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Nederlog

February 3, 2018

Crisis:  Nunes Memo, On Mueller, Trump vs. Deep State, Net Neutrality, "Equal Justice"



Sections
Introduction   

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from February 3, 2018.

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, February 3, 2018.

1. Summary

This is a
crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:

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.

Section 2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from February 3, 2018

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. Nunes Memo Reports Crimes at Top of FBI & DOJ 
2. Lawyer for Senior White House Official Predicts Robert Mueller Will
     Indict Trump Within Months

3. Trump Angles to 'Cleanse' Washington and Provoke a Constitutional
     Crisis

4. With FCC's Order Sent to Senate, Internet Defenders Inch Toward Vote
     to Restore Net Neutrality

5. The Paradox of Equal Justice
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. Nunes Memo Reports Crimes at Top of FBI & DOJ

This article is by Ray McGovern on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
The long-awaited House Intelligence Committee report made public today identifies current and former top officials of the FBI and the Department of Justice as guilty of the felony of misrepresenting evidence required to obtain a court warrant before surveilling American citizens. The target was candidate Donald Trump’s adviser Carter Page.

The main points of what is widely known as the “Nunes Memo,” after the House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), have been nicely summarized by blogger Publius Tacitus, who noted that the following very senior officials are now liable for contempt-of-court charges; namely, the current and former members of the FBI and the Department of Justice who signed off on fraudulent applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court: James Comey, Andy McCabe, Sally Yates, Dana Boente and Rob Rosenstein.
I have to admit that I still don't quite know about the Nunes Memo, about which there also is a great amount of - rather contradictory and rather vague - news. That is one reason for my selection of the present item by Ray McGovern; another reason is that McGovern does know a great amount about the FBI, the CIA and the NSA.

What it seems like - to me, at least - is an attempt by Trump's government to silence or at least weaken the position of what is also called the Deep State, that essentially consists of persons who work for the government, indeed especially in the FBI, the CIA and the NSA, together with persons who work for the corporations, among which the American war industrialists are important, and that together make important decisions that should be reserved to the real  government.

It so happens that I am an opponent of both Trump and his government, and an opponent of the Deep State, at least as defined above, which also seems to be linked, perhaps indirectly, to Hillary Clinton and the top of the Democratic Party.

I am not quite certain of the last bit. Here is the ending of Ray McGovern's article:

With the media, including what used to be the progressive media, fully supporting the likes of Adam Schiff, and the FBI/CIA/NSA deep state likely to pull out all the stops, the die is now cast. We are in for a highly interesting time over the next months.

I suppose so, and some things will undoubtedly get clarified then.

Meanwhile, I only comment on McGovern's "what used to be the progressive media": I think I agree, although I am not quite sure, while what motivates McGovern's "what used to be" is the fact that these media do not support progressives but representatives of the Deep State.

And while I think I agree, I also think McGovern might have mentioned the distinction between the mainstream media, about which he is quite correct, and the non-mainstream media, but he did not.

In any case, this is a recommended article.

2.  Lawyer for Senior White House Official Predicts Robert Mueller Will Indict Trump Within Months

This article is by Tom Boggioni on AlterNet and originally on Raw Story. It starts as follows:

According to two lawyers who have clients who have been swept up in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Donald Trump administration, they believe that the president may be indicted for obstruction of justice within the next few months.

In an interview with Politico, the lawyers — who asked to remain anonymous to protect their clients — said they don’t know exactly what Mueller’s plans are, but the line of questioning indicates that he is going hard at Trump for blocking the inquiry.

According to one attorney, his interactions with the special counsel’s team while representing his client in interviews have focused on “whether Trump tried to derail the probe into his campaign’s Russia ties.”

“If I were a betting man, I’d bet against the president,” one attorney said, while the other — who represents a high-ranking Trump official — added that he fully expects the indictment to be forthcoming for no other reason than to get Congress to take the matter seriously.

In fact, this is another item that I selected to arrive at some clarity, this time about Mueller's investigation, and this also fails mostly, as did item 1. In fact, both failed for the same reason:

There simply is not enough factual evidence, while there is a whole lot of propaganda.

And so here we have two anonymous lawyers who are somehow connected to some of the persons Mueller investigates - but that is all we get to know about them.

Here is one other bit I quote from this article:

The attorneys acknowledged that there is a question whether a sitting president can be indicted, but that Mueller’s team is willing to let the courts settle that issue while Congress wrestles with what to do with the embattled president.

Trump’s personal attorney, John Dowd, is betting the president can’t be indicted, saying, “president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer” under the Constitution.

I think myself that John Dowd must be lying, for the simple reason that if he were correct the president of the USA would be beyond the U.S. law, and I do not think any American can be above the U.S. law, also not the president. (And if he were, he would have the position of a dictator.)

In fact, I'd say this is also one of the main reasons for distinguishing between the legal side of government, which does give and revise laws, in the Senate and the Congress, and the executive side of the law, which is the government, that implements the laws, but does not make them.

And this is another recommended article.


3. Trump Angles to 'Cleanse' Washington and Provoke a Constitutional Crisis

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

An American constitutional crisis, gestating since November 2016, has finally arrived. The president and his allies are seeking to “cleanse” the U.S. government while his opponents in Congress and the Washington bureaucracy seek to defend the rule of law and national security.

The precipitating dispute is almost trivial: release of a Republican memo alleging prosecutorial misconduct toward one low-level Trump aide. But everyone in Washington understands the malice of #ReleaseTheMemo.

In fact, this is another interpretation of the uncertainties I registered in item 1 and item 2.

And the present interpretation supports my interpretation - and that last intepretation distinguishes at least three parties: The Trumpian government; the Deep State aka the FBI+the CIA+the NSA; and those who are interested in learning the truth (and know the previous two parties mostly rely on propaganda).

Here is more about the present interpretation:

Despite claims often heard in Washington, the disclosure of certain NSA procedures and capabilities is unlikely to hurt U.S. national security in any material way. The memo is dangerous for another reason. Soon to be released with White House redactions, the memo signals the president’s determination to reach down into the civil service and demonize and punish those who dare to investigate his actions.

According to the Washington Post, Trump says the memo confirms his charges of bias and will help him clean up the Justice Department and fire Rosenstein. That would enable him to appoint a more pliant assistant attorney general who could fire or otherwise constrain special prosecutor Robert Mueller, which is the goal of the whole exercise.

I think this is likely to be true. Here is the ending of Morley's article:

And so Trump’s “cleansing” proceeds, a "slow-motion Saturday Night massacre," for those who remember President Nixon’s purge of the Justice Department in October 1973. But the parallel should not be sentimentalized.

Nixon's moves cost him support among Republicans in Congress and the press, and he had to resign 10 months later. Trump, by contrast, has solidified his support in Congress and controls the powerful conservative media.

As the constitutional crisis approaches, Trump is stronger than Nixon was during Watergate.

Yes, I think that is true, and this is a recommended article.


4. With FCC's Order Sent to Senate, Internet Defenders Inch Toward Vote to Restore Net Neutrality

This article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Open Internet advocates and lawmakers were urging supporters on Friday to help secure one last vote in the Senate in favor of reversing the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) unpopular net neutrality decision.

The FCC sent its official order to roll back net neutrality protections on Friday, following its vote in December.

I say, for I did not know this. And this surely is important. Here is some more:

With the Republican-led panel's 3-2 decision along party lines, internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon and Comcast will be free to give preferential treatment to wealthy internet companies that can afford to pay for faster service—essentially creating "fast lanes" and "slow lanes" for the internet.

Immediately after the vote—which was opposed by 83 percent of Americans, according to a University of Maryland poll—Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) announced his plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution under which the Senate could vote to reverse the FCC's decision.

With the order now officially on Capitol Hill, it only needs to be sent to the House and published in the Federal Register, after which Marke[y] will have 60 days to gather enough support for a vote to nullify the decision.

I do hope this succeeds. And this is a recommended article.


5. The Paradox of Equal Justice

This article is by Ralph Nader on Common Dreams and originally on Nader's site. It starts with an introduction:
Corporations get away with very serious crimes—deaths, lifetime injuries, massive assaults on the economic necessities of millions of innocent people, the sickening of children and loss of their lives, the poisoning of water, air, land, food, perilous workplaces— without consequence.
Precisely, and that is a very serious problem, that did exist before 1980 (in the USA and elsewhere) but since has been made much more serious by deregulation, after deregulation after deregulation - and almost each deregulation diminished the legal protections given to the many non-rich, and increased the powers of the corporations and the rich. Since 1980. And quite systematically.

Besides, there is another reason, and this relates to what corporations are, for which I refer you to Hazlitt - On Corporate Bodies: strongly recommended - and to this quite truthful definition in Ambrose Bierce's "The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary":
"Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility."
And this was always the case: What has enormously grown since 1980 are the powers of the corporations to enrich their leaders, and what has likewise diminished is any personal responsibility that the leaders of corporations have for their actions.

Here is the start of Nader's article:

Almost every day, entertainment, sports, media, political and even some business organizations are jettisoning their top officials and incumbents after reported accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assaults of their subordinates. They’re not waiting for prosecutors, courts or regulators to take action. “Get out now” is the first punishing order. Then the work product of these asserted offenders—whether music, comedy shows, etc.—are often scrubbed, and recipients of political contributions are under pressure to give these sums to charity. In addition a wider arc of resignations by the heads and Boards of Directors, accused of lax monitoring is emerging.

The speed of punishment is unprecedented. One day millions of people watched Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and others. The next day they were vanished. Although this is only the tip of the iceberg—and there is more to come—the velocity of expulsions coming from these accusations—even when they are denied—is unprecedented.
Yes indeed. There is more at the end, and I continue with the next bit:

So why is it that when corporations and financial institutions commit broad-scale crimes that endanger or take the lives of millions of people, they receive absolute impunity? Indeed, their executives are rewarded for their own chronic, dangerous lawlessness. When their numerous crimes or criminogenic actions come to light, why are these bosses not immediately removed from their positions, in the manner of the many powerful men who have fallen as the #MeToo movement gains momentum?

Who knows? Time will tell perhaps. What is known is that corporations get away with very serious crimes—deaths, lifetime injuries, massive assaults on the economic necessities of millions of innocent people, the sickening of children and loss of their lives, the poisoning of water, air, land, food, perilous workplaces—all while paying off the political system that would have exacted punishment—and without appropriate sanctions.

One major difference is no doubt that "the masses" (that these days gather at Facebook and Twitter, and have something like a billion more voices than they had ten years ago and more) are strongly against certain sins of certain persons - that may but need not cover rape and sadism - while the same "masses" act and write very much less strongly against the crimes of the corporations, although these crimes hurt very many of them a great lot more, both financially and legally, than the crimes of - say - Al Franken.

Here is more on the Wall Street bosses:

None of the bailed-out Wall Street bosses who crashed the economy in 2008-2009 were prosecuted. These repeat-offenders took 8 million jobs away from the American people with their crimes, deceptions, cover-ups and rampant speculation with the very pensions and mutual funds that had been entrusted to them by their clients. Some Wall Street predators retired with huge severance packages—worth many millions of dollars—while others stayed put and resumed their roles as people of influential status and approbation.

Precisely so. Here is more:

Over and over again, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CBS’s Sixty Minutes, corporate crime, violence and fraud do not result in punishment. All too often the rewards and luxuries accorded to these powerful executives continue unabated.

Even when the Justice Department occasionally nails a big drug company for crimes costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars, “deferred prosecution agreements” let the bosses off and allow the companies themselves to get away with fines that appear large but are far less than the ill-gotten gains that finally caught the attention of the underfunded Department’s prosecutors.

Again, precisely so. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

So why the difference?
(..)
One difference may be that the evicted sexual assaulters did their deeds personally and directly, unlike the more remote corporate bosses or even middle management, their crimes more abstract within the enormity of the bureaucratic machines that they’ve rigged to avoid accountability. The other difference is that the public outrage was more personal and intense over the high-profile victims in the Hollywood episodes, which set the level of high media visibility. But what are the other factors at work?

Nader is undoubtedly quite right there are several factors at work that cause that - say - Charlie Rose is persecuted for sexual offenses, while many tens of Wall Street directors are not at all persecuted, nor indeed prosecuted in any way, although they stole extemely much money and destroyed millions of American jobs.

I will not try to chart them here and now, beyond repeating what I think are the two most important reasons

  1. "The masses" (that these days gather at Facebook and Twitter, and have something like a billion more voices than they had ten years ago and more) are strongly against certain sins of certain (well known) persons - that may but need not cover rape and sadism - while the same "masses" act and write very much less strongly against the crimes of the corporations, although these crimes hurt very many of them a great lot more, which I think they do mostly because they do know the well known persons, while the vast majority has little knowledge of bank managers, and
  2. The bankmanagers are all very well protected by corrupt members of the government, like Eric Holder under Obama, who simply refused to do almost anything against them, because it was his opinion that this might hurt the economy of the USA.

And in any case, this is a strongly recommended 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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