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Nederlog

Sunday, December 24, 2017.

Crisis: "Crooked Hillary", State Department, Forbidden Words, "Russia-gate", Lies
 
Sections                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from December 24, 2017.
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Sunday
, December 24, 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 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.

Section 2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from December 24, 2017
1. GOP's New Hunt For 'Crooked Hillary'
2. How Trump and Tillerson Trashed the State Department
3. Forbidden Words
4. What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking
5. Needed: A Meter for Trump’s Lies-Per-Minute (LPM)
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. GOP's New Hunt For 'Crooked Hillary'

This article is by Heather Digby Parton on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as follows:

One of the more disturbing comments President Trump has made in recent months, and that's saying something, is what he said last month to radio talk show host Larry O'Connor in the wake of the indictments of Paul Manafort and others.

You know the saddest thing is that because I'm the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I'm not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I'm not supposed to be doing the kind of things I would love to be doing. And I'm very frustrated by it. I look at what's happening with the Justice Department. Why aren't they going after Hillary Clinton with her emails and with her -- the dossier.

In fact, these are the things Trump is forbidden to do as president. Then again, I am - myself - not amazed Trump very much wants "to be doing the kind of things I would love to be doing", and indeed he would probably not be satisfied - I think, quite seriously also  - with having fewer powers or more control than Nero or Caligula had.

Here is more on "
Crooked Hillary":
Trump has been using "Crooked Hillary" as a foil for almost two years now, and it remains true that his crowds are still weirdly stimulated and aroused at the mere mention of putting her in prison. But this was the first time that Trump had said something as president that suggested a serious intention to follow through, if only he were allowed to direct the Justice Department and the FBI to do his bidding.
Well... the reason so many followers of Trump "are still weirdly stimulated and aroused at the mere mention of putting" Hillary Cllinton in prison is that so many followers of Trump are real totalitarians (but not according to the crazy Wikipedia), in fact rather like so many followers of the Clintons, who all lap up the "Russia-gate" lies (and see item 4).

Here is more:
Senators are getting in on the act as well. Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wants Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe fired because his wife is a Democrat and he's suspected of having been hostile to Trump during the election (which apparently translates into him covering up Hillary Clinton's crimes).
In fact, Chuck Grassley sounds quite as if he is Joseph McCarthy, which is quite sick. But this is a recommended article.

2. How Trump and Tillerson Trashed the State Department

This article is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet. It starts as follows:

Rex Tillerson, fossil fuel magnate-turned-diplomat, has proved a bust in his first—and last—year as Secretary of State. It is true that the former Exxon CEO has the burden of working for a man he once described as a "moron" (make that a "f**king moron") in the White House. But Donald Trump is no excuse for Tillerson’s vandalism of the U.S. State Department. 

Whether acting at Trump’s behest or not, Tillerson’s tenure has demoralized and embittered America’s diplomatic corps while crippling the U.S. government’s ability to respond to life-and-death situations. When one critic called him the "worst secretary of state in modern memory," no one bothered to dispute the point.

Yes indeed (though I question whether there is any sane American above 8 years who does not know that "f**king" means fucking).

Here are some of the wreckages Tillerson wrought:

The damage Tillerson has done is visible around the world. As the New York Timesnotes, the United States has no ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, Germany or France, let alone representatives to the European Union or the International Atomic Energy Agency. If the administration has a plan for the ongoing humanitarian crisis in war-ravaged Syria, there is no sign of it. There is still no American ambassador in South Korea, where the failure of diplomacy could unleash a catastrophic war in a country where 100,000 Americans live.

The government’s non-military expertise is wasting. Since January, more than 100 senior foreign service officers have left the state department, depleting the ranks of career ambassadors, the diplomatic equivalent of four-star generals, by 60 percent, while the number of career ministers (akin to three-star generals) is down 42 percent.

Yes, I quite agree. Also, this is rather frightening because Trump seems to course on war. And there is more in this article, that is recommended.


3. Forbidden Words

This article is by Christopher Brauchli on Common Dreams:

There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.

— Hippocrates, Breaths

What the Trump people are doing today bears no similarity to what the Nazis did in the early 1930s.  Those were the days of book burnings and other activities that were designed to suppress ideas that differed from the philosophy of the Nazis. Joseph Goebbels was in charge of the Nazi Propaganda Ministry and in that capacity took control of all forms of German communication, including newspapers, magazines, movies and radio.  Any points of view that contradicted the Nazi points of view were censored or eliminated from all media. On May 10, 1933, professors, students and librarians marched in Germany and threw books into huge bonfires. Nothing like that is happening in the United States under the Trump regime. What the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is doing is simply attacking a very few words.
Well... yes and no.

First of all, "
the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)" is not merely or only "attacking a very few words". What it is attacking is real science, and it is attacking that in terms of deluded, stupid and ignorant wishful thinking, while it also is asttacking real science in the name of the government and Trump. Both are new in the USA.

Second, what Brauchli is more or less correct about is that "[w]
hat the Trump people are doing today bears no similarity to what the Nazis did in the early 1930s". But I do not know he understands the main reasons:

The Nazis were part of a thoroughly defeated and mostly quite poor Germany, and had successfully made semi-militarism a main part of their Nazi-doctrine, and this meant that once the Nazis were democratically elected, they almost immediately could take the full power, quite unlike Trump.

But I do believe that Trump's ideal ls that "
[a]ny points of view that contradicted " Trump's "points of view" would be "censored or eliminated from all media", simply because he has implied so.

Then again, I agree it is not possible for Trump to do so - at least not now.

There is also this explanation by - lawyer - Brauchli about what is being forbidden at the CDC, even though Brauchli rather speaks of "
words in the English language" that "have fallen out of favor", much rather than censoring the normal words of science:
On December 15, 2017 it was reported that seven words in the English language have fallen out of favor with people at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.  According to someone at a meeting that took place on December 14, 2017, policy analysts at the agency were told that seven words or phrases were not to be used in official documents prepared for the 2018 budget for the CDC.  The exiled words are: “vulnerable,” “entitlement”, “diversity”, “transgender”, “fetus”, “evidence-based”, and “science-based.”  To those not familiar with what passes for thinking in many Trump appointees, including those at the CDC, it may be hard to understand how the various words offend.  Although there are doubtless other explanations, one reason “fetus” is offensive is that for those who are opposed to abortion, as many Trump supporters are, the word depersonalizes the child in the womb, treating it as an object rather than a baby.
Mostly no, for the American government is deciding on the basis of what they consider moral reasons, although they are basically antiscientific prejudices and wishful thinking, to forbid the use of proper scientific words in documents that speak for the American government.

So I disagree with Brauchly, indeed for the reasons Hippocrates indicated in the opening quotation: If there is real science, those opposing it as science are lying, and if it is the government that insists on this lying, this is quite serious.

4. What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking

This article is by Jackson Lears on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

American politics have rarely presented a more disheartening spectacle. The repellent and dangerous antics of Donald Trump are troubling enough, but so is the Democratic Party leadership’s failure to take in the significance of the 2016 election campaign. Bernie Sanders’s challenge to Hillary Clinton, combined with Trump’s triumph, revealed the breadth of popular anger at politics as usual – the blend of neoliberal domestic policy and interventionist foreign policy that constitutes consensus in Washington. Neoliberals celebrate market utility as the sole criterion of worth; interventionists exalt military adventure abroad as a means of fighting evil in order to secure global progress. Both agendas have proved calamitous for most Americans.

Yes, I agree. And in fact this is the beginning of a rather long but quite good exposition on "Russia-gate".

Here is more:

A story that had circulated during the campaign without much effect resurfaced: it involved the charge that Russian operatives had hacked into the servers of the Democratic National Committee, revealing embarrassing emails that damaged Clinton’s chances. With stunning speed, a new centrist-liberal orthodoxy came into being, enveloping the major media and the bipartisan Washington establishment. This secular religion has attracted hordes of converts in the first year of the Trump presidency. In its capacity to exclude dissent, it is like no other formation of mass opinion in my adult life, though it recalls a few dim childhood memories of anti-communist hysteria during the early 1950s.

Yes, again I agree and indeed as well with the indicated parallelism between the HUAC of the 1950ies and the DNC's propaganda of 2015-2017:

Both are evidently totalitarian (though not in the crazy way Wikipedia defines the word: According to Wikipedia only states and systems can be totalitarian, not people, institutions, papers, propaganda, ideas, political plans and proposals, nor ideologies or religions, for according to the utterly crazy way Wikipedia describes totalitarianism absolutely none of them can ever be totalitarian in any way).

Here is more on the background:

The centrepiece of the faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to interfere in the election on behalf of Trump. The story became gospel with breathtaking suddenness and completeness. Doubters are perceived as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin, the evil twins and co-conspirators behind this attack on American democracy. Responsibility for the absence of debate lies in large part with the major media outlets. Their uncritical embrace and endless repetition of the Russian hack story have made it seem a fait accompli in the public mind. It is hard to estimate popular belief in this new orthodoxy, but it does not seem to be merely a creed of Washington insiders.

Yes indeed - and note that "the public mind" is (for the most part) totally ignorant about both programming and spying.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Once again, the established press is legitimating pronouncements made by the Church Fathers of the national security state. Clapper is among the most vigorous of these. He perjured himself before Congress in 2013, when he denied that the NSA had ‘wittingly’ spied on Americans – a lie for which he has never been held to account. In May 2017, he told NBC’s Chuck Todd that the Russians were highly likely to have colluded with Trump’s campaign because they are ‘almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favour, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique’. The current orthodoxy exempts the Church Fathers from standards imposed on ordinary people, and condemns Russians – above all Putin – as uniquely, ‘almost genetically’ diabolical.

Yes indeed - and if you ever trusted this neofascist former spymaster, maybe his insane totalitarian words (but not according to the crazy Wikipedia) that Russians (a well-known evidently inferior race?!?!) are

‘almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favour, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique’

That is - or ought to be - evident bullshit. And I am still in the beginning of this fine article, that is strongly recommended.


5. Needed: A Meter for Trump’s Lies-Per-Minute (LPM)

This article is by Ralph Nader on his site. It starts as follows:
Imagine an app that can calculate the lies per minute (LPM) Trump subjects the American public to on a daily basis. Perhaps there should be a national contest for how many Trump lies per minute can be documented by a contestant in a given week.

When the Republican “tax cuts” reach his desk, in a bill which gives massive handouts to the rich and giant corporations at the expense of working families, Trump will envelope this even more complex tax code in a vast cloud of lies designed to reassure the working class that he daily betrays.

Senator Daniel P. Moynihan once said: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Trump continues to trumpet serial lies about the bill, which was changed repeatedly during the last days to cater even more to commercial interests – in an egregious display of cash register politics. Republican Congressional leaders have also made mendacity their mantra. Moreover, Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan have kept the bill from the Democrats, who had no chance to carefully read the final draft which they were expected to vote on.

Apparently there is no Senate rule preventing the tyrannical majority from keeping the minority in the dark.

Yes indeed - and note that this very important tax bill has been approved by the 50+1 Republicans while they "kept the bill from the Democrats, who had no chance to carefully read the final draft which they were expected to vote on": Completely and purposively anti-democratic.

Here is more on Trump's daily stream of lies:

None of this means anything to Trump, who probably hasn’t even read a memo by his advisors on the bill’s details. His close aides say he doesn’t like briefing materials. Why should he?  The Deceiver in Chief need only lie his way to the signing ceremony:

“Biggest tax cuts in history.” False. “Biggest reform ever passed.” False. “Will create many beautiful jobs.” False. “Biggest middle class tax cut ever.” Totally false. Trump also lies when he says he will take a “big, big hit” to his own wealth from this tax bill. Laughably false.

Quite so: In fact it seems as if Trump, all by himself, profits by some $11 million each year, quite like his son-in-law Kushner, though the details are hard to prove because Trump refuses to say how much he paid in taxes. (But in any case, he profits a lot.)

Here is more on Trump's deregulations, that follow Obama's deregulations, that follow Bush Jr.'s deregulations, that follow Bill Clinton's deregulations - and each and every deregulation destroyed a U.S. law that protected the many non-rich from the depredations of the few rich:

Trump brags about getting rid of “job-killing regulations,” without specifically mentioning any of them. He just keeps repeating over and over again his false claims. These regulations he wants to kill save the lives, health and safety of the American people by limiting toxic chemicals in the workplace, the consumer marketplace and the air, water and soil. He is letting defenseless Americans, including children, get sicker, be injured more and die earlier by continuing his cruel and vicious abandonment of long-considered legal safeguards. The regulations he is leaving alone are the ones providing corporate welfare, or what ideologically consistent conservatives call “crony capitalism.”

Precisely. Here is the ending of this article:

Voters who continue to believe in serial political liars are entrenching a tyranny over themselves. If we do not learn to recognize and reject such dishonesty, we will continue to enable dirty politics to our serious detriment.

For a comprehensive list of Trump’s constantly growing number of LPMs, see Trump’s Lies in the New York Times.

Yes indeed. And indeed "Trump’s Lies" is a good link, that is also recommended, as is this 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 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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