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Nederlog

June 20, 2018

Crisis: 100,000 Lobbyists, Caged Children, 1 Bomb Each 12 Minutes, Dictator Trump,  Nuclear War


Sections
Introduction

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from June 20, 2018
    
B. One Extra Bit
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, June 20, 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 June 20, 2018:
1. Michael Cohen and the Felony Taking Over Washington
2. Caged Children & Terrified Infants
3. Trump’s Military Drops a Bomb Every 12 Minutes, and No One Is Talking
     About It

4. Trump's Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses Is
     the Proud Rant of a Dictator

5. Trump’s Getting Us Ready to Fight a Nuclear War
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. Michael Cohen and the Felony Taking Over Washington

This article is by Lee Fang on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

Michael Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer and longtime fixer, has recently become the most notorious influence peddler in America, but he is only one man in an army of shadow lobbyists whose power has been growing for years.

Much of Mr. Cohen’s headline-making behavior is outrageous even by K Street standards. But one of the many alleged misdeeds for which he is reportedly under investigation — knowingly failing to register as a lobbyist, a felony — is routine in Washington. There are thousands of unregistered lobbyists operating off the books thanks to loophole-ridden disclosure rules and lax enforcement of the federal laws on lobbying. Unless these rules are tightened, people less infamous than Michael Cohen will continue courting officials of both parties on the behalf of private interests, out of public view.
(...)
The ethics offices on Capitol Hill, the Senate Office of Public Records and the House Legislative Resource Center, are supposed to manage the registration system for lobbyists, but in practice, they are ineffective: The two offices put paralegals and clerks in charge of detecting noncompliance but give them no real authority to initiate investigations.

In case you don´t know who Michael Cohen is, this was a link. But actually, this article is about lobbyists, who now - and since the last 20 to 30 years - form the real public for the Senators and  Congress Members of the USA, simply because unlike the voting public the lobbyists have a whole lot of money while it seems that the present ¨representatives of the people¨ do not represent the people so much as their own power and income - which again depend on their lobbyists and the amounts of money these are willing to invest in them.

At least, that is what I think. Here is a bit from the past, from ten years ago:

In 2007 and 2008, when Barack Obama was a presidential candidate, he seized on voters’ frustration with the influence industry. On the campaign trail, he argued that lobbyists for special interests “exercise an effective veto on our progress.”
     (...)
Thousands of lobbyists responded by deregistering from the ethics system. Few actually changed careers. Most simply reclassified their companies or created subsidiaries that performed nearly identical services. The American League of Lobbyists, the professional society for the lobbying industry, rebranded itself as the Association of Government Relations Professionals. Figures maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics show that the number of registered lobbyists in the United States peaked in 2007 with 14,824 registrants. The number has steadily declined to a low of about 9,443 lobbyists registered this year.

In fact, note that what really went down were the lobbyists who called themselves ¨lobbyists¨; what did not get down were the lobbyists who called themselves by other names.

Here is one specialist trying to describe the scope and influence of lobbyists, who - I repeat - are now the real public for the Senators and  Congress Members of the USA, much rather than the voters who elected them, simply because most voters have no money to buy those who are supposed to represent them:

With so much lobbying done off the books, it is difficult to know the true size of the influence business. Figures from the federal lobbying registration rolls indicate that special interests spend a little more than $3 billion a year on lobbying. But estimates that include unregistered lobbying put the number closer to $6 billion a year. The number of lobbyists, too, may be much higher than 9,443. James Thurber, an American University professor who advised the American Bar Association’s bipartisan lobbying-reform task force, calculates the number of working lobbyists is closer to 100,000.

And these 100,000 lobbyists (who mostly do not call themselves lobbyists, although they function as lobbyistst) are mostly lobbying around 700 ¨representatives of the American people, which means that on average every Senator and every Member of Congress has over 100 lobbyists hanging around him or her, who are all willing to pay them money if they do what the lobbyists ask them to do.

This article ends as follows:

The next administration should also convene a broad inquiry into the effects of special interest lobbying. As long as so much influencing is done off the books, Americans are robbed of the chance to know how their democracy is truly governed.

Actually, a country were the representatives of the people are being paid huge sums of money by representatives of the rich to do what the rich want is not a democracy anymore, but is simply an authoritarian (neofascist) plutocracy. But this is a recommended article.


2. Caged Children & Terrified Infants

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction (and I abbreviated the title):
President Trump is continuing to blame Democrats for his administration’s practice of separating at least 2,000 children from their parents in recent weeks. He also doubled down on the practice in an address Monday, ahead of his meetings today with Republicans to discuss compromise legislation on a hardline immigration bill. We speak with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas. She has represented the 18th Congressional District since 1995, which includes most of central Houston. She is just back from the Texas border with Mexico, where she joined a delegation of lawmakers who visited a processing center in McAllen, Texas, and the Southwest Key Programs’ Casa Padre, which houses 1,500 children in Brownsville, Texas.
OK - and as I have said several times already, I copy the introductions of the articles I am reviewing from Democracy Now! simply because the introductions are good. Here is Sheila Jackson:
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE: (..) It is clear that there are acts of indecency. This is an indecent policy, promulgated by a single person, and that is the president of the United States. So I saw people huddled in groups in cages. I saw children who certainly needed to be with their parents. A little baby Roger that I held in my hands was nine months old. A little Leah who was one years old, both taken from a grandmother and a sister, those who loved them and brought them and would have protected them.

Clearly, these persons who are working at the border are working at the behest of the president of the United States. And I think it is very important—this is a nonpartisan issue. I don’t even want to call it bipartisan. But it is clear that if we go back as far as 2010 when the Gang of Eight, Democrats and Republicans, proposed a comprehensive immigration reform, it was Republicans who stopped it. It is a Republican president today that refuses to understand that he is violating all acts of decency. And as Bishop Curry has said, it is not biblical. As Laura Bush has said, it breaks our heart.

Well... actually I am not at all interested in the opinions of Laura Bush, but I do agree that this is an intentional act of sadism by the Republicans (mostly).

Here is another bit by Sheila Jackson Lee:

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE: The other thing that I think is important to take note of is the fact that the facts of why these people are fleeing are things that many of us could never imagine. You are a pregnant young woman. You borrowed money. Your family borrowed money from a private bank, but it was supported, funded, owned by the cartel. When you did not pay, the cartel says to you, “As soon as you have your baby, I am going to kill you.” You flee, eight and a half months pregnant. You did not want to flee eight and a half months pregnant, but your baby would be left without a mother. And you gave birth on your way and you are sitting in a station where you have had no medical care. The baby is 45 days old and seen no medical professional.

I take it that is correct. And in any case this policy of stealing children from their parents is sick, it is sadistic, and it is as sub-human as quite a few of the dictators who also indulged in it were. And this is a recommended article.

3. Trump’s Military Drops a Bomb Every 12 Minutes, and No One Is Talking About It

This article is by Lee Camp on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

We live in a state of perpetual war, and we never feel it. While you get your gelato at the hip place where they put those cute little mint leaves on the side, someone is being bombed in your name. While you argue with the 17-year-old at the movie theater who gave you a small popcorn when you paid for a large, someone is being obliterated in your name. While we sleep and eat and make love and shield our eyes on a sunny day, someone’s home, family, life and body are being blown into a thousand pieces in our names.

Once every 12 minutes.

The United States military drops an explosive with a strength you can hardly comprehend once every 12 minutes. And that’s odd, because we’re technically at war with—let me think—zero countries. So that should mean zero bombs are being dropped, right?

Yes indeed: This is a very good question, namely if the USA is ¨technically at war with (..) zero countries¨ how come it is warring in many countries? The answer is that the people of the USA no longer decide whom they are in war with, but the president of the USA and his generals. And they have been throwing bombs on many countries during this whole century, so far.

Here is Lee Camp´s explanation of how your country (´s generals and president) can bomb people in many countries for nearly 20 years on end while ¨technically¨ your country is not at war with any other country:

Hell no! You’ve made the common mistake of confusing our world with some sort of rational, cogent world in which our military-industrial complex is under control, the music industry is based on merit and talent, Legos have gently rounded edges (so when you step on them barefoot, it doesn’t feel like an armor-piercing bullet just shot straight up your sphincter), and humans are dealing with climate change like adults rather than burying our heads in the sand while trying to convince ourselves that the sand around our heads isn’t getting really, really hot.

You’re thinking of a rational world. We do not live there.

Instead, we live in a world where the Pentagon is completely and utterly out of control. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the $21 trillion (that’s not a typo) that has gone unaccounted for at the Pentagon. But I didn’t get into the number of bombs that ridiculous amount of money buys us. President George W. Bush’s military dropped 70,000 bombs on five countries. But of that outrageous number, only 57 of those bombs really upset the international community.

Well... I do not know about Camp´s explanation, simply because I have absolutely never believed that I live in ¨some sort of rational, cogent world¨ (where some ¨earn¨ billions per year, while others, in the same country, barely make $10,000 dollars a year), but I think the facts Camp mentions are correct.

Here are the facts about Obama, who warred on his own:

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that under President Barack Obama there were “563 strikes, largely by drones, that targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. …”

It’s not just the fact that bombing outside of a war zone is a horrific violation of international law and global norms. It’s also the morally reprehensible targeting of people for pre-crime, which is what we’re doing (..)
Yes indeed: Camp is quite right. Here is a comparison of, first, Bush and Obama, and second of Trump and the previous warring presidents of the USA:

But those 70,000 bombs dropped by Bush—it was child’s play. DeGraw again: ” Obama] dropped 100,000 bombs in seven countries. He out-bombed Bush by 30,000 bombs and 2 countries.”

You have to admit that’s impressively horrific. That puts Obama in a very elite group of Nobel Peace Prize winners who have killed that many innocent civilians. The reunions are mainly just him and Henry Kissinger wearing little hand-drawn name tags and munching on deviled eggs.

However, we now know that Donald Trump’s administration puts all previous presidents to shame. The Pentagon’s numbers show that during George W. Bush’s eight years he averaged 24 bombs dropped per day, which is 8,750 per year. Over the course of Obama’s time in office, his military dropped 34 bombs per day, 12,500 per year. And in Trump’s first year in office, he averaged 121 bombs dropped per day, for an annual total of 44,096.

That is, Trump bombed about 4 times as much as Obama, who bombed 1 1/2 times as much as Bush - and all without any war going on.

Here is Camp´s summary judgement:

Do you know where they’re hitting? Who they’re murdering? Why? One hundred and twenty-one bombs a day rip apart the lives of families a world away—in your name and my name and the name of the kid doling out the wrong size popcorn at the movie theater.

We are a rogue nation with a rogue military and a completely unaccountable ruling elite. The government and military you and I support by being a part of this society are murdering people every 12 minutes, and in response, there’s nothing but a ghostly silence. It is beneath us as a people and a species to give this topic nothing but silence. It is a crime against humanity.

I agree and this is a strongly recommended article.


4. Trump's Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses Is the Proud Rant of a Dictator

This article is by Mark Summer on AlterNet and originally at Daily Kos. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump spoke on Tuesday morning to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. In the speech, which received a frighteningly level of cheers, Trump declared those who oppose him are criminals, declaimed that he wants “security, not judges” and repeatedly insisted that his political opponents should simply shut up. In a stunning, angry tirade, Trump talked about Canadians smuggling shoes, repeated his lies about crime rates in Germany, and make a shocking claim that in reporting about families being separated by his immigration policies the news media was supporting criminals and child smugglers.
In fact, there is more in the article, but this is all I am going to quote from it. Instead of quoting more, here are my attitudes about Trump: He is a sadist, he is a racist, he is a madman, he is a neofascist, he is the grossest liar I´ve ever known about, and he wants to be a dictator.

And as I said before, my own probability that the people who are alive now will not be blown up by this utterly insane person - and yes: I am a psychologist - is at most 1/2 (as some of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, whose clock now stands as 2 minutes to midnight, which is the closest it has ever been to nuclear war).

5. Trump’s Getting Us Ready to Fight a Nuclear War

This article is by History News Network on AlterNet (?). It starts as follows:

Although many people have criticized the bizarre nature of Donald Trump’s diplomacy with North Korea, his recent love fest with Kim Jong Un does have the potential to reduce the dangers posed by nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. 

Even so, buried far below the mass media coverage of the summit spectacle, the reality is that Trump―assisted by his military and civilian advisors―is busy getting the United States ready for nuclear war.

This deeper and more ominous situation is reflected in the extensive nuclear “modernization” program currently underway in the United States. Begun during the Obama administration, the nuclear weapons buildup was initially offered asan inducement to Senate Republicans to vote for the president’s New START Treaty. It provided for a $1 trillion refurbishment of the entire U.S. nuclear weapons complex―as well as for new weapons for nuclear warfare on land, in the sea, and in the air―over the following three decades.

Yes, I think that is correct, although I also think that one should distinguish two goals:
(1) the goal of the generals of the Pentagon who want to be - by far - the strongest state there ever was in the world, and who further this by updating their nuclear arms and by spying on absolutely everyone (with an internet computer), and (2) the goal of Trump to prepare for a real nuclear war.

And I distinguish them because I think they are quite different, and also because, while I do not like the generals of the Pentagon, my strong guess is that few or none of them are as certifiably mad as Trump is (for psychologists and psychiatrists, though probably not for most of the more than 2 billion morons who are still on Facebook).

Here is some insane Trumpian propaganda:

In fact, in his first campaign announcement, he went so far as to proclaim: “Our nuclear arsenal doesn’t work.”  In December 2016, shortly after his election victory, he tweeted: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.” The next day, speaking with his usual brashness, he told Mika Brzezinski, the host of an MSNBC program: “Let it be an arms race.” He added: “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” 

Trump unveiled his official “America First” National Security Strategy in December 2017. Criticizing the downgraded role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy since the end of the Cold War, it broadened the role of nuclear weapons in future policy. Announcing the measure, Trump took the opportunity to denigrate his predecessors. “They lost sight of America’s destiny,” he remarked. “And they lost their belief in American greatness.”

Yes indeed (and Trump may prove American greatness by blasting up everyone but the rich and himself). Here is the ending of this article:

Trump himself, of course, has not only displayed an alarmingly high level of mental instability, impulsiveness, and vindictiveness, but a rather cavalier attitude toward using nuclear weapons. During his 2016 presidential campaign, according to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Trump consulted with a top foreign policy specialist “and three times asked about the use of nuclear weapons. . . . He asked at one point, if we had them, why can’t we use them?” Twice, during early 2016, Trump said that, when it came to the use of nuclear weapons, he wanted to be “unpredictable.” In 2017, caught up in an interchange of personal insults with Kim Jong Un, he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea―presumably through a nuclear attack.

Trump apparently considers his nuclear weapons policy a component of “Making America Great Again.” But we might more justifiably view it as a giant step toward catastrophe.

Well... Trump is a madman according to 70,000 psychologists and psychiatrists, and I am one of them. And I agree a madman like Trump as the most powerful man on earth is not merely ¨a giant step toward catastrophe¨, but is a very long walk towards it. And this is a recommended article.


B. One Extra Bit

This is an extra bit in the crisis series. I did so before a few times. This time it is about
This article is by the mathematician Peter Woit on his site. It starts as follows:

The July 1 issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomy Society includes an article evaluating the standard multiverse prediction of the cosmological constant, with result:

The predicted (median) value is 50–60 times larger than the observed value. The probability of observing a value as small as our cosmological constant Λ0 is ∼2 per cent.

If your theory only makes one prediction, and that prediction is off by a factor of 50, that’s the end of it for your theory. I’m very glad that this has now been sorted out, the multiverse hypothesis has been falsified, and theorists who have been working on this can move on to more fruitful topics.

Update: As David Appell realized, the last sentence here was sarcasm (or maybe black humor). Those promoting the multiverse are doing Fake Physics™, not Physics. This is ideology, not science, and there is no chance that they will stop referring to the “successful multiverse prediction of the CC”, no matter what analysis shows a seriously incorrect prediction.

Although formally I have a - brilliant - M.A. in psychology, in fact I think of myself mostly as a philosopher. Let me sketch my background and my family once again:

The reason I have no M.A. in philosophy, in which I have a - brilliant - B.A., is that I was illegally removed by the fascists, the sadists and the sub-humans who ruled the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam from 1977 till 1995, and who had me called - very many times, by very many members of the ASVA - ¨a dirty fascist¨ and ¨a terrorist¨ because I did not accept the totalitarian bullshit that I was ¨a dirty fascist¨ because I neither was a Marxist nor wanted to pretend being one (as something like 95% of the students of the ¨U¨vA did), and because I did (and do) have the best family-background in terms of the Resistance against the Nazis anybody ever had at the ¨U¨vA:

Both of my parents were in the communist resistance against the Nazis; both of my parents were - real, intelligent but not heavily educated - members of the Dutch Communist Party for 45 years; my father and grandfather were arrested in August 1941 for resisting the Nazis, and convicted as ¨political terrorists¨ to concentration camp imprisonment, which my grandfather did not survive, and both of my mother´s parents were anarchists all their lives.

But I was ¨a dirty fascist¨ according to the fascist terrorists from the ASVA, who wholly agreed with the sub-human fascists and terrorists who removed me illegally from the right of doing an M.A. in philosophy (and who refused to answer my letters and mails ever since 1988).

Anyway... the other thing I wanted to say is that I first heard that truth does not exist in August 1978 at the official opening of the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam in these precise words (translated):
  • ¨Everybody knows that truth does NOT exist¨
- which from 1978 till 1995 was the official ideology of the ¨U¨vA to which 95% of the students (with an average IQ of 115) and 90% of the staff fullheartedly agreed.

And it seems to me as if almost all real universities everywhere have been substituted by Blatcherist quasi-universities where the average IQ is around 105, and hardly anyone believes anymore in truth, while almost everyone believes in a career based on lying and posturing.

So... I think Woit is quite right, but hardly anyone will agree with him because most of the universities have been intentionally destroyed, indeed in part with the massive thoroughly fascistic lie that truth does not exist.

I do not think this will ever been undone without a massive restructuring of the universities, and do not think so because most universities ceased to be real universities, and indeed mostly have not been real universities for 20 to 40 years now.


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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