put human rights at the center of its
foreign policy. This was not just a moral consideration, although that
was paramount. It was also a practical concern, since America's global
credibility had been so damaged by the Vietnam debacle that it was no
longer able to properly exert influence on its own behalf with soft
power. Congress stepped into the foreign policy arena with a demand
that the government raise the issue in international institutions and,
more importantly, restrict aid to governments that consistently
violated human rights.
Again more or less.
For one thing - and I
recall the Seventies very well, since these are the years when
I was between 20 and 30 - I certainly either missed or totally
disbelieved and forgot the "paramount" "moral consideration" that
Parsons attributes to the USA (in 1974, or there about), although I was
then rather well aware of the "practical concern" that motivated the
USA's own policies.
Then there is this:
And once more I say: more or
When Donald Trump said he
was going to make America great again, everyone had different ideas
about what exactly he meant. But his bloviating about how much he loves
torture and mass executions should have alerted everyone to the fact
that human rights were not going to be central to his foreign policy.
Nonetheless, one might have
expected that his secretary of state would at least be conversant with
the concept. But apparently Rex Tillerson didn't have a clue. According
to Politico, three months into the job he blithely announced that it was "really
important that all of us understand the difference between policy and
values like freedom, human dignity and the way people are treated."
Thus, I always understood "Make America Great Again" as pure
that never was intended to convey anything either
Here is the ending of this article:
Either way, whether
it's Tillerson's crude dismissal of human rights and values, his
deputy's cynical Kissinger-esque realpolitik or
Trump's fatal attraction to tyrants and despots, it would appear that
promotion of human rights is no longer an American ideal. It's just
another norm tossed on the dumpster fire we call the Trump presidency.
Trump and Trump's government, but I should add that I do not
the "care about human rights" of any American president since Ronald
Reagan, and this includes Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
So I am sorry, but this
article did not really teach me anything.
Anyone Spread More Fake News in 2017 Than Mark Zuckerberg?
This article is by Matt Gertz
on AlterNet and originally on Media Matters. This is from near the
In India, The
Washington Post reported,
“false news stories have become a part of everyday life, exacerbating
weather crises, increasing violence between castes and religions, and
even affecting matters of public health.” In Indonesia, disinformation
spread by social media stoked
ethnic tensions and even triggered
a riot in the capital of Jakarta.
Throughout the year,
countries from Kenya to Canada either fell
prey to fake
news efforts to influence their
elections, or took
steps they hoped would quell the
sort of disinformation campaign that infected the
2016 U.S. presidential race.
Last December, Media
Matters dubbed the fake news infrastructure 2016’s Misinformer
of the Year, our annual award for the media figure, news outlet, or
organization which stands out for promoting conservative lies and
smears in the U.S. media. We warned that the unique dangers to the
information ecosystem meant “merely calling out the lies” would not
suffice, and that “the objective now is to protect people from the
Yes indeed. In fact, I
consider Facebook one of the sickest, most neofascistic,
most immoral ways
of deceiving more than 2 billion persons and stealing their
from them, which this extremely sick and morally degenerate sickos
"reward" by returning selected advertisements
to their users.
It is an utterly and totally
sick way of stealing the privacies of 2 billion
people for the
private gains of the sick man who dreamt up this schema of getting rich.
I very much
and this is a more or less decent article about it, so I will scrap my
comments on this utterly sick Fuckbook.
Here is more:
Twelve months later, too
little has changed in the United States, and fake news has infected
democracies around the world. Facebook has been central to the spread
of disinformation, stalling and obfuscating rather than taking
responsibility for its outsized impact.
Media Matters is
recognizing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as 2017’s Misinformer of the
Quite correctly so.
Here is more:
Facebook’s sheer size and
power make comparisons difficult. But Zuckerberg himself has defined at
least one key role for the website. In 2013, he told
reporters that the redesign of Facebook’s news feed was
intended to “give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper
we can.” This strategy had obvious benefits for the company: If users
treated the website as a news source, they would log on more
frequently, stay longer, and view more advertisements.
Zuckerberg achieved his
goal. Forty five percent of U.S. adults now
say they get news on Facebook, dominating all other social
media platforms, and the percentage of people using the website for
that purpose is rising. The website is the country’s largest
single source of news, and indisputably its most powerful media
The sick thief of
privacies of 2 billion people (!!) "achieved his goal".
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Facebook’s news feed is
designed to give users exactly what they want. And that’s the problem.
content largely looks the same on the feed -- regardless of
where it comes from or how credible it is -- and succeeds based on how
many people share it. Facebook’s mysterious algorithm favors “content
designed to generate either a sense of oversize delight or righteous
outrage and go viral,” serving the website’s billions of users the
types of posts they previously
engaged with in order to keep people on the website.
When it comes to political
information, Facebook largely helps users seek out information
their biases, with liberals and conservatives alike receiving news
that they are likely to approve of and share.
I agree, but my
opinions on Facebook and Zuckerberg are much more radical than the
opinions expressed in this article. But all I say here is this:
If you are on Facebook,
no matter who you are, you are a moron in my opinion because
your privacy in order to get personal advertisememts that might gain
you a few cents (which is sick), and you also are a
personal danger to
all your friends and all your family members, because these are
as well by Facebook, simply because they are your friends or your
The Big Picture Of How We Got Into This Mess (Of Trump)
How We Get Out Of It
This article + video is by
Robert Reich on his site. Here is the complete text of his article:
There’s too much yelling
these days, so we made this a silent video. (The only casualty was my
arm, which ached for days afterward.) Hope you find it helpful. Best
wishes for a 2018 that’s better for America than 2017 was.
And here is a link to Reich's
The Big Picture (etc.)
It is quite good and strongly
recommended. It takes about six minutes.
Darkest Day of the Year
is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Common Dreams. It starts as
Yes indeed, and in support
of the first paragraph you are recommended to view Reich's video in the previous item.
President Donald Trump is
being credited with achieving the much-touted and long-awaited first
legislative accomplishment of his presidency, signing the “Tax Cuts and
Jobs Act” into law. He described it as “an incredible Christmas gift
for hardworking Americans,” but in reality it’s the largest wealth
transfer from the bottom to the top in American history.
bused in from Capitol Hill, gathered at the White House for a photo op
with the president, where the serial adulatory statements showered on
Trump were described by one political commentator as “nearly
Here is more:
Yes, I entirely agree.
Incidentally, it seems as if Trump himself - all alone - profits by around
$15 million each year, with similar rewards for his
This is a dark day for the
United States. A country’s annual budget is often described as a moral
document, defining the nation’s values. Its tax system codifies its
fairness. Who pays into the system, and who reaps the rewards? Clearly,
Trump, his family and his businesses will profit enormously. One
essential element of this new law is that the tax breaks given to
corporations and the wealthy are permanent; those given to the working
and middle class are temporary.
“This tax bill is a moral and
economic obscenity,” Vermont’s independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said.
“It is a gift to wealthy Republican campaign contributors and an insult
to the working families of our country."
Here is more:
eliminating or privatizing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have
been central pillars of the conservative movement for decades. By
slashing federal tax revenues, Republicans are setting the stage for
future deficits that will fuel their jihad to slash these programs,
which are vital to middle-class and poor Americans.
Yes indeed. For more on
Philip Alson in Nederlog, see here.
This is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
Philip Alston, the United
Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, issued
a scathing report, stating, “The tax reform package is essentially a
bid to make the U.S. the world champion of extreme inequality.”
The Senate passed
the bill after midnight Wednesday, interrupted by protesters, many in
wheelchairs, chanting, “Kill the bill! Don’t kill us!” Barkan later
tweeted: “Last night after the Senate vote, peaceful protesters in the
gallery were telling personal stories about how this bill will hurt
them and their families. And Republican Senators were laughing at them.
It explains everything. They do not see our humanity.”
Quite so. And this is a strongly
have now been
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.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
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 (!!).