Prev-IndexNL-Next

Nederlog

July 15, 2018

Crisis: On Dissent, The NYT, Trump´s Mendacity, Nationwide U.K. Protests, Evidence & Russia


Sections
Introduction

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from July 15, 2018
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, July 15, 2018.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but since 2010 in English) 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 more than 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 I shall continue.

2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from July 15, 2018:
1. Another Crackdown on Dissent.
2. Trump Opens His Arms to Russia. His Administration Closes Its Fist.
3. 4 Ways to Combat Trump's Endless Mendacity
4. Nationwide U.K. Protests Mark Trump's First State Visit—As It
     Happened

5. Why Evidence Will Probably Never Be Produced in the Indictments of
     ‘Russian Agents’

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. Another Crackdown on Dissent.

This article is by Natasha Lennard on The Intercept. It starts as follows, but I should say that from now on I will be shortening titles that take more than three lines, simply because I don´t want the story - Tweet-style! - in the title, and besides short clear titles are a measure of journalistic talent:
The last remaining defendants in the J20 trials, who faced a raft of charges related to a mass arrest on Inauguration Day, can breathe a sigh of relief. Last week, federal prosecutors decided to drop all remaining felony charges against the protesters, who faced decades in prison for rioting and conspiring to do the same. To defenders of First Amendment rights, the government’s failure to win convictions was a victory: The prosecutors’ novel theory of collective liability — that mere presence at a demonstration in which property damage occurred constituted a planned criminal offense — fell apart.

The cases were an outrage and an embarrassment from the moment D.C. police swept up over 200 people on the corner of L and 12th streets in Washington — a protest in which I took part, but was not arrested. Prosecutors scrambled and made underhanded moves, including withholding evidence and using far-right propaganda as purported evidence of a conspiracy.

Yes, I completely agree with the above, and both the theory of collective liability and the associated punishments are totalitarian horrors, although I am not allowed to say so according to Wikipedia, that now follows Brzezinski ideals and opinions about totalitarianism (which has led me to give up Wikipedia, together with its being anonymous).

Here is some more:

Aaron Cantú, a journalist and J20 defendant who was among the last to have his charges dropped, tweeted, “The state shamelessly weaponized the ‘good protester/bad protester’ narrative in this case. It’s time to put it to rest.” in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill is unabashed about its target. It calls for fines and a prison sentence of up to 15 years for anyone who “injures, oppresses, threatens, or intimidates any person” while wearing a mask or disguise — a bill that telegraphs the government’s future attempts to prosecute the masked protesters they failed to criminalize on Inauguration Day.

This effort will not end with its failure to convict the J20 arrestees: Just this June, Republicans on Capitol Hill introduced the Unmasking Antifa Act of 2018 in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill is unabashed about its target. Yes, indeed. — a bill that telegraphs the government’s future attempts to prosecute the masked protesters they failed to criminalize on Inauguration Day.

Yes, I agree again. And the followibg proposed punishment is both utterly totalitarian (but not according to the sick and anonymous Wikipedia) and neofascist:

The bill is unabashed about its target. It calls for fines and a prison sentence of up to 15 years for anyone who “injures, oppresses, threatens, or intimidates any person” while wearing a mask or disguise (..)

This is very sick and supports my ideas that the USA under Trump is sinking into neofascism. And this is a recommended article.


2. Trump Opens His Arms to Russia. His Administration Closes Its Fist.

This article is by Mark Landler and Julie Hirschfeld Davis on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

Just a few hours after President Trump doused expectations of extracting any confession from President Vladimir V. Putin on Russia’s election meddling when they meet on Monday, his own Justice Department issued a sweeping indictment
of 12 Russian intelligence agents for hacking the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign.

The bold move, precisely the kind that Mr. Trump has long resisted, demonstrated how he is almost wholly untethered from his administration when it comes to dealing with Moscow. Whether it is Russia’s interference in the election, its annexation of Crimea or its intervention in Syria, Mr. Trump’s statements either undercut, or flatly contradict, those of his lieutenants.

The disconnect is so profound that it often seems Mr. Trump is pursuing one Russia policy, set on ushering in a gauzy new era of cooperation with Mr. Putin, while the rest of his administration is pursuing another, set on countering a revanchist power that the White House has labeled one of the greatest threats to American security and prosperity.

No, I am sorry: it seems to me - and I am quite well informed - as if this indictment of ¨12 Russian intelligence agents for hacking the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign¨ is far more like propaganda than like provable fact.

There are quite a few reasons, but an important one is that this supposed ¨indictment¨ will never come to court: See item 5 below.

Here is one other bit from this article:

“I call it the rigged witch hunt,” Mr. Trump said, as Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain looked on. “I think that really hurts our country and it really hurts our relationship with Russia.”

A few hours later, Mr. Trump’s director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, compared the danger of Russian cyberattacks to the stream of terrorist threats against the United States before Sept. 11, 2001. He said Mr. Putin should be held responsible for them.

I suppose this is intended to illustrate the supposed profound disconnect between Trump and the rest of his administration.

Well... I am a psychologist who agrees with tenthousands of other psychologists and some psychiatrists that Trump is not mentally sane, while I also think this does not hold for the vast majority of its government (although I don´t like them either).

But I am sorry: The quoted supposed ¨disconnect¨ also seems more like propaganda than like fact. There is more in this article, but I give it up as probably mostly propaganda.

3. 4 Ways to Combat Trump's Endless Mendacity

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

As the political season heats up, Trump is ramping up his lies through his three amplifiers: Fox News, rallies, and Twitter.

According to The Fact Checker’s database, the average daily rate of Trump’s false or misleading claims is climbing.

The problem isn’t just the number or flagrancy of the lies – for example, that Putin and the Russians didn’t intervene in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump, or that the Mueller investigation is part of a Democratic plot to remove him.

And it’s not just that the lies are about big, important public issues – for example, that immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans, or trade wars are harmless.

The biggest problem is his lies aren’t subject to the filters traditionally applied to presidential statements – a skeptical press, experts who debunk falsehoods, and respected politicians who publicly disagree.

Well... I agree with Reich on Trump´s ¨amplifiers¨ (Twitter, which is an artificial moronic neutering of e-mails by radically shortening them so that anyone with propagandistic aims could abuse it, and besides Fox News and rallies), and I also agree with Reich that ¨[t]he biggest problem¨ is that ¨his lies aren’t subject to the filters traditionally applied to presidential statements¨, but I disagree with Reich´s proposals.

But first a bit more of Reich´s explanations:

The word “media” comes from the term “intermediate” – that is, to come between someone who makes the news and the public who receives it.

But Trump doesn’t hold press conferences. He doesn’t meet in public with anyone who disagrees with him. He denigrates the mainstream press. And he shuns experts.

Instead, his lies go out to tens of millions of Americans every day unmediated.

TV and radio networks simply rebroadcast his rallies, or portions of them.

This is also quite true, and in fact this is the basic problem in my eyes: The fact that over 40% of adult Americans seem to support Trump, in spite of the fact that they themselves are not rich. And my own reasons for this fact are the stupidity, ignorance, conformism and wishful thinking that very many Americans (and not just Trump-supporters) are subject to.

There is also this on Fox News:

Fox News is no longer intermediating between the public and Trump. Fox News is Trump. Many of his lies originate with Fox News; Fox News amplifies the ones that originate with Trump.

Fox News’s Sean Hannity is one of Trump’s de facto top advisers. Trump has just appointed Bill Shine, the former number two at Fox News, as his deputy chief of staff for communications.

No democracy can function under a continuous bombardment of unmediated lies.

So what are we to do, other than vote November 6 to constrain Trump?

I suppose so (but see my explanation, which is not that of Reich). Here are Reich´s remedies:

First, boycott Fox News’s major sponsors (..)
Second, attend Trump’s rallies (..)
Third, sign up for his tweets (..)
Fourth, write to Twitter (..)

I am sorry, but except for possibly the first of these ¨remedies¨, these seem to me to be stupid and irrational wastes of time on instruments of stupidity. Intelligent and informed persons don´t watch Fox Nexs, don´t attend Trump´s rallies, don´t Tweet, and don´t write to Twitter.

And indeed I would disagree less with Reich if I had thought that his remedies would make a difference, but the only definite difference I see is more Tweets, which I am against, because it is an artificially stupified ¨medium of communication¨ that I totally reject and almost completely avoid, indeed also in articles.


4. Nationwide U.K. Protests Mark Trump's First State Visit—As It Happened

This article is by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

Organizers estimate 250,000 protesters hit the streets in London, England alone as more than 60 protests took place across the United Kingdom on Friday to demonstrate against President Donald Trump’s first visit to Britain’s historical ally

PHOTO ESSAY | 68 photosSnapshots From a Day of Anti-Trump Protests in London

Several planned visits to Great Britain have been cancelled since his inauguration, including one as recently as February. The July 13 trip was confirmed in the spring, prompting activists to quickly organize to demonstrate the British people’s disapproval of both Trump and his policies.

I say, because I did not know this (but the PHOTO ESSAY got the same title as the present article: I am sorry).

Here is some more:
The British people have made no secret of their displeasure with the American president. During Trump’s 2016 campaign, two petitions that received the most signatures in British history were debated in Parliament: One was a call for candidate Trump to be banned from entering the U.K. due to campaign speeches that incited hate; the other was a demand that the borders be kept open to the possible president of one of Britain’s closest allies. At the time of the debate, however, most members of Parliament seemed doubtful he would be elected.
(..)
After Trump was elected, 1.8 million British citizens and residents signed a separate petition asking Parliament not to plan a state visit.
Well... I like the protestors because I do not like Trump, but in fact I think that the demand that (then candidate) Trump should ¨be banned from entering the U.K. due to campaign speeches that incited hate¨ was and is mistaken, at least for a president of the USA.

There is considerably more in the article.

5. Why Evidence Will Probably Never Be Produced in the Indictments of ‘Russian Agents’

This article is by Joe Lauria on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
Charges against 12 Russian intelligence agents for allegedly hacking emails from the Democratic Party during the 2016 presidential election were announced by the U.S. Justice Department on Friday at the very moment President Donald Trump was meeting Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle and just days before a summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

A central claim of Russia-gate has been that the Russian government with help from the Trump campaign stole emails from the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign and then gave those emails to WikiLeaks for publication to damage Clinton’s quest for the White House.

Until Friday however, the investigation into the allegations had produced no formal indictment of Russian government interference in the election. Like previous U.S. government accusations against Russia for alleged election meddling, the indictment makes assertions without providing evidence. Under U.S. law, indictments are not considered evidence. And it is highly unlikely that the government will ever have to produce any evidence in court.

Friday’s indictments do not include any charges against Trump campaign members for allegedly colluding with the Russian government to carry out the hacks. That has been at the core of allegations swirling in U.S. media for two years. If the alleged co-conspirators “known” to the DOJ were on the Trump team, the indictments do not say. There is only a hint that “unknown” persons might be.
Yes, I completely agree (and I don´t think there is good evidence that ¨Russia¨ or ¨Putin¨ are responsible, although I also think that at least ¨Russia¨ did hack some of ¨the USA¨, and indeed ¨the USA¨ did hack some of ¨Russia¨ - but this is about as specific as it gets, for persons who do not have the NSA´s facilities or records).

And indeed Lauria also seems quite right in writing that ¨
it is highly unlikely that the government will ever have to produce any evidence in court¨ - which in fact makes the indictment mostly propaganda.

Here is more on the evidence, or rather the lack of it:
The lack of evidence that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia has never stopped Democrats and their media outlets from believing unnamed U.S. intelligence sources for two years about such collusion. “Collusion” is the title of a best-selling book about the supposed Trump-Russia conspiracy to steal the election, but such a charge is not to be found.

The indictment excluding collusion also undermines the so-called Steele dossier, a work of opposition research paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign masquerading as an intelligence document because it was compiled by a former MI6 agent. The memos falsely claimed, it turns out, that Trump’s people started colluding with Russia years before he became a candidate.
Yes, I agree. And here is the last bit of Lauria that I quote in this review:
Other apparent sources for information in the indictment are intelligence agencies, which normally create hurdles in a criminal prosecution.

“In this indictment there is detail after detail whose only source could be intelligence, yet you don’t use intelligence in documents like this because if these defendants decide to challenge this in court, it opens the U.S. to having to expose sources and methods,” Johnson said.

If the U.S. invoked the states secret privilege so that classified evidence could not be revealed in court a conviction before a civilian jury would be jeopardized.

Such a trial is extremely unlikely however. That makes the indictment essentially a political and not a legal document because it is almost inconceivable that the U.S. government will have to present any evidence in court to back up its charges. This is simply because of the extreme unlikelihood that arrests of Russians living in Russia will ever be made.
Yes, I quite agree, and especially with the last paragraph. There is considerably more in the article, that is recommended.
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 (!!).
       home - index - summaries - mail